The Agonies of Book Covers and Pricing

One of the steepest learning curves I have had while e-publishing is in the field of covers.  I have tried a number of approaches.  My favourite is to use Picasa software which enables me to manipulate pictures in a relatively simple way.

I have also tried Microsoft’s Publisher although I have yet to upload any of these covers.

Following Dean Wesley Smith’s advice I have even used Powerpoint although I found this rather blocky and I was not able to get the look I wanted.

I have learned a couple of things which make a difference.

Keep the image simple.  Keep the text large and try to place it in the same part of the image wherever possible in order to give a coherent look to all of your books.  Use a tag line.


When it came to pricing I adopted Amanda Hocking and Stephen Leather’s practice.  I started at the minimum price of $1.00 (70p) as a loss leader, knowing that this would be a limited offer and that these and later books would be priced more realistically.

Amazon pay royalties of 35% at books between $1.00 and $2.99.  So it soon became clear that a book priced at $1.00 gave far less rewards than one priced at $2.99.  Here are the figures in dollars and sterling.

I sold 80 books at $1.00.  This earned me $25.60 or £16.80.  If I had sold them at $2.99 I would have earned $164.80 or £101.60.  A big difference, I think you’ll agree.

The higher price also enables me to give discounts and take part in sales such as the one offered by Smashwords.

Tomorrow – a short post on my progress in publishing Wasteland, book 2 of The Lost King series.


About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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