Monday, March 5, 2012

A Tale of Two Covers

I launched my first book on Amazon in February and had some nice results out of the gate. I sold a few copies without much promotion, had some nice reviews and ran some free promos that seemed to boost my numbers a wee bit. However, something started troubling me.  The mysterious algorithms that generate the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” were showing books that were of a different reading age than my target.  Books like, “Pookie the Mousepig” and “What’s that Smell? Is it you?” were showing up.  I’m sure these books are great books for their target audience, but far too young for my target 9-12 year old market. I started to panic, thinking I might be missing out on referrals from other books that were similar to mine by not appearing in the right lists, so I started to tweak my listing. First, I revised my product description to something that was a little more in line with my target audience.  I made sure to add the age range of my target in the description as well. 

There was only one other element that was concerning me. The Cover.

I commissioned an artist to draw a cover for my book and I absolutely loved the work she did.  It was fun, bright, inviting and a good representation of the character I had in my mind. However, the more I looked at it, the more I questioned. “Is this the book a 10 or 11 year old would carry around with them?” The answer I kept coming back to was, “Probably not.” Although it had a wonderful feel to it, it was a little ‘cartoon-like’ and was maybe not as appealing to my audience as I hoped it would be.  Having some experience with design, I started playing around with a new concept myself and came up with a design that (I think) is pretty solid.  It would appeal to my demographic as well as an older audience, potentially expanding my audience. It also lends itself very nicely to future volumes with a look that will brand well. It’s too early to see if this change will have a noticeable effect on sales, but I’m keeping an eye on things, hoping to snag a little more attention from my audience.


  1. Hi Tommy,
    I'm the author to Pookey The Mousepig. I stumbled across your blog and noticed your post. I thought you might like to know, that I became aware of your book through the "Customers Also Bought" list. I do agree that my book is intended for younger children and maybe associating the two books might confuse some people into believing that both books are for the same age group. However, I also noticed that in the same list, there were adult books listed (on my book page) also.
    I think amazon randomly list books with other authors, irrespective of what genre or age group they belong to.
    P.S On my blog, I offer childrens authors the chance to promote their work by having their name and links to their books on a dedicated page. If you are interested, which you are more than welcome, please visit my blog for more info

  2. Hi Thomas, thank you for stopping by! I believe there is some strange algorithm on Amazon that build the lists for us, but I have yet to find anyone who even claims to have a slight understanding of the criteria. I guess, at the end of the day, what really matters is that people are finding the books and our audience is building.

    I will definitely check out your site in the coming days.

    Thanks again,