The indie author in the Kindle Store has few tools at his or her disposal to generate sales. Two of them are the blurb and the cover.
Let’s start with the blurb. The word is that you’ve got five seconds to get someone’s attention. Then another five seconds to grab them. Lose them at either point and they’ll move on.
Here’s the blurb I originally posted:
Matt Bugatti has an idea that will change the world. Two world powers are fighting to control it. An unwitting pawn in an international conflict, Matt works for just two things: to make history and to find true love.When he meets the perfect woman, his life is complete. Then reality intrudes and the facade crumbles. Pursued by two nations, his life in peril, Matt must decide who he can trust in a world where no one is who they seem
I’ve changed it a dozen times. Here’s what it looks like now:
Being a genius gets you noticed – not always in a good way. Matt Bugatti has cracked the Internet’s most secure code. Chinese and American spies are racing to learn his secret. Unaware of their power struggle, Matt wants only to control his own destiny. When faced with a life-changing decision, Matt meets Gina, a woman with a secret of her own, and his choice seems clear – until the international conflict escalates and Matt finds himself threatened and alone. Then Matt discovers Gina’s secret and his world turns upside-down. Pursued by two nations, running for his life, Matt does whatever is necessary to regain control – and learns who he can trust in a world where no one is who they seem.
The only way you know if your blurb is working is if it generates more sales. So far, nothing seems to have made a difference.
Ken from the forums maintains that the blurb must have two ingredients, a premise and a promise – a story premise that intrigues the reader and a promise of good yarn. He reviewed my original blurb and pronounced it premiseful and promising. Others have not been so kind. And the tale of the tally suggests otherwise.
I’ll let the latest version cook for awhile and see what happens.
That brings me to the cover.
My original cover looked like this:
The differences are somewhat subtle and apparently insufficient to generate sales.
I agree. The title seems at odd with the blurb. Is the girlfriend/relationship the center of the novel or the danger/threat from Chinese, etc. forces/spies. If I just heard the title I might think that an inexperienced young man had been set up with his first real girlfriend or that in a memoir type book someone is reporting/discussing their life after they found a girlfriend.
I have to agree with what some others have said with regards to the title. Your blurb sounds interesting and says "thriller" to me. But the title says romance/every day drama to me, which is of no interest to me and would probably put off a lot of people interested in thrillers. Just my opinion. Good luck!
I like the new and improved blurb, when it comes to the first line. Much more catchy. Interesting. Then you could weave back into the original. More precise and clear. Just my two cents. I also agree with Heather. Pick a better font for the cover.
Okay, I guess I'll have to wing it here. Charles, I'm the guy in KDP you gave the list of places to post free books on. Well, I was looking around at your stuff and found this post. I was pretty indignant to see that your "sincere colleague" found all of your covers "dreadful." (And someone else nodded the same.) They are nice covers. All of them. To say they're dreadful is comical (if not out and out mean). I esp. like the second one (w/the chick and the larger print). The chick is mysterious, spy-like, and the flag suggests international intrigue. Which is all well and good with what your blurb says. Here's the deal (and I really do like your title): the title seems incongruent with the blurb. How does your blurb convey that your story is a "girlfriend experience"? So, adjust the blurb to fit the title better or change the title. (And your blurb could've been shorter. You just want to whet their appetites. I was playing around with it and came up with:
Sometimes you can be too smart for your own good. Matt Bugatti was enjoying his life as a computer programmer—until he cracked the Internet’s most secure secret code. Now he’s running for his life from American and Chinese spies who want it. On his own, with nowhere to turn and no one to trust, he meets a woman, with a deep secret of her own, that offers him a way out. Or is it a way deeper in?
Gregg, thanks for the comment. I'd have published it earlier but I was 30,000 feet above the North Atlantic. Thanks also for the comments on the covers. I like them all but I'm not a pro. So I'm having one designed. I like my own writing but again, I'm not a pro. So I hired a professional editor. I haven't yet gone to a professional blurb writer!
I don't know you (just followed the link from the Amazon boards, where I lurk) but just wanted to tell you I think the first of the two new options would actually work quite well with a few tweaks. Consider placing the text above the center line and make the font larger so you can spread it out over three lines:
I'd also recommend a stronger-looking font like Impact bold or perhaps Copperplate (although I also like the font you used in the white-text version). And if you really liked the silhouette of the woman, I don't think it'd be too crazy to use a modified version of it as a substitute for the "I" in "girlfriend".
Take this all with a grain of salt, of course, as I have published exactly zero books. 😉
Thanks so much, Heather, for your comment. There seems to be some disagreement about the quality of my cover! Regardless of the feedback I've gotten I have to figure out why my sales are nonexistent and the cover keeps coming up. I'm working with a pro now and if that doesn't help I'll try something else. I'm nothing if not persistent!
Honesty is what I crave. Thanks for the comments, good and bad. I'm in contact with a professional cover designer and looking forward to seeing some concepts.
Can I be completely honest? I assume that's OK or you would't have posted this…
I read. A lot. I'm also a Children's author with my first Kindle book a few days in to it's introduction to the world. So – my comments come to you as a reader and not (yet) a successful Kindle author!
Your second blurb is fantastic. I was completely gripped and wanting to know more. How did he crack the code? What's her secret? How will they get out of their predicament? I want to know!
I would have downloaded it there and then – until I saw the cover. I tend to agree with your colleague that they're all dreadful. It doesn't look very professional and it doesn't tell me anything about the book. It sounds like the book would be a breathless race-against-time, with a backdrop of international espionage and a love story too. The cover does not portray this.
The title I also have a slight issue with. If I just read the title, I would think it was lad-lit, some thirty-something guy falling in love for the first time. The blurb, cover and title don't gel in my mind.
I would definitely, definitely spring for a new cover. If the book is as fantastic as it's blurb, then it's your cover and title holding you back. Fix those and you could crack it.
Best of luck to you!
Thanks. I put all three designs up on the Forum for a vote and a very sincere colleague told me all three were "dreadful." I'm going to spring for a professional cover. Not cheap, but within my means, and, if I believe in the book, mouse knuckles in the whole scheme of things. In for a penny, right?
I don't see anything wrong with the original design, Charles. That said, I can be a bit of a male chauvanist pig at times………apparently.