Boiling Point isn't an old book--it's been out less than eight months. In book terms it's still a baby, but I decided it needed a face lift.
Why? Even though I designed the cover myself, I'd never been fully satisfied with it, and sales haven't been what I'd hoped. Its sales are consistently about 60% of the figures for the first book in the Phoenix, Ltd. female bodyguard series, Unwritten Rules. There could be a number of reasons for this: readers want to start a series at the beginning, readers tried the first book and didn't like it enough to read the second, or whatever. But I had to ask myself, what if part of the problem is the cover?
I've received lots of positive feedback on the cover for Unwritten Rules since its release. Everyone seems to love the legs and the flirty tone. It's a good reflection of the style and tone of the story and has even attracted male readers!
So what was wrong with the original cover for Boiling Point? It wasn't close enough stylistically to Unwritten Rules. I looked at every image of a stone mansion I could find, hoping to find one that would make a good background and reminded me of the setting. Nothing worked. I settled for the condensation image because it suggested steam, which tied in to the title. I also looked at every single image of every variation of "woman with a gun" I could think of. I ended up with the recumbent figure because it was one of the few in which the gun was far enough away from the face to crop the head. In a series, it is important to have design continuity: same fonts, same color scheme, same figure style. I would have preferred a standing figure but couldn't find another that worked.
My cover re-do was actually inspired by our own Jannine Gallant. She found the perfect image for the mansion background. It looks exactly like the one in the story, and I swear it wasn't available a year ago when I started looking. Sadly, the seated figure looked just plain silly with it--like the woman was sitting on the driveway. It did encourage me, however, to take another look at "women with guns."
Lo and behold, the stock image sites had added tons of new images, and I found the perfect one! The new figure of a woman in a short skirt and high heels with a gun behind her back is an excellent companion to the one on Unwritten Rules, and her cheeky pose mirrors the humorous tone of the book.
One of the best things about being an indie author is the ability to make changes whenever I want to try something new. I'm thrilled with the new cover, and I hope readers have the same response. If I don't see any improvement in sales, I can always tinker with the blurb next!