Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Title? Cover Art? What makes you buy?

Carola Dunn

I expect some of you know that before I started writing mysteries, I wrote Regencies--32 full length novels and a bunch of novellas. (Many have mystery and suspense elements, smugglers, spies, attempted murders, impersonations, etc.) They have all been available as e-books for several years, but it's only since they became available on Amazon that I've been getting a monthly list of all titles and how many of each sold.

It's been interesting. For some reason the same titles tend to have the highest sales numbers month after month. Lavender Lady is almost always at the top.

Ginnie Come Lately also does well, as does A Poor Relation.

At the bottom are the collections of novellas. I can understand that. Some people just don't particularly like novellas. Somewhat above them are my ghost and time travel Regencies, The Actress and the Rake and Byron's Child. OK, so some people don't like ghosts or time travel.

But why are Angel and The Fortune Hunters so often near the bottom? 


Is it the picture? Is it the title? It doesn't seem to be the number of stars or reviews on Amazon that makes the difference. It's all a mystery to me.

Especially as Smugglers' Summer has such wonderful cover art, the title seems to me as intriguing as any of the rest, and it has 5 stars, yet it's near the bottom in sales!

What do you think? Is there anything I can do to level the playing field?

Available in multiple formats at or for Kindle at

PS. Just after I finished this and turned off my computer, I went out to get the mail. Nice surprise arrived: The trade paperback large print edition of My Lord Winter, first published in 1992. I take it this means the hard cover large print sold well enough to justify bringing it out in paper. The work that keeps on paying!


Palmaltas said...

I had no idea you had written all these books, Carola. I've been completely captivated by Daisy Dalrymple. I do like the cover of Smuggler's Summer but the cover for Angel doesn't tempt me at all. However, I would need to read the blurb to know if I wanted to read it.

Carola Dunn said...

I need to add blurbs on my website. They're all on, so I can just copy and paste instead of having to write them from scratch!

Vonnie said...

Having read a bunch of your very authentic Regencies, Carola, I'd have to say that the word 'Angel' is anything is way overdone and that's why I haven't picked it up. There seem to be angels and Angels everywhere so that I always think of a woman named Angel as sort of umm...too perfect.

But Smugglers' Summer now...sounds exciting before you even get started!

My personal view with the Fortune Hunters is that it has connotations that I find a tad distasteful. But that's just me and my 21st century outlook.

BTW, Daisy Dalrymple is such a fantastic name. It's evocative of so many things.

Carola Dunn said...

Angel was my third book, and I don't think that there were any others at the time. Her name is actually Evangeline--much too much of a mouthful--and she's anything but an Angel, so it's kind of ironic.

The Fortune-Hunters is somewhat ironic, too--ok, I specialize in irony!--in that both hero and heroine are desperate for a good match (for good reasons--I hope I make them sympathetic) and then they fall for each other and have to confess.

It sounds as if the titles are a major influence for you.

Anonymous said...

Since I do the majority of my reading on the Kindle, the cover art isn't quite as important for me. (However, I do enjoy a good cover.)

The only thing that I can think might be putting people off are the titles? I tend to stay away from books containing overt religious references, and I might think twice before clicking a book with Angel in the title, and while it has an interesting blurb, as Vonnie said The Fortune Hunters has some distasteful modern connotations. Otherwise, I can't think of a reason why those two book wouldn't be as successful as the others.

Anonymous said...

Cover art catches my eye first, of course, along with the title, and then the blurb sells it. They all have to work together for me to commit time and money to a book.

So, yes, adding blurbs would be a great idea. And I'm assuming that all the rights for your Regencies have reverted to you now, Carola? So, you could even change the titles and have new, more modern-looking covers produced if you wanted.

Just as an example, "Angel" could become "Tarnished Angel" or "Anything But an Angel." Or even just re-titling it "Evangeline" would take away the religious connotation that is a problem for some readers.

Carola Dunn said...

The whole point of the title is that she ISN'T an angel. I've changed a few titles that the publisher screwed up eg The Tudor Secret was NOT a Tudor secret it's a Tudor Signet. That was sheer error on their part. And they retitled The Actress and the Rake > The Lady and the Rake because the art dept. said the original was too long!! But I don't like to change titles because it confuses readers, who aren't sure whether they've read the book or not.
Others in about the same range of sales are The Man in the Green Coat (a spy story) and The Miser's Sister. But I'm less surprised by those than that Lavender Lady so consistently comes top!

Carola Dunn said...

I had all the rights back but now the erights are with (though I can change that on 3 months' notice). But I don't have time to put them out in all the different e-formats myself. The authentic Regency pics are house style.

I guess I feel that most people who find these books are actually looking for Regencies and won't be put off by modern connotations, and anyone who's read any of them would know I don't do religion!

Unknown said...

Cover of the art book make it worth to attract people so the cover page of an art work book is as important as the content itself and should be designed uniquely and beautifully. Though all the cover pages of your books were nice but smuggler's summer's cover page made me excited to know about the inner content.

Carola Dunn said...

On the whole, the Regency ebook covers are historical pics from the Regency. It's hard to find any that actually fit the story! They're more about the period.