Evolution Of Devices Of War
Another Great Cover Comparison
One of the upsides to having a pioneering spirit is that I'm not crippled by the fear of failure. Now, granted, it took a lot of failing to understand that failure is necessary to meet success. My mother did a fantastic job hammering it into my skull that the only thing I was ever going to be was a massive screwup. So, I had to untrain myself. This trilogy… helped in that arena a lot!
The first cover was one that I really enjoyed. However, it didn't resonate with anyone. I think I and the cover designer I'd hired were the only two people on the face of the planet who liked this cover. This was the first book I'd published on my own. Whiskey Witches, The Dustman, and a few horrible others had been published by small publishing houses. So, I was just learning about covers. I still hadn't created my first one yet. That was Dream Killers. So, I was dependent upon finding an artist I could afford and who could do the type of artwork I needed.
This book tanked! I sold… geez, like, three books. I bought one. My sister bought the other, and some random person in Louisiana – I hope you're still with me! You were my first! – bought the other. I cried bitter tears and I couldn't pull myself out of the depths of despair I'd found myself in. This book had been written because I'd failed to complete a trilogy. Like, seriously. I'd been in the middle of the last book, and my main character let everyone die. I wrote their deaths, screaming at my main character to pull herself up and fight. And… we lost everyone. The Hands of Tarot was my rebirth moment. I was going to conquer and win and show the world – and myself – that I could do this publishing thing.
And then I bombed!
Frankie Jo's Storyland is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
This was the moment my sister allowed me to talk about my writing. I don't know what happened, but we went from the "it's taboo" to "let me help you save this book!" That kid, when she gets the right bug up her skirt, can really come up with some amazing ideas! So, with her incredible influence, we changed the name of the series to something I could brand and made the title of the book something that would call the readers I wanted to lure. And with that, I found Ravven, who is an amazing cover artist! I can spot her covers out of all the others! She has a unique technique and she's amazing. Together, we created the next evolution.
To this day, people still remember the "red cover." It really hit the mark at the time. It was memorable. It pulled me out of the mucky bottom ranks. It called to the right readers – or very nearly – and it drew the attention I wanted! With this, I was able to continue the series, and it was great. But, eventually, book sales slumped. It coincided with the release of the third book, and I was once again bummed. Not desperate. I'd survived this before. So, I knew what I had to do. I had to rebrand.
By this time, I'd created a few covers of my own. I wasn't great. I still sucked terribly at typography. But, with the help of an artist, Bogdan-MRK, I was able to create this cover, which I loved. I'm fairly certain he hated it. He said he was okay, but I plastered Synn on top of Bogdan's gorgeous art and I'm fairly certain he did not like it! I did. LOL! I thought it was great
Isn't Bogdan's artwork amazing?!
However, this cover – for as much as I loved – didn't sell books. I couldn't give this book away! Steampunk had seen its hayday and this series wasn't even a true steampunk. It was a fantasy science fiction in a day when that wasn't cool.
And then I legally changed my name. Holy balls of flaming manure. You can legally change your name and that's a pain in the rump. If you get married, changing your name isn't necessary. Like, seriously, it just isn't. If you're living under a deadname, then, yeah. It's worth the fight. Do it! Absolutely. But to change your penname? You would have thought I was trying to rewrite the Bible.
So, I decided that since everyone was going to react that way anyway, it was time for a rebranding. I mean, after all, I'd been living under the fetid breath of my dead name for years already. It was time to step into the light and be me. So, with the new name came a new cover, and, by this time, I was getting pretty darned good at making book covers.
I love this cover. It still doesn't sell too many books, but one day it will. The colors are great. The dynamic angle is fantastic! I love the sense of action and adventure! I really love this cover and… it'll probably stay like this for a long while. OMG. It'd better.
If you want to read the Evolution of Whiskey Witches, take a look at this post as well.