As I have gone into this experience of marketing, I have more and more seen it cannot be ignored for its importance. I'd like to say writing the book matters the most. That is true, but you have to get it seen. For someone like me without the money for all options, I have had to learn as I go using profits as the books sell.
Learning can be free, and I recommend time with this video as it is not only the cover model, Jimmy Thomas, but others in the field who discuss their end of branding and marketing. Particularly interesting to me was hearing from the cover artist and the partnership between artist and model. Fascinating.
One thing I have learned this year, after I got past the initial--you are kidding-- regarding covers for books, is that it's not about you as the writer anymore. It's about what is wanted by the reader, what will attract interest and it's knowing your genre.
Jimmy Thomas is the leading male model for romances and there are several reasons I can instantly list. One is he's handsome as sin. Two he seems like a genuinely nice person. Three he can put expression onto his face that tells a story. Four he's darned good at marketing. Five and maybe most important-- he projects the strength of the heroes in these books including several of mine. Handsome is nice but handsome alone doesn't cut it.
Jimmy Thomas has put together a site that helps indie writers with these covers, most especially those without a lot of money. He recognized a need and has created a place to fill it. That's not only good looking but smart.
Limited though I am for money, I have bought 15 images from his site, many at the full size, but a few just intended for trailers. In short, I've put most of the profit from my books back into images with a lot more on the CanStock site where I also have purchased a license to use certain images on covers or for trailers. Some I alter and change to suit the books but a lot work as they are.
Earlier I wrote about how I took one of the Thomas images, bought another of a man on a rearing horse from Canstock, and used one of my own landscape photos to put together something that won't even be out until the fall as a trailer for an historical romance. I did it now because I wanted the energy from it as I worked on the final editing for this book.
Now after watching that video, I am wondering do I need to get a real cover artist for the first of the Oregon historical novels that will appear next year. If my other books continue to sell, I might be able to save up enough... maybe.