If you have never self-published a book, my writing so often here about covers might seem kind of a so-what kind of thing. Why does it matter? Isn't it all about the plots, characters, dialogue, editing, words?
It's important because if I have learned one thing through my time of reading reviews and the forums-- readers won't even get to the words without the right cover. Title and cover are the first things to attract someone. Many won't go beyond that to the blurb or sample chapters if the first two don't hook them.
Now if you are self-publishing and paying a graphics artist, you don't have to do your own work, but you will still have to care. It's up to you to help that graphics artist understand what the energy of your book is about.
Whether you pay for it or you do it, your cover is an attempt to capture the energy of your story in one image. With a trailer, you get the opportunity to find more images and music to go a little further-- assuming the possible reader is intrigued enough by that cover and title to take time with the trailer.
When I began doing covers, I thought I would have no problem since I'd been doing digital paintings for a few years as well as had a lot of beautiful photographs. What could go wrong? Well turns out you need to satisfy the genre. So what I write about with a romance cover won't be what you would run into if you write a memoir, spy drama, or book of poetry.
When it was suggested my cover for Hidden Pearl wasn't matching up to the others, I was torn on it. I liked that cover. Even though photographic, it was very painterly, I thought.
Here's where the conflict between attracting readers and the energy of the book must be considered. I wrote Hidden Pearl to explore how people can look for that thing of great value and think they have found it in various ways-- some of which are beneficial and some not so much.
Pearls are hidden behind shells. They are created by irritation as they grow into what will be found by humans and regarded as of great value. If this book wasn't a romance, a pearl in a shell might've made a great cover-- but it is a romance as well as adventure. If I had been a well known author, I also could have probably used the pearl in a shell; but I think, as an indie writer, I have to attract readers to my hero or heroine.
Hidden Pearl, for a title, works because its hero, S.T. Taggert, is a man who has achieved much despite coming from a difficult background. He's wealthy, successful as a builder and architect. It would appear he has it all. When his mother asks him to find his sister, a woman he's never seen as an adult, he only reluctantly agrees. His past is something he's put aside. When photographer Christine Johnson comes into his life, he doesn't want anything she offers. Irritations build up for S.T. but as with the pearl, those irritations lead to him to becoming a stronger man, one of more value even to himself.
I think the new cover is probably better at capturing the interest of a reader browsing through books. I didn't change the trailer though and left the original cover there as I still have a good feeling about it. I think the change, however, is a positive one with less clutter and more emphasis on the key players in the book. It doesn't hurt to re-evaluate the books and covers every now and again. Are they still the best I can do? For now, with this book, I think they are.