Some may have noticed that the cover art for the entire Destroyers series is changing.

I’m trying something very unlike me: covers that are similar to a lot of other teen fantasy and paranormal books out there.  No longer will I be having close-range, dim, creepy eyeball shots like I did before.

Don’t get me wrong.  I loved my old covers.  But I didn’t love my continued low sales much, and I think I might have stumbled on a reason why they weren’t improving.

My old covers didn’t look much like teen fantasy books, which meant that it was likely that they were getting passed over without a second glance by many.  That I discovered when I went browsing through the teen fantasy section on Amazon.  There, I saw a trend among the teen fantasy books that were selling well.  There were a few things that I noticed over and over again on these covers:

1.) A magical/fantasy/paranormal type font for the title.  My old covers had a plain font in all caps.

2.) Bright colors or objects that contrasted well against a dark background were another common thing that I found.  One had a glowing blue butterfly against a black background.  Another had the outline of a white forest against a black sky, again with a magical-looking font.

3.) Half-face shots of girls, none of whom were smiling.  While my old covers had this, they didn’t come with the magical font or a bright color like purple or blue.  Outbreak’s cover was mostly black and brown, for instance.  Note here that there was an exception for vampire books, which usually consisted of a creepy face lit against a very dark background.

4.) Probably the most common cover was that of a girl in a formal dress or gown (again with the magical font.)  There were two kinds of dress covers: dark covers with a girl in a black dress and brighter covers for white, yellow, and blue gowns.  The scariest sales rank I saw among these books was about 17,500 or so, which is still way outselling my 50,000 average for Inferno and Outbreak.  Many of these books that I clicked in were in the top 5,000 at Amazon and some were even in the top 500.  That usually equals hundreds of sales per day.

So a few days ago, I decided to do an experiment and try some covers that went with the dress-and-magical-font trend to see what happened.  I decided to try Amazon first to see if they had any effects on my sales.

As soon as the new cover for Tempest went live, its downloads tripled.

Before yesterday, I was getting a little shy of 100 free downloads per day on Amazon, and maybe 1-2 sales per day for its sequels.  In the last 24 hours, I’ve had maybe 300 free downloads for Tempest, so the new cover seems to be having a positive effect.

I probably won’t know how the sales for the sequels will be affected for a while yet.  It might take some time for the free downloads to get readers interested in them.  But, if this has helped my free book out some, it certainly isn’t going to hurt the rest of the series.  My new covers might not be that original, but what works, works.