Choosing a book cover

This was the original HC cover. Admittedly this was issued almost 15 years ago, but even then it had a retro feel.

OK, folks, now I really, really need your help. I’m planning on launching my back catalogue in the US market, via the Kindle and all that. I’ll talk at some point about how I find that whole experience, but for now – covers.

Obviously, a strong cover is fantastically important. Some of my books have had stellar covers. (Take a bow, Orion.) Some of my books have had, erp, covers. And never, not in 15 years of publishing, have I ever, as an author, had a meaningful say in what cover goes in my book.

Say what you like about self-pub, but the sense of being in control is just lovely.

Now, I’m OK with photoshop, but I’m no design wizard. I also didn’t just want to commission a single design from a pro, because that way you end up with something competent but maybe not inspired. So I threw the mighty sum of £339 at a site called 99designs, which encourages designers round the world to compete for the contract on offer. And overall, I have to say, I’m very impressed. A lot of the designs, maybe most, looked quite self-pub, but some are really strong. Different interpretations of the same brief, but nevertheless real contenders.

And I need YOU to pick a winner.

The book: My first novel, The Money Makers. It’s a fun romp that pits three brothers against each other in the race to make a million pounds. It’s like Jeffrey Archer, essentially, except that my prose won’t make your gums hurt. Full description on the book on Amazon.co.uk here.

The feel: it’s a family saga, in essence, and old-fashioned in the sense that there’s no adventure-through-violence. People who like Archer or Sidney Sheldon or Ken Follett would like this stuff.

The designs. You can view the six leading design options right here right now – and rate what you see. You can leave comments on the polling site, or you can hit me with it below.

I will probably pick the winner based on the results of this poll, then commission that same designer to work up similar designs for the rest of my back catalogue, so this is quite a  big deal for me and your intelligence and help will be MUCH appreciated.

I might also ask, later on, whether you prefer the cover that my £339 came up with, or the one that HarperCollins, my original publisher, came up with. It’ll also be interesting to see how a novel which never found a US publisher fares in that market some 15 years after its first release. Interesting also to see if I know the first damn thing about e-selling books. (Clue: the correct answer involves two letters, and begins with N.)

These are interesting times, no question. I’d love to see what you think.

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