A Facelift for Tales from Stool 17

Tales from Stool 17; Finding Port St. Joe; Nigel Logan; Kirk JockellHow many times have you heard it? You can’t judge a book by its cover. That’s true. However, we do anyway. The cover art we place on our work matters. Potential buyers will pass up the opportunity to get to know your work, if the cover doesn’t pull them in. Every publisher, whether they are indie or traditional, will tell you that.

When I first released the Tales from Stool 17 series, I knew my covers were only okay. Well, to be honest, the cover for book one was okay. The cover for book two actually sucked, and the cover for book three was a bit better than book one.

I should probably give myself a little bit of credit. Since I was doing everything myself, they weren’t totally awful. Right? Right. They were just awful enough that I’m sure I was losing sales. Aside from the money, I was losing potential readers, and that is what I ultimately want: Readers. But budgets being what they were, I stayed with what I had created. Until now.

Thanks to some modest book sales, my publishing coffers have grown enough that I can afford to hire some help with my covers. Don’t get me wrong, we still operate around here on a shoe string budget. Book sales don’t quite cover the yacht payment and my Ferrari is still sitting on the showroom floor. Financial woes aside, I have been able to stack away a few coins, here and there. Enough to explore some options. Affordable options.

Hiring someone to create a great cover can be very expensive. It’s not uncommon to pay several hundred dollars or over a thousand for a book cover. I couldn’t go down that road. I looked at several of the options and there is no shortage, just Google Book Cover Designers. In the end, I landed at Fiverr.com.

Fiverr.com is an online environment for freelance artists to peddle their wares and talents. There is a wide variety of services to choose from.  There is also a bunch of, what I call, silly fuckery. For example, if you need someone to talk with, for five dollars someone will call you and chat for a few minutes. Maybe you need some superhero powers, you can get that there for five bucks too. Or, and this is one of my favorites, perhaps you hate your step-mom and you need someone to cast a powerful spell over her. Yup! That one is there too, but I think that one will run you closer to twenty bucks.

Personally, I believe all the ridiculous nonsense that can be found on Fiverr diminishes its reputation as a serious platform for freelance artists. That said, I can look past all the B.S. because there is a huge pool of legitimate talent that can help you with a wide variety of needs, all at affordable prices. Mine just happened to be book covers.

After shopping the number of people offering up their talents and examples of their work, I pulled the trigger and settled on a designer. I ordered a gig and I’m glad I did. So far, the decision to invest in a new look for my books has been a positive one.

How much of a difference will it make? What is the expected return on investment? Well, the jury is still out. BUT … Without a doubt, the new covers are an improvement over what I had created. And I should add that with zero additional promotion, I have already seen an improvement in both sales and page reads from Kindle Unlimited.

Let’s take a peek at the new look for all three books. The covers on the left are my own creation. Those on the right are the new and improved ones.

Tales from Stool 17; Finding Port St. Joe; Nigel Logan; Kirk Jockell


Above are the covers for book one. I had this great picture of an awesome Port St. Joe sunset. It was a favorite, so I decided to use it. It was a lot of work, but I had some good image software at the time and was able to crank it out. The new cover has much more profession curb appeal. At least I think it does. It pops more and make you take notice.

Tales from Stool 17; Trouble in Tate'sd Hell; Nigel Logan; Kirk Jockell


Then there was the cover for book two. It just sucked. It’s not that the image or fonts were terrible. It sucked because of the message it sent, which was confusing, if not an empty one. The book is subtitled Trouble in Tate’s Hell, and I used a picture of a bridge. You were an idiot, Jockell. The new cover does a much better job of conveying a message. It actually indicates that there may be some bad stuff in there. And, there is.

Tales from Stool 17; Dark Days of Judgment; Nigel Logan; Kirk Jockell


Then there is book three. The last in the Stool 17 series, Dark Days of Judgment. It may be a mistake, but I like the original photo. I uploaded it to the designer, and he worked it over so it would have the same look and feel as the other two books. I like it.

Anyway, I’m proud of these new covers and happy to have them represent Tales from Stool 17 and the Nigel Logan brand. What do you think? Leave any comments below.

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