Re-covering a book series

‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’ is a saying you’ve probably heard many times, but I firmly believe that most people do – me included!

While I was writing A Spider’s Web, book three in my Mrs Hudson and Sherlock Holmes series, I made a decision to get new covers for the series.

In the course of writing the book, I looked back at the covers of the previous two novels in the series, and decided that I didn’t want to give A Spider’s Web the same type of cover. For the first two books, I’d gone for a sort of still-life of objects, which worked reasonably well, but there wasn’t really anything similar that I could pick out of book three.

More importantly, the existing covers didn’t fit in with those of similar books in the historical mystery/thriller genre. It wasn’t that they were terrible – they were fine at the time – but I felt it was time for a change.

When doing my research, many covers of similar books followed a pattern: a figure in silhouette, a photograph or picture of a scene, some ornamentation, and recognisably period typography. While I can do a reasonable job of making a fairly simple book cover, I knew that what I had in mind was beyond my capabilities, and also that in terms of the time it would take to do, it would be cheaper to hire a cover designer. And I am SO glad I did.

Here are the original covers:

…and here are the new ones!

I may be biased, but I think they’re absolutely gorgeous, and communicate the genre much better than the previous ones.

And yes, I did have to pay for the new covers, while the previous ones were free (unless you count the time they took to make). However, the series is selling better, and while some of the increased sales may be down to a new book in the series coming out (launching on September 30, since you ask!), I’m pretty sure that the new covers are earning their keep.

Was it a tough decision? Not really – I knew in my heart of hearts that it was time for an update. Like most things, fashions in book covers change. Now I’m wondering if I should take a good hard look at the covers of my other series…

What do you think about changing book covers? What’s your favourite kind of cover, and are there styles of cover that you miss?

And if these covers have whetted your appetite, you can take a look at the Mrs Hudson and Sherlock Holmes series here!

Link to the book series

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