Episode 36 – It’s Not You, It’s Your Crappy Book Cover

In this solo episode, Mark talks about two specific examples from his own publishing experience, where having a crappy cover didn’t help book sales. He walks through the back-story for the eBooks in question, his reasoning behind the initial crappy cover (which he didn’t realize was crappy in the first place) as well as the positive results that came after he recognized his mistake and created a better cover.

He explains that he is using personal examples for a few reasons, which include:

  • the fact that it’s easier to see fault in someone else’s mistakes; perhaps seeing the mistakes Mark made makes it easier for an author to understand for their own purposes
  • to illustrate that, even though he has fourteen years of experience in self-publishing and more than twenty-five years in bookselling, and should know better, he still makes these types of mistakes – which means everyone can and will make these mistakes (so don’t beat yourself up over it)

Prior to the main content of the podcast, Mark provides a personal update about two items.

1) Recently received audiobook royalties from ListenUp Audiobooks for Evasion and Findaway Voices, for that novel and three other shorter works (With a mention that this podcast is sponsored by Findaway Voices – because he’s just that slick at slipping it into the monologue)


Findaway Voices provides all the tools that an independent author or small publisher needs in order to get into the digital audiobook market. From audiobook production to distribution, and with the bonus of being able to set and control your audiobook pricing.




2) A recent promotion that Mark ran on his book A Canadian Werewolf in New York in order to help support the Kobo/Walmart promo that is taking place. Mark walks through the logistics of how some of the Kobo lists are set up and explains the third-party promo from Written Word Media that he used to help elevate the ranking and status of his book in the Kobo/Walmart list. He shares the numbers and results (so far) for this promo (the details from this are shared with Mark’s Patreon supporters)


The two examples of book cover updates that Mark walks through are:

Spirits – a 6,000 word short story that Mark originally launched in eBook in June of 2011. Mark walks through the reasoning behind publishing this short story as an eBook in terms of the financial return based on his original goals to sell the story to a pro market.

He also shares the back story about the “virtual launch” he used for this book in 2011 and the resulting 18 people who watched it live and the sales in the first month and beyond.

Snowman Shivers – Two snowman-themed tales that Mark launched in 2012 that required BOTH a cover and a sub-title makeover. The cover design was a much-needed improvement that better speaks to the type of mini eBook this is, and the original subtitle of “Scary Snowman Tales” was misleading and off-putting to readers who were expecting dark and macabre tales, but, instead, got dark humor with a thin layer of eerie.

Mark closes up the podcast by thanking his Patreon supporters as well as explaining a new option that Kobo Writing Life recently announced to authors, the ability to transfer ratings and reviews to new eBooks, and what that can mean from authors interested in updating/changing their distribution to Kobo.


Links of Interest:



The music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

RSS options for this podcast: Mark Leslie at Libsyn or Feedburner

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