Elliott Scott: The Case of My Mediocre Book Covers—How MiblArt Saved My Series

Elliott Scott: The Case of My Mediocre Book Covers—How MiblArt Saved My Series

There’s a big difference between being “just okay” with how your cover looks and being absolutely thrilled. I will tell you how I got that for my fiction and hit #1 in Amazon’s free categories with Rim City Blues, the first book in my Sci-Fi Noir Mystery Series.

If you’re here, you’re likely a self-publishing indie author or are at least interested in learning about the topic. If that’s the case, you’ve probably heard everything before about the importance of covers, like:

  • Bad covers won’t sell
  • Readers won’t know what genre you write
  • Potential customers will breeze past you.

These are all true, but the worst part—to me—is that it won’t be fun unless you have a cover you’re totally blown away by. While I’m focusing on revenue in the long run, I’m relying on my Noir Sci-Fi Mystery Series to give me joy in life. I love writing and talking to people about writing—but one of the pain points for me in my early indie career was wrapping my books in covers that didn’t do my writing justice. 

Not until I worked with MiblArt. Here’s the first cover they ever did for me:

My series is like the grittier Sci-Fi Dresden Files with more swearing and action. People that read it loved my work, but I couldn’t get any new readers! After writing two books that never sold, I decided to write a fun short story and spring for some professional-level covers. My friend recommended MiblArt, and I decided to give it a shot. MiblArt put together the cover for That Hardline Habit, and I was absolutely impressed. My jaw just about dropped. On top of that, it ended up hitting #1 in the following free categories:

I couldn’t give away my fiction for free with my old covers. Even though I’d planned on this book to be free, I was stunned to see it fly up on the charts without any nudging or ads. I got sales on my other books!

The design was a breeze. I told the MiblArt team that I wanted the reader to instantly think of Sci-Fi Noir Mystery. Their concept was great, and with some communication back and forth, I ended up with a cover that I was beaming about. It was such a massive mental shift for me. Every time I put it into a manuscript, newsletter, or website, they all looked better. The high-quality covers elevated everything they went into!

Most importantly, it made me so much more confident about promoting my work and trying to actually sell it, which is an important long-term goal for me. I ended up working to re-brand my whole series using the first cover as a guide. I have four books, and I wanted each cover to be united in content, mood, and theme. Here are some examples of my old covers and the ones I replaced.

I made a lot of classic beginner mistakes with my first cover, like:

  • Wanting to “break the mold” with a vintage/washed-out looking comic-book style cover
  • Ignoring what other successful authors in my genre were doing
  • Thinking that my “low budget” approach would get me what I needed

Do you want to know the craziest thing? MiblArt’s cover was cheaper than the one I had made through Fiverr! There, I spent three times over what MiblArt did for me perfectly in one single swoop—and it took MiblArt one-tenth of the time. Here’s another example from my second in-series, Terms of Service:

It’s a pretty easy choice.

Besides being eye-catching on Amazon as a thumbnail, Miblart’s covers looked amazing in print. Holding a paperback I’d written that looked like a professionally published Sci-Fi book had me overjoyed. With my old art, even when my book was free, almost no one downloaded it!

The bonus files MiblArt sent along made my website look much more professional. I use a banner like the one below to entice readers to sign up for my mailing list.

I think these 3D mockups look amazing.

Once I had all my three covers done, I decided to try and give the first book away free to drive purchases—and Kindle Unlimited page reads—to the rest of my series. With the help of some moderate mailing list advertising, my first book shot up to #1 in some very competitive categories in the free store.

Here’s what happened:

  • I hit #1 in three of my favorite free categories
  • 4,600 copies of my first book are in readers’ hands
  • I hit the front page of Reddit’s r/scifi with a post, which got 80,000 views
  • I’m well on my way to making back the cost of the ad spend and am trending towards profit
  • I added 12 readers to my mailing list and got 14 new 4-5 star reviews on my book
  • People are reading my fiction every day in Kindle Unlimited!

I firmly believe that my results would have been much worse with my old covers.

I’m very familiar with the feeling of refreshing the amazon KDP sales report page and looking at a gigantic 0 for sales. I do not see that anymore, and it’s largely thanks to Miblart’s team of professional designers and editors.

It’s unfair that readers judge a book by its cover. It’s incredibly unfair that online stores require your book to catch a reader’s eye in seconds.

But it’s the way things are. I don’t think I would’ve had half the momentum I have right now without MiblArt’s work, and I am incredibly grateful for what they do.

Elliott Scott’s Sci-Fi Noir Mystery series is now on Kindle Unlimited. The series tells the story of Felix Lasko, a would-be detective solving murders and dangerous conspiracies in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi world in the style of classic noir novels. Felix’s adventures are full of action, suspense, mystery, and plenty of humor. He describes them as grittier Sci-Fi Dresden Files where the detective swears and gets punched in the face more.

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