When to Change the Title and Cover of a Book

The Before book cover of A Pickle of a Murder.

When to Change the Cover or Title of a Book

One of the tricky parts of being an indie author is knowing when to change the cover or title of a book. Of course, the fact that you can make that change fairly easily is a huge plus. Conventional wisdom says that if a book isn’t selling, it’s either the cover, the title, or the story itself. I trust that my stories are good 😊. 

Title or Cover

So then it comes down to the title and/or the cover. Such was the case with A Pickle of a Murder, which is the first book in the Foxy Ladies Mystery series. It’s a spin-off from the Book Magic series and features Hattie Juniper Pickle as the protagonist, and the Foxy Ladies, which are Hattie and her friends Lemon, Maude, and Cricket. 

When it Doesn’t Feel Right

Something about the original cover and title just didn’t do it for me. It didn’t feel quite right. This led me to a decision: should I or should I not change the cover or title of the book?

The Cover

As I pondered the decision of whether or not to change the cover or title of the book, I tossed around various ideas, starting with the cover. While I love the cat pictured on the original (Carrot in the book, Buffy in real life as she’s my mom’s actual cat), the rest of it just fell flat for me. Part of it, I think, is that Hattie is such an eccentric character and so full of zest for life. The original cover doesn’t capture any of that. 

The Title 

The next thing to consider about changing the cover or title of the book was the title. A Pickle of a Murder didn’t feel quite right. Sure, it’s a cute play on words since Hattie’s last name is Pickle, but for me, it wasn’t a book I’d pick up in the store. It didn’t grab me. And Hattie definitely wasn’t in the title, either.  

The Power of Three

Now, I’m a firm believer in the Power of Three. The human psyche responds to things in threes. I’ll talk more about that some other time. Books with a series of three things in their titles are hugely popular. Look at Diane Kelly’s Death and Taxes series, beginning with Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure. Then there is Tonya Kappes’s Camper series where every book is an alliterative series of three things as in Beaches, Bungalows, and Burglaries

Deciding on the Title

Finally, I decided that both the title and the cover of the book needed to change. I played around with various titles and even did a poll on Instagram and Facebook. Eventually, I landed on Love, Lies, and Lousy Exes. Hattie, bless her heart, has had several husbands (one of them she married twice!). ‘Lousy Exes‘ really worked for me, ‘Lies’ conveyed a bit of mystery, and ‘Love‘ is what she’s after. It was the fan favorite.

Working on the Cover

When it came to changing the cover, I took more time. I searched image sites and even tried an AI program, but nothing felt right. Nothing screamed: Hattie!

Then I found this image: 

Colorful shoes and outfit on a female showing only the legs and feet
These ARE Hattie’s Legs!

I immediately loved it and it felt right.

This was Hattie.

Putting it Together

Having made the decision to change the title and cover of the book, I began playing around on Canva, using different backgrounds, design elements, and fonts. Bit by bit, the entire thing came together and it was…LOVE.

Is it Cozy Enough?

I’ve had some people say that it doesn’t strike them as ‘cozy’ enough–that it’s more rom-com. Maybe, but it certainly captures Hattie’s colorful personality. Plus I created the cute little Foxy Ladies Mystery logo:

A Silver-haired illustrated woman with A Foxy Ladies Mystery in a green splat shape

Now that I’ve changed both the title and the cover of this book, it’s time to wait. We’ll see how it goes with sales. That’ll tell the tale, won’t it? Then, if need be, I can change again. Deciding whether or not to change the title and/or cover can be a tough decision to make. When you think about it, though, it’s akin to painting a room. If you don’t like the way it turns out, you can redo it. Easy, peasy. 

Behold the new cover and title for the first Foxy Ladies Cozy Mystery Series. 

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