|Same story, Different cover. Different results.|
In 2008 I published The Cassandra Cookbook.
While the paperback was critically acclaimed but a poor seller. In spite of my best efforts to promote Cassandra, the book was a commercial failure. Four years later, I still haven't made back half the money I invested in its initial print run.
While literary agents loved the premise and the concept of The Cassandra Cookbook, most customers were confused when I offered the self-published novel to them. Many couldn't figure out the play on words in the title, that the Cookbook featured a recipe for success in between the lines of the story. Quite a few thought it was an actual cookbook.
Many more were repulsed by the cover. Some thought it childish. Others were tuned off by the pink colors. A few hated me using the word "digress" so much.
To write the story off in 2011 I did a quick revision removing all references of the word "digress" fixing grammar and spelling errors, and re- published Cassandra as A Recipe For $ucce$$. Originally, I offered it for free on Smashwords (Now 99 cents). I was surprised how over first few months it got over 188 downloads.
As Recipe made its way through Smashwords distribution network the book found an audience in the US and the UK. Over the holidays Recipe got over 1100 downloads of the free copy on Barnes & Noble.
What surprises me is the difference a cover and a title makes in helping a story reach an audience.