As far as my original scratchboard cover is concerned, there were flaws in my pre-publication assumptions; but there were also benefits. In the "con" category, I now think that my intentionally primitive rendering comes off more as grotty and amateurish than as the purposely antediluvian novelty that I'd hoped for. Like that old, beat-up nightstand you might find at any garage sale versus the intentionally-stressed unit fresh from the manufacturer, value results in what the market thinks -- not what the seller anticipates. Don't get me wrong, I haven't heard a single comment either way from any reader or critic about the aesthetics of the early cover. This is wholly my own determination. But, here's something for those of you who purchased one of these two editions: Because they are now out of production, they will likely be worth a whopping few bucks over the cover price in, say, about a thousand years.
I'd also originally considered the hard reality that having my book catching someone's eye on a bookstore shelf was to be a non-issue. You see, P.O.D. (Print on Demand) books were -- and to great extent, still are -- the bastard children of the publishing world; and nobody wants to advertise the back-alley infidelity of using non-traditional publishing techniques (and side-stepping the fat-cat traditional publishers), especially when the book merchants' monetary return for a P.O.D. book is mere pittance anyway. Makes sense. Indie authors as myself may not like it, but it's basic economics -- and economics drive the marketplace. Because of printing costs -- and the fact that I have a substantially thick piece of fiction (with accumulative cost-per-page fees) -- I could hardly afford to give merchants the 40% wholesale mark-up they crave, because I would price myself right out of the market. With this Third Edition, however, I've been able to broker a better deal in printing costs, which means that bookstores may be more willing to gamble on housing my book in their brick & mortar establishments. And that's where, happily and sadly, a super cover can make all the difference.