Selling systematically is a numbers game. The first stage is prospecting, identifying possible customers, and you funnel your prospects through successively finer sieves until customers drop out the bottom.
As a book cover designer, your prospects are authors. Those who are currently looking for a cover are a small, hard-to-identify sub-set, and they may be perfectly happy with whoever designed their last cover.
On the other hand, authors who already have book covers are all who have published, and they are easy to find.
If you can persuade an existing author that their current covers are unsatisfactory, you both gain credibility from identifying the problem and you’re on the inside track to sell a solution, possibly for multiple books in one go.
So, you slag off all authors’ covers at every opportunity.
This approach is termed Provocation-based Selling, and it is touted as the panacea for economic downturns. On occasion, I’ve wondered about its applicability to book peddling. For instance:
“You don’t want to waste your time on that Charles Dickens. He believed in spontaneous human combustion. And he’s spent most of the last 150 years stone dead!”
Should you find yourself the recipient of such an approach, you should consider yourself no more favoured than were ‘The widow of the late General Sani Abacha’ to drop a request in your in-box for your help getting her husband’s ill-gotten gains out of Nigeria in return for untold riches.