♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Let’s discuss: “Let’s face it, books are judged by their covers.” —Whitney Hill
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
100%. This is fact. The saying about a cover doesn’t apply to actual books, in reality. The colloquialism is more about being fair to others. You shouldn’t view a person as incapable because they appear frail, or because of something you visually judge them to lack–such as assuming they’re ignorant because the way they dress looks shabby.
While every author cannot afford a stellar designer to create a blockbuster poster of a cover, they can take the time and care to do the best that they can with what they have. For instance, the covers of a great many books in the mainstream of high end publishing utilize simple covers. They’re a title, name, a wisely chosen main color, and perhaps a simple design pertaining to something within the book.
The main thing that you’re going to want to use to sell your book from the cover is the blurb. Just like screenplay pitching, it’s what will make or break your sale. Entire art forms dedicate to the practice, which melds the worlds of advertising and creative writing. Not every author is good at this. So few are VERY good at this. The blurb will take multiple revisions and a lot of feedback from readers.
The worst part is, being so close to the book itself, and author really isn’t great at this part. The larger houses, in fact, don’t always give an author a choice in the matter. If they get options, they’re must choose from a limited set of drafts. I always thought that was terrible. My book, my choice, right? It really should be, but when you realize that the publishing company is a business and they care about sales not art, you’ll understand where they’re coming from. Signing with them means signing away a lot of your freedoms around the art you produce.
There’s something to say about the wisdom of corporation behind its sales. They know what will make money. They’ve been around that course a few times. Respect that, even when you dislike the lack of control. As stated above, there is an entire art, but there is also an entire science to it: psychology.
Ever wonder why some ad campaigns flounder while campaigns that make you scratch your head succeed? Examine the psychology of behavior. Studies were run to the point of exhaustion on color preference, font, and even word usage. This is why I chose to study intertext in my graduate courses. You might be surprised how that applies! It teaches you how to see the crossroads of meaning found in not only images, but words.
The psychology of the sale is something a lot of artists struggle with because they don’t get the usage of signs to provoke attachment in others. That’s not what we’re doing. In fact, we may feel that is antithesis of art. Coca-Cola Co. and other popular brand ads, however, are very much viewed as art!
The most successful books expressed their potential value to readers and thus they got read! Of course they backed up that pitch, too. The story contained inside delivered on the pitch. Don’t devalue the art of the pitch if you intend to sell your books successfully. If you don’t naturally attract others at every turn, you’re going to need to put in the effort on the back end of understanding how to create attraction.
So while in theory the idea that judging a book by its cover is unfair, keep in mind that the cover is part of the sales pitch. If you don’t want to take part in that, then don’t sell book. Not everyone will agree with me and they don’t have to–but lagging sales do have an answer!
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Richard Dee says
I must admit that I’m poor at marketing, due to the way my mind sees things. I struggle to understand the concepts of selling and all the behind the scenes aspects of the craft. I’m not really swayed by advertising, preferring to focus on comparing the practical aspects over the hype when considering a purchase. Because of that, I don’t really understand how to make my own advertising ‘work’ on people.
Captain Maiel says
Same! I have these very same struggles. I think I am too close to the material emotionally and can’t think of it clearly enough as a commodity.
P.J. MacLayne says
Blurbs are tough to write well, and everyone has a different definition of what a well-written blurb is!
Captain Maiel says
I am so ready to hire out! haha!
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