Thursday, September 02, 2010
You Can't Tell A Book By Its Cover...Or Can You?
Recently I was one of fifteen local authors gathered in the foyer of the Frisco Public Library for the annual "Texas Authors' Tea." Patrons entering the library had to run the gauntlet of our tables before they made it into the library proper, so there was a guaranteed amount of traffic. The idea was to let the folks know about the homegrown talent in our area, but authors were given the opportunity to not only display their books but to sell and sign copies as well. I had a great deal of interest in my books, sold a few copies, and in addition was able to observe firsthand the process I've described above. Here are my observations.
First, it seems to me that there are three major reasons why a browser might pick up a book: the name of the author, the title, or the cover. Once they do that, they go through the rest of the routine and make a decision.
I'm the first to admit that my name isn't a household word in the area. My medical practice was carried on quite a few miles away. A few members of my church stopped by. But by and large my name wasn't a big draw.
The titles of my two books, Code Blue and Medical Error, told people the work was medical and generally gave rise to the same question: "What's it about?" I was glad to use the tag line and back cover copy for each book to explain them.
But the traffic stopper in almost every case was the cover art for the two books. Of the two, Medical Error drew the most second looks. Kudos to the people at Abingdon Press for a bang-up job on the covers of my books, including the forthcoming third novel in the series, Diagnosis Death.
In my unofficial and very unscientific survey, book covers are an important factor in getting browsers to pick up a book. What about you? What influences you in choosing a book?
And, by the way, here's the cover for Diagnosis Death, which is due out next spring. What do you think?