Friday, February 21, 2020

Writing: Can You Tell A Book By Its Cover?

Just got word that my book, Critical Decision, will be available on March 3--two weeks earlier than planned. Enjoy.

On a writers' loop recently, a bookstore manager emphasized the need for a good cover, especially in a book published independently. At the left is the cover designed for Critical Decision by Dineen Miller, who's designed covers for all my indie-published books. I think she did a good job.

I wondered about covers, and discovered a post I published five years ago--it's still valid.

We have a Post Office box, and when life gets busy (as it often is) I may only collect mail from it two or three times a week. That was the case recently, and there was quite an accumulation. After I do something like that, I spend a good bit of time at my desk, discarding unwanted catalogs and shredding a lot of the correspondence. This time, after I'd discarded five or six catalogs and saved a couple,  I started wondering about the process that affected my decision. None of the ones we received, whether they went into the recycle bin or were saved for later perusal, were from companies that generally got our business. Why did I save some catalogs and toss others?

Obviously, some got my attention, while others were met with a figurative turning up of the nose. The ones that survived merited a second look and--at least temporarily--salvage (even though they might eventually end up in the recycle bin anyway).

Now that I'm writing, I've come to realize how important a book cover is. The things that "sell" a book buyer are the name and reputation of the writer, as well as the back cover blurb and the first few pages of the book, but what catches their eye in the first place is the book cover. And the same can be said of direct mail advertising, whether a catalog or correspondence.

What influences you to save or discard an unsolicited piece of mail, especially a catalog? Do you know what gets your attention? I'd like to know.


Patricia Bradley said...

Hi Richard! For some reason I stopped getting your blog posts, but now I think I've remedied that. lol

As for which catalogs I keep and which I discard without reading, it depends on what I want on any particular day. If i'm broke and receive a merchandise catalog, I usually toss it--no need to tempt myself. And I get some things I'm simply not interested in and wonder how I got on the mailing list. Like a catalog for boxes. Big boxes, little boxes and all sizes in between. To my knowledge, I've never ordered a box. And then there are the ads that pop up after I've googled something like vitamins...but that's an answer to another blog post. lol

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, welcome back. Thanks for your comments on catalog covers--but I don't guess those factors transfer to book covers, so we'll have to just continue guessing what will grab the attention of the reader.

Patricia Bradley said...

You always have great covers! They are very eye-catching and appealing.

Jackie Smith said...

We have a PO Box also, and only check it twice a week.....depending on which bill we are expecting or what book I am expecting! As you say, the "stuff" can really pile up. If I am not wanting to buy an item, I TOSS the catalogs. My hub loves to look at them though. I'd rather be reading your books! Excited about your newest.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Jackie. Fortunately, there's a "recycle" area in our post office, so I don't have to bring it all home--the ones I do are then vetted by my wife, who sometimes surprises me. Hope you like the book.

Priscilla Bettis said...

Catalog covers that have high contrast colors and easy-to-understand graphics catch my eye. If the colors are bland or there is too much clutter on the cover, the catalog just blends in with everything else.

Richard Mabry said...

And I'm betting that the same goes for book covers, Priscilla. At least, I hope so, because that's what my covers seem to be.