Tips For Promoting Your Book: Always Judge a Book By Its Cover


"Never judge a book by its cover..." that's what you were always told right? Grandma said it, Mom said it, your teacher said it, even the librarian said it and she spent forty hours a week in a room full of nothing but books. So why are your eyes focusing intently with a furrowed brow above them as you continue on to read this? Oh yeah, it's because I just told you to do the exact opposite of what you've always been told about books. Let me explain...

The thing is that as authors, we want our books to be read right? An idea comes into our head and we spend countless hours over the next year or so, plotting, writing, editing, and hopefully publishing our piece of art,  in hopes that the story we had to tell will inspire someone with those same words we woke up with in the middle of the night. Those same words that brought our lovable characters to life. The ones who made us laugh, cry, and wish we could hang out if they were real human beings and not just "people" we dreamt up and wrote down by imagination. We want others to be impacted by our creative writing, but how can we do that if countless passerby's reject the cover art that represents our beloved written words? Are you catching my drift now? ;) Our cover art is the most important tool we have that will be used to draw attention to what we've written...or not.
Imagine this: you walk into your local bookstore hungry to read something new, something relatable, something inspiring. You have an appetite for something to take you away from your glamorous (or not so glamorous) life-- if only by imagination, and you're searching for the perfect match that will catch your eye at any only a moment's time.  You walk past the displayed books thinking that your remedy has got to be hidden in some nook or cranny near the back. You spend twenty minutes dragging your pointer finger along titles as you walk sideways down each aisle. You're about to let disappointment get the best of you and then you see it: it stands out like a sore thumb amongst all the other "best sellers" and you can almost hear it calling your name to waltz over and pick it up. You reach for it and proceed to read the title for the first time. It's compelling, mysterious, and full of wonder. The art is intriguing, and almost immediately you begin to ask questions about the small, rectangular shaped compilation of papers you now hold in your hands. Your elementary school teachers always told you and your classmates to ask questions before,  during, and after you read a story. It was instruction back then, but holding this mysterious piece of work right now makes it come on more naturally than we blink without thinking about it. What's this about? Why are the characters glancing at this object like it's about to eat them? Where are they and what brought them to this place to begin with? You open up the cover and search for the synopsis, hoping that it will display the answers to some of your questions.

Then like hook, line, and sinker-- it's got you. Your hearts leaps with excitement as you stride towards the checkout line, anxiously anticipating what this story will tell you about how the plot will change the protagonist and if they will overcome their flaw or not. You wonder if the guy will get the girl, or if the girl will be too occupied by her own survival to prioritize the idea of a romantic relationship or Katnis of The Hunger Games trilogy.  Or if the guy who grew up neglected and alone, will learn that true friendship will help him overcome anything that life throws at him...maybe even Harry Potter? The thing is, that you picked this book up not because there was a huge billboard with lights strung across it screaming, "Pick me! This one has great characters, a great story and plot, and one that will satisfy your inner need to be fed by something that speaks louder than mere words." No, you picked it up because it had an intriguing cover. One that was worth walking over to, picking up, reading the title, and opening up to check out its synopsis. You picked it up because you judged that book by it's cover.

       So, my fellow writers and soon-to-be authors, make sure that the cover art you assign to your masterpiece is one that will be enticing enough to grab your attention (from a reader's perspective) from a distance, and intriguing enough to cause you to ask yourself (again-- as a reader) questions about it; so much that you have no choice but to open it up and give it sixty more seconds of your valuable time. Make sure it's relevant to your story and worthy of the time you spent putting it together in the first place. No pressure though- it will just define how many people choose to be inspired by your creative writing and how many books you'll sell. ;) Until then, happy writing and in the words of my Father-in-Law and fellow author, "See you on the Bestseller's list!" :)

1 comment:

  1. Ok I so do this! Everyone says not to judge a book by its cover and I guess that should be true when concerning ppl, but I know I only pick up books that look interesting to me. Guilty. :)