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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

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Browsing book covers

"Anyone who has ever been in a bookstore knows that you’re not browsing books; you’re browsing covers. To have a chance in a sea of covers, you’ve got to have a compelling visual that grabs people."

With that in mind, here's three cover sketches (digital sketches meaning these sketches may change a lot before one is chosen to go to press) I'm developing for an upcoming paperback release. What's your pick?



  1. Blogger 1000 black lines | 12:50 PM, October 06, 2007 |  

    (wow. this help is overwhelming.)

  2. Blogger Britt Kaufmann | 1:17 PM, October 06, 2007 |  

    I vote for #2.

    I really like #1 - but I, like you, see the value in "branding." The first edition book cover for this book used the same image as #2 - so I advocate for the repeated image. If someone had seen the cover on your blog, or in the ads on World's website, or anywhere else, it would likely trigger that sense of familiarity when seeing the book in a bookstore. And anyone in advertising knows how much repetition is needed to make an impression that people will ACT on... knows how much repetition is needed to make and impression... repetition is needed

    So, #2. Hands down.

    Also - did you catch this article in Poets & Writers last month about book covers?

  3. Blogger 1000 black lines | 12:48 AM, October 13, 2007 |  

    Thanks Britt. What if all three samples contained the same image as #2? Would #2 still be the choice? For the record, there are less than five bookstores that carry the title. And yes I did read that article in P&W. When P&W arrives in the post, I read it with a day or two.

  4. Blogger Britt Kaufmann | 10:28 PM, October 13, 2007 |  

    then I might lean slightly to #1...though I'm not sure the tan would work... but you've figured that out before I mentioned it, knowing you.

    In any case, I think you're wise, based on what you've said in the past about what ultimately drives sales for this book, to keep the visual emphasis on the author's name vs. the title

    I'm not sure how you would break up #3 with that same visual image.

    question: does the word "salable" bother you as it does me? Why do people use "salable" instead of "sellable" -- really, it drives me crazy!

  5. Blogger 1000 black lines | 11:28 AM, October 16, 2007 |  

    Yeah, I'm torn between #1 and #2. It does concern me that #1 looks heavily influenced by the Annie Dillard book cover of The Writing Life (maybe a bit of subconscious influence).

    Yes, salable is a bothersome term. It is a modern term for "suitable for sale" or "marketable" that seems to have derived from the last twenty years of business-speak. But at least it hasn't been sophomorically reduced to initials like ROI or P&L.

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