The WOW Factor


I have a bit of an obsession I have to admit to – call it Covers OCD.

Cover scan of a Wow comic nº 38.

In the days when I read every Famous Five book that Enid Blyton ever wrote I never thought about covers consciously. But looking fondly at the old friends I kept I notice now they all have a colourful cover; a certain look that tells me what’s awaiting me; never-ending adventure stories where nothing too bad is going to happen. Not much later Classic and Superhero comics started arrived in boxes, rescued by my father from the paper mill’s waste-paper depot where they were destined to be pulped into bagasse. Maybe that’s where it started; the first awareness of dramatic cover design.

Anyway, to cut a long story short. I strongly disliked the first published cover of my first novel The Good Cemetery Guide, changed from a quirky/arty (in my view) pink and red hearse artwork to a funereal white lily jacket which proved to be oddly popular with many readers.  Now I have the opportunity to do exactly what I want and while it’s liberating it’s harder than I thought. So I’ve started a Covers topic which I’ll add to as time goes on with useful links and information gleaned.

17 March 2012: Stumbled upon an interesting article on Createspace Community about the importance of genre when selecting a cover. Seems obvious, no? But it isn’t, as I’ve discovered. People have all kinds of subjective reasons for why they like or dislike covers (myself included). In the end it has to be about book sales. Which cover will attract the attention of online readers so word-of-mouth and good reviews will exponentially attract other online readers?

That’s what finally helped me decide on the new cover for the new e-book and POD version of The Good Cemetery Guide. I decided to listen to the experts. Thoughtful insightful people in the book business took the time to choose one cover above all others using terms like ‘genre-appropriate’. It wasn’t the cover that got the most votes in my little market research exercise; sometimes the minority view prevails, especially if it’s based on more experience and knowledge about what drives book sales.

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