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Old 05-20-2011, 01:47 AM   #16
DrDln
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I normally look at the title to pickup a book more than the fancy cover. But then I could be in minority. In the long run, it is really the content that matters.
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Old 05-20-2011, 06:44 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jbcohen View Post
Since I read primarily electronic books I don't get to see the cover and will quickly bypass it if its in the file. This question is better explored via a poll.
How do you choose which ebooks to buy / download? Or do you just stick with writers you are already familiar with?
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:32 AM   #18
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I like a nice cover on the book, but I'll buy a book based on the blurb. I will also admit that covers catch my eye.

Here are a couple of STUNNING covers for two Ian MacDonald books:

Desolation Road
Ares Express

Desolation road is one of my favourite books, and my old copy was falling apart. I bought the re-release and was HORRIBLY disappointed in the number of errors in the book. It was like someone scanned it with a document reader and didn't bother to check for errors. I wish I had left it on the shelf.

Ares Express I started reading but couldn't get into it.

I guess it's content after all
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Old 05-21-2011, 04:11 PM   #19
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The challenge of the cover is to get people to look at the content. There are too many options out there for everyone to judge every book they breeze by fairly -- but a good cover can distill a good 1,000 words worth of the content at a glance and encourage further investigation.

Of course the content is more important, but if no one ever looks at it then I'm not sure how much that importance can sooth a book's ethereal loneliness.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:26 PM   #20
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I'm sure there's plenty of both, but I'd like to think that the cover is mostly a tool for early sales. You can get a few people to read it, but after that it's all about the actual content for spreading word-of-mouth. I know personally my book discussions don't tend to center on "that cover rocked!" and focus more on the actual content.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:59 PM   #21
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True word of mouth advertising can make or break a book I would think. Of course the cover does serve as part of the initial "hook" that attracts a reader I think. If someone reads science fiction and you have two books, one with a picture of an alien landscape and the other with a picture of a couple in a romantic embrace which do you think they'll choose to look closer at? So a cover can provide the initial lure to draw a reader, but other things like a well chosen title, a well written blurb and the text of the book itself also play their parts.


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I'm sure there's plenty of both, but I'd like to think that the cover is mostly a tool for early sales. You can get a few people to read it, but after that it's all about the actual content for spreading word-of-mouth. I know personally my book discussions don't tend to center on "that cover rocked!" and focus more on the actual content.
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:36 PM   #22
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It shows time and time again that the most successful self-published books are the ones that look the most professional and *don't* look self-published. (http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ See #8).
Konrath is an ass. Plain and simple. He's #9. He has most of his eBooks in various formats. He gets to be popular and sell well. Then he turns and screws a lot of his fans. He even goes as far as telling people who want Shaken to buy it from Amazon and convert it using Calibre. Well, I know there are lots of people who don't do that and won't do that. He doesn't care. I don't mind his eBooks at Amazon. I mind his attitude and the exclusivity he's decided to go with. This is not what a lot of his fans want.

If my mother had to buy from Amazon and convert to ePub, she'd not have any eBooks sold by Amazon.
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Old 05-21-2011, 11:39 PM   #23
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A good cover will get people to look at the book. After that, it's up to the blurb to get the sale or people to look further say at a sample. If the blurb gets them to a sample, then the sample has to make the sale. But really, a cover has to not scream armature or it may very well get bypassed.
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Old 05-22-2011, 12:16 AM   #24
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I think you mean amateur not armature JSwolf.
An amateur is someone who isn't a professional and an armature is the framework that supports a sculpture or other such. The two words are close in spelling.


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A good cover will get people to look at the book. After that, it's up to the blurb to get the sale or people to look further say at a sample. If the blurb gets them to a sample, then the sample has to make the sale. But really, a cover has to not scream armature or it may very well get bypassed.
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Old 05-22-2011, 01:32 PM   #25
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First I wanted to answer no, not the cover. Than I thought of all the covers that look outdated today. Lots of 80' hardbacks have covers that give their age away. So the cover seems to be something you will take in if even you might do so unconsciously.

Also the importance of covers is afflicted by the genre of the book. If it is a thriller or a romance book, the cover is important. Covers convey the intent/content, blood stains screaming "murder!", hard muscles and cleavage shouting "hot bodys, hot love" and the oh-so-healthy-orange and green colors of the diet books telling you "you will look good, when you take me with you".

Before the story comes into play for making a decision, JSWolf is right when he says, the blurb is the next milestone.


The story is important for further sales.

This only applies to modern fiction. Classics I'd think have their own rules. If it's a classic the cover is not as important as the quality of the binding, the paper and the allover beauty of the book.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:06 PM   #26
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Initially it has to be the cover to draw the readers attention. But then the content has to sparkle too.
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Old 05-22-2011, 03:29 PM   #27
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I think you mean amateur not armature JSwolf.
An amateur is someone who isn't a professional and an armature is the framework that supports a sculpture or other such. The two words are close in spelling.
It's a mistaken correction.

Anyway, would you mind not top posting? It's really not nice to read. Thanks.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:51 PM   #28
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Sorry JSWolf no one had expressed a problem with how I had posted before to the forum so I didn't know anyone had a problem with it.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:59 PM   #29
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When shopping, the cover is most important to me because I will never get to the content if the cover doesn't attract my attention. In fact, for me, it is almost imperative. I have been known to buy a book almost entirely based on the cover. Most genre fiction categories have a certain look and feel. When I shop Smashwords, I usually scan down the cover images until one pops out at me as something in my preferred genre that I might like. Only then do I look over at the title, blurb, price, word count. If that looks good then I look at the book detail page for the extended description, tags, and reviews. If there is no cover or it is a crappy cover, or one that is totally off for the genre, then there is a good possibility that I will skip over it -- sometimes intentionally and sometimes because the cover just didn't catch my attention. On a rare occasion something in the title might catch my eye and I'll backtrack, but it is rare. So the cover really starts the ball rolling for me.

Now once I decide to buy the book then the content becomes important. it needs to live up to the promise of the good cover. But ya know, I still want a nice cover in my ereader. The newer Sony shows the covers in the menu and Reader Library shows the covers too. Calibre also shows covers. I hate it when it is a blank cover or shows the first text page as the cover. I like da purty pictures

One thing I have noticed -- traditional authors who start to dip their toe into self-publishing almost without fail have rocking covers! Even for short stories. They get it. They know how important it is. A lot of newbie self-published authors don't. They cut that corner to save money. If they have a knack for graphic arts, then that can work. If they don't, then it can be a big mistake. They will miss the advantage a good cover can give them right out of the gate.

There are books I have passed over because the cover sucked. Then later I saw the same book with a much better cover and I bought it. It was the same content but because the cover didn't speak to me I initially passed it by.

Also, if you give me a choice of two books to promote on the blog and one has a good cover and one has a crappy cover...with all other things being equal, I'll choose the one with the good cover.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:41 AM   #30
John Carroll
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It's weird, but my most popular story "The Emo Bunny that Should, A Story for Demented Children" has my absolute worst cover, yet it's been ranked more often than everything else I have combined. Friday, it went free at Amazon along with two of my other stories and has doubled their downloads shooting up to 34 in the top ranked free kindle books there. The cover really just isn't very good though. So it's really hard to tell what's going to get people to buy it.

My best cover has actually left a couple of people disappointed that the story wasn't as good as they expected based upon the cover. *facepalm*
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