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Old 05-26-2011, 06:50 PM   #46
mcrow24
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Personally, I think the cover has more to do with it than the content. However, this depends on the situation. If I'm browsing books online or in the store without looking for anything specific, a cover can and will sell me a book. If know the book I'm looking for and did the research on it, then I don't really look at covers while in the store. I'm just there to grab the book I want and leave. However, if I'm wandering around the store looking at books because I'm not sure what I want, the cover is huge.

Why?

It's the very first thing that grabs my attention and makes me pick it up read the add line and first chapter. Most of the time if the cover didn't catch my eye I wouldn't have picked the book up.

The content closes the sale but the sale could not happen without a nice looking cover since I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:23 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by mcrow24 View Post
Personally, I think the cover has more to do with it than the content. However, this depends on the situation. If I'm browsing books online or in the store without looking for anything specific, a cover can and will sell me a book. If know the book I'm looking for and did the research on it, then I don't really look at covers while in the store. I'm just there to grab the book I want and leave. However, if I'm wandering around the store looking at books because I'm not sure what I want, the cover is huge.

Why?

It's the very first thing that grabs my attention and makes me pick it up read the add line and first chapter. Most of the time if the cover didn't catch my eye I wouldn't have picked the book up.

The content closes the sale but the sale could not happen without a nice looking cover since I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise.
That's what I meant about the cover being part of the hook which gets my attention. The cover leads to the blurb which leads to either a purchase or to putting the book back on the shelf. I think readers are like editors in that way. An editor makes a decision on whether to publish a book or reject it based on what they find in the manuscript and likewise a reader will either buy or put the book back on the shelf depending on several things one of which is if the cover catches their eye.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:36 PM   #48
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Mr Ploppy is correct. If you follow shoppers in a bookstore and watch what they do before making a selection, you will see many of them go through whatever usual steps fit their personal style, then they flip open to the first chapter and read ONE page. If that one hooks them, they keep reading till they're satisfied they have to have this book.

Not everyone follows this route but I know the publishers assume the reader does this because they demand their writers also make that assumption. "Hook 'em in the first SENTENCE, and then sell your book on the first page," is the advice most editors live and die by.

The process, though, usually starts at the spine where the title is and a spinal peek at the cover art may intrigue them enough to pull it out of line and look at the cover. Most people, but not all, check out the blurb. Assuming it's fiction they'll then aim for the first chapter, but if the book is non-fiction, they may check out the Table of Contents before hitting the text at Chapter 1.

Yes, people do judge a book by its cover.

Last edited by hwaet; 05-27-2011 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 05-31-2011, 06:54 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by bashfulbanshee View Post
There's many off-putting sites where the authors really push you to join their facebook group, goodreads group, newsletter, etc. before you had the chance to read what their book is about. What should be accessible first is the books available, not the community around it. I like easy access to a reliable retail space e.g. Amazon or Smashwords immediately before I look at anything else.

For the most part, the books sell the community, not the other way around. The community sells the book to other related communities, but that should be the community's job, not the author's job. Defeats the purpose of a community if the author has to *force* people to join instead of it being a natural extension of their audience.
Ditto. As for the discussion under this thread; for some reason, I always look at the title and hardly pay attention to other stuff on the cover. Or may be that's what you look in nonfiction and not fiction.
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Old 05-31-2011, 09:50 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by DrDln View Post
Ditto. As for the discussion under this thread; for some reason, I always look at the title and hardly pay attention to other stuff on the cover. Or may be that's what you look in nonfiction and not fiction.
But you can't deny that people do pay some attention to the cover. The covers of your own books certainly add to the potential attraction of a reader I'm sure. While the content of a book is the most important part an attractive cover will probably draw in more sales than one that is only so so or unattractive.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:20 AM   #51
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When I mostly purchased paper books the cover would be quite important. If the cover looked good, I would be more likely to take a closer look at the book itself by taking it off the shelf and looking at a couple of pages, but the choice to buy would be based on what I read, so the cover alone wouldn't be enough. Now that I use ebooks though, I find I rarely give the cover any attention anymore. The ratings on amazon are probably what I mostly go by now, and if I like what I see there, I'll read the sample. So while the cover used to matter quite a lot, I now rely on reviews and previews. I must admit though, I definitely like the book to have a good cover as it does make browsing them in the kindle app much more enjoyable.
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:18 PM   #52
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I completely agree with what Jon Konrath has said elsewhere: that, essentially, if you don't have a good cover, you're not going to get good sales numbers.

Is it fair? No. But it's that simple. In the current market, readers almost HAVE to judge books by their covers, because there's no time to read excerpts from every single book on Smashwords.

Furthermore, there's something to be said in terms of how invested the author is: if you couldn't be bothered to put a nice cover on your book, what should make me believe you bothered to put good content in there?

I'm in the process of writing a novel, and I've already been checking the Deviant Art commission forum - you can get lots of pretty covers commissioned for something like $50-100 (depending on the artist, of course), and I think that's a decent investment to make - certainly, I don't think you can hire a professional editor for that money!
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:48 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
Is it fair? No. But it's that simple. In the current market, readers almost HAVE to judge books by their covers, because there's no time to read excerpts from every single book on Smashwords...
I think current market is the key word that throws the old saying "don't judge book by the cover" out of window. In this fast pace, people do everything quick and in a hurry. So what you see is the cover. In fiction even title may not mean much..
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:53 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by crich70 View Post
But you can't deny that people do pay some attention to the cover. The covers of your own books certainly add to the potential attraction of a reader I'm sure. While the content of a book is the most important part an attractive cover will probably draw in more sales than one that is only so so or unattractive.
You're right Crich. I can't deny that I ignored the covers. Is it fair to judge book just by cover? Perhaps NO. But as I said in other missive, the current market, ebook format, fiction..all depend on cover for sale and old saying doesn't hold water. I totally agree with your message.
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Old 06-04-2011, 02:44 PM   #55
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covers

The result of this discussion seems to be that a good cover is important as an eye-catcher (a hook, as it was said), but the information of the blurb and the reading of some part of the book make the decision. But this is the situation in a bookstore with printed books and this forum is about ebooks and online bookselling.
For finding a book of interest you don't look around for covers, but you use filters and search-engines. And than you will get a selection of books, one listed beneath annother, and, for a quicker loading, you may opt for "Covers off". So how important is a good cover? I think, it is unimportant, because, when looking at the selection, you may look at the covers, but you will read the description, and, if you are interested, you will read a sample and maybe some reviews before you make a decision. But I don't think that you say "Oh, this is a nice cover. I will enlarge it."
When it was said before, that you need a good cover to get the attraction of a potential reader, it will be different in online bookselling. You need the right tags and a description with the most important keywords for your work, so that your book will be listed in the selection of the search-engine. The cover doesn't help.
I don't want to hijack this thread, but I would like to know, what you think of a different design for ebook covers, regarding the miniatures shown at online-marketplaces. For instance, the covers of DrDln seem to be very conventional (no offence!) as they are for printed books. But in this size I can hardly (if not) read the text and I don't see what some covers (at the right) are about, covers, that are not very useful when shown in the size of stamps.
And now look at the minimalistic style of G J Lau's Magpie: only a few colors (think of 16-greyscale-devices), clear lines, a readable title and a decent author.
So, what about a different design for ebook covers?
George
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:00 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by mr ploppy View Post

Cover --> blurb --> first sentence --> first chapter --> buy book

You lose buyers at every stage, but they will never reach the last stage if they don't even make it to the first one.

Personally, I think this post from much earlier in the thread nails it. If it is an author I know I like, then I may skip there first 4 stages, but unknown author this appears to be the exact process for most people. Once you become known as an author, then your name sells the book, but until then, the packaging plays a big part. IMO
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:43 PM   #57
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VydorScope, - and no offense - just an example - I have no idea what that picture under your signature is, or what it (I believe that is text,) says. Just saying…
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Old 06-04-2011, 04:56 PM   #58
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VydorScope, - and no offense - just an example - I have no idea what that picture under your signature is, or what it (I believe that is text,) says. Just saying…
I assume you mean the avatar since I have no signature on this forum? If so, yea the book cover is not the greatest in a thumbnail. I did it myself, and I have no art skill. It looks better in print, but to answer the question that is a real photograph of the Witchhead Nebula. I have had one reader tell me they were scared of the cover when they saw it. OPS. If you look at it on Amazon where you can see it larger it is a little better, but I know its not that great.

For book two I am having an artist work on it, so hopefully it will be better... this was just my first try at this game, learning as I go...and wish I had seen threads like this last year when I was working on getting the book out.

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Old 06-04-2011, 08:29 PM   #59
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Smile

Yes, avatar is the word I couldn't bring to mind at the minute - and please know that any critique is as per the meaning of this thread. I think your artwork is sorta cool after you explain it, but in a marketing sense, the necessity of that explanation is kinda the point. A grain of salt - sheesh, if I knew something I wouldn't still be here looking for clues.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:18 PM   #60
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For book two I am having an artist work on it, so hopefully it will be better... this was just my first try at this game, learning as I go...and wish I had seen threads like this last year when I was working on getting the book out.
I am glad that you find this thread helpful. Because that's the whole idea to learn from each other.

As you say it looks good in print; so that should be OK. But you may know it is not rare to get the covers redone. I got some of mine redone to look reasonable. And I am sure these can still be improved.

My main focus is normally title and content. But as other experienced authors have indicated, everything counts. Good luck on your 2nd book.
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