Judging A Book By Cover

I am trying to understand the reasoning behind the popular talk nowadays among indie authors about how to best present our book covers. Most of the how-to info is very complicated, and most of the advice ends with “Let a professional do it.” The idea is to hook the potential reader before they look inside the book.

I’m an old-school reader and buyer of books that began in the 1960s. Many of my purchases back then were paperbacks because they were affordable. Even in the 1970s when I entered the workforce and had a weekly income, I still bought paperbacks. So did my friends. Often, we went book hunting on Saturday afternoons, hitting the malls in search of our next read.

The covers on paperback books (and hardcovers) were simple in design. It was often the title that caught my eye. If it sounded interesting, I would flip the book over and read the back cover copy. That’s what either prompted me to buy the book or return it to the shelf.

Most online bookstores today have a feature equivalent to the old back cover copy. It’s the short blurb off to the side of the book cover on display. I call it the “What is this book about?” feature. And it’s here where an author either convinces me to buy their book or prompts me to continue browsing.

Beautiful, fancy, exotic book covers and plain, two-tone, neutral ones have never prompted me to buy a book. It has always been the “What’s this book about?” feature.

Look at this Stephen King paperback of The Shining from one of its first runs.

The book’s title attracted me because I asked, “What does the title mean?” The back cover copy gave me a clue and whetted my curiosity. Until then, I had never read a book by King. Neither had my friends. I ended up liking the story so much, I bought his two prior releases, ’Salem’s Lot and Carrie, on a gamble that I would like them too. I did. So did a million other readers.

Compared to today’s indie writing market, if King was an unknown author selling his books at Amazon, and he used the above cover, would you buy it?

Look at the replacement cover of The Shining a few years later during the movie release.

Would you still want to buy it?

I don’t think it’s wise to worry about eye-catching book cover design. I think we should continue to strive at writing as well as we can and to write a compelling “What’s this book about?” feature. If your story is captivating and entertaining, then people will notice, even if you’ve wrapped it in a brown paper bag.

My Blog’s New Look

I gave my blog a new look again. It was looking cluttered. And since I’m at a standstill with my writing and art projects, I figured I’d have a go at blog design and pray for something appealing. This came after I gave up the idea of pulling the plug on my blog altogether.

Life got really crazy-busy during the past year and I grew weary trying to keep up a blog. Blogging and keeping it fresh and interesting are huge responsibilities. When I don’t invariably post new and exciting content to it, I feel guilty of letting down my followers.

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of material sitting in the archives for you new followers. It’s a feature that goes unnoticed because of WordPress’s push at shoving new material at us. Their Reader page with its constant updates is the first thing we see when we log into our accounts. It’s a shame they don’t have a better feature for our archives other than a search bar. But I’m glad to have the old search tool because I love reading and looking at gems from the past.

But don’t take my word for it. Start digging around and see for yourself.

My Latest Blog Changes

Hello readers and followers of my blog. Some quick news for you:

I spent today changing the look and feel of my blog. Life is all about changes. I try to keep from getting stale, though I do have clothes that are out of fashion.

Changes to this blog/website include a new Books page. There you can read my creations by clicking links instead of stumbling with the WordPress search box. Topping the list is Night of the Hellhounds, the mini e-novel I wrote 2013. Visit my Books page for more selections.

I plan to offer free books at that page, too. Right now, you can read two versions of Kismet there. Files are downloadable PDFs.

Let me know what you think of the new look. And if you have any suggestions to make this site better, please leave comments.

Designing My Blog Is Like Shopping for Shoes and Dresses

My wife and I are home together and I’m sitting with her and my laptop while I consider how I want my blog to look. I have been testing themes lately and my wife has started comparing it to shopping for shoes and dresses.

“You’re looking for the perfect fit,” she says, shaking her head. “You’ll never find it. There will always be something lacking in the design.”

True. But I’m looking for something I will like the moment I see it and keep on liking years later.

“Good luck,” she says. “Why do you think I have so many shoes that look like they’ve been worn only once.”

Hmmm … I’ve always wondered about that.

Still, the search continues until I find the one that says “Eureka!”

Hey! I wonder … are any themes called that?

I’m off to look. Meanwhile, enjoy the modeling changes here.

My Blog’s Newest Look

I have begun a makeover for this site, and I’ve chosen Typo as my theme. This is the only WordPress theme I’ve found that’s closest to my personality: grays colored with a few pastel colors … which means I needed to redo my header and eliminate the cold blue background. I added some warmth to my picture to compliment the grays and to match my headline font color.

Since I haven’t purchased WordPress’ $79/year premium package upgrade yet (on my TO DO list), my links don’t have any color to distinguish them from the surrounding text—an unfortunate handicap of this free theme.

All the same, I like the “typewriterly” look of Typo, and I feel that it may inspire me to blog more often. If so, I may keep this theme around for a long while. We’ll see.

I’m Planning A New Facelift For My Blog [book news]

My last post was March 11, during which I have been busy writing my next e-book. Currently untitled, the book will feature Vree Erickson and the cast from her first book, Night of the Hellhounds. Although her stories are considered YA, or teen literature, I aim my books for a general audience that includes adult readers. I write what I like to read, and that keeps me excited while I write.

While my current book project is nearing publication (I finished the first draft today), it will sit for a month or three before I edit. So hang in there everyone.

In the meantime, I hope to face-lift my WordPress website’s appearance so it represents me well. As both a visual artist and a writer, I could have different “homes” for my passions. But I like the idea of having one website, thus keeping what I do easily accessible.