Don't Judge a Book by its Cover - Part 2

Having a great cover is crucial to attract buyers to pick up the book and encourage them to open and read it. The images and text on the cover all work together to provide an enticing impression of the experience, information, and mysterious journey that you, the author have to share. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of effective cover design in stimulating book sales. That’s all well and good when people find your book online or at a retail outlet.

The most important representative of you book is you. You will encounter many people in your daily life and business dealings. These people may not only be potential readers, but in some instances, they may be significant prospective business customers. In either case, consider the impression that you, the author, leave with potential readers about your book. People will judge their desire to seek out your book based on how you represent the work to them directly.

All of this judgment happens long before anyone even sees the cover. In other words, you are the virtual cover of your book, and it is up to you to convey its value convincingly in every circumstance. One of the ways authors sabotage their own sales is by appearing to be apologetic. Yes, you wrote a book and it is just a simple story about this or that. You can see where this comes from. Have you heard a family member or friend say, “Gee, I didn’t know you had that in you”? They may have spent quite a bit of time trying to convince you that writing books was bad idea and you’d probably never sell enough to make it worth your while. This does not do much for your confidence.

Any first time entrepreneur faces the same vote of confidence from family and friends. When you started to write that book, you believed in your message or story, and you believed that many people would find it interesting or useful. In spite of the naysayers, you must maintain your belief and reflect it with confidence at all times. The naysayers may not be as interested in your success as much as they are in avoiding the embarrassment of your failure. That is, until you succeed, and then they will want to claim all the credit. Stay focused on your message. Stay confident, and keep spreading the word enthusiastically.

Another trap for authors is inconsistent messaging. When you talk to people about your book, are you communicating the value and subject matter consistent with what you wrote on the back cover? You carefully prepared the back cover text to persuade a prospective reader to open and read it. Telling a different story in conversation, no matter how compelling, about the book may shut down the sale.

When they read the cover and it appears to say something completely different from what they expected, they will be confused. This must not be the same book, after all. Perhaps you meant to tell them about a different book that is not in front of them at that moment. Cognitive dissonance plays a huge role in influencing a person’s actions. Be consistent at all times. Of course, in conversation, you have the opportunity to say more than what is on the cover, but the essential bit must match.

In both forms, on the book back cover and in your conversations, make sure the bottom line is consistent and communicated clearly. The bottom line for the reader is the essential reason or value they will receive by reading your book. This may differ slightly for each individual you meet. The trick is to learn to communicate the same bottom line in different ways to different people to keep the message consistent and the interest in your book growing.