Everything used to market a acim, whether it’s the cover, the website, marketing pieces, or the words out of the author’s mouth, need to send a clear message about what the book is about. Too many authors forget that their purpose is to spread their message and sell books when it comes to presenting their book to the public. Following are a few examples of mixed messages authors send in different areas of their marketing and how an author can instead make his or her book’s message clear.
The Front Cover
The front cover of your book is your biggest marketing tool. No one is going to read the back cover, or anything else you write about your book, unless the front cover grabs his or her attention. The front cover must, in one image, not only convey what the book is about, but show that the book’s subject is interesting. Mixed messages from book covers can badly hurt book sales. For example, if your book is about overcoming fear, a photo of something fearful like a grizzly bear is not going to convey the message, even though it may convey the “fear” part. A picture of an eagle soaring, however, will provide a sense of freedom from fear, from obstacles. Similarly, generic images such as beaches or nature scenes may not convey your message of how to succeed in business, although they may suggest you are successful enough to retire. A better image might include a person in a business suit, a briefcase, or something else associated with business-commercials of businessmen conducting business on their cell phones on a beach have effectively displayed this concept.
The Back Cover
Once the front cover grabs the reader’s attention, the back cover has to convince the person to buy the book. The back cover must also convey the book’s message. Author biographies and book endorsements can help, but the back cover should not be limited to these because they don’t tell you what the book is about. An effective back cover will have at least one paragraph making it clear what is the book’s subject, or in fiction, what is the book’s plot.
Please don’t try to stretch what the book is about if it’s not about something. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve been disappointed in because the back cover built up my expectations, only to have the book fail to deliver what the back cover promised. Many of those books I would have enjoyed more had I simply not been given false expectations about them. By not having a truthful back cover, you send the reader down the wrong road while reading the book, trying to find or interpret what is not there, and he may not get back on the right road then to appreciate what is in the book, but instead stay focused on what is not present.
The author photo is extremely important in conveying a message about your book. Unfortunately, too many authors do not have tasteful and professional photographs taken. The authors need to tell a professional photographer what his book is about and that he wants that message conveyed in his photo. That doesn’t mean you need a gimmick in your photo. It may just be a straight headshot, but the pose should have dignity if you want your book taken seriously, or you should be smiling or even laughing if your book is humorous. Too many authors take photos with their pets, which conveys a mixed message. Why would a writer of murder mysteries want a cat in her photo? The book isn’t about cats. I’ve seen history books with photos of the author in his biking gear. Save that photo for your book on mountain biking. If you’re writing about business, you may want to look professional with a suit and tie, but if you’re writing about great travel destinations, instead of the suit and tie, a (tasteful) Hawaiian shirt might be more in order.