Skip to main content

Which cover works best?

By September 9, 2020One Comment

Despite the text being the same (apart from spelling), the UK and US book markets are clearly very different.

And the way that publishers cater for their respective markets is through dust jackets and cover images.

One might use a simple graphic image to convey the story while another might highlight an author’s past work and reinforce his brand.

Type is important to convey atmosphere. Colour grabs attention on a crowded bookshop table or a thumbnail on Amazon.

Originality is key  –  unless you’re Stephen King or George RR Martin, book design comes with a budget, and as a quick stroll through any bookshop will tell you, originality comes at too high a price for most books.

Decades ago, I worked in film advertising, writing the lines to go on posters that would draw the audience in.

Today I ask people what film was advertised with the line ‘Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water’ ?

‘Jaws’, right?

No, ‘Jaws II’. Because the idea behind the line is to remind you what a great film the original was, and to promise you more of the same. (A promise that wasn’t kept, by the way.)

And that’s why you see so many book covers that remind you of other book covers.

So which of the two covers for Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider’ do I think works best?

I’m going to save that, and my reasons for my choice, for another post.

Because I’d like to hear your thoughts first. After all, it’s your money in your pocket when you’re looking for a book to buy. There’s a box below for your replies. I’d love to hear from you.