Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Covers for Business Books

"A look back at the best business books of 2009"

"Business Monday books columnist Richard Pachter offers his highly subjective list of favorites"

See Richard Pachter's complete article in the Miami Herald,

From Susan Kendrick

The end of the year is a great time to look back and see what books stand out as having the most impact in their markets. I ran across this best-of list by Richard Pachter this morning on the Miami Herald website. I'm passing along his picks because they offer insight into what makes good book covers for business books.

In other words, while Pachter focuses on the content and usefulness of these books, my interest (and my reason for passing them along to you) is in their packaging.

I started looking for these covers on Amazon, eager to see what they looked like. I got excited when I saw that these book covers do the three things every good cover should do. They each incorporate the following:

-- Clear, compelling book titles and subtitles
-- Book cover design that brings that title to life
-- The marriage of text and design that establishes a strong verbal and visual brand

Interestingly, these covers also help answer two questions a good client of ours, a first-time business book author, recently asked us. They are:

1. What colors work for business books?

Notice how four out the five books shown here are predominantly white. They have that clean, powerful, authoritative appeal of books like Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, The Tipping Point, and Outliers, as well as his newest book, What the Dog Saw.

While it may seem easy enough to come up with such simple concepts, it isn't. There are far too many business books still coming out that are cluttered and dated looking--these are the "teal green carpet" of the book cover world. in fact, I ran across an interesting article on this phenomenon called Why Are Business Book Covers so Ugly? This article is worth reading for a look at the book covers and for the comments from readers that offer some interesting input as to why.

2. What sells more business books--a text-only or more illustrative cover?

See how the books shown here are largely text-driven, with the exception of Bailout Nation as well as the iconic Twitter book, where it makes sense to incorporate the ubiquitous visual brand.

The rest of the graphics on these books are relatively simple. No cliche landscapes, horizons, mazes, soaring eagles, or any combination of these (yes, this still happens). Any graphics take a single-shot approach--there is a singular visual message that directly supports the title and the concept of the book.

Of course, this doesn't mean that all business books should be white or predominately text-driven. The particular book title and book cover design for every book should be carefully determined based on a number of factors, including: the target market for the book, what appeals to that audience, if the book needs to stand out in a crowded market or create and dominate a new niche right from the start, how well the brand (if any) is already known, how and where the book will be marketed, etc.

Even while there is no "right" answer for what kind of book cover works best, one look at these covers reveals some definite trends, and from major publishing houses like Wiley and Random House.

Each of these books also demonstrates that the best book covers have billboard appeal. They are bold, professional, and they make a strong, singular statement--in both book cover writing and design. They are good examples for any author of how great business book brands are born.

Questions about the how to create the writing or design concepts for your book and brand? Email us at or call 1-888-634-4120.

Susan Kendrick, Write To Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-888-634-4120.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Professional Critique and Consultation Package

Year-End Special -- One Week Only

For you ... or a great gift for a colleague, friend, or client
(Click on the box to open.)

Happy Holidays!
What a busy time of year, so we'll keep this short and sweet.

Here's your special year-end package. We offer this super-low pricing
only twice a year, for one week only.

-- Order now and deduct it on your 2009 taxes
-- Use it any time in the next 12 months, whenever you're ready
Use it yourself or gift it to a colleague, friend, or client

Offer expires December 29

Please click on the link below for details.

What are you working on next?
Creating A Brand . Re-Branding Your Business . Book Cover .
Website . Call-To-Action . Media Materials . Speaker's Kit .
Business Name and Tagline . Social Media Outreach

Whether you're an emerging or established author, expert, speaker,
entrepreneur, this package can help you. Check it out.

Warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday with family and friends,
Susan Kendrick and Graham Van Dixhorn

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Book Cover Testimonials? No Problem

Create Powerful Book Marketing Copy-- Even When You Don't Have Big-Name Endorsements

Susan Kendrick

Click on image at left to see final front cover and back cover sales copy for this new book, released November 11, 2009.

A big concern for authors and experts is getting endorsements. You add credibility to your business, books, products, services, consulting, and speaking when you have recognizable names or organizations behind you.

"A testimonial from a well-known industry expert can be a powerful addition to your book's cover. However, for a first time author these can be difficult to land," says Steve Pavilanis, author of A Life Less Anxious. Steve did end up getting an endorsement from an author / expert in his field that he used on the front cover. The back cover, however, relies solely on solid marketing copy.

Getting testimonials, especially from big-name industry experts and authors, is a process that takes time for an author. Because many authors and experts are publishing books to meet specific goals and deadlines, they often don't have the time, even when they do start the process early. In that case, know that there are at least 10 essential marketing elements that you can use to build your back cover copy, and just one of these relies on having testimonials.

Steve's book is a great example of powerful back cover copywriting that does not rely on testimonials. It makes such a compelling case for the message in the book and the authority of the author that you don't even notice. What would actually be worse is adding a quote from a "nobody," someone that means nothing to your readers or other decision-makers. Those kinds of quotes can be dangerous in that they can actually detract from your credibility instead of add to it.

Use These Same Book Marketing Copy Tactics on Your Book Cover

Take a closer look at the back cover copy
that my partner, Graham Van Dixhorn, wrote for this book. Analyze the headline, the opening positioning paragraph, the conversational style, the bullet points, the feeling of this book marketing copy being fresh yet authoritative, intelligent yet accessible. Even if you are not looking for the particular solutions that this book offers, you can see how it would appeal to someone eager to find answers from such a trustworthy resource.

Knowing that you have many choices for creating powerful sales copy is important, especially when you see so many books that use only testimonials as their back cover copy, to the exclusion of any other sales copy. If you'll notice, these are usually books by authors who are already well-known and widely read, and often the book is their second, third, fourth, and so on. You also see endorsements-only copy on fiction books, which is a format often used for that genre. Many of these books will have the story summary and author info on the book cover flaps.

You are different if, like so many authors and experts we work with, you are publishing a book to establish yourself as an expert in your field and you want your book to be a serious lead-generator back to you and your services. In that case, you need powerful back cover copy that does that job.

One other thought that may help is that if and when you do get the testimonials you want once your book has been released, you can add them as a high-visibility section of your website and to subsequent printings or editions of your book. You can also use those testimonials as a way to stay in touch with your list, the media, and others you want to keep updated on the success, newsworthiness, and credibility of you and your message.

If you have any questions about how to write your book cover copy or testimonials for approval, or if you have questions about how we can do that for you, please feel free to contact us at

To the success of you and your books,

Susan Kendrick, Write To Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-888-634-4120.