Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Book Cover Coaching: Why to Build a Book Cover Team

Featured Client:
Dr. Brad Case

How to Use the Team
Approach to Create an
Award-Winning Book Cover

By Susan Kendrick

* Download our Free Book Cover Timeline--an easy, one-page checklist of
   what to do, when to do it, and how to work with your book cover team.

Dr. Brad Case stays in touch ... a lot.
That's because he's always announcing some new award he's received or project he's involved in as a result of his book Thugs, Drugs, and the War on Bugs. My partner, Graham Van Dixhorn, worked with Dr. Case to create the marketing concepts and language for his book cover copy. We also work with a select handful of book cover designers and book interior designers, like the ones listed below, as well as book editors. See how a team approach to your book cover can get your book seen and sold, and give you expert status.

We started by asking Dr. Case a simple question.

Q. "Given the success of your book to-date, what stands out for you about the role or contribution of your cover?"

A. "In my experience, by the time a book is written, the author is too close to the project to be able to see how others will see their book and to know how to sell it. You really need some objective eyes to help you formulate a great selling cover, which is the basis of all your marketing efforts. Though you should be involved, don’t try to do it all on your own. This entire dust jacket was really a group project. I turned to Graham and Susan’s expertise because they really know how to sell books." 

Awards, Exposure, and Business Leads

Here's just a sample of what's been happening.
  • Thugs, Drugs and the War on Bugs won the Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards contest for the Health/Medicine/Nutrition category. Over 3,000 books were entered in the overall contest. "I don’t know exactly how many books mine was up against," says Case, "but it apparently beat them all!"
  • Thugs was also a Finalist in ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year contest, and it was awarded the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award last year.
  • Dr. Case was also recently interviewed by Wisdom Magazine. Its May/June issue included a lengthy, four-page interview. They also posted the entire first chapter of Thugs on their website
  • This interview led to Case being invited by an East Coast filmmaker to be in a documentary on the healing power of foods. 

Book Covers From Mars ...

"I’ve received so many complements on my book cover," says Case. "The only thing that’s gotten more comments is my title. In fact, when I spoke to John Gray, author of the Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and told him the title of my book, he literally laughed out loud, asked me to repeat it, then laughed again. I’m sure the title made an impression on him and eventually led to him endorsing the book. His endorsement led to others endorsing it." 

Who to Include on Your Book Cover Team:

Since any book should be marketed well before the actual release date, your cover is essential for that marketing to begin. Here are the three main functions you will need help with to produce a professional, "buy-me-now!" book cover. And, here is Dr. Case's take on how that team approach worked for him:

Book Cover Marketing Copy

"The back cover sales copy gets potential buyers’ attention with a hard-hitting headline and bullet points. The rest of the back cover copy expands on those benefits. The inside flap copy continues that conversation, with a more detailed synopsis, reasons to read the book, and what the reader will get out of it.

"I came up with the title. Graham came up with the much-needed subtitle. He did a great job capturing my dry humor in a subtle way. For the rest of the book cover copy, the credit goes to Graham. I basically gave him a bunch of my information and ideas. He got a feel for the overall tone and content of the book, then formulated all my disjointed ideas into a cohesive book cover that sells the book. Graham and I also played off of each other to build bullet points and the About the Author section.

"I use all the book cover language he developed as the branding and sales copy in my other marketing efforts for the book as well, such
as my book website and my main website, as well as my page on Amazon. Graham also came up with the domain name for my website:

"All of this came together to make a great cover, which led to my getting more endorsements and receiving awards—more selling points that have also found their way onto the cover." 
Book Cover Design

"George Foster was the cover designer. Not only is he a great designer, he’s a great guy with a great sense of humor. The front cover is a bit provocative, but so is the title and the rest of the book, so they all fit together. If my title and subject had been less in-your-face, the cover would have had to reflect that tone, but with a title like Thugs, Drugs and the War on Bugs, we needed a cover like this. It also makes a great poster that really draws the eye in. It catches your attention and raises curiosity in potential readers."

Book Interior Design

I also had my book internal designer, Shannon Bodie, create a great logo for me. My publishing company is called “New Renaissance Books.” Shannon created a professional looking logo that resembles a book morphing into an aloe plant or a lotus, which, depending on what you see, fit the themes of either natural healing or awakening, both of which I resonate with. It perfectly reflects the blending of reading a New Renaissance book and the Natural Healthcare Revolution—all in one logo. 

For an easy, one-page checklist of what to do, when to do it, and how to work with a book cover team, download our free Book Cover Timeline.

Get more "Book Cover Coaching ..."

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2011, Susan Kendrick, Write To Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved.