Thursday, May 8, 2014

Signed by the Author


By Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor for Southern Writers Magazine


Books may not be judged by their cover but they are sold by them. With today’s talent in graphic art, marketing and the psychology of sales, the cover is extremely important to the success of a book. The font size of the author’s name as compared to the font size of the book title is a telltale sign of the author’s fame and following. Many books have far better covers than content. With competition for the readers becoming greater than ever, more sophisticated marketing techniques are needed. Here are some I have observed.   

On a trip to Orange Beach, AL I discovered in a gift shop Andy Andrews’ bestseller The Noticer displayed alongside a Points of Interest brochure. The brochure compiled points of interest in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores AL "that have special meaning for New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews.” How brilliant! The connection with the book and the author are much stronger when you can see where the story took place. This was discussed in a Suite T posting Getting Closer to Elvis which discussed connecting the book with the place of interest. I would think this is a great marketing tool to have the book available at the point of interest.

On a recent return trip to the same gift shop I found the follow up to the first book displayed. The Noticer Returns was displayed with a sticker on it stating it was an autographed copy. If you know this author you know he has autographed most of the books found in the stores in this area. Autographed copies weren’t a new revelation but seeing the sticker was.    

Rick Bragg is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer and author of Southern Journal in the Southern Living Magazine. In Bragg’s April 2014 Southern Journal entry Saving Face he said of his book All Over But the Shoutin’, “It was a beautiful book - not the inside, I mean, but the outside. The cover, which had the feel of old parchment, showed a photograph of my young mother, taken about the time I was born in ’59.”

Rick went on to tell of siting in a hotel ballroom and signing copies. He said he was about two hundred copies into the signing when he noticed his mother’s photo had been defaced with Signed by Author stickers. They had been randomly placed and appeared to be pirate eye patches or Band-Aids on her cheek forehead or chin. There needs to be some consideration towards placement where it isn’t detrimental to the work put into the cover.


I find these ideas could be very beneficial for the sale of the book. I am sure there will be more to come. Should you find one that interest you please share it with us here at Southern Writers Magazine. We can pass it on. Someday you may want to use these methods to help the sale of your book. 

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