Thursday, June 5, 2008

Need Your Opinion on a Book Cover

One of the disconcerting things about my job is that sometimes, after we work really hard to come to consensus about a book cover internally, the sales reps take it out to the chain bookstore buyers and come back with negative feedback. It's always a delicate dance trying to please everyone and stay true to the original vision.

But let's face it: The buyers know their customers. So we have to listen to them. Nonetheless, I'd like to get your opinions about the cover for Be Your Own Agent by Molly Fletcher--especially if you are in college, a recent graduate, or in the first five years of your career.

Questions I'm asking are the following:

  • Does this cover appeal to you?
  • What age group do you think the book is for?
  • Does the photo of the author make you like the book more, or less?
  • Do you like the colors?
  • Can you tell what the book is about?
  • Would you consider buying it?
  • How could this cover be improved?

Thanks for your help with this!


Blue said...

I'm a recent graduate and thus (by default) in the first five years of my career. ^__^

Here are my responses:

* The cover, while clearly balanced and thought-out, doesn't appeal directly to me.

* The primary reason is because it looks like a book for/about women in their mid-40s.

* The photo of the author makes me like the book less, unfortunately. She's not fashion-forward and she's not someone I'd like to look like either now or in the future.

* The colors are fine.

* The book is probably a part soul-search, part career guide. I'm guessing it includes a few chapters on how to find out what your true passions are, and a few chapters on how to turn those passions into careers or how to get hired at specific jobs. It might include some entrepreneurial tips, since it emphasizes "your own agent."

* I wouldn't buy this book. I might flip through it at a bookstore or library.

* If you're marketing to mid-life professionals who might be stuck in mundane jobs, dreaming of all the things they wish they could do instead, this book will probably be effective. Especially to women. But if you're marketing to quarterlifers or recent grads, we probably will pass this book by simply because there's no indication that the book has any relevance to young people.

Thanks, and I'm sorry that the feedback is so negative. (I will, btw, make sure to read the book when I catch it in a bookstore!)

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I couldn't tell that much about the book's topic until I read the info on JIST's web site.

Unless Molly is well known in her industry, I can't see having her as the main component of the cover. After reading the web site info, I'd expect some images to convey the sports metaphor of being a free agent.

In case it helps you place my opinion in context, I'm sneaking up on 49 and am at the peak of my career. And like your first commenter, my first guess was that the book is aimed at people my age. ;-)

Lori Cates Hand said...

Great feedback--thanks so much and keep it coming. No need to hold back or apologize for anything negative. I need to hear it. I'm having the sudden realization that I am too old to just intuit what appeals to younger people. :)

Blue said...

All in good fun. ^__^

(Internet hero Strong Bad tells his viewers how to market to young people. It's very tongue-in-cheek.)

Krisan Matthews said...

I'm also in the first five years of my career and have to quite honestly say the cover doesn't appeal to me.

It looks like it's for women in their late 30s or early 40s. I think the author's picture takes up a little too much cover space, and agree with Blue, she isn't very "fashion forward." I do like the color scheme...But still can't tell much about what the book is really about.

Actually, now that I think about it, it reminds me of the cover for the Suze Orman book The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. Very similar colors with a big picture of the author front and center.

Are there plans to redesign? Or is this the final cover?

Lori Cates Hand said...

Hi Krisan!

Given the feedback I'm getting here, plus an informal focus group I pulled together from the kids of my coworkers, I think we're headed for a redesign. We're also thinking that the title needs to change. Would something like this be more appealing?

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