Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Do people judge a book by its cover?

Authors who wrote excellent books and are longing to have a successful book must build their fan base – their “platform” – before, during and after the publication. The publisher[s] hardly has time or won’t do it for the authors. Authors are the centerpiece of their own success.

Here, this time, I recommend Brando Skyhorse debut “The Madonnas of Echo Park.”  The book picked up some favourable reviews which features Mexican-American and immigrant residents of Echo Park. It was selected by Oprah’s magazine as one of the “10 Terrific Reads of 2010.”  Unfortunately the book never won a wide following, with hardcover sales of 5,000 books falling much below the expectations. But the publisher blames the book cover – not its contents – for the disappointing sales.


"Various parties—including the author, the sales department and chain buyers— couldn’t agree on an image. In an effort to please everybody, the jacket went through 41 versions. The final design was intended to appeal to the broadest possible readership, says publisher Martha Levin, whose imprint is a unit of CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster Inc. But as a result of all the compromising, she believes, 'we may not have reached any constituency.' 'I saw this as a book directed at women,' she says, but a respected colleague argued that 'there would be a big male audience who would feel excluded by a jacket that was too female oriented.'"

The new cover, which went through 31 redesigns, was created to appeal directly to female readers. Doesn't the Author Brando Skyhorse have a concept for the cover of the book, or just left to the publisher?

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