Thursday, June 11, 2009

Should You Reveal a Book Cover Before Publication?

Barbara Techel is the author of the multi-award winning, Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog. She has written book two in the series and is almost ready to release it to the world of readers.

Barbara is a role model and star student in doing what it takes to be a successful author.

Recently, she wrote me with a question:

I'm close to having a cover completed for Frankie's new book Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House, which has an accompanying workbook for children: Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Activity Workbook Woo hoo! I saw a sneak peak of the cover from the illustrator and got tears in my eyes. What is your insight or feelings on revealing the cover before actual publication? I've heard various aspects on this. I kind of think starting to build the buzz is the right thing to do from what I have read.

My answer:

I encourage authors to share their book covers before the book actually comes out. Not only do you get feedback on the design while there is still time for changes, you are also creating a buzz and getting the book’s basic “look” in front of potential readers. This is part of establishing your branding, which is an important part of marketing.

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TWCP Authors said...

I agree. Building the branding of one's product should start before the book is published and the visual aspect of a cover makes a large impact. But this works, obviously, only if the cover remains virtually the same from the time it is first "displayed" until publication.

My experience: One of my authors let a friend design a cover for an unfinished novel I would later publish. This caused a couple of issues because I didn't choose to use the friend's cover.

The biggest problem stems from the fact that the author posted the friend's cover all over the internet for several months. Now that the novel has been published, it's a toss-up whether the real or the friend's cover shows up in a web search.

Because the covers were very different in concept (including a different cover model)this has created big problems for branding.

As an aside: To compound the confusion, the "designer" friend was angry with us and for several weeks launched his own campaign: "which cover do you like best?"

Yvonne Perry said...

Thanks for the reminder. I should have stated that the cover needs to be the final version before posting it on the Internet. Otherwise, there is no branding; only confusing.

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

Thank you, Yvonne! I'm always amazed how much you know... and how much you go out of your way to find an answer for clients if you don't know. Hiring you for various services has been one the best things I have done for myself as an author... esepcially having you edit Frankie's 2nd book!! Frankie and I think you rock!

~Barbara Techel
Author & proud mom of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog
2009 Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion