Your cover is the first thing the reader sees and…inevitably…the book’s first impression.
I took the opportunity to poll readers during a recent mega-bookstore signing I attended with over a dozen other authors (six of which were romance). Because I truly wanted the information, I offered those who would fill out the questionnaire chocolate (always works) and the chance to win a store gift card. Out of the 25 readers I approached only one turned down my request.
The first four questions required a “yes”, “no” or “sometimes” response. The last question gave them three lines to express their opinion. Here are the questions I asked:
1. Is a book’s cover important in attracting your interest?
2. Do you collect bookmarks, trading cards or other material branded with covers?
3. Do you look for the author, book or book cover on social media (e.g., FB, Twitter)?
4. Do you follow authors on social media or through newsletters?
5. How often do you feel authors should promote their book on social media and are you drawn to the promotion?
Q1: 19 yes, 2 no, 3 sometimes
Q2: 12 yes, 11 no, 1 sometimes (note added by respondent: “if they’re pretty”)
Q3: 11 yes, 3 no, 10 sometimes (this stat surprised me)
Q4: 18 yes, 6 no
Q5: The majority of the respondents said that anything more than once per day was overkill. Three said that if they see the cover more than once in the day they skip past it. Four said they don’t pay much attention to the cover unless they’re attracted to it because the “KNOW” it’s a sales pitch.
Once the questionnaire was completed, I asked each respondent to look at a single picture and give me their impression. The only thing I asked was: “Would you stop scrolling through FB or Twitter to to look at this picture?” Twenty-one of the the 24 said, “yes”.
Over the course of the past six months or so I’ve devoted quite a bit of time to creating book-centered memes and engagement on both FB and Twitter related to these memes has increased significantly. I’ve quickly come to realize that while I might get a few likes, comments, and engagements out of my cover and buy link, far more people are stopping to read the meme. Traffic on both my website and blog have increased.
Here’s another meme, aimed at poking fun of us as writers rather than to tout a specific book. All memes were created using nothing more than Powerpoint and a good stock photo site. And, all memes contained my website address but no buy links or sales pitch.
I thinks, as writers, we need to find new ways to engage our readers. And, if the standard cover, blurb and buy link isn’t doing it, we should find other avenues for promotion. Even something as simple as a meme.
Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy, stay well read.