There are basically two ways to ‘brag’ on a book cover: advertise your status as a bestselling author or include a review blurb. Many, many (times a gazillion or so) experts will tell you this is an awesome marketing tool. I think I’ve proven on more occasions than I’d like to admit that I’m no expert. What I am is a voracious reader. I’m also a reader who is constantly looking for new authors to read. Yes, constantly. I average a book a day, and I’m usually reading several at once. And because I’m a bit of a book freak (duh!), I’m constantly analyzing why I chose to try a new author or a certain book. Book covers have a lot to do with that because we all know that ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ actually refers to humans and not real books. Let’s proceed, shall we?
I’m going to be totally honest here. The term ‘bestseller’ has lost its glamour in recent years. A bestseller is not a book that made it to the top 100 list on Amazon for a given day. Wouldn’t that be awesome if it were? We’d all be bestsellers. Oh wait! Then, the term would mean absolutely nothing. Here is the definition of bestseller from Wikipedia:
A bestseller is a book that is included on a list of top-selling or frequently-borrowed titles, normally based on publishing industry and book trade figures and library circulation statistics; such lists may be published by newspapers, magazines, or book store chains… Well-known bestseller lists in the U.S. are published by Publishers Weekly, USA Today, New York Times and the Washington Post.
If you meet this definition, you can brag about it on your book cover. Like this awesome author (full disclosure: I just picked the first cover, which had a bestseller status, from Amazon’s top 100 romance ebooks):
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this type of bragging. Just because a whole bunch of other people liked your book doesn’t mean I will. I’m a unique individual! That said, I have no issues with the above. It looks classy. It’s honest and discreet. I’m more confused about this type of cover:
“Bestselling romance author” – who says? It just sends out all kinds of questions for me. Personally, I would hesitate to buy a book with this ‘bragging’ on the cover. (Please keep in mind that as a former lawyer and cop, I’m a stickler for rules even though I LOVE to break them. Some would say that’s the definition of crazy).
I’m referring here to the phrase or sentence from a reviewer placed prominently on the front cover. Here’s the perfect example:
Why is this a perfect example? For starters, it’s short. It’s also placed in a manner, which doesn’t detract from the cover picture. But the most important part is the person who made the comment. In this case, Sylvia Day. You don’t have to like Ms. Day’s books, but if you’re a romance reader (and this book is in the romance genre), you know who she is.
Again, I’m not a huge fan of the review blurb. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do and that includes what book I should read. But that’s a personal choice. The above example works, however, and for the most part that’s down to the person writing the blurb. It’s a different story when the review blurb comes from an unknown source. It’s great that you managed to find a blogger who was willing to read your book and write a review before release. But if the blogger is unknown within the reading community, putting the review blurb on the cover just looks desperate to me.
What should you take away from this blog article – besides the fact that I have a strange aversion to extraneous information on book covers? It’s simple, really. First: if you aren’t a bestseller, don’t exaggerate the truth and say you are. Second: if your review blurb is from an unknown source, don’t use it on the cover. I’ll talk about the ways in which review blurbs can be used to market your books in a later blog.
Feel free to comment and tell me I have no clue what I’m talking about or that I’m just plain crazy.