Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Appearances better not be deceiving

Last time I talked about how a trip to the library spurs my creativity. Like the majority of readers, the title on the spine is the first thing that attracts me. The average reader spends three seconds looking at the front cover. If it's appealing enough, they will flip the book over or peek inside the jacket to read the synopsis for another ten seconds or so.

Not long to leave an impression, is it? Puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved in the book design process. I suppose that's why many writers are allowed little or no input in their book's appearance. The designers have it down to a science on what will sell and what won't. We writers shouldn't complain though we have a vision early on about what our book should look like.

I can't count the number of times I've brought a book home based on its appearance, only to be disappointed once I started reading. Either the title grabbed my attention or I was lured in by the back copy. Then the story didn't live up to my expectations.

Many times the author's name tempts me to take it home. That's another thing designers capitalize on. You can always tell when you've arrived as a writer; if your name if bigger than the book title. Like many readers, I've raced to the bookstore upon the release of my favorite author's latest to find a huge display in the middle of the store and long lines waiting for the author's signing.

Alas, I don't think many readers have gotten stuck in traffic waiting for my latest release. But I'm holding out hope.

So what inspires you to part with your hard earned money on a book? I gotta admit most of my reading is done at the expense of my public library. I love the place. For the inspiration as much as the reading material.

Pay attention next time you're perusing the shelves to see what grabs you. Then notice if the hype lives up to the content inside the book. Don't disappoint your readers. You may never get another chance to make it up to them.

Happy reading.

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