Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Two Book Covers for the Same Book? Huh? It's About Branding

I met the interesting and ever-funny Anita Reinsma at a Book Publicists of Southern California meeting. She agreed to share with my readers why she used two book covers for her book. I thought it might solve a branding problem for some other writers. This is a reprint from my SharingwithWriters newsletter. You can subscribe by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to me at HoJoNews@AOL.com.

By Anita Reinsma

Note: I thought the idea of using two covers to promote what is a politically sensitive subject to some was a novel (ignore the pun!) idea in marketing and, as Anita points out, a promotable idea in and of itself—a marketing angle that sets her book apart from other pitches/queries the media gets.

The title of my self-published book is “Stop Waiting for Prince Charming. He’s Already Married to Bob.” It’s subtitled: “The Odds of Getting Married and Other Nonsense.” As if it isn’t hard enough to sell a book, I chose to have two covers. Any book’s visual representation must be unique. The perception of my book’s title was an issue so the cover design needed to support or neutralize assumptions. The book has no agenda regarding same sex marriage--the title of the book is fact.  (www.anitareinsma.com)

I write, what I call, fractured reality. My book is a collection of essays that looks at the world differently. The essays are satirical, laugh-out-loud examinations of our lives--Facial Punctuation, Airport Security, Internet Dating and many others. 

In marketing my book, I deal with some tricky demographics. Early on, I had a dandy cross-section of kind strangers read my essays. I was thorough--liberals, conservatives, teenagers, young adults, middle age, seniors, gay, and straight gave me feedback. Now the challenge was to design one book cover that could work for all of these varied individuals.  I immediately decided no one cover could do the job. Let’s design two!  Upon hearing my decision, my long suffering editor fainted.

My artist friend Rich Tanzmann designed Cover #1. He decided on a blast of red and green text in a standard font to make it appear to be an innocuous, self-help book. It grabs your attention. Great!

Create Space (Amazon) designed Cover #2.  It is a delicious pink with a script front and two male figurines atop a wedding cake. It’s silly! I believed that both covers reflected the tone of the book. I was at peace with the designs. When I saw proofs of my book/books, I was giddy with excitement!

Marketing for Southern California, urban: When I am selling the books, I use two large posters for my display. Cover #2 stops traffic, makes people laugh and starts conversations. On the table the books are displayed side by side. Most people gravitate to #2 and buy one or several but usually not both covers.

Marketing for Midwest, conservative areas: Cover #1 is the preferred purchase for this group. Everyone has their reason for buying one or the other cover. Sometimes I ask. While critical comments have been made about Cover #2, those same people bought Cover #1. There are times when I only display Cover #1 and do just great. Once you begin to know your customer, it becomes one big joyful circus.

Having two covers has paid off. And it hasn’t added much to the overall expense for marketing either. The print version is under $10 on Amazon and other sites. For a fun promo, I am currently pricing the Kindle version at 99 cents. http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Charming-Already-Nonsense-ebook/dp/B0053R42EA

The whole idea of doing two covers has given radio hosts/interviewers something to talk about. Why did I do it? Which sells the best? Would you do it again? Radio Host Dr. Carole Lieberman loved the book and Cover #2. On air she introduced me as the “Erma Bombeck of Modern Relationships.” A male radio host in a very hostile tone told me my title and Cover #1 were negative and promoted pessimism. Good Lord! Calm down, Mr. Crabby Pants!

Both covers are eye-catching so I give away t-shirts, posters, cards, and refrigerator magnets. They are great marketing tools. The two different designs give me twice as many opportunities for visibility. 

Call me crazy but doing two covers was not a whim. I may write some insane essays and produce outrageous YouTube videos (http://www.youtube.com/user/AnitaReinsma?feature=watch), but I have a firm grip on reality…on occasion. There’s a method to my madness or madness to my method. You choose!

Please visit me at my website, http://www.anitareinsma.com/,  It’s open twenty-four hours a days, seven days a week for your dining and dancing pleasure.

PS: Sorry that I can't get my blog to accept pictures right now. I'd love you to see the two different covers. Maybe you'll look them up by clicking on Anita's Web site address. (-:

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second ediction of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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