Author Photos on #BookCovers

I love books. Love bookstores. Love book marketing. Love walking the aisles, looking for trends, studying decisions made in book design.

Like the decision to change a book’s cover when the book is made into a movie.

JoJoCoverThose are fun. Makes me wonder if there should be two lines at the register: one for the book lover who bought the original book design; another for the movie lover who bought the cover with the actors on it. Want to see more like this? Check out Isaac Fitzgerald’s July 16, 2014 Buzzfeed Books article “14 Book Covers Before and After They Were Made Into Movies” for cool side-by-side comparisons.

I also find it interesting when there’s no jacket copy at all. Like Gillian Flynn’s The Grownup. I suppose, technically, there is jacket copy. A four-word question that gets to the heart of the matter. If you like ghost stories, buy this book.



And then there’s this: Sylvia Day’s One with You. A novel by an author whose brand is so huge, it’s just her picture on the back of the book. My first response to a book with no jacket copy is always one of (slight) disappointment. When I pull a book from the shelf, I expect to flip it over and read what it’s about, not see who wrote it. Now I have to hunt for the information.


But on second thought, it’s a probably a good idea to put a certain faces on the product. (Gasp! Did I just call a book a product?! Shame on me! But yes, I did.) Promoting the artist is how the music industry promotes music. Album covers and book covers require similar marketing and design practices. It’s wise to study both industries. And avid readers know what their favorite authors look like. Reading a great book makes you feel something about its author. Makes you feel connected to them. Seeing them in a bookstore provokes a response that’s like saying, “Oh, hey! There she is. Hello, favorite author. Let me buy your book.”

Speaking of hello . . . Hello, David Baldacci! You’re looking handsome on the back of The Last Mile.


While gazing upon his handsomeness, I noticed a second level of marketing decisions at play in book cover design. Sylvia Day and David Baldacci’s poster photos were on hardback editions. I assume this is because hardbacks are targeted to readers who love and follow these authors and will buy early to consume the story, and buy in hardback to collect the work of the author they love. Smart.

Here’s a peek of David Baldacci’s The Guilty in paperback. Lower price than the hardcover, with more information on the jacket, perhaps for the reader who may not “know” him and love him the way a loyal reader would. Photo, story tease, quotes.


Here they are sitting next to each other. Hardback on the left, paperback on the right.


The audiobook version appears to be direct lift of the front cover, with black borders added to conform to the square shape. So, the front cover is the same on all formats. Back cover changes for the hard and paperback.


And then there’s Clive Cussler’s The Pharaoh’s Secret. You can see Clive’s photo from across the room, but when you pick up the book, you’ll notice it’s written by Clive Cussler AND Graham Brown. Poor Graham. Where’s his picture? I mean, my gosh. Have you seen a picture of Graham Brown? Whew! So super cute. If they wrote the book together, why not put both of them on the back cover? If not a side-by-side of separate photos; if not a huge photo of Clive and a smaller photo of Graham near the bar code; then maybe a photo of them sitting together? Laughing. Being chummy. After all, they wrote a book together. Surely, they can sit for a picture.


But on second thought, with yet another nod toward smart decisions in book marketing, I’m thinking Graham’s quite okay with Clive’s image splashed across the back cover (notice the font size of each author’s name on the front cover – one is clearly the headlining author). Because hey, the smartest marketer in this set up might be Graham for landing this business venture. Graham’s first novel released in 2010. Clive Cussler’s been writing and building an audience since 1967. I suspect Graham’s quite happy reaching some of Clive’s readership – which in turn, should build his own.

What do you think? When you browse for books – do you notice these things? Or am I just a whack job with a lot of time on her hands . . .



Fiction Writers Blog Hop – July 2016


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FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP Where fiction writers connect with readers. Join us. It’s fun! Fiction Writers Blog Hop ALWAYS THE LAST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH HOSTED ON JULIE VALERIE’S BOOK BLOG WWW.JULIEVALERIE.COM —————————————————————————————— Are you a writer, reader, book blogger, … Continue reading

If I owned a bookstore, I’d . . .

If I owned a bookstore, I’d . . .

If I owned a bookstore, I’d . . . run a Signed First Edition Collector Night program offering hardcover, hand-signed, first edition print books from established and upcoming authors. For those interested in the Signed First Edition Collector Night program, I’d offer a printed six-month “menu” of book selections, showcasing about six noteworthy book titles per month (36 total titles) from which to choose. Collectors would indicate (pre-order) which books they’d like to collect – buying all, or a few, or just one book per month.

Then, once per month, on the “Signed First Edition Collector Night,” I’d wrap the pre-ordered books in beautiful parchment paper and bookbinder’s twine and invite “Collector Night” patrons to a special wine tasting among the stacks. The collectors’ books would be waiting for them on a beautiful antique monk’s table and to thank them for their patronage, I’d offer an evening of private, after-hours browsing and book buying while the store is closed to the public.

And I know this program sounds a bit snobbish – but it’s not meant to be. It’s meant to be a celebration of signed, first edition books. Plain and simple. The books don’t have to be rare or “uber literary” or hard to acquire. This is just a focused “type” of book event – sorta like an art opening. The kind of book event Amazon can’t hold. Because, well, you know. It’s hard to drink wine and talk books when the bookstore is a computer screen. And gosh, how much does a hardback book cost? $24.95? This isn’t going to break the bank. Heck, I spend more than that on chicken nuggets when my four kids are in the car.

Types of books I’d offer each month in my Signed First Edition Collector Night program:


Imagine you’re a “Signed First Edition Collector” at my bookstore, which of the above books would you like to collect as a hardcover, hand-signed, first edition print book for your bookshelves? Leave your order in my comment section. It’s fun to pretend.

One more. (Consider yourself spared. My actual “If I owned a bookstore, I’d . . .” list runs quite long.)

If I owned a bookstore, I’d . . . offer the services of a Private Library Curator to assist with building and installing custom libraries in my customers’ homes. Oh, now, settle down. I’m not talking about “fancy” libraries in “fancy” homes (although, I wouldn’t turn anyone away!), I’m talking about helping parents establish a top-notch library for their child’s bedroom. Or helping a geography buff discover new books on the topic.

I curate a couple of small collections in my own home library. Nothing fancy. Just shelves dedicated to a type of book I like to read. I’d love it if my local indie bookstore offered curating services . . .

Book collections don’t need to be big or rare or expensive to establish. They need to be special. That’s all. And who better to help you build your collection than the hand sellers of the trade?

Imagine a curated collection of books for a child’s room or cabin get away.


A curated collection can fit on one bookshelf. This shelf would make a great holding place for books about maps, travel, politics . . . OR! Books organized by state – either the state in which it was set – or the state in which the author lives. Super cool!


If I owned a bookstore, I’d . . . do lots of things. For one, I’d do whatever it takes to make my customers feel cherished and unique. I’d elevate the book-buying experience and I’d foster a world where book lovers feel supported in their never-ending pursuit of the perfect book.

Damn I wished I owned a bookstore.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP click here:

Fiction Writers Blog Hop – June 2016


This gallery contains 1 photo.

FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP Where fiction writers connect with readers. Join us. It’s fun! Fiction Writers Blog Hop ALWAYS THE LAST WEDNESDAY OF THE MONTH HOSTED ON JULIE VALERIE’S BOOK BLOG WWW.JULIEVALERIE.COM —————————————————————————————— Are you a writer, reader, book blogger, … Continue reading

Eileen Goudge’s new novel, SWIMSUIT BODY released June 7. #BookReview


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I have super great news to share! Swimsuit Body by Eileen Goudge was released to readers on June 7th. Wooo-Hoooo!   For those of you who follow my blog, you know about my friendship with Eileen. I’ve written about our vacations together every … Continue reading

Read an Excerpt: SWIMSUIT BODY by @EileenGoudge


“Eileen Goudge writes like a house on fire, creating characters you come to love and hate to leave.” —Nora Roberts “Expect to become immersed with the indomitable heroine, Tish Ballard, the cast of colorful secondary characters, and Eileen Goudge’s trademark … Continue reading

Telling Stories With #BookTitles

So . . . yes. I spend a lot of time in bookstores. And sometimes . . . browsing all of those book titles starts to sound like NEW book titles. Or at least, little stories or snippets of conversation.

So I move things around a bit, just for kicks. And then I look at what I’ve created and
I laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s true. I do it all the time.

Because hey, when it comes to bookstores, I’m a party girl.

Don’t worry. I always return the books to their rightful place on the shelves.

But if I owned a bookstore – I’d use book covers to write little stories to my customers.

My bookshelves would look like THIS:


Heaven is paved with Oreos. Side effects may vary.


“If you were here . . .”
“I was here!”


Perfectionists — you’re making me HATE you!!!

and then there’s this

Imperfectionists — you’re making me HATE you!!!



Family life. Tortures of the damned.


Couponing: The One-Page Financial Plan


Even when you lie to me like it never happened, I text dead people.


What the lady wants? You guessed it.

And, yup!

Blood line. The human stain.

(Oh, come on. It’s funny!)


To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on my website, click here: