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A Plea for Personality in Book Advertising

Books2This INDEX // mb blog post offers some perspective on book ads and how they've lost personality over the years.  The key point is that most book ads these days feature the cover and not the author.  Actually, now that I think about it, I'll bet I've seen dozens and dozens of book ads in USA Today, BusinessWeek and countless other newspapers and magazines over the past six months...and I can't recall the specifics of a single one.

One of my favorite phrases is "unique and memorable."  If something is unique and memorable it's bound to stick with you.  I can't tell you the last time I saw a book ad that was unique and memorable.

It's interesting to look at the Paper Cuts blog post INDEX // mb links to as well as the related slide show of 1960's-1970's book ads.  The author photos really do add personality to the various ads.  I guess that's one of the reasons I've always liked the cover design for our WROX imprint; even though the WROX cover template is consistent from one title to the next, the author photo element helps make each cover that much more unique and memorable.

Comments

Stal Herz

Interesting. Do you think that the picture of the author helps to sell? I think perhaps an image on the back inside jacket cover is OK, gives you a bit of a personal feel. However, I kind of like not knowing what the author looks like, especially if the book is written in the first person. This way, the reader can create their own image of the character.

Joe Wikert

I think it's all part of the overall brand. I'm not suggesting that all books should have author photos on the covers, but it *is* interesting how few book ads feature author photos these days.

I like your point about using your imagination when it comes to wondering what the author looks like though!

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