Sunday, June 19, 2011

Which Cover Would Make You More Likely To Buy This Book?

Brian and Michelle Jacobsen, two of my readers, put together these two book covers for the upcoming book, which I think I will be self-publishing on Kindle.  (Conventional book publishing isn't quite dead, but books like this aren't of interest to them.)  You can read the first few chapters of an early draft here.

Which of these titles makes you more inclined to buy a book?  Also, I am trying to figure out an appropriate price point.  Is it $0.99?  Is it $1.49?  Is $1.99 too high?  I would like to make some money, of course, but restarting discussion of the deinstitutionalization policy is my primary goal, and if I reduce my profit a little but get more people reading the book, that's fine.

The first cover is a bit more artistic, and some of you will recognize it as derived from an open source picture of a homeless person in Eastern Europe.


The other cover possibility is derived from a picture that I took in 2004 of an apparently mentally ill man who had climbed scaffolding in downtown Philadelphia.  Police were attempting to talk down someone who was clearly terrified and obviously not in touch with reality.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Number 1, the black and white.

The scaffold picture is too busy; it was difficult for me to understand what it meant. I can barely make out the man's face.

edna, grandma, GG said...

You do have more choices, I hope?

Phil said...

I have a cover I'd like to show you that's going to be better for Kindle sales. But I'll be darned if I can find a way to email you.

Phil

Phil said...

Heh. Get a signed release from the scaffold guy or he will become very rich.

Phil

jimlongx said...

I, also, vote for cover #1. At first glance, the man on the scaffold looks like a worker. It is not readily apparent that he is not behaving normally.

Clayton Cramer said...

Phil: try emailing me at blogmail at claytoncramer.com -- I will be curious to see an alternative.

Rockport Conservative said...

Of the two offered the first cover definitely conveys a confusion of the mind. I assume that is what you are looking for. I don't have a kindle, if I did I would pay 1.99 for it.

Retired Geezer said...

Yeah, unless you have a model-release from the scaffold guy, you're apt to be sued. It won't cost him anything but I bet it will cost you something.

Steve said...

Given the subtitle, I think both give the impression that you know the person in the picture, which sends a false message.

Maybe something more generic would be better.

Doug Klassen said...

I suggest you take the first cover and split the image so that the right half is an image of your brother in better times, assuming you have such an image that would fit.

Sebastian said...

First is better. Though I like Doug's suggestion. I'd have to see it though.

mariner said...

The second image doesn't work.

The man in the bottom right corner is the most prominent person in the picture and he isn't the subject.

Even reading your description of the cover I had to look hard to see him, next to the title.

I like Doug's suggestion about the split image.

Phil said...

Two images sent by email.

Phil

Kirk Parker said...

Definitely #1 over #2, but I'd also second the suggestion to keep looking.

Epsilon Given said...

I'd be willing to pay up to $1.99 for the work, but I have to confess that I was prepared to pay $15 or so for a hard copy. Since my sister is diagnosed as a schizophrenic, though, I'm highly motivated to read the book.

I don't have a Kindle, but it's my understanding that I can still buy e-books, and get a Kindle-ebook reader for my computer. (Hopefully for Linux!) If you haven't looked into it yet, it's my understanding that there are also certain "on-demand publishing" options you can explore as well.

I sort-of like cover #2, but I have to agree that it's kindof busy...and the color highlighting would disappear on a black-and-white device like the Kindle. I'm also sure that the legal issues can also be complicated: someone mentioned "body modeling", but that might not apply to something taken in a public place...but "public figure" rulings might take their toll instead.

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to create a picture, based on the #2, but highly stylized--made to look like a line drawing, highly grainy, black-and-white, with the person on the scaffold drawn in solid lines, but still with enough ambiguity in detail that you cannot recognize him.

I'm not an artist, so I likely wouldn't be able to do such a thing...

In any case, good luck in getting a good cover for your book!

Pete said...

I've now viewed the picture on two occasions, and didn't see the man on the scaffold until you pointed it out. Not recommended.

Clayton Cramer said...

It does seem as though there is a consensus against the second cover. Someone is mailing some alternatives, based on the fact that covers that turn into icons work better with Kindle. I'll put those up shortly.

Yes, there are Kindle readers available for Windows and Mac, so you don't need a Kindle to read books for Kindle. The readers are free! The Windows version is http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311; for the Mac http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000464931&tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=7757355787&ref=pd_sl_36usjrxskv_b.

I am used the Windows version for testing.

There is not a version for Linux yet.

Cincinnatus said...

Consider too that as you wish to sell as eBook, that the cover is never going to be shown physically, only on web searches, and perhaps as a thumbnail. So you want an image that will scale down recognizably.

Phil said...

Hoping you got my two cover images. Any good? Be sure to look at them as thumbnail-size images, as that's how people will view them on Amazon Kindle. At full-screen size, they're primitive enough to almost be funny, but at real Kindle-store size they look like (I think) pleasant book covers. Designing covers for ebooks on ebook stores is just a whole new enterprise in the graphic arts.

If you ... um ... hate them, no problem, I won't be offended. As far as I'm concerned, it's an honor just to be conversing with Clayton Cramer. No flattery intended.

Phil

Minicapt said...

For those looking, the link page for all the Kindle variants is @ http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sa_menu_karl3?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Cheers

Link P said...

Definitely the first. While the second is and interesting picture, like mariner observed, the man on the lower right appears to be the subject of the photo. I saw the picture when you posted it previously and didn't even notice the man on the scaffolding.

The first cover has a better overall aesthetic as well.

There are some e-book reader packages for linux, but I had no luck trying to get a DRM inhibited book working. Once I got an Android phone, I just got Nook for Android and gave up on reading Ambulance Driver's book on Linux.