Everyone has different ways of understanding the world around them, and in order to draw that out for a keen audience, it is necessary for an editor to make all those red lines and to work with the writer to help them dig out their own unique voice.
Where do you go first? Out of the plethora of social media options available, which is going to net you the most bang for your buck? Which is going to be the most efficient and effective use of your time?
As the cover of a book communicates to the potential reader what lies within, many conventions have emerged to highlight certain genres, such as an old photograph that promises a memoir, or a shirtless muscular man that promises a romance novel. To investigate further, we’ll look at four popular books sold in both the US and the UK and see what each cover has to say about the same story.
No matter how brilliant a piece of writing is, if it doesn’t know who the audience should be or doesn’t give enough context about its subject, the writing fails to be read, understood, and shared. It fails to communicate. The same holds true for book design.
On the surface, The Adulterants is a dry, witty, coming-of-age story about a manchild. But manchildren aren’t going to buy the book for themselves. They probably wouldn’t ever walk into a bookstore of their own volition, and they certainly wouldn’t openly identify themselves as a manchild in need of self-reflection. Instead, Tin House targeted the people in their lives who wanted to intervene before it was too late.
I sat next to a woman on a cross-country flight who read Fifty Shades of Grey from cover to cover with such rapt attention that she didn’t respond to the flight attendant. When we landed, the woman looked confused and not too happy to step back into real life. She collected her things with the glazed, glassy eyes of the fictive spell.