by Dan Seagren
Posted: December 12, 2010
Some thoughts on books and writing…
Ronda Del Boccio wrote: If you're wondering how to write a book that will "fly off the shelves" and bring you plenty of customers, you need to know the way a book browser decides whether or not to purchase a book . . . The browsing customer will look at any book in the following manner. Front cover. Back cover. Table of Contents. Inside the book [in this order] . . .
Despite the cliché "you can't judge a book by its cover", people do. The cover is a HUGE aspect of the purchasing decision. You may have the best solution to the reader's problem, but if you have a boring title, she'll never know it.
When I read this, I was intrigued. I had to remember that this is of course the casual browser looking for a good book to read (or give as a gift). But others look for their favorite author, or come armed with a recommendation from a friend (or a commercial). Or ask the clerk or manager for a recommendation. Or they head straight for a particular section and browse for something new, exciting or necessary for their avocation or profession.
True, there are other ways. When looking for a book online, this is another matter. Yes, the cover is important, and a peek inside if possible, helps. If many cases, there are reviews which can help in making a decision. Personally, I have found these kinds of reviews most helpful, particularly if not written by a biased friend or a relative (maybe a brother-in-law's review could be interesting if not candid).
Now, back to that proverbial saying: You can't judge a book by its cover. Some books of course have disposable covers which can be very colorful, informative and protective. But rip off the cover and the real cover probably originated in dullsville. But let's admit it. We, with our bifocals and trifocals, cataracts and clumsy fingers (do you find it harder to turn pages now?), we no doubt shy away from huge, heavy, clumsy volumes. And a few perhaps have invested in electronic machines of various sorts.
My last book allowed me (meaning obliged) to create my own cover. Since it had to do with the choosing and care of pets (perfect subject for a retired cleric, right?), I searched high and low for a bewitching pet for the cover. I ruled out snakes, lizards, hyenas, giraffes, alligators, gold fish, sharks and a few others settling for a homey, cuddly, charming dog. The story was written in part by the family pet (why not?) and other parts by a family member. The cover was in my judgment pleasing but I have no idea how many it sold, if any.
The moral of the story in case you are wondering, is this: even if you are a senior, do look at covers (magazines included), but above all, peek inside, and read as much in your leisure as you can. You won't regret it. And why not do some writing, too, like your (mini is just fine) memoirs. A paragraph a day will keep the doldrums away. And your family will be richly rewarded.
Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.• E-mail the author (su.nergaesnad@brabnad*) • Author's website (personal or primary**)
* For web-based email, you may need to copy and paste the address yourself.
** opens in a new tab or window. Close it to return here.