Book covers can teach you something very important about the writing business.
Go to the NYT Best Sellers page, and check out some bestsellers.
Look at the covers of two books, Reflected in You, by Sylvia Day, and Mad River, by John Sandford in our image above.
Sylvia Day is becoming well known, she’s building an audience for herself. John Sandford on the other hand, already has an audience, built over many books. He has a platform.
Study the covers, and the look at what’s being promoted on the cover.
On Sylvia Day’s cover, the book’s being promoted. (Actually, an emotion is being promoted, but that’s a whole other story.)
On Sandford’s cover, HE is being promoted. His name takes up half the cover.
What does this teach you about the writing business?
It teaches you the importance of platform.
Sandford already has a platform, Sylvia Day is building her platform.
Let’s put this another way. Readers know what “John Sandford” means. “Sylvia Day” is pretty much an unknown, although she’s riding in the “Fifty Shades” slip-stream.
I’m a huge fan of Sandford’s books, particularly his Virgil Flowers books. If I see Sandford’s name on a cover, I’ll take more than a second look.
Build your platform
You’re a writer. All you have is you — your writing skills. However, that means nothing. Anyone can claim that they’re a “writer” to get gigs online.
I’ve been carping about writing being a commodity for years.
Platform-building is all that stands between you, and being a commodity.
We’re writers, so to us, the writing comes first. It must. It always will. However, you need to be able to see yourself as others see you. Will you be Sylvia Day? (I’m sure that as she builds her name, it will get prominence on her covers), or will you be John Sandford?
Choose. Build your platform (readership.) It matters, even if you’re a brand new writer.