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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings fellow authors,

After years of getting tons of clicks but extremely small numbers of sales, and a couple of questions on here about it, I now realize that my cover is likely the problem...I should have listened to some of you years ago.

My book is about the Korean Language, (https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Korean-Language-Bruce-McDonough-dp-1514717328/dp/1514717328)

My cover attempts to show the interior of a traditional Korean house being built, which was meant as an analogy for examining the interior structure, if you will. I'm pretty sure (and I was told by some of you guys...) that this is too subtle, too opaque maybe, for the average person, and isn't attention-grabbing or very intriguing..or something.

I really don't have a clue how to approach this, and many of the more mainstream ("Dummies" type of books, etc.) books are little help, showing mostly cartoonish characters, abstract vaguely Korean motifs, no image at all, or pictures of moronicaylly happy people of mixed races laying together on the grass like stoned hippies.... Ummm....as you can see, there isn't much to go by and I think they all suck tbh...

Anyways, if anyone has any ideas or general considerations for me, I'd be very appreciative.

Also, if anyone knows anyone who does cover design for a living, please give me their email address.

thanks and i've always been highly appreciative of this community..you guys rock!

Bruce
 

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If you want to sell, you need to make it clear what you're selling at a glance, at thumbnail. Those cartoon characters don't suck. They're doing the job they're meant to do, and they're doing it well. They're eye-catching, they make it easy to see what they're about at a glance, and they're nicely branded. And the print version of the first book in that series is at 5,211 in the entire store. You don't need something with cartoon characters on it, but you do need something that does the same thing.
 

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I've not followed the link to look at the cover because you are saying you get tons of clicks but little conversion.

By saying that, is it really the cover that is at fault?

To get the tons of clicks your cover must be doing its job to create interest. Maybe you should be looking at the next points of interest in the decision making process to buy and take a fresh look at first you blurb, then the opening chapters available in the look inside, and lastly, the price.
 

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Non-fiction covers usually either depict the topic in a completely unsubtle way; or, where that's impractical, go the other way and just go totally abstract. I don't think most readers will cotton to this visual analogy you're making, but that just means it'll read as abstract.

So I don't necessarily think using the analogy is bad, but I do notice the design looks very academic (understandable) where the Dummies book designs are very much not. So it could be that people are assuming your book is very dry, and are bouncing off it in favor of something more approachable.
 

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Cool idea but confusing at a glance. The cover looks like it belongs on a book about home construction.

I'd try something more modern and typography based, especially if that's common in the non fiction language space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Gessert Books said:
Non-fiction covers usually either depict the topic in a completely unsubtle way; or, where that's impractical, go the other way and just go totally abstract. I don't think most readers will cotton to this visual analogy you're making, but that just means it'll read as abstract.

So I don't necessarily think using the analogy is bad, but I do notice the design looks very academic (understandable) where the Dummies book designs are very much not. So it could be that people are assuming your book is very dry, and are bouncing off it in favor of something more approachable.
I like your analysis, thank you. I think I need to find a middle ground, but I really am at a loss...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ShayneRutherford said:
If you want to sell, you need to make it clear what you're selling at a glance, at thumbnail. Those cartoon characters don't suck. They're doing the job they're meant to do, and they're doing it well. They're eye-catching, they make it easy to see what they're about at a glance, and they're nicely branded. And the print version of the first book in that series is at 5,211 in the entire store. You don't need something with cartoon characters on it, but you do need something that does the same thing.
How do cartoon characters show at a glance that a book is about learning a language? I'm sorry, but I don't really understand you here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Decon said:
I've not followed the link to look at the cover because you are saying you get tons of clicks but little conversion.

By saying that, is it really the cover that is at fault?

To get the tons of clicks your cover must be doing its job to create interest. Maybe you should be looking at the next points of interest in the decision making process to buy and take a fresh look at first you blurb, then the opening chapters available in the look inside, and lastly, the price.
Thank you. Can the "look inside" be edited to show whatever I want? I thought that was all automated by Amazon's algorithms, but maybe it has changed in the last 5 or 6 years? The price is actually cheap for its category, and the blurb is laser-focussed after countless revisions..
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Crystal_ said:
Cool idea but confusing at a glance. The cover looks like it belongs on a book about home construction.

I'd try something more modern and typography based, especially if that's common in the non fiction language space.
Would you elaborate a little bit on "modern and typography based" please? :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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aaaalvin said:
How do cartoon characters show at a glance that a book is about learning a language? I'm sorry, but I don't really understand you here.
Not the characters themselves, but the whole package. You have a cover with a simple background in a bold, eye-catching color. You have a manga-looking character, which suggests an Asian vibe, and also that the book will likely be a light, easy book to digest, rather than a heavy academic tome. You have a title that's a) legible at thumbnail, and b) makes the subject of the book clear. That's what a book cover is supposed to do - make it clear to potential readers the kind of book it is.
 

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I've actually been in the market for language books lately (Japanese). The ones that catch my eye most are usually ones with big, bold lettering. I tend to avoid the ones with cartoon people because I sort of assume they'll be geared more for kids--or because I find the cartoon style ugly, and some books have cartoons within the book, and when I find the style ugly, I don't care for that. If your books is elementary and suitable for kids, maybe a cartoon is appropriate. If you're aiming for a more adult audience, maybe don't do cartoons.

I do think your current cover makes me assume it's about construction, though.

I'd recommend a text only cover with the title in clear lettering (but designed in a way to be interesting and eye-catching, which a good cover designer should be able to do well). I'd also recommend having some Korean text on there (maybe just the title in Korean?) to help signal that the Korean language is what this book is about (as opposed to, say, Korean home construction).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
ShayneRutherford said:
Not the characters themselves, but the whole package. You have a cover with a simple background in a bold, eye-catching color. You have a manga-looking character, which suggests an Asian vibe, and also that the book will likely be a light, easy book to digest, rather than a heavy academic tome. You have a title that's a) legible at thumbnail, and b) makes the subject of the book clear. That's what a book cover is supposed to do - make it clear to potential readers the kind of book it is.
Thank you for the input. Well, in my case my book is not exactly light and easy to digest...the nearly full grammar (and much more) of an ancient language simply cannot be presented that way, and if I associate with that crowd (I've read most of those books by the way...mostly over-simplified garbage really..) people might think I'm just another fly-by-night charlatan trying to cash in on the current worldwide Korea(n) craze, which I am most emphatically not.

I see what you are saying though...but what I would like to know is how people could even possibly get to my book's page without already searching for Korean Language related stuff...in fact it is nearly impossible...someone searching for construction, carpentry, etc. would never, ever hit on my page!

For those two general reasons, I'm having a hard time making much sense of most of the replies on this thread...my book is not a kid's book, and the only way people will get to my page is showing interest in the subject i wrote about!!

arghh!!

have a nice day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ShawnaReads said:
I've actually been in the market for language books lately (Japanese). The ones that catch my eye most are usually ones with big, bold lettering. I tend to avoid the ones with cartoon people because I sort of assume they'll be geared more for kids--or because I find the cartoon style ugly, and some books have cartoons within the book, and when I find the style ugly, I don't care for that. If your books is elementary and suitable for kids, maybe a cartoon is appropriate. If you're aiming for a more adult audience, maybe don't do cartoons.

I do think your current cover makes me assume it's about construction, though.

I'd recommend a text only cover with the title in clear lettering (but designed in a way to be interesting and eye-catching, which a good cover designer should be able to do well). I'd also recommend having some Korean text on there (maybe just the title in Korean?) to help signal that the Korean language is what this book is about (as opposed to, say, Korean home construction).
Thank you for the useful reply. I'm thinking of a hybrid with some Korean text kind of embedded into a black and white jigsaw puzzle background, like putting the pieces together...can you see that? Korean, in particular, requires a lot of small pieces that fit together to make expressions...making sentences, at least initially, feels a lot like doing a puzzle. I guess I will have to capitulate and make the main title more eye-catching...(sigh...lol)
 

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aaaalvin said:
Thank you for the input. Well, in my case my book is not exactly light and easy to digest...the nearly full grammar (and much more) of an ancient language simply cannot be presented that way, and if I associate with that crowd (I've read most of those books by the way...mostly over-simplified garbage really..) people might think I'm just another fly-by-night charlatan trying to cash in on the current worldwide Korea(n) craze, which I am most emphatically not.

I see what you are saying though...but what I would like to know is how people could even possibly get to my book's page without already searching for Korean Language related stuff...in fact it is nearly impossible...someone searching for construction, carpentry, etc. would never, ever hit on my page!

For those two general reasons, I'm having a hard time making much sense of most of the replies on this thread...my book is not a kid's book, and the only way people will get to my page is showing interest in the subject i wrote about!!

arghh!!

have a nice day.
Unless they search by name, they're going to get to a search results page first. And as they're scrolling down, if they see what looks like a book about house construction or carpentry, they're going to ignore it in favor of all the other books that look like what they're after.
 

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I get non-related items in Amazon search results all the time. So you definitely don't want your book to look like a home construction how-to.

I really love the look of the suggested book - it has a crisp, professional look to it, and is colorful/interesting. I could tell at a quick glance what it was for and the layout put the focus on the important parts (title/what it's about). I didn't get any of that with your cover.

Also, I think your blurb should call out that this book isn't for beginners. That might be where some of the clicks but not sales are coming from.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
C. Gold said:
I get non-related items in Amazon search results all the time. So you definitely don't want your book to look like a home construction how-to.

I really love the look of the suggested book - it has a crisp, professional look to it, and is colorful/interesting. I could tell at a quick glance what it was for and the layout put the focus on the important parts (title/what it's about). I didn't get any of that with your cover.

Also, I think your blurb should call out that this book isn't for beginners. That might be where some of the clicks but not sales are coming from.
Yes, my cover isn't working out, that is for sure! kkk

However, in fact my book is for any level of learner...it breaks things down to the absolute basics (as in "A noun is a person, place, or thing that exists or may be thought about.") and ("In English, an action verb would include words like run, eat, sleep...") My book makes no assumptions, it starts with the absolute fundamentals, including the alphabet, naturally.

Thank you all for your feedback and help.
 

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aaaalvin said:
Thank you for the useful reply. I'm thinking of a hybrid with some Korean text kind of embedded into a black and white jigsaw puzzle background, like putting the pieces together...can you see that?
That sounds like it would be a lot better than what you have now. You might try it alongside an alternative cover that's more simple, though. You could overthink your concept to the point that it doesn't convey "this is a book about how to learn Korean" effectively to most people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
ShawnaReads said:
That sounds like it would be a lot better than what you have now. You might try it alongside an alternative cover that's more simple, though. You could overthink your concept to the point that it doesn't convey "this is a book about how to learn Korean" effectively to most people.
Thank you. Funny, but just last night I had a "light bulb moment" thinking the same thing...overthinking has always been my specialty~
 
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