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Are you a risk-taker, or do you usually stay away from, say, the edges of cliffs? Do you consider yourself a bold person, someone who radiates confidence? And finally, do you have to live dangerously in order to be bold?

One author set out to answer these questions when she created a PickFu poll to choose a cover for her book Live a Bold Life: Your 30 Day Mission to a Fearless Future.

Option A’s mustard-yellow cover doesn’t feature any danger-evoking images, but the word bold stands out from the rest of the title. In stark contrast, Option B features an illustration of a person standing at the edge of a cliff.

Can you guess which one won?

And the winner is…Option B! In a near-landslide win, Option B’s danger-evoking cover scored 68 points to Option A’s 32.

Boldness involves risk

While one respondent who voted against Option B said, “I would not necessarily define a bold life as one taking dangerous challenges,” most respondents disagreed. They felt that living boldly involves pushing yourself to the edge and taking risks.

Another respondent put it this way: “[Option B is] more captivating, the person on the ledge, living, right now. This speaks of being bold.”

The open vista below the person in the illustration also captures the imagination, standing in for a valley of opportunities. One respondent said she chose Option B because “to me, bold definitely means standing on the edge and looking outward to what can be accomplished.”

Sometimes, bold colors hurt the eye

The mustard-yellow cover featured in Option A certainly captures reader attention — but not necessarily in a good way. Several respondents said they chose Option B because they liked its softer color scheme. Option A “was way too bright,” according to one.

Even the bold font on Option A bothered respondents, one of whom said that Option B’s “color scheme and font contrast better and are much easier on the eyes.”

Not everyone agreed with this, though. Some respondents — even those who voted for Option B — liked Option A’s bold yellow but liked Option B’s illustration even more.

Key takeaways

If you write a self-help book about living in a certain way, such as living more simply or living more adventurously, make sure to choose a cover illustration that embodies that way of life.

Potential readers will look for visual representations of what they’re getting inside a book like this. They don’t, for example, want a simple cover on a book about living simply; they want an illustration that shows them what living simply could look like.

And always choose your font and color scheme carefully. The almost neon quality of Option A’s cover truly makes some people’s eyes ache.

Given the likeliness that readers will be looking at your book cover on a mobile device, color is even more important. Screens are already hard on the eyes without the added glare of a too-bright color or contrast.

Have you written a book similar to this one? Do you want to find out which cover pulls potential readers into the type of life you want them to experience? Use split-testing to create a PickFu poll and watch the responses come in.

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Laura Melchor

Laura Ojeda Melchor (she/her) is freelance writer whose work has appeared in Parents.com, Mom.com, Gardener’s Path, and of course, PickFu. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her debut middle grade novel, Missing Okalee, comes out from Shadow Mountain Publishing in the fall of 2021. Find her online at lauraojedamelchor.com.

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