It’s tough to pick a book cover that isn’t too similar to its counterparts, too bland, or too busy. That’s why PickFu is an excellent place to take your self-help book covers when your brain can’t handle the back-and-forth about which one is best anymore.
One author recently took to PickFu to decide between two book covers for nonfiction titled, The Way of the Intelligent Rebel: Succeed Outside the System, Teach Yourself Anything and Achieve Ultimate Freedom.
bell hooks. Mark Twain. Pablo Neruda. Maya Angelou. What do these four famous author and poet names have in common?
They’re all names of authors who decided to choose a pen name. Their “real” or original names: Gloria Jean Watkins, Samuel Clemens, Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, and Marguerite Annie Johnson, respectively.
Authors use pseudonyms for a variety of reasons. Neruda used a pen name to avoid bringing his family shame — they didn’t approve of his poetry.
bell hooks chose a name that honored her great grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks, but styled it in lowercase to shift attention toward her ideas more than her persona.
Whatever the reason, choosing a pen name can be hard.
If you’re an author, especially a self-published author in charge of your own suspense book covers, you know the stress of getting the cover just right. Even when you’ve narrowed down your choices, you’re left wondering which one readers will be drawn to. How can you know?
One author recently took two book covers to an audience of 50 e-book readers on PickFu to test this very question.
The covers are nearly identical, except for the color schemes. Option A features a fiery red color next to the woman’s face, while Option B puts the woman’s face and the clouds next to her in black and white.
The author kindly asked 50 people, “Please take a look at the cover art for my book, Mindfulness Evolved: Optimizing the Human Software. It’s about how to transform your brain and life with Mindfulness. Offering personal stories, tools & practices. Pick the cover most appeals to you, why?”
Options A and B feature a similar theme: a black cover with a minimalist neon illustration and neon font.
Option A’s font is purple-blue, whereas Option B’s is orange. The illustrations differ; one features a heart-shaped lightbulb over a cloud, while the other uses a heart and a cloud in the shape of a brain.
Chandrima Das, the author of deliciously frightening stories, recently asked a group of literary fiction readers on PickFu to vote between two horror book covers for her book The Talking Dead: Four Terrifying Tales. Based on True Events.
Option A features a headless man holding a balloon with a hat on it. This creepy image is made spookier by the weirdly fun title font. In Option B, the headless man is gone. In his stead, there’s a blood-red cover with a centered title in a classic font, with deeply creepy skeleton moths hovering around it.
Have you narrowed your two favorite choices for a book cover down so much that there’s only one tiny difference between them? If so, don’t think you can skip testing. As one author recently discovered, that small difference between covers can make a huge impact.
Sci-fi book covers can become so iconic that people buy them as posters for their offices and homes. If you’re working on a sci-fi novel, your book cover design should aspire to that level.
Let’s see if this recent PickFu poll clears the bar. The author asked the question, “Based on the cover, which book would you rather buy?”
Option A shows a blue-black color scheme and an intriguing eye staring out at potential readers. In Option B, the color scheme is totally white and resembles an anatomy textbook. The covers also feature different titles (which we don’t generally recommend).
Not everyone is as lucky as fiction writers, who can get away with being pantsers.
That’s writer-speak for “drafting by the seat of your pants” instead of following an outline — and it’s virtually impossible in nonfiction.
Nonfiction demands the use of facts and flesh-and-blood experiences that can’t be dreamed up on the page. There’s no other way to keep your facts straight and build them into a compelling narrative: you have to know how to outline a nonfiction book.
In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to do that.