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.
You’ve decided to plunge into the world of e-commerce, but there’s a problem: you aren’t sure how to get started with eBay product sourcing.
You might already be familiar with Amazon, but instead of sticking to items that can compete with Amazon’s strong gadget, name-brand toy, and book market, you want to sell items that are a little more obscure: sports cards, first-edition books, comics, or used electronics.
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.
One alumni weekend at the private school where my mom used to work, the principal of the school revealed his magnum opus of the year: a mockup of his dream plan for developing the campus into a paradise for teenagers in the middle of Montana. An ice rink for the long winters. A brand-new sparkling cafeteria building. Elegant dormitories. Donations rolled in.
That’s the importance of a mockup. And by implementing mockup testing with an audience of potential buyers and users of your product, you make sure it’s high-quality before you commit to a huge project.
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.
Choosing fonts for products might seem unimportant to some, but savvy sellers know that design choices make a difference in earning customer trust (and sales).
In this recent PickFu poll, a seller asked 50 people which font and design they would find the most suitable for a product designed for babies.
Option A combined a messy script with a serif font and a leaf design. Option B used handwritten and sans-serif fonts with an illustrated flower. Option C offered a bold script and sans-serif font with cloud drawings.
The products also differed slightly in wording and capitalization.
If you’re looking for a fully customizable e-commerce platform, Magento 2 is the place for you.
Unlike other e-commerce sites like Shopify — which is an excellent choice for small businesses and those just beginning to venture into the e-commerce world — Magento allows for plenty of flexibility.
You just have to know how to code. As long as you’ve got basic coding knowledge and are willing to learn, you (or your team of web developers) can make your e-commerce website look exactly how you want it to look.
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.
Comfort, ergonomics, and general wellbeing are all big businesses right now. As our time in front of our computers grows longer, smart online sellers know they shouldn’t choose trending products to sell without consulting target shoppers first.