Let me leave you with another story. Years ago, when I was a young philosophy student on the island of Malta, I visited Jerusalem. I loved history and archaeology, so when an old man with a shovel standing in the Jerusalem cemetery offered to sell me a silver Roman coin, I snatched it up. I think it cost me around $30. I looked it up later on ebay and saw them selling for over $500, so I thought I’d gotten a great deal. I LOVED that coin. For years it was one of my favorite possessions.
But then in grad school, when I was having trouble paying the rent, I considered selling it. I took it to an antiques shop to get it appraised… and they told me it was a fake. The old man had sold me exactly what I wanted, and I was happy to pay him for it, and I cherished what the coin represented to me and how it made me feel. There’s real, personal value in that. But when I tried to sell it on the marketplace based on intrinsic value to other people, I found it had none. This is the main danger I see with authors who design their own covers. Not only do they spend WAY too much time fiddling around with it, but they’re also reluctant to let it go and try something else, even if it’s sabotaging their book sales.
So consider… do you WANT to be a cover designer? Do you want to spend 10,000 hours and become the best cover designer in the world? Or would you rather be writing books? You can absolutely juggle more than one skill, and become proficient, but mastery takes dedication. I hope my resources will make you good enough to design books quickly, so you can focus most of your time on writing more books. But don’t get swept up in the creative process. It’s fun, I know! But remember the point. You need a cover that helps sell the book. That’s it, that’s all. The cover is packaging. It’s important, but it’s not ART (going back to Einstein’s quote, the opposite should be true: instead of mysterious, it should be obvious and immediate).
This is why I say 95% of book marketing happens before you publish, because if you get the basics right, your positioning and packaging should make the sale, without you needing to convince people to buy. I know I dumped a TON of resources on you in this email, so I’m going to give you a few days to look through it. But there’s one more really important thing we need to talk about: because the truth is, beautiful book design doesn’t matter if nobody sees is.
So I’m going to share my really weird strategy for publishing #1 bestsellers WITHOUT book marketing, and also how I colluded with the Russians to sell 4000 copies of my first book. Stay tuned!