I guess I should really call this post "Quotes over Covers".
Here's what I see a lot of authors doing. They have a new release with a gorgeous cover. They are absolutely in love with it and assume everyone else will be as well. Under this misguided assumption, they create mountains of swag, everything from bookmarks to coffee mugs, with their cover image all over it.
What is hard for these authors to understand is that no one loves their cover as much as they do. It's harsh, but true. Even if I think a cover is absolutely stunning, I don't want a t-shirt with the cover screen printed on it unless it's my book. Even then, I'm probably only going to wear it to trade shows and library talks.
Readers don't connect with a cover anymore than they connect with your font or page layout. All of those things need to be top notch to create a quality product, but a great cover is not why readers will share your book with their friends.
Readers do connect with the story and the characters. And they will remember a powerful line or quote. Consider these two options.
1. A tote bag with a screen print of your favorite Harry Potter cover:
2. A tote bag with a Dumbledore quote
|FYI...you can totally buy this as a vinyl wall decoration!|
For me, I'm going with number two and I'd wager to say that most readers would pick this one as well. After all, I found vinyl wall decor with this quote on it. People pay money to hang this in their house!
Now, I can hear the hesitancy. But, Sarah, if the swag doesn't have my book cover on it, how is it going to publicize my book. I'll tell you how, it'll do it even better than your book cover!
Think about it. You are standing in line behind someone who has a cover image on the back of their shirt. Okay. You might make a mental note to check out that book, but you aren't likely to engage someone from that t-shirt. Why, you have no starting point. What do you say? Nice cover? Now, you're standing in line behind someone with a quote on the back of their shirt. You mention to the person in front of you that you like the quote on their shirt and they launch into a gushy fan fest of why this book is the best thing they've read since Dr. Seuss. Now, you really want to read this book.
Quotes are usually easier and cheaper to print on swag, swag with a quote is more likely to be used or worn than the same swag with a cover, and a quote is more likely to engage non-fans in conversation which in turn is more likely to get them interested in your book. And, at the end of the day, that's what it's all about.