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 11 
 on: October 12, 2017, 11:25:42 AM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by BoogieMonster
IMHO: The "magic" that sells products is an entirely subjective non-rational phenomena. I've read, and observed in people around me, that most people pick a car purely on aesthetics or its "image", with practical, technical, and even monetary considerations usually taking a back seat (pun intended). On critiquing a person's decision to buy a hugely expensive luxury car that, to me, doesn't handle very well... and then brand-new instead of pre-owned, an engineer told me: "I know it's not rational, I know it makes no sense, but I still want it", and he bought it anyway...

I agree that grabbing attention amongst all those other books competing for it in the book store will give a book an edge, mostly because humans "eat with their eyes". I would think especially in the case of a child... stubbornly insisting on a pretty-looking book in a store is what sways most parents to buy it, regardless of the content.

But, in the internet age I think what is WAY more important are user review scores and website recommendations (iow: Appearing on the front page). Most people have no idea what they're looking for, but will happily click whatever pops up on their radar. Once you've got that eyeball, that's where the abstracts, et al. come into the picture. But you can't get there without that initial pull of interest. As you well note: Success breeds success, and it seems to me obvious that well-known authors do better much as any type of artist with repute does better than arguably better artists with less fame.

To me, word-of-mouth is my main means of knowing what to look for. There's so much out there, it's hard to know what you want without some guidance from the society around you... very few people want to go digging through the infinity of amazon's catalogue for gems.

Even more moreover, even when the content is decidedly sub-par a little momentum often propels books to stratospheric success simply because people want to see what the fuss is about (I'm looking at you "50 shades"). Maybe this is the thing: even if a couple of people buy a book based on its cover, and then read it, if any good they then recommend it to friends, which then becomes a self perpetuating snowball. However small, the momentum has to start from something that has nothing to do with the content, since on launch nobody knows the content.


Your laments remind me of this passage from "Shibumi":

Quote
But we are in the age of the mediocre man. He is dull, colorless, boring—but inevitably victorious. The amoeba outlives the tiger because it divides and continues in its immortal monotony. The masses are the final tyrants. See how, in the arts, Kabuki wanes and Nô withers while popular novels of violence and mindless action swamp the mind of the mass reader. And even in that timid genre, no author dares to produce a genuinely superior man as his hero, for in his rage of shame the mass man will send his yojimbo, the critic, to defend him. The roar of the plodders is inarticulate, but deafening.

 12 
 on: October 11, 2017, 05:45:58 AM 
Started by Tweefo - Last post by brianvds
There is some control, a friend of mine had one (muzzleloader) and I remember him having to show his ID to buy the powder, and he could only buy a certain amount. He could have gone to another dealer of course, so not much control.

Yes, they control the gun powder to some extent. Of course, you could make your own.

 13 
 on: October 10, 2017, 13:08:39 PM 
Started by Tweefo - Last post by Tweefo
Very little crime is committed with legal firearms in SA. The government wanted to change the gun laws but the con court halted that. Meanwhile many old and unwanted firearms were handed in. 2000 of these were resold by the police to Cape Flats gangsters. Colonel Prinsloo is in jail for that and other cases are still in progress. That gun taken to school by the 7 year old kid was unlicenced with the serial number filed off. The father is on the run.

And this is another factor not taken into account. It's all very well to try to remove all handguns from Swedish or German society. In a country with high levels of police corruption, and hopeless administration, you simply cannot have people hand in thousands of firearms to the police.

Something I did learn the other day: in both America and south Africa, it is legal to own a muzzle loader without a license. Maybe that's the way to go for people who want a firearm. :-)
There is some control, a friend of mine had one (muzzleloader) and I remember him having to show his ID to buy the powder, and he could only buy a certain amount. He could have gone to another dealer of course, so not much control.

 14 
 on: October 10, 2017, 12:19:55 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
My latest book, the sequel to "Moses was a Liar" is titled "Christians, Cannibals and Cannabis" seems to be making the grade on Inkitt publishing platform and has been selected as Preferred Reading. It is still in beta format and free digital copies are available for comment.

Well, may it turn into a bestseller. :-)

 15 
 on: October 10, 2017, 08:36:23 AM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by Brian
My latest book, the sequel to "Moses was a Liar" is titled "Christians, Cannibals and Cannabis" seems to be making the grade on Inkitt publishing platform and has been selected as Preferred Reading. It is still in beta format and free digital copies are available for comment.

 16 
 on: October 10, 2017, 08:28:23 AM 
Started by Tweefo - Last post by Brian
Paintguns also work well: not too accurate though but balls loaded with Pepperspray are great deterrents: no licence required.

 17 
 on: October 07, 2017, 02:15:19 AM 
Started by Tweefo - Last post by brianvds
Very little crime is committed with legal firearms in SA. The government wanted to change the gun laws but the con court halted that. Meanwhile many old and unwanted firearms were handed in. 2000 of these were resold by the police to Cape Flats gangsters. Colonel Prinsloo is in jail for that and other cases are still in progress. That gun taken to school by the 7 year old kid was unlicenced with the serial number filed off. The father is on the run.

And this is another factor not taken into account. It's all very well to try to remove all handguns from Swedish or German society. In a country with high levels of police corruption, and hopeless administration, you simply cannot have people hand in thousands of firearms to the police.

Something I did learn the other day: in both America and south Africa, it is legal to own a muzzle loader without a license. Maybe that's the way to go for people who want a firearm. :-)

 18 
 on: October 06, 2017, 19:41:10 PM 
Started by Tweefo - Last post by SKEPRat
Some guys really believe this. I had a long frustrating conversation on my broadband with some guy with an info systems degree about electric aeroplanes. He believed it could be done easily. Then got nasty when all the things to be overcome like energy density/weight ratio and landing weight started becoming more obvious and rained on his parade. Some people really want to believe things.

 19 
 on: October 06, 2017, 19:35:58 PM 
Started by Tweefo - Last post by SKEPRat
Very little crime is committed with legal firearms in SA. The government wanted to change the gun laws but the con court halted that. Meanwhile many old and unwanted firearms were handed in. 2000 of these were resold by the police to Cape Flats gangsters. Colonel Prinsloo is in jail for that and other cases are still in progress. That gun taken to school by the 7 year old kid was unlicenced with the serial number filed off. The father is on the run.

 20 
 on: October 05, 2017, 09:41:13 AM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
Its interesting to observe and discuss, due to books about "secrets" of success in whatever realm, people (who read) as become a tad wiser. There are far more skeptical people around now than ten years ago. We are all still attracted to certain inbedded narratives though. Think about popcorn at the movies, our generation still falls for that every time but my 20ish aged kids couldnt be bothered, they want the movie.

Me, I haven]t seen a movie in the theatre in ages. Partly due to the prohibitive cost. Partly also because Ster Kinekor updated and "improved" their website in such a way that I can no longer make head or tails of it, so it is impossible to work out what is showing where and when. I'm just not that much into movies anymore, and when I do want to see one, I can now download it from the web for free. But when I still did do movies, I never bought the popcorn - it's obviously overpriced. I just smuggled in my own snacks. :-)

Quote
Its subconcious. I wouldnt go for garish colours, but a beautifully drawn cover or a striking black background with just the title would have me curious.
For the 50+ ladies reading fiction only, believe it or not, and Im concious of generalising here, subtle sexual undertones will sell the book, those reading the abundance of self help and personal development scripts, want the promise of being "better" or "smarter" just a promise of a one liner somewhere in there that "speaks" to them. Nancy Klein managed to get that one right by fluke. Pure white cover and the title "Time to think". Billions of introverts made her a billionaire.... she stated the obvious.

Me, I have never heard of her, but then, I am not much into the self-help book scene. Usually their covers, showing some dynamic dude in a suit, put me right off.

I do children's books, where at least for the younger kids, a colorful cover is almost required, but I noticed that with the print-on-demand thing, books with color illustrations are apparently much more expensive than ones published via the established publishers. And thus, it is almost impossible to compete. So I put my ideas for such books on the back burner (I might write some as free giveaways at some point), and decided to focus on short novels for the teen or tween market, because for those you need neither illustrations nor necessarily even a particularly fancy cover. The plain black cover you refer to above might even do.

Of course, with kids' books one has to keep in mind that it's often parents who buy the books rather than kids, so they are actually your audience. Hence the continued success of Enid Blyton, despite the fact that most of her books are as generically boring as anything, and I doubt whether any kids actually still read them. This doesn't bode well for my plan to do things in the line of supernatural scary stories; parents may well be put off, because it's not the kind of wholesome entertainment they envision as being "good for kids."

This has been a problem (for kids) for ages: I remember well what boring crap they forced me to read at school, when what I actually wanted to read was Tintin. And then, around grade 6 or 7, I discovered Konsalik, packed with juicy sex and ultra-violence. Good luck to even get school libraries to stock those, let alone schools to prescribe them. :-)

Well, I'm rambling. My own thoughts are this: if one cannot make a really good cover, it is indeed better to do it as minimalistic as possible. But that is just my own personal aesthetics/opinion. I don't know how seriously one should take most of whatever research has been done on the issue.

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