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 21 
 on: October 05, 2017, 05:21:51 AM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by Faerie
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. 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.
 

 22 
 on: October 04, 2017, 02:40:31 AM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
Rationally, readers dont judge, however, if your book is on the shelf with 5 others and I dont know any of the authers, my eye and hand will be drawn to both the cover and the title. I am unlikely to check all 5, and after one scan of the back cover - once again depending on how the book has been summarised - take it or dump it and move on to the other eye candy out there.

It matters unless you are Stephen King.

Well, that was the consensus on the FB group: a cover won't necessarily sway anyone, but a striking cover will help people notice a book in the first place, if it is on a shelf or in the midst of a bunch of thumbnails.

I do wonder though whether a striking cover is necessarily a good one (our eye will be drawn the neon yellow book, with the photo of the topless model, however garish and tasteless such a cover might be). And how did they do these studies? How did they decide what a good cover is? How repeatable were the studies? Once they had decided what a good cover is, how reliably could designers make more good covers, that worked as well as the others?

Of late I have become extremely skeptical of "studies", particularly in the humanities. I have now run into lots and lots of people who seem extremely confident that they know exactly how to go about this or that, when in fact, for all we know, they were just lucky.

If memory serves, Nassim Taleb goes into this phenomenon extensively in Fooled by Randomness. In short, it goes something like this: thousands of investors try their luck at the stock market. At a rate of attrition of 50% per year, after twenty years one has become a billionaire while the others are bankrupt. The billionaire now writes a book about his "secrets" of success. But blind luck would explain it every bit as well.

Same thing goes for lots of cultural products: books, movies, symphonies, whatever, become spectacularly successful, and after the fact we come up with explanations of why, and what the secret of success is. How can we tell it's not just luck? Or (probably more realistically) which component was luck? I don't know if the studies have ways to address this.

 23 
 on: October 04, 2017, 01:56:50 AM 
Started by Rigil Kent - Last post by brianvds
I'm getting ever more grateful that I don't have a smartphone, and ever more determined never to get one. I don't like the idea of my fucking phone outsmarting me. Just about the only thing you can say for them is that very often, their camera is better than an actual camera. But I'm not sure they[re worth it just for that.

Problem is, the infernal bloody things have become so ubiquitous that before long they will be like the Mark of the Beast: without them, you won't be able to do anything anymore.

How things have changed: when I was a kid we didn't even have a landline, and I was perfectly happy.

 24 
 on: October 03, 2017, 17:32:03 PM 
Started by Rigil Kent - Last post by Faerie
Go check your data usage on the wifi, these adds suck up data and for some reason its set on auto download. Your data usage will give you an indication which app is using how much. Set everything on manual download as well.

 25 
 on: October 03, 2017, 09:26:36 AM 
Started by Rigil Kent - Last post by st0nes
And switch off your background data downloads, if you are on an open contract you are in for the shock of your life come month end.
Thanks for this advice. I'm actually on prepaid, and I don't use data at all (switched off--I have wi-fi at work and at home, so what do I need it for?) and very little airtime (R100 lasts me about 6 months); almost all my calls are made over wi-fi whatsapp voice calls. How the hell do the vodacoms and MTNs make money? Beats me.

Anyway, this f***ing ad played again at 0330 on Monday morning. I was fast asleep, so didn't get the product again, but I went through the phone uninstalling everything I hadn't installed myself, deleting files I didn't know were required, and removing all possible permissions from apps. (By the way, why does my bank insist that it needs access to my camera?)

There was one app called Cleanmaster which has so far resisted all my efforts to get rid of it. I suspect it's a hideously malignant piece of malware, but it will have to wait till the weekend when I'll have time to Google ways and means of defeating it...

 26 
 on: October 03, 2017, 09:07:54 AM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by Faerie
There is a chapter in "Freakanomics" on the selling power of presentation. Studies have been done, its marketing 1:1

 27 
 on: October 03, 2017, 09:06:03 AM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by Faerie
Rationally, readers dont judge, however, if your book is on the shelf with 5 others and I dont know any of the authers, my eye and hand will be drawn to both the cover and the title. I am unlikely to check all 5, and after one scan of the back cover - once again depending on how the book has been summarised - take it or dump it and move on to the other eye candy out there.

It matters unless you are Stephen King.

 28 
 on: October 03, 2017, 08:59:31 AM 
Started by Rigil Kent - Last post by Faerie
And switch off your background data downloads, if you are on an open contract you are in for the shock of your life come month end.

 29 
 on: October 03, 2017, 08:57:43 AM 
Started by Rigil Kent - Last post by Faerie
Treat it like a PC. Switch off everything to do with sharing. It means you have to likely go into every bloody option and app on the damn thing to go look for it but thats the only way...

 30 
 on: October 01, 2017, 18:04:47 PM 
Started by brianvds - Last post by brianvds
I recently got into the self-publishing business, sort of on a whim (publishing some children's stories I wrote years ago as Christmas gifts for my brother's children). On a  Facebook group for self-published writers the question of book covers came up.

Now, some self-made covers that I have seen are genuinely godawful, but still, personally I never judge a book that way. I read the blurb on the back, and browse through, and that is crucial to my decision on whether or not to buy the book (or even borrow it from the library). However, a self-publisher on the group, who happens to be hugely successful and making a fortune from his books, said "try selling a book with a bad cover on Amazon."

On the face of it he had a point. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder. For one thing, how do we even define "bad cover." For another, even given that there is some meaningful definition, have any studies actually been done to determine the extent to which people will be swayed by the cover design? Is there any science here?

Any opinions/facts?

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