Seven seconds to sell

Seven seconds to sell

John O’Gaunt students enjoyed a real treat of a deep industry insight during World Book ‘Week.’ Claire Ward, Creative Director of leading publisher Harper Collins no less, came in to speak to Ms Arden Hunt’s Y10 Media Students, and later, to Mrs Waddell’s Art Students.
 
Claire took the students through the whole fascinating process of marketing books through their covers – “whilst you should never ‘judge a book by its cover,’ browsers that pick up a book and scan its front and back cover will give it on average just seven seconds, before they decide to buy or borrow it. Seven seconds!” Claire outlined the surprising intricacies and challenges of the process – from imagining and amalgamating the author’s words into a single image on the front (and back or wraparound cover) and appointing an illustrator, photographer and photo shoot, designing a set or putting the cover together herself, blending images. 
 
Claire outlined the importance of genre conventions and visual cues for readers, as well as designing more ‘luxurious’ and special editions, perhaps for customers such as Waterstones – with gold foil, fancy covers and the new fashion for colourful sprayed edges or ‘spredges.’ She also explained the need for resilience and ‘people skills’ in such an industry. She said, ‘you have to learn to take disappointments and rejections, and not take them personally. You may spend hours on a cover, only for the marketing team to decide they don’t like it. And you have to be able to let people down gently, but firmly, if you – or the author – doesn’t like their artwork. Equally, you might be telling the author that the design they like won’t sell their book!’ The Creative Director expanded on the challenges around budget – as well as some industry secrets and insights that we just can’t tell you! It was a thrill to see such recognisable covers throughout Claire’s presentation, which she agreed with ‘when you get it right and it all comes together, seeing your book cover selling the book on the shelves and in reviews, is a huge reward!’
Media students clearly took her comments on board, when they got to design their own covers – Ms Arden Hunt said ‘they really paid attention to the idea of drafting and redrafting. You could see improvements, confidence and deeper understanding grow at each stage as they took on advice and comments.  It was an amazing, top-industry level insight & process in showcasing and marketing books, with so many career possibilities.  Illuminating. We were rapt!’

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