Both of these books appeared in my mailbox this week.
Both of these books are about solving similar problems–about completion and what keeps us from getting there. The promised solutions though are very different.
Piers Steel wants to recognize all of the things that have been stopping you from doing and deal with your delaying. Russell Bishop wants you to find a new way through your cluttered and complicated life.
Now let me ask two questions: which one would you pick up based on the cover? And, which one do you think will sell better in the long term?
The framing of the book is everything and the number of people who can identify with the problem as well as the solution will tell you a lot about how well a book will do. The frame is not the only thing, but it certainly determines the size of the prospect pool for the book.
I like the Procrastination Equation cover better. The idea of a single image on white background is no longer new, but it worked very well for this cover. In the long run Work Arounds that Work will likely sell more based on the cover. Why?
The other book has the word Equation in its title, this sends a message that is will be a more difficult book to read.
The Author has Ph D next to his name, a good thing, it supports the first point, however I am not sure this is necessarily a the way to go with mass marketing.
The second book has David Allen pasted on the front page, not a big deal for me but this will draw in some casual browser.
The title of the second book sounds ‘how to-ish” this could trick the buyer to see the instant value in making that purchase.
My two cents.
I’m not sure about cover art (I tend to like the design of the white cover better), but the “Workarounds that Work” is a much better title. It’s active and makes a promise that speaks to the reader. If I have a problem with procrastination, I don’t want to read about procrastination—I already know about that. I want to read about how to fix it. As for the PhD? Credentials do not necessarily equal expertise or know-how.
You are both hitting on important points.
Procrastination Equation has a more elegant cover. An interesting question is whether a stopwatch in a clamp graphically represents the reader delaying action. The word equation implies research, but could turn off some expecting an overly complicated solution.
Workarounds That Work plays to a concept that everyone already know and the promise of the book is even better shortcuts. The cover art matches what McGraw-Hill commonly does with just using text for their covers. Workaround that Work plays to the “you-can-fix-it-now” approach, the familiar tact of making the best out of what you have. I am normally skeptical of endorsements, but David Allen (who name is in a larger font size than the authors) might improve the pick up rate.
Rob hit on the head what I was trying to get it: selling a book on procrastination is a tough sell. No one wants to admit that they have that problem. Harper is positioning the book for smart people, individuals who are willing to admit they have a problem and want the best research on the topic. Procrastination Equation will likely get some good coverage in the media, because journalists will be interested in talk about it, but the disconnect will come with the reader’s willingness to pick the book up and buy it.
In the end, books are product and readers need to identify with the problem presented. The problem and how it is presented (framed) is incredibly important in the success of a book.