My memoir, The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement, is now available in paperback (in Australia). It has been included in the 2009 Books Alive! campaign, which means the cover features a sticker declaring it to be “One of the 50 Books You Can’t Put Down”, and I get to do some more publicity during the month-long campaign in September. I am grateful to the nameless book-loving committees around the country who selected my book for inclusion in the campaign, which annually encourages people into bookshops and offers them a guide to “good books” across a range of tastes and ages – fiction, children’s, sports, “true stories”, and so on.
Those of you familiar with the hardback edition might be surprised at the dramatically different cover treatment for the paperback (above). It’s a fascinating lesson in book publishing and marketing. The Books Alive campaign is unashamedly mass market in its appeal, and this cover is designed specifically to appeal to women readers of fiction and memoir. I’m delighted because it means that some readers will buy my book who might never have given the hardback a second glance. This cover, in the word of a savvy friend, tells them it’s “safe” to read my book, with its soothing colour palette and its superimposed butterflies. That may or not be the case – that’s up to each reader to decide – but if a new approach helps build a readership for a first-time author, I’m all for it. I would be curious to know what readers think about this cover.