Friday, April 06, 2007

In Praise of a Blank Cover

Yesterday in his blog, Seth Godin wrote In praise of a blank page. Here is what he had to say about book covers:

"A friend just sent me a book he worked on. It's a terrific book, but it has an astonishingly mediocre (if that's possible) cover. I can just see how the cover came to be. There were proposals and meetings and compromises and a deadline. As the deadline loomed, the compromises came more often, until they ended up with a cover that didn't match the power of the book.

"They should have just shipped a cover that was blank.

"Knowing that you need to ship a blank cover if you can't come up with something great focuses the mind and takes the edge of the conversations about compromise. If 'good enough' isn't good enough, and if the alternative is certain failure, people will dig in and come up with something better."

I think if publishers published more books with blank covers, we'd eventually end up with more great covers. Read Seth's post. He has more to say than what I quoted here.


In fact, while you're there, read his post from today as well: The most important rule.

In today's post he cites the following rule: By a factor of three, what you do is not nearly as important as how it makes people feel.

That's a rule I have to practice more. Sometimes, in the hustle of day-to-day details, I forget the larger picture -- which in my case is this: Why I'm doing what I'm doing. In short, I'm doing what I'm doing because I want to help people. Everything else is secondary.

What is your big picture? Why are you writing books? Why are you doing what you are doing? Answer that. And, if somewhere in your answer, there are no people, put some people in. People matter. Blank pages are great!
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