Thursday, April 26, 2012

Learning from the best #2

Well, it's that time again to peruse the New York Times Best Sellers and see whether the top sellers have learned to sell from their cover. On first glance, I would say no, but I'll humour my readers by reviewing each one even so. The same rules apply: I'm not reviewing the book; I'm not reviewing based on the synopsis. The only thing I review is the cover and determine whether you can judge a book by its cover.

So, the #1 Best Seller is Calico Joe by John Grisham and I am not impressed. No offence to Indie Writers (with me being one of them), but it looks like something I could whip up in about 5 minutes in Photoshop. Note the swoosh on a ball not being hit out of the park (the ball looks to have started its flight from outside the park). The font looks a little cheesy and if I didn't know that John Grisham was a revered author, would have thought this was his first indie novel. I like the subtitle: A Novel. Just in case you were wondering what that strange item was in your hands.
2/5 for teh photoshop skillz and because I like Baseball.

The #2 is called Guilty Wives by JAMES PATTERSON ... and David Ellis. I think David might have a complex about being relegated to the ankles of the trussed up heroine. I have a feeling that James Patterson came in and wrote a paragraph or so while David wrote the rest (a good ploy for getting Ellis' name out into the public). I cannot help thinking of Desperate Housewives when I see the title or maybe When Animals Attack! My spider senses tell me this can only be a comedy but the mini blurb sort of takes on a 'What happens in Vegas ...' vibe. Except that in this it looks like murder is the raison d'etre for this story.
4/5 for the comedic lowest common denominator story that I imagine in my head.

The #3 is called The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark. Well, it looks like it's a story about an attractive female attempting to spy on something from behind some giant ratty old pieces of paper. There appears to be a religious connotation (the cross replacing the T of lost). I see no text on the torn paper so I'm pretty sure this is not the sacrilegious result of tearing up a Bible. The cover doesn't grab me but at least it has higher production values than the #1. Again, there is a need to emphasise that this is a novel (could this be 'the magic' my novel is missing?).

3/5 for the mystery and slightly comical stalking pose of the heroine.

And so, once again, I would say that something other than the cover is motivating people to read these books. It's interesting that The Lost Years is #3 with only 27 reviews to its credit (and a 3-star average). Assuming that there's a 20% hit rate on reviews / ratings, that would mean that this book was bought 135 times. Not exactly a bestseller but maybe her readers don't like reviewing her book?  Does that mean that if I get 19 more reviews I would somehow steal the #3 spot? Food for thought, indeed.