The most interesting thing I learnt from the gazillion panels I attended at WorldCon had very little to do with writing. It did however have a lot to do with selling books and that slightly obscure thing called “packaging” which to non-publishing folk translates as book covers.
So why was that panel so interesting? As an aspiring novelist, it was terrify… ahem…interesting to hear that badly packaging a first novel can harm its sales and therefore the likelihood of a second book. Yes, the industry bods preset said they could unintentionally kill our budding careers with badly chosen covers. *Gulp.*
But of course we trust them to get it right so I’m sure that it rarely happens!
And what are they doing when choosing covers? Mostly, they are trying to attract new readers to a book by communicating the feel of reading the book. This solves years of puzzlement for me: Why do book covers sometimes have nothing to do with the story inside, and why they do different covers by country.
The things you learn, ey?