28 January 2011

New Look, Same Great Taste

I always groan when I see words like New Look, Same Great Taste printed on the package of some product or other.

I suppose the producer is trying to reassure the public that what's inside hasn't changed (we all learned a lot from New Coke, didn't we?) even though the wrapper looks unfamiliar. But to me it always sounds like they're bragging about using a new layout on the package... as if that makes a big difference when you consume what's inside.

Sure, wine in expensive bottles tastes better than wine in cheap-looking bottles (even if it's the exact same wine), but something's fishy if the main message to consumer is "Look! New colors on our package!"

Having said all that, I'm proud to announce that my Radical Elements of Radical Success book has (drumroll please)... a brand new cover!

Now, I didn't rewrite a single word inside. I just replaced the craptastic original cover with a new one designed by the amazing Andrew Figel. New look, same great taste!

A quick look at my blue, yellow & red cover should make the need for change obvious. It looked like a 2nd grader did it. A second grader who only had 3 crayons. And who was told he couldn't go to recess until it was done so he'd better hurry up. Also, points would be taken off for creativity.

OLD  --> The Radical Elements of Radical Success    The Radical Elements of Radical Success<---NEW

The nicest thing I can say about my old cover is I managed to color inside the lines, but given the content of the book, I'm not sure that's a meaningful compliment. It's not even bad enough to be so-bad-it's-good. It's just bad. You'd think a guy who jabbers about design so much would be able to do something better than this. Sadly, this blue and yellow hideousness is literally... the best cover I could make. 

Andrew's cover, on the other hand, is gorgeous.

Will the book sell more copies now that it's got a better cover? Dunno. In a sense, that's not really the point (ok, it's kind of the point). Will readers enjoy the book more, ala the expensive bottle/cheap bottle wine experiment? Maybe. But the real reason for the change is to replace something sucktacular with something cool, by enlisting the assistance of someone who knows what he's doing (thank you, Andrew!) instead of relying on my own fumbling efforts.

I'm a big advocate of the DIY approach to making things. But I'm also in favor of collaboration. I think there's much wisdom in working together with people whose skill sets complement your own. Particularly if you're a writer whose visual skills are obviously limited to primary colors. A graphic designer I'm not.

So, stop on by Rogue Press to get your copy of the New Look. Thanks to improvements at Lulu, the price even dropped from $12 to $7.95 (and it's only $3 for the eBook, or read it online for free!).


Craig Brown said...

Dan - watch this

Raymond said...

Am I the only one who is lame and can't see the new cover?

Anonymous said...

Damn It, now you've made me buy copies of the new books for the office.

Great stuff. Next time I'm in DC (I stay at the Double Tree on New Hampshire) I'll buy lunch. Can I catch Blue/Orange at the Pentagon / Pentagon City stop?

Dan Taylor said...

Dan - just an admin note -- if you moderate comments first and can fix links, no need to post comment.

New cover isn't showing, and link to book doesn't work. And I think you mean "complementary" with an "e".

I'll search for book, find and buy it. Have a great weekend!

The Dan Ward said...

Sorry for the missing cover - it shows up on Google Chrome, but for some reason IE doesn't display it. Lemme poke around under the hood and see what's wrong...

The Dan Ward said...

@Craig - thanks for the link recco! Love the Ted Talks, and Seth is always fascinating!

@Dan - good catch on complementary / complimentary... thanks! And hopefully the book link is working now...

The Dan Ward said...

@Glen - thanks for picking up some books! I hope you & your office enjoy them!

Definitely look me up next time you're in DC. Lunch would be great (and yeah, Blue/Orange line works).

Dan Taylor said...

Dan - LInk and image work now. I'd searched and found it y'day. Just finished it. Good, thought provoking stuff. I appreciate you taking the time to turn scrap of paper into short book! Dan

The Dan Ward said...

@Dan - Super! I'm not sure what I did wrong with the first image, but glad to see the fix worked. I'll be sure to test future blog posts from IE and Chrome both...