Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PublishAmerica's CEO compares his authors to bird poop!

Letter from PublishAmerica's CEO:

The red, blue and black of birds and books
Birds don't discriminate when it's time to go to the bathroom in mid-air. Or do they?

Seems they do. A new study shows that birds prefer to poop on red cars, in 18 pct of all droppings. Blue cars are second with 14 pct. Black is next (11 pct), then white (7), grey/silver (3), and finally green with only 1 pct. Before you decide that birds apparently don't like red, but love green, hold your judgement. The opposite may be true. How do we know? Let's look at the books you have at home. More after this book review, Quest for Forgiveness: A Marlee Whittacre Novel by Marilyn Keeton (

Everyone makes mistakes. But Marlee isn't sure if the life-changing decision she made five years ago was really a mistake. All she knows now is that she wants forgiveness. Five years ago, she abandoned her family for a love she had never before experienced—a love that filled a hole inside her. She acted on that feeling and her entire family suffered for it. Sounds familiar? Author Marilyn Keeton touches on a subject that has plagued marriages throughout history—lost passion and the feeling of being invisible, and the eternal challenge: what is a spouse going to do about it?<

What's challenging in Quest for Forgiveness is Marlee's ability to admit that she hurt those she left behind and the fact that she doesn't make excuses for those actions. Readers who identify with Marlee probably admire her courage and the strength it takes for her to walk back into the lives of those she pained and ask for the forgiveness she's sure she won't be given. In her novel, Marilyn Keeton uncovers the torment that one can endure after making a decision that painfully affects others, but also the satisfaction of forgiveness that follows more often than not.

Find Quest for Forgiveness

The bird poop study was done in Britain, and announced last week. They tracked droppings on 1140 cars in five big cities, and found the results consistent in all five. Red is pooped on the most, green the least. Hm, maybe that's because only two percent of all cars are painted green? Possibly, but unlikely. Silver/grey cars count for 17 pct of all vehicles, but attract only 3 pct of all the poop.

The scientists insist that birds are actually attracted by some colors more than by others, as in: some colors attract their attention better, in an apparently comfortable manner. I know nothing about ornithology, but I believe them. After all, people's eyes work the same way. We're not exactly colorblind ourselves.

Just take a moment and scan your bookshelves.

The dominant colors on book covers are red, black and blue. The only reason why you also find a lot of white on book covers is that the paper stock is white. It's the background color. If paper would be orange or purple, you'd see those colors instead.

Why do book covers show so much red, black and blue? Nobody is instructing cover art designers to stick to those colors. It's automatic. We are attracted by it, it gives us comfort, apparently. Certainly, the same is true for green, together with brown the dominant earth tone: very comfortable, pleasantly down to earth. But you don't see it very often on book covers.

Publishers design covers for two purposes, one is conscious, the other is not. Consciously we know that we have only 8 seconds to catch a book buyer's initial attention. That's how long, on average, a consumer in a bookstore pauses to examine a book's front cover. Then we have an additional 14 seconds tokeep the consumer's attention: they spend that time to read what's on the back cover.

That's all, 22 seconds only. And in bookstores only. We don't know the first thing about how fast people move past a book's cover art when they're not in a bookstore but, for instance, while they're scanning it online. My guess: they spend less time on a cover that, on a computer, is not really a cover, but just another illustration.

The conscious process of designing a book cover includes what colors to use. Trends have something to do with it, but essentially the colors are dictated by what's already in the illustration that the designer has in mind. That illustration is, obviously, directly related to what's inside the book. And what's inside the book apparently prompts the use of red, blue and black, time and again. That's the conscious decision.

But it's the subconscious decision as well. Because no artist designs a cover for 22 seconds only. They know that the book has a shelf life, literally. When bought, it sits on a shelf in somebody's home for many years, usually with only the spine exposed. The average width of a book spine is a half inch. That half inch must please and comfort the human eye for years to come. And what the designer chooses on the book spine, all over the world, is primarily red, blue, and black.

A preference that we now know humans share with birds. Coincidence?

Your call
I invite you to talk back to me.
I don't guarantee a response, but I do guarantee that we listen. You can reach me by email at">

1 comment:

thank you for taking the time to share yome.ur thoughts on the Bogus Barrister crime blog. Please note hyperlinks are not permitted so comment spammers are wasting their time. Spam comments will not be published.