Authors and Branding

So, I was pretty psyched this week to receive an advance reading copy of Jonathan Tropper’s new book, ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO.


I finished it in less than a day.

This is not going to be a review, that will come later, I’m actually more interested in talking about the book cover right now.

Tropper’s previous (and breakthrough) novel, THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU, had a nice cover design, which, upon the book’s success resulted in the cover deigns of his previous novels to be redesigned and the paperbacks re-issued. You can see all the book covers here.

His previous four novels had horrible book cover designs and the reissues where a vast improvement and an indication of the creation of a brand. I’m not one to advocate judging books by their covers, but that, as a freelance logo/brand identity designer, I think a poorly designed cover can reflect poorly on the words contained within. And I think a successful author can benefit by having his or her books have a similar look. I figured that’s what the Dutton books, Tropper’s publisher, was going for.

Apparently not, as can be seen by the galley in the photo above. The cover of his new book is a complete departure from the identity that had been established by the new covers designed for his previous books.

I should note, I don’t dislike the cover of ONE LAST THING BEFORE I GO, I just find it odd that money and effort was put into creating what was essentially a brand for Tropper, and then tossing it out. The lettering is reminiscent of the Superman movies of the late 1970s and early 1980’s. I thought maybe there was a connection in novel itself, but no.

So, I am not sure what the reason was for abandoning the book cover archetype that had been applied to all his previous books. But. in the end, an author proves their worth by writing good books. Tropper writes excellent books, and that, not the book cover, should be the reason people read his books.