Chap Stick and the Power of Packaging

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1106 Design

December 13, 2010

If you spend any time reading blogs about self-publishing (including this one), you’ll see the same phrases over and over again: The Cover Sells the Book; Your Book Cover is Your Package; Your Book Cover is Not the Place to Save Money. The problem with all of these messages is that they don’t sound very convincing. They don’t explain WHY.

So, I’m going to tell you my own story about  how packaging really does work, and if you observe your own behavior the next time you go shopping, you’ll be able to add a similar story of your own.

Dry winter air being what it is (even in Phoenix), I was shopping for lip balm this weekend. The usual selection of wax-filled stubby tubes was on display. Most were labeled “lip balm”; a few were labeled “lip therapy.” Some packages were pastel-colored to reflect the flavors inside (oddly, tropical fruit flavors, perhaps to distract us from winter). With minor variations, I’d seen all of them before. Z-z-z-z-z-z.

Then I noticed something different: A slender white tube with the words Soft Lips, printed in what was probably a custom handwriting font designed especially for this product. Into the shopping cart it went, even though it cost more. The question is, Why?

Did I know intellectually that this tube contained the same waxy substance as all the others. Yes. But now I knew what I was going to get for my money. And, I was entertained. (Go ahead, add a snarky comment here, if you like.) The ho-hum task of buying lip balm momentarily reminded me that life still holds surprises, that surprises are found in the most unlikely places, and that surprises are worth paying for.

I purchased that brand of lip balm, because the small package delivered a very big message. Your book cover and title can deliver a similarly powerful message to your prospective readers, so they’ll put your book into their shopping cart, too.

What do you want to know? What topics should we explore together? How can we help you along your publishing journey? Everyone here at 1106 Design wants to help. Post your comment here or email us using the Contact Us page.

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