I've learned in my old age that often the cover is a pretty good representation of what you'll find inside. Publishers often devote more time and resources to the art direction of a cover than to the editing of the actual content of books. They realize that the cover is what draws people in or in other cases cases them away. At any rate, it gives a pretty apt representation of what's to come.
Many of you know I've returned to the retail world [briefly.] I was at work the night before Halloween kinda counting down until it was time for me to go when this "young lady" walked into my store. I immediately, internally, drew several conclusions. After less then a minute, i deduced that she couldn't be older than 20, that she was from somewhere in North Georgia, that she was "country ghetto," and that she was as somehow in the sex industry.
She entered the store on her cell phone (which is not abnormal) talking unnecessarily loud. She was yelling at someone with this unmistakably "Georgia Mountains" twang of an accent but there was this Shaniqua attitude attached to it. As she spoke, her hand was going in every direction as though that somehow helped to get her point across to the party on the other end of her phone. She ended each phrase with, "or whatever,' or 'and what not." I didn't know whether to be offended, annoyed, or just laugh.
This went on for about :15. After :5 or so she'd abruptly end the call by slamming her flip phone shut and yelling some expletive like this person was putting her out in some way. Finally she addressed me. She explained that, "[she] had never been in my store, or what not, but that she'd wanted to get her husband something nice for Christmas." As any good sales person would, I began to ask questions and show her what options we had. She volunteered that she and her husband would be celebrating their first Christmas together and that she wanted to get him something nice. "He's an older gentleman... he's 33 or what not, so I want to get him something old school that he would like."
Apparently 33 is now old. I couldn't hold back my laughter, but I figured she's used to being laughed at as she was unscathed and never broke her "Chiquita meets Shania Twain" persona. After aimless wondering around my store for nearly :30 I offered her a catalog to take with her. She thanked me and then began to flip through it. She would turn to and decided on a $3400 shaving set. When I told her the price, I expected the usual, "that's too expensive" response. She casually offered that she was a stripper and that money was no object. My nonchalant, "okay," even surprised me.
As I continued to try and usher her out the door, she turned to me and asked, "how much is the book?" All I could say was baby, it's a catalog and it's free.
I told that little story to illustrate how important it is to see ourselves as others may. As soon as that girl walked in my store I said to myself, she's either a stripper or a prostitute. I don't know of a single woman who wants to come off like a stripper... even the ones who are. People often see us for exactly who and what we are, even when we choose not to. Be sure that your cover is a true representation of your content.