07 January 2011

Dear readers: time to play Pick That Cover

by Dan Phillips

Howdy, gang. Phil's welcoming a day off, so I get to ask you to help me on something. (Of course, I hope Phil and Frank pitch in, too.)

My manuscript has been edited and submitted to Kregel and... well, I'm not sure just where it is. But meanwhile, I've been working with Kregel's Cat Hoort on other aspects of publication. Cat is Kregel's marketing manager who is overseeing the new release campaign for my book, The World-Tilting Gospel.

It's been a fun process, exciting and scary by turns. Cat's been very helpful, and great to work with. We have formalized the title (as you'll see), have worked on audience, presenting the book, and various forms of my bio for differing uses.

Now we get to pick the cover, and Cat suggested that I invite your input.  Fun, eh? Ever do this before? Me either!

First, here are the two main candidates, presented in random order:

Cover A

Cover B

Second: your job is simply to say which you find more eye-catching and, if you don't mind, briefly explain why.

Now I realize that, at this point, you don't know a whole lot about what's inside the book. Actually, that's the point. Kregel wants to know: Which of those books look like anything you might pick up, flip over to read the back cover, and then maybe page through?

Two more things, both optional — well, the whole thing's optional, but I digress:
  1. If you don't mind, would you either give your age, or age range (i.e. 20-25, 95-100, whatever)? Be truthful, now.
  2. Do you have any position in a church — pastor, secretary, Sunday School teacher, Bible study leader, etc.? Share.
Thanks, I really do appreciate it, and hope it's some kind of fun for you, as this one was.

Dan Phillips's signature


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Sheldon said...

I like the second cover. I think it looks a little more authoritative. I am 36 and don't currently hold a position in a church but have been both a children and adult ministry pastor.

Anonymous said...


43 years old, semi-regular commenter, Sunday School teacher and occasional preacher (rarely to be truthful)...

I like cover #2. Cover one reminds me a little of some of the 70's & early 80's book/album covers I've seen...
Cover 2 really nails the hanging on tight in a way I can actually imagine to be real. (This coming from a guy who used to hang off the couch as a kid and look up at the ceiling imagining what it would be like if that was the floor...)

So...my psychological issues notwithstanding, I'll take door number 2.

DJP said...

First 2 comments: excellent. Thanks guys, great way to start the meta.

BTW by saying that, I'm not tipping which cover I prefer. Just meaning you're doing exactly what I'd hoped.


James Scott Bell said...

Dan, congrats on the next move.

I don't like A at all. I rather like B.

A looks like the poster of a dated 50s Broadway musical. I can't imagine it having a good impact on the market you intend it for.

B, OTOH, catches my attention and is contemporary.

I'm 55 and a pastor-teacher.

Gary Benfold said...

Don't really like either one... both look as if they're trying a bit too hard to be trendy. Sorry.

But of the two, I do prefer the second one - it looks more complete, finished, than the first one.

I'm 55, a pastor in the UK, and no judge at all of artistic merit.

Jennifer Peacock said...

Hi Dan:

I'm 35, a homeschooling mother of two girls, and I've been a Sunday School teacher.

I prefer cover A and would definitely pick up that from the shelf. I would probably pass on cover B if I was just looking at the art and not reading titles. Cover A just struck a pleasant visual tone with me; I can't offer anything much beyond that.

Steve Berven said...

44 years old, former lay pastor, now just a defunct blogger.

I'd go with #2. #1 has kind of a cool retro look to it, but I think the second one is more eye catching and takes less visual effort to assimilate. Has more "shelf appeal."

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I prefer B. It looks edgy and gives the sense that it might just challenge my thinking. A looks more light-hearted and frivolous, which I tend to not associate with the gospel for some reason.

I'm in my late thirties, mother, lay person, who hopes to one day be mature enough to be an elder's wife. ;-)

Mark B. Hanson said...

I like Cover B better, although it appears to be a riff on the ad with the guy in the chair with his hair blown back (Maxell cassette tapes).

Cover A made me think of the movie posters and credits for "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". In other words, sixties.

Mark B. Hanson said...

Oh, 57, PCA ruling elder, Sunday School teacher and computer programmer.

Death or Glory Toad said...

I like the style of the first cover, kinda retro-ish and catchy. But it's busy, the guy looks kinda too goofy.

I vote for #2: Linear, off-kilter eye-catching, colors are streamlined and "cool" all of which may serve to attract a wider spread of eyes (young and old).

I'm 36.

Ain't in any formal ministry biz but I've done some graphic design for a ministry or two and stuff.

donsands said...

The guy upsidedown in a chair is oaky, but perhaps he needs to be on a wall, or something to fit the word tilt.
Hanging on to the biblical worldview works.

I guess I like b the best. I'm sure the content will be quite edifying in the truth.

I'm 58 in March, and was an elder of an EFCA church. Now am just a church member at a Reformed Episcapol.

May the Lord bless your labor. (1 Cor. 15:58)

candy said...

I like the graphics on A, but would change the title to a much more colorful title in order to pop out and contrast with the rest of the cover...which is why I like the colors on B. I don't like the guy upside down in the chair, but the contrast in B is much stronger. I would change the upside down chair to an off kilter chair.

55 yrs old. Teacher at a Christian school, and artist.

Missy said...

My husband says, "As much as I like the first one, I think the second is just more appealing to me." He's 32 and holds no position in church.

I prefer A. I think it stands out more. The feel of B is something I am very used to seeing and maybe feels a little...common. I'm 34 and also a layperson.

Whichever cover you choose, I look forward to reading it!

Mike Riccardi said...

I like the second one, for many of the reasons already listed. The first does look like a retro-thing (in way that I don't think works), and the guy is goofy. The second one made me think about which direction was up and what was going on, and it's basically that the Gospel has radically changed the kid's life and he's right-side-up -- and trying to cling to it -- in an upside-down world. So, #2.

25, seminary student.

Pagey said...

I prefer B, by quite a margin. Brighter, bolder, clearer. Just more inviting. The subtitle jumps out more too, which is important I think.

I'm 34 and my position in the church is generally an aisle seat on the back row where I can stretch my legs and not feel too self-conscious. ;^)

Laura said...

I'm 41, a Sunday School teacher, wife of an elder in a reformed presbyterian church.

I prefer cover 2. That was my first reaction and still my reaction after reading the comments. I think I dislike cover 1 because the courier font is uncommon these days and it looks dirty.
Cover 2 looks much more like current covers (which may not be a real good thing :-) so it is more comfortable for me to look at.

FX Turk said...

The first cover is more eye-catching -- I think unquestionably it is the more visually-dynamic. However, it looks like there's a Marylin Meberg book in there, and your book is not that. I think it will attract the wrong people to pick up the book, and then put it back down when it's not what they thought it was.

The second cover is a more-interesting concept, and looks more like what you're talking about in the book. If these are your choices, I vote for #2.

I'm old, I get all my books for free because I'm a blogger, and I used to be the coordinator for Adult Sunday School in my last church, but work has caused me to only be someone clinging to the Gospel for dear life.

DJP said...

All of you are doing terrific. Thanks so much, I know this will be helpful to Cat and the gang.

Bill said...

I prefer cover A. For some reason, the first thing I thought of when I saw cover B was that it was some sort of Youth Pastor/teenager book - just something about the upside down chair. 40, no church position.

Unknown said...

I choose cover B because it looks clean and fresh. I am 51 and a pastor.

lee n. field said...

Which one? Neither, with a slight preference for the second. It reminds me a bit of the old Memorex tape ad, with the guy slouching in a chair facing a stereo speaker.

Age, 55. "Just a member".

(WRT "Christian worldview", I attended one of Brannon House's worldview rallys, and came away dubious about the whole Christian worldview enterprise.)

Andy said...

I'm liking B. The contrast of colors grabbed my attention more, and my eyes were naturally drawn to the title first, then the subtitle and picture. Cover A didn't make sense at first glance since my initial thought was "Why is that guy doing a handstand on a globe?" until I read both the title and subtitle. ;)

I'm a mid-30's guy who doesn't hold a position in church leadership.

Tom said...

Looks like I'm bucking the trend, but, if I had to choose, I'd go with A. B looks youth-ministry-ish to me.

Then again, I like simple and clean. I was never crazy about edgy stuff.

I'm 33, teach occasionally, and am involved in IT and men's ministries.

Looking forward to the book(s)!


Steve Drake said...

Who's your target audience? The youthfulness of the young man in the chair in Cover B would indicate a high school-college age group to me. If I didn't know who you were, I would definitely pick up Cover B and turn it over to read. Depending on what I found, I might buy it to give to one of my kids to read. I like Candy's suggestions: contrast the color of the title, make the young man in the chair off-kilter somehow, but not hanging upside down.

55-60, adult SS teacher, former elder in EPC church, educator to young minds in our public school system in spare time.

Loren said...

I just turned 30 a few days ago (thanks for reminding me). I teach a Sunday School class at church.

I like cover #2. If we're judging simply off of which gets more attention and interest, #2 is the winner. I believe it's because unusual photographs draw my eye more than unusual illustrations. The color scheme is also more eye-catching.

Anonymous said...

I'd definitely say the first one! Second one's not bad, but the first one would stand out more and make me pick it up off the shelves. It *does* have a bit of a retro-feel to it, but I like old books, so that's a plus for me. It just draws my eye more and, in my opinion, more attractive.

And I'm 23, no church position at present.

Robert said...

I prefer Cover A because cover B looks too much like the stuff I'd expect from emergent groups or cool youth pastor types. I'm actually thinking along the same lines as Frank (although with the other cover) in that people will like its look, pick it up, then put it back once they see what is in it. I hope that you'll be getting endorsements on it either way because that is how I usually decide on buying books from people I haven't read and don't know.

I am 38 and have taught adult and child Sunday School and had the fearful, humbling experience of preaching a sermon. That was all in the church that I am actually leaving now, though.

rockstarkp said...

I like option A.
It has a nice retro look, and option B looks like it was printed in 1995. Or, I just don't like lime-ish green colored books.

i'm 33,
work with 9th-10th graders at church.

Tony Gulbrandsen said...

I would want to know more about the book with the "B" cover. Like others have said, "A" looks old/dated/corny/uninteresting.

45 year old, full-time pastor.

JackW said...

Ok, my vote is also for the second one, but I’m not thrilled with either one and would probably avoid it if I didn’t know who the author was. Why? I’m not exactly sure, I guess it just seems a little gimmicky to me and I try to avoid gimmicks.

I’m 57 and a member of a church and I refuse to consider any leadership position until I figure out this servanthood thing.

You’re working with a guy named Cat?

DJP said...

Lady named Cat.

Anonymous said...

I like Cover B.

donsands said...

"I'm old" -Frank T

No way you're old. You may not be a spring rooster, but you ain't old my friend.

Go Ravens!

dlr said...

I prefer A.

I used to dabble in game programming, and B reminds me of a game programming book, many of which have a lot of green on the cover. The font type used at the bottom of the cover reminds me of the same thing. If B used a different font, and a color other than green, then I might prefer B over A.

I'm 32 years old. I do not hold any position in a church.

Anonymous said...

BTW, I forgot to add that Cover B's picture would actually attract my attention, personally, to see who was the author and what the book was about.

DJP said...

I think "Cat" is short for an Anglicized form of "katabole" from Ephesians 1:4 — you know, "even as he chose us in him before the foundation [kataboles] of the world."

Isn't that what it usually is? In Grand Rapids, I mean?

The Blainemonster said...

"A" is my pick. I'm 40, a youth/associate pastor, and I think cover "B" looks exactly like the kind of book I wouldn't pick up. It's too...too...idk it's like it's trying too hard to be cool. The first cover is fun, interesting and inviting.

Or, you could just use a close up shot of your face.

Anonymous said...

I would go for Cover B: while acknowledging that the guy in the chair looks like he may have tried too hard to be cool, the overall design and especially the contrasting colours grab the attention far more effectively than Cover A. If I didn't know the author I would certainly read the blurb and check out some endorsements/reviews before I bought a book with either cover, but I guess I would be more inclined to do that with Cover B.

I am 35, and a pastor.

physicsphantasm said...

31 male was involved in my old church hope to be involved in new church (but its a lot bigger 40 vs 1000 don't know how i'll fit in yet only been there twice so far) sorry back on topic
cover A: like it look like simple easy to read book though it may look like the guy is holding on to the world not the gospel
cover B: i really really don't like it. i don't like how its cut in half. also looks like an attempt to make a boring book trying to look cool.

Brian said...


I used to do that when I was a kid! And sometimes I could actually feel like I was about to fall on the ceiling!

donsands said...

"Lady named Cat"

I thought it had to be a lady, because I thought of Cat Ballou right off.


Have a wonderful weekend and Lord's day!

David Rudd said...

35-45. Pastor in a Baptistic but unaffiliated church.

i don't really love either, and i think it's because there are too many things going on. i think either the tilted title or the upside-down theme needs to go. they play against each other. Does it tilt or does it invert?

i wouldn't pick up the second one. i do like the first one, it has a hipstamatic look which all the kids seem to like.

the fonts seem to work better with the first, but in both the text just seems to be scattered. my eyes are racing all around the covers trying to figure out what they're supposed to be looking at.

whichever cover you end up with, i'll buy it...

Death or Glory Toad said...

On second go-round. I'm thinking #2 is kinda getting to look like a pulp sci-fi type cover and #1 seems more intellectual.

What really draws from #1 is the man looks a little too weird.

FWIW, since I already cast one vote. But, boing back to look at 'em again, I think I'd pick up #1 first.

I'm a few minutes older than 36 now.

Scot said...

I'm going with Cover A. Cover B looks too much like something from Erwin McManus or some other gun-ho emergent. Plus the book title is "The World-Tilting Gospel" not "The Upside-Down Gospel".

I also agree with candy: The title font should contrast a little more with the cover.

28 year old (Am I the youngest so far to comment?), lay person, y00t.

Anna said...

I prefer Cover B.

Cover A seems dated, not retro. B's title is more prominent, the colors are more striking, and the art more realistic rather than stylized.

34 y/o mother of a 1 y/o daughter, part-time teacher for a home school consortium, occasional women's Bible study teacher

Jason said...

Cover A. Deacon. Age 30.

The second one just looks odd. Kinda like he's sitting in the chair upside down and then flipped... which it is...

Zack Skrip said...

I like the first cover. The second one looks a little too hip for me. 27, bible study leader, sometimes Sunday school teacher.

beaconlight said...

Option B by far. The title stands out much better and the photo causes me to do a double take. I'm a 39 year-old layperson.

Phil Johnson said...

My vote: B.

I do love the retro style of A, but I don't think it works with your style of sober-minded, hit-hard nonfiction. Besides, cover B simply does a better job of conveying a sense of what the book is actually about.

I'd have gone for a more pleasing color-scheme on B, but what pleases me falls flat for some people, so let's not get into colors.

I'm disappointed they haven't slapped the Pyro-logo anywhere on either concept. No prob. We'll fix that with a suitable blog-graphic when the book comes out.

I'm Phil Johnson, and I approve his message.

(You know my credentials--or lack thereof).

DJP said...

...you could just use a close up shot of your face

Like this one?

Anonymous said...

I don't like either one but I would pick A because the upside down chair thing like others have said is just corny. Maybe the third time is the charm...Try another cover. I am 43, no position, but I was an elder in my previous church.

Zack Skrip said...

So I commented before reading the other comments. Weird. Seems that those 30 and younger are going for the A cover whereas those older (than that, NOT OLD) are going for the B cover. I wonder if it is a reaction against all the hip-looking stuff I was forced to read in the 90's.

Tristan Guthrie said...

I would go with cover B. It makes more sense to me that he is "hanging on tight". Cover A is more eye-catching from an art standpoint, and looks a little more "adult", but I don't really get the handstand on the earth thing. I know I'm a little dense, but it would make more sense to me if the guy in cover A was hanging off the edge with one hand or something. If I got more of a "hanging on" feel I would go with cover A, but as it stands I pick cover B. Anyway, I'm 32 and a youth pastor and I plan to read the book either way.

Mark said...

I like the second cover better. The first looks like an old Christmas album cover...or something.

The second cover is crisp and has energy. The way the picture is upside down makes me study the cover a bit longer too.

I'm 39 (w/a birthday in Feb.), a deacon, in men's ministry and pursuing my MDiv.

Rhology said...

Cover A, by a nose hair.
Don't know why. Just looks cooler, more retro. Cover B looks more like numerous other Reformedigelical book covers I've seen recently, I guess.

33 yo. Sunday School teacher and community group leader, SBC church.

Colloquist said...

I'm 44, hold no official position in my church, and I vote for cover #2.

IMHO, #2 looks more serious while #1 looks more whimsical. Given the title, I want it to be serious!

Unknown said...

I like cover b. The contrasting colors and clear text make it stand out. I'm 58 and am a pastor.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

26 years old, sunday school teacher

I like the first cover. The blue on white is quickly seen (maybe light and dark contrasts), and the title is serious, but the illustration a little wacky-cartoony, so it kind of creates a juxtaposition of sorts - I'd definitely look at the back to see if this book is serious about the goods it presents.

Unknown said...

Second cover...Green on black grips me more quickly than blue on white...i also find it easier to read the title in that color scheme if i were passing over a shelf full of books....then, the picture itself hooked my curiosity more...i'm 27, currently a pastoral intern/grad student, hoping to serve as a pastor soon

FX Turk said...

Phil Johnson is the curator of the Spurgeon Archive. That's got to be worth something.

Sven Pook said...

Hi Dan;
Congrats on the book! I am drawn most to cover #2, though if the guy were holding on to the sides of the chair more tightly, I think it might convey the sub-title more clearly.

The first looks too much like the cover of a vanity press title.

I am 50 and was an associate pastor until a couple of years ago, but left to take a position with a non-profit that helps medical missionaries with medical supplies.

archshrk said...

38, male, no formal church positions held.

Long term, I'd rather have cover A on my shelf. It's more pleasing to the eye and has a softer approach - like we're in this together.

Short term, cover B is more eye catching which will likely lead to more sales but I personally don't like covers with real people on them (unless they are relevant to the book ie the author or subject of the book)

The downside to Cover A is that it looks too dated. On the self someone may mistake it for an old book and assume it's less relevant than something newer.

The downside of Cover B is that it looks much like all the other books on the shelf (and a little PoMo if you ask me)

I hope our opinions help. Thanks for letting us participate.

Unknown said...

I like the second cover. It comes across a little more serious. I am 36 and a pastor.

Lynn Dean said...

I have a fairly strong preference for B.

At 52, cover A impresses me as dated rather than retro. (I remember the style from the first go-round.) Also, the image doesn't seem to imply that the world has changed, but that I am uncomfortably counter to it (which may be true, but is still...uncomfortable).

Cover B, otoh, catches the eye with bright colors. The image implies that what's in this book will "turn my world upside down," but somehow I'll finally be right-side up because of it and hanging on just fine.

I have held several lay positions in the past, but am not currently teaching.

Mr. Lee said...

I like the first one. It catches my eye a little more, although it does seem a little more on the kiddie side. If I saw someone reading a book with cover A, I'd be intrigued to ask what it was (assuming I couldn't see the title). On the other hand, if I saw someone with the second cover, for some reason, I wouldn't really take notice. I am 27, layman, worship servant leader/small group servant leader. Also, just had a baby boy, so perhaps that is why the cartoonish cover is more appealing to me.

archshrk said...

On a side note (or am I still on-topic?) try placing these in a book line-up with other similar books so we can see what it would actually look like on the bookstore shelf*

*A bookstore is a place to buy books in person. Like amazon, but in a building with other people who are also shopping or selling books.

Casey said...

I like A better. It's got a cool retro feel to it, and it's fun. I think your writing is fun to read, so it fits. I'm not a fan of B. I generally don't like book covers with photos of real people on them, and the guy in the sunglasses and stuff looks like it's trying too hard to be cool (like a youth ministry book from days gone by). Also, I'd think that cover B will look a bit dated in a few years, as the guy's trendy clothes (esp. the shoes) won't be so trendy anymore.

And I'm 30 years old and my only current position in the church is as a lay Bible study leader. I have been in vocational ministry in the past, though, and intend to be again after I finish my current degree program.

Cathy said...

I am 45- and lead the women's Bible study at my church.
I like the retro look of A-
I really do not like the outfit/shoes/sunglasses of the guy on cover B - and I feel very old for having such a strong reaction :-/
It looks too emergent/cool/hip - again I am feeling really old.
However - his being upside down in the chair makes more sense. It actually makes me feel dizzy looking at it. Yeah, I know- OLD.
So I guess I will have to go with B.
By the way- my 9 y/o daughter picked B - she said, "It just fits with the title better."

Jake said...

I like cover A. It still feels incomplete but it's the better of the 2.

I'm single, male, 31, and a teacher in our singles small group.

With no prior knowledge of the author, I would never pick up cover B. It looks like the exact type of book I'm trying to avoid, disorienting and hip--neither of which I associate with the Gospel.

Kitch said...

I vote for cover B. In cover A the world itself is not tilting, which seemed odd to me, given the title. B has no world, but I like the "gospel turns my world upside down" idea. The art in A doesn't inspire any hopes of a firm word within the book (which I'm confident you'll have). B does a better job of that.

I'm 50 and a senior pastor.

DJ said...

I am partial to cover B. I like the crispness and contrast. It makes it look more interesting.
27 yrs old. college sunday school teacher.

deekdubberly said...

I like cover #1 better. Much better. Cover #2 looks like youth group curriculum. And I used to be a youth pastor, so I know my way around youth group Bible study materials. I'm 28. I currently pastor a small, rural Baptist church in lower Alabama. And I'm in seminary.

Eric said...

I much prefer Cover B. Cover A immediately felt like a mismatch to me, as it has sort of a "silly" or playful look. As others have said, the subtitle sticks out more on Cover B.

I'm 39 and an elder.

Monica said...

My preference is the second cover. The first looks like it could be the cover of a children's book, or an old-school, business how-to book.

The second is edgier and more eye-catching. I think it would do a better job drawing in potential readers who may not automatically pick up your book. Definitely more modern looking.

For marketing research purposes, I am a 28 year-old homeschooling, SAHM, to 4 kids. FWIW, I live in th L.A. area. I used to be an intern for Children's Ministries. I'm a regular Pyro reader, but usually too intimidated to comment. ;)


Daisy said...

Overall I like cover B better. I like the blocking of the colors and the colors themselves. However, there is something about it that just leaves me a bit dizzy. Literally, like it is hard for me to visually take it all in.

The first cover is easier on my eye but lacks the punch of the second one.

I will always be 35yo (okay, I'm a bit north of that), degree in theology, homeschool mom, and I wear glasses. :-p

Chris H said...

I like Cover A. To me, Cover B seems almost like books my parents used to buy me when I was a teenager about not checking my brains at the door, and whatnot. I never liked those covers.

I'm 31, married, and am involved as Sunday school teacher, Youth leader, praise band bassist, sound board doer, Elder... guess that's about it as of today.

Unknown said...

I think cover B is more of an attention grabber! It is better quality photo and the colors are brighter and in more of a stark contrast to each other.
The upside down chair sitter is intriguing to me.

I am 23 years old, an assistant pastor and sunday school teacher.

Shelby said...

I really like Cover A the best. Cover B just looks a little too '90s for me. Cover A is just retro enough to be really cool, and it definitely piques my curiosity. I am a 27-year-old Sunday School teacher and seminary student with a communications and design background, so I love this kind of stuff! :-)

Cathy said...

Sorry may I add something to my first comment-I voted for B reluctantly because of what the guy is wearing. It's not just his clothes, shoes and sunglasses - it's that he looks too relaxed- more like he is sunbathing rather than "holding on tight." So even though the picture coveys the idea of the title- the image is a little confusing because of his posture and relaxed look on his face. Perhaps I am over thinking it.

Gary Good said...

I'm 49. i hold no church position.

Don't like A. I would take it as something written in the 50's or 60's.

B is better; more eye-catching, though I'm not crazy about it. I suppose it depends on who the attended audience is.

B does look contemporary, and with the title may lead some to think that the book is some new-age look at the Gospel (following this blog, I'm sure it's not). This is probably a good idea in that some of the people who most need this book will buy it.

Trevor Peck said...


39, Pastor in Northern Ontario, Canada

Of the two, I prefer #2 although it would be nice to have one or two more to choose from. Love the colours in #2, the green really grabs me.

#1 reminds me of an ugly snowglobe - sorry - but I see enough snow here!

The authors name...you might want to hide that...LOL - JK


Love in the Truth.

Joe Cassada said...

The second is my favorite. The colors would catch my eye on the shelf.

I'm 36 and a pastor.

DJP said...

Hm, so where's the vote stand.

Terry Rayburn said...

Agree with whoever said that the first one looks '70's-ish.

Nostalgic for me at age 60, but I think #2 would be the better seller.

Mike Westfall said...

I dunno why, but cover B makes me think, "This book has lots of space-filler illustrations and uses rather large type print (also to fill space).

I'm in the minority, but cover A looks more like a book I'd wanna pick up and thumb through.

I'm 51, an engineer at a National Laboratory (read, "Geek") and a layperson in the "church" I attend.

MJ said...

Liked the first one but the second one grabbed me. So, I guess my answer is "B". What would induce me to pick up the book is the title so...there you go.

I'm a semi-retired ex-church secretary and current SS teacher. The age is something I don't disclose, though the "semi-retired" should be the big hint.

All the best with your book.

Jessica Kramasz said...

I like the second one. It is brighter, clearer, and more professional looking. The first one looks more like a childrens book cover.
I'm 36 and work at our church doing audio/video production - though very part time now.

Herding Grasshoppers said...


They both need work.

I much prefer the feel of A. The colors and retro styling appeal to me personally. But... it's too busy - visually confusing (which is the title/subtitle?), the guy looks too corny for a serious book, and why is he upside down? As if he's in the wrong, and the world is in the right.

But B looks exactly like the kind of book I'd avoid - too hip/edgy/youth-oriented/possibly emergent.

However I LIKE the idea of the person being upside down... yet being right. As if his correct orientation had nothing to do with his surroundings. Yah.

The problem with using an actual photo is that the guy is going to look dated (esp. clothing) in about two minutes. Which is why the 60's styling of the first cover works better for me, I guess. It's already dated, therefore retro. Maybe.

I am old (44), uncool, unhip, and uninfluential (have no position at church but member), but I buy a lot of books. ;D

Now, off to read the other comments.


Hayden said...


I wanted to pick it up. The second one made me think "Emergent"

Jim said...

I like the first cover better, but I have to say I'd be more likely to pick up #2. For some reason the first one - I think it's the colours - looks like an older book, whereas the second looks fresh and interesting.

I'm a 30-some-odd missionary.

Unknown said...

David - Does it tilt or does it invert?

I guess that depends on how much of you the Holy Spirit gets a hold of.

SQLSvrMan said...

I'm 53 and a Bible Study Leader.

I like cover #2 it's more polished.

Unknown said...

I like B better. A looks to much like a kids book to me.

26, father and husband.

Unknown said...

I prefer the second one. The first one seems old to me, the second sharper and more on topic.

I'm 42, sunday school teacher and the son of a preacher man.

Larry Geiger said...

I do not like cover A.
Do you have any position in a church — pastor, secretary, Sunday School teacher, Bible study leader, etc.? No.

Rachael Starke said...

Random thoughts:

When the first cover scrolled up and all I saw was the top-hatted guy, my first thought was "Oh, that's SO Dan! Awesome!" One of the reasons your writing is compelling is that it's solid and hard-hitting, but often disarming because of the wit and color you add. So, the guy on his own I love.

But, I agree with those who've called out the seventies circus font and the grainy dirt stuff all over it. It's distracting.

As for the other one, I'm definitely in the "Meh, too cool for school is so not cool anymore" camp.

So, perhaps a compromise might be to keep the graphics on version one, but cleanup the background and find a different font. And also tilt the name ten or fifteen more degrees. It looks more committed, and less like the graphics guy wasn't paying attention. :)

I'm in my late-thirties, womens' Bible study teacher,and would love to be a more regular blogger (er, as opposed to irregular). Other than that, I've been told my position is supposed to be eyes down and head covered, but I've got issues with that. Y'all can pray for my sanctification. :)

Rebecca Stark said...

I like the second one best. I think the first one looks dated. That said, there's something a little off-kilter in the second one, which might be the point, but still, it's a little jarring.

I'm old and I'm the church librarian. That means I've seen a lot of books. It also means I know a dated cover when I see one.

Kurt said...

Second one, hands down.

The first is dirty looking, cartoonish, look of a children's book (Big Red comes to mind).

Second one is cleaner, professional look implies knowledge inside.

IMHO I think the guy in the chair should have been hanging on for dear life and not sitting there wondering what is going on.

50, deacon, worship leader.

Please tell me there will be a Kindle edition. :-)

Tournifreak said...

Not a big fan of the first one; the second is better in my view - I can't really say why, but I think I'd be more likely to have a flick through if I saw it.

I have to say though, I'm not all that keen on the title. "World-tilting" - what does that mean? It's tilted on it's axis already...

UK, 34 tomorrow, trainee pastor.

Dave and Cassie said...

Age 23, Just a young Church member :)

I would choose cover 2 simply because the picture really depicts what the world, and a large majority of the Church, is doing... Just sitting. Often times, and unfortunately, it takes the world tilting to shake up our lives and grab our attention.

Lynda O said...

Don't like either that much, but prefer A. At first glance, in cover B it looked like the guy was in some type of back-brace and had something wrong with his back. Maybe it's the contrast of the lime-green and white there, it just doesn't look right -- and I'm used to seeing covers like A (okay, I guess I'm more retro and remember the older book covers). I'm 45 and a layperson.

Ken Abbott said...

Age 51, PCA ruling elder and Sunday school teacher.

I'm not crazy about either one, but riding on JD's coattails about the first choice: Yes, exactly, a 60's Broadway musical poster and more specifically "Funny Girl" starring DP's fave-rave Barbra Streisand.

If that doesn't deep-six option A, nothing will.

JackW said...

Guess I was thinking Cat Stevens or something ... sorry Ma'am.

I guess it was the irony of a certified cat lover working with someone named Cat that distracted me. Now I'm wondering how Darth Vader eating a LEGO pizza didn't make the cover.

Rod Hamilton said...

I give the nod to cover A. Cover B looks a little like an Emergent Church book; I would never give it a close enough look on the shelf to read the subtitle.

I'm a 45 year old full-time worship pastor at an SBC church in Kentucky.

Persis said...

I vote for #2.

The first one looks like there was a problem with the printing, hence the smudges. It also looks dated to my eyes.

The 2nd one is eye-catching, plus green is my favorite color.

I'm rapidly exiting my 40's. I'm on the women's ministry and music teams and take care of babies in the nursery.

Unknown said...

I like A way better than B. I would pick up A but I think B looks cheesy and would leave it if it weren't for the title or the author name recognition. I'm 31 and a small group leader.

Merlin said...

48 male, regular reader, rare poster, layman

second cover. It reminds me of the postmodern cow/dolphin photo from about a year ago. The irony of a book by DP appearing to be postmodern on the cover and then being anything but postmodern is priceless.

Shaun RW Little said...

K, I'll do the second first and the first second.

I'm 30 years old, and a former youth minister. (I left my former church and I'm in the process of finding a new church... a long story which is irrelevant to the post)

Honestly I like cover B.

For one I don't care for abstracty looking art style on cover A and it reminds me of some 1980's album cover artwork (oh wow someone else said that too! haha I just noticed)

I like the lime green on cover B, and think it's much more eye catching.

Also the dude hanging upside down from the ceiling seems appropriate cause sometimes that's how it feels clinging to the truth when everything else in the church is upside down.

word of the day: airelog

Anonymous said...

I'm 45 and hold no position in church.

I prefer A but only by a small margin. It's more eye-catching.

The first thought I had about the guy in the chair was that he was either tripping on acid or was a ski jumper (Olypmics) with bad form.

A problem I have when book shopping is that after looking at a number of books the covers start blending together. I'm afraid cover B would do that.

I think if the colors were livened up a bit on B and the chair dude was dropped it would win my vote by a large margin.

Either way, 95% of my books are purchased online and I could not care less about the cover graphics. I would buy your book even if it had a brown paper bag as a cover.

Kris N. said...

I pick A, if you're going to laminate it. The colors will really pop, then. Some of you who think it might look dated might think of it as being softcover without laminating, which would make it look dated. I actually think the first one looks a little more edgy than the second.

I'm 35 and the librarian at my church.

St. Lee said...

To be brutally honest I don't care too much for either cover. The first one immediately brought to mind a book of humor - which actually would probably cause me to take a look, even if I was browsing for a serious read. The second cover leaves me indifferent. On the other hand, the title/subtitle and the author's name would immediately get my attention and cause me to take another look (with either cover).

Besides being a long time reader here, I am 55, a member of a small Baptist church's leadership team, and have the privilege of preaching about once a month at a local nursing home plus filling the pulpit on the rare occasions when our pastor takes a vacation.

Lorne said...

I'm kind of with what Shelby commented. This is my first time comment but long time lurker. A is just retro enough to make it go and if B had it's chair bolted to the floor of the "Millenium Falcon" with the window in the background, you might have something.
Change the Earth to the "Death Star" in A and they might fly off the shelves. 40 years old, elder, ss teacher, minister of the Gospel.

Unknown said...

I prefer cover B, however, if I could make one change I would lose the dude and leave the chair empty. If the chair were empty I think it would make me think harder about "hanging on tight" myself and not just watching someone else try to do it in my stead.

Immediately when I saw cover A I imagined it was a book written in the 50's. Also the guy on cover A is just doing a handstand - not nearly as impossible as it first seams. Finally, the text on cover B flows much better: Title, Author, Subtitle just seems to be more in order than the Subtitle, Title, Author arrangement of cover A.

I'm 32, teach Sunday school on occasion, play trumpet when I can, and otherwise just try to take my responsibility in the pew as seriously as possible.

Carl said...

Dan, if you wrote your book in any way with an eye towards edification of the saints, then the "eye-catching" value you seem to seek probably should not be part of your equation (in what to place on the cover).

If, on the other hand, your book is but another in the line of "modern culture and Christian worldview" (usually with an eye to the hip and trendy) - then either of your options will do the trick...

No one of reputation, and younger than the majority of the commenters on this thread.

DJP said...

Can't much edify people who won't buy it; people won't much buy it if they don't pick it up; people won't much pick it up if something doesn't catch their eye.

Leaving aside all the other ways that, DV, word will get out.

threegirldad said...

Hm, so where's the vote stand.

Drum roll, please...

Cover #1/A: 30
Cover #2/B: 58
Neither : 5

Now to go tally the number of people who referred to "Cover #1/#2" vs "Cover A/B."


CGrim said...

I prefer design #2 because it's more clever, but also because photos tend to make book covers look more professional. Illustrations, even very well-done vector illustrations, can often seem low-budget unless done in a very minimalist style. For example, one alternative for the first cover would be to simply have a small globe on the front rotated 90 degrees (i.e. on it's side) with a stick figure underneath hanging on, and then mostly white space over the rest of the cover.

I'm a 29-year-old graphic designer, no church position.

threegirldad said...

[blast -- should have refreshed the screen one more time]

Make that 32, 59, and 6.

DJP said...

I am enjoying and appreciating this a lot, folks.

Thanks, 3GD; almost 2-to-1 preference for B.

Isn't it interesting, seriously: a collection of good, smart, fundamentally likeminded folks — and yet diametrically-opposite opinions for sometimes the exact-same reasons.

marusha said...

The second cover makes me dizzy but I think I like it best.

Unknown said...

I like cover B. It grabs my attention, and also makes me think of how the whole world seems to be completely upside down when compared with a biblical worldview. I'm 32, don't have any ministry experience.

Mike said...

I like the second cover. It caught my eye much more quickly and seemed to promise that if I read this book how I view the gospel will be changed (for the better). 33 yo adult education director.

Anonymous said...

I like book cover 1. It looks better artistically. I personally think images with "real people" end up making it look cheesy and dated. I know, I'm weird. I'm also 40 years old, a female. No position in church at this time, though I've worked in Sunday School and with kids' programs before. I'm a home school mom.

My 12 year old daughter, without looking at my opinion (before I typed this) also picked book cover 1. She said that book 2 looks like it's for 13 year old boys, not for any other age or group. She helps with toddlers on Wednesday nights for bible club.

CGrim said...

An amusing twist on the second one would be to show an entire room rotated 90 degrees on its side, with a big jumble of people in a heap at the bottom (having fallen when the room tilted) but one dude in the middle standing perfectly straight to the side as if the room hadn't tilted at all.

Stefan Ewing said...

I prefer A 'cuz I'm an old-fashioned guy.

No, seriously, from a purely aesthetic point of view, I prefer the mid 20th-century style of the first cover. For me personally, I'd totally pick that one up over the second cover.

As a few have said here, the second cover looks a little too much like something aimed at the youth and/or "Christianoid" and/or evanjellybean market. If I saw it in a bookstore, I might not even give it a second glance.

Of course, if you wanted to go truly old school, you'd go for the cover of the 1646 edition of The World Turned Upside Down, or another edition of the same (scroll down to the first picture).

Stefan Ewing said...

Oh, church volunteer in the two-scorish range age-wise, from an artistic, book-loving family.

Kyle said...

If this is all there is then the "B" cover is a clear winner. The colors on "A" are all wrong. It looks like a cold winter day and the connection with the book title is lost.

"B" is edgier ... if your audience is 20s-30s, but otherwise it would be better with "cartoon guy" in the chair. I'd also opt for the chair guy inverted, clinging with his hands, with his posterior aimed downward.

Another thought... the "B" cover is for a paperback, not a hardback... is that where you're going.

And my qualifications... absolutely none, except I'm older and wiser than you, and my heart is in children's ministry at church and in the slums of the world.

I just gotta ask... for a blog with impeccable graphics, why aren't you using the same team for the cover art.

John said...

I don't like the 1st one and prefer the second one - but sort of don't like it. You don't come across McDriscochalleeish and both look that wayee.

But honestly and truthfully...I am soooo nobody I hesitated to even weigh in.

Paula Bolyard said...

46 or 47? (not a math person!)...almost 20 years of jr. high ministry under my belt. No current position but edit & advise on the church's website.

I like "B" the best. First, I love that shade of green!! It's the color of my foyer and dining room. Obviously, YMMV. Moreover, I think "A" looks dated. The guy is in an odd Charlie Chaplin pose and the colors just don't jump off the page the way the colors do on the 2nd option.

Anonymous said...

I think #2. I'm between 35-40 yrs.

PhD student in theology and author/editor of Evangelical Calvinism:
Essays Toward Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda (forthcoming)

serenaruth said...

#2--I'm 42.

I do like #1. I think it's fun & eye-catching. But it makes me think of an Ellen Raskin book so if I just glanced at it the assumption part of my brain would be assuming that it was a middle school book.

Stefan Ewing said...

Good question from Seth. Surely the three of you could team up to produce something that's neo-Victorian, with a comic book edge.

For a bunch of biblical inerrantists, this really is one of the most visually eye-catching blogs anywhere on the Internet, Christian, secular, or otherwise.

But I suppose it's always the publisher's prerogative to design the book how they want.

Hey, Dan: In that 8 a.m. closeup, what's John Malkovich doing holding a Bible?

trogdor said...

I would definitely be more likely to look at B. A looks kind of cartoony and unserious to me - I think the only book I have with a similarly-toned cover would be DeYoung and Kluck's Why We Love the Church, and I wouldn't have even looked at that one if I just saw it on a shelf without knowing anything about it. It reminds me of the covers of just about any 'youth'-oriented book/magazine/study that wants to let you know it's cool and doesn't have too much serious Bibley stuff to weigh down the fun.

B looks more like a legit book that might contain real theology. I like the big green title at the top - it catches my eye more than the white at the bottom of the first.

I'm 34, currently a Bible study leader.

physicsphantasm said...

i have #1=4 votes #2=19
A=18 b=23 first =6 second=21 ( i may not be very accurate)

Edward said...

Hi Dan, I like the first cover better.

Barbara said...

Put me in the "I don't like either one" and would probably ignore both on a shelf - but the title is good and the second one seems to go more with the title. So I guess put me down for #2 by default.

42/brand new leader of teenage education/discipleship (NOT "youth ministry" thankyouverymuch) and studying for NANC to help my pastor with women's issues.

Unknown said...

The second one (cover B) is much more eye catching. The contrasts of balck and green in the lettering as well as black and white contrasts between the man in black and the white chair catch the eye pretty quickly. Cover A has no strong contrasts and doesn't grip the eyes. Cover B also makes you chuckle, which is always good. I am 39, and am between churches.

Jonathan Hunt said...

33 yr old preaching elder (a minister apparently) says:

neither. the first one looks like it came out of the dark ages and the second one looks like a man with a propeller attached to his rear end.

On balance I would go with number one, but only reluctantly and because it relates more closely to the title. If you had the content of 'A' with the style of 'B' I would call it 'C' and call it a winner!

Rachael Starke said...

It may be too late for a clarifying question (or perhaps this is privileged information),

but it is there there any data about the projected target audience for this book? Narrow or wide age range? Already solid in their worldview (meaning, of course, that they agree with us ;) ), or uncertain and needing direction?

Both covers seem to indicate your target is twenty-somethings in need of guidance.

Which is great, as long as plenty of them are the spending and reading kind. I care about edification and your kids' college fund.

I'm going to spend the rest of the day looking at various books and asking all kinds of questions about why the art is what it is. This blog never fails to make me think hard about something. :)

DJP said...

physicsphantasm — soooo... you're seeing six covers?


Unknown said...

My vote for the second cover.

29 years old, Sunday School teacher, Bible Study speaker.

The first cover looks too "busy" - too many graphical elements. The picture on the second cover provokes a double-take and relates more closely to the title, and overall looks more modern.

Carl said...

Dan said
Can't much edify people who won't buy it; people won't much buy it if they don't pick it up; people won't much pick it up if something doesn't catch their eye.

Yes, Dan - that certainly holds true, more often than not, in your garden variety marketing department decision making processes.

But it does not appear to me something handed down to us Scripturally, nor can I point to it in any sound tradition that I am able to discern.

The Apostles, the early church fathers, and the Reformers all seem to have missed this simple line of reasoning which we so readily import into Today's ministry decisions. (Irony, in attempting to reform and instruct the young and restless we are so eager to do it their way and using their methods.)

But if it is true that "catching the eye" in advancing sound doctrine isn't part of God's way, and that we can't point to it in any sound tradition- should we not at least to give it slightly more thought than a few marketing slogans tend to project?

Stefan Ewing said...

Funny...Trogdor and I had almost the diametrically opposite impressions, but for virtually identical reasons.

Of course, only one of us could possibly be right.

The one thing I don't like about cover A is that the whole retro modernist look is itself becoming fashionable now. There's probably a Mad Men influence in there somewhere.

The guy looks like a martini-drinking commuter on the New Haven line circa 1962.

DJP said...

So we put Carl down for a blank cover, nothing whatever on it.

Which, I guess, would be eye-catching....

MCC said...



Closer to the 52, very close.

Dr Bill said...

Dan, I find it very interesting that many of the votes for #1 come from people young enough to have not lived through the time period that now makes that style "fresh." Or maybe I should say, younger may prefer #1.

Myself? Both need work. #1's brighter, whimsical feel is more attractive to me as a whole, but what the art 'says' doesn't fit the tome. #2 is heavy with the black/green scheme, plus the guy's world isn't tilted, it's clear upside-down. Hmmm, that actually may be appropriate. But it's not as attractive to me.

physicsphantasm said...

i blame it on lake effect. not the snow. swimming in lake Eire during the summers

Melinda said...

42 years old, Women's Bible Study leader.

I like #1 by far. It is eye-catching, kitschy (in a good way), and it makes me smile : )

#2 looks like a book on how to start an emergent church.

Katie said...

Wow! After reading the first several comments, I was so surprised that people generally seemed to like the second cover more.

I would most definitely vote for cover A. The colors are much more appealing, I understand the art/title connection, and the fonts are pleasing and retro-modern.

Cover B makes me dizzy, seems cheesy, and I probably would pass it by.

I am 30 years old, wife, mother of two, designer on the side. My hubby and I live in a college town, and lead a small group Bible study for college students.

Stefan Ewing said...

This is the thing...you want a cover that is eye-catching, and yet at the same time also distinctive.

Both designs are eye-catching, but one just looks visually like a lot of other stuff that's already out there.

Unknown said...

I don't really like either of them. They're too complicated and don't draw my eye to a central idea. I like more spare covers and pleasant, soothing colors.

I love the title, though.

I am planning to recommend this book to my church to purchase for the library and for anything else they think is important.

I'm 36, have worked a lot in Sunday School when I was younger, and work for a Christian school with some development of Bible curriculum as part of my job.

Unknown said...

By my count, through Katie's comment, #1=41 #2=73.

I wanted to count Phil's vote twice but not being from Chicago I restrained myself.

And Carl. You don't get out much do you?

Mark Patton said...

I am 37 yrs. old and currently a pastor (average size church 130 - 250). I like #2.

The first cover (to me) seems cartoonish and the first thing that jumps out at me is the guy hanging upside down.

The second cover, the first thing that jumps out at me is "The World-tilting Gospel" which is what I want to read about and put in the hands of my members.


I am really looking forward to your continued ministry in my life (and my church's life all the way out here in WV) through books.

Rachael Starke said...


No no no, brother. We don't want an eye-catching cover.

We want a holy cover.


Shauna said...

I may be in the minority, but I like cover one better. Though I'm not all that fond of it. Number two looks emergent-ee and trying to hard to be hip.
I'm in my late 30's...used to work in our church Children's Ministry...

GW said...

I like the second cover better.

I don't really like either of them.

I am in my 40's.

I don't have a church position, unless whiner counts.

Stefan Ewing said...

Well, Carl has a point, to a point.

It all comes down the same fundamental question, of finding the right balance between proclaiming the pure, unadulterated Gospel on the one hand; and being in the world (while not of the world), on the other. This seems to be what 95% of the tension between everyone from the emergents to evangelicals to the reformed to the Truly Reformed is all about.

...Or did you mean "holy" as in "with holes in it," like Swiss cheese, a donut, or a bagel? That could at the printing costs, but it would definitely be eye-catching.

Eric said...

No, Carl actually has no valid point as it applies to whether or not a book cover should be appealing. Absolutely none. What a killjoy.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

I like A better but wish the guy was tilted a bit, maybe even something suggesting “worldly” motion that he’s fighting against. B has an “emergent” look to me, especially with the trendy dude in it.

I’m 52 with no position in Church at this time.

I do have to add another congratulations Dan. It must be a very exciting time (and nerve racking a bit I’m sure) but I’m very happy for you… and if totally honest… a little envious. Be sure and slow down enough to enjoy the ride! ;-)

Susan said...

Before I tell you my choice, I need to tell you my initial one-word reaction when I saw the covers:

Cover 1: whimsical

Cover 2: emergent (yes, that was the word that came to mind)

Given my initial reactions, I pick....

...cover 2....

...because this way you'll capture the emergents' attention, and they will
"tolle lege!!!" :)

Oh, and it's not polite to ask a lady her age, DJP. You can tell I'm a relative young 'un by my insolence!! (J/K. I'm in the 30-40 range. And no, I do not hold any church positions right now.)

Anonymous said...

I much prefer B. I'd be unlikely to pick up A. It's too cartoon-y and disorganized for me.
I'm 42. No position in a church right now because we're temporarily stationed somewhere. Have been a Sunday School teacher & Bible study leader.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Hmmm. CGrim's comment at 11:17 brought to mind something the second cover made me think of.

Have you read C.S. Lewis' space trilogy? There's a scene in the third book (okay, geeky, I know) where angelic beings appear to a group of people.

But they're not exactly standing upright. Because their orientation has nothing to do with earth. So it gives the effect, not that the angels are leaning, but that they are in fact upright, and everything else is off kilter.

make sense?

That kind of idea is what I really like about the second cover. What I didn't like, was the uber-hip, emergent-ee style.

But Dan, I would buy your book no matter what the cover looked like.


P.D. Nelson said...

53, reader, infrequent commenter and a church member. B and I'm not sure about the color scheme but others have made similar statements. A looks like something I bought in 1970 at a used bookstore.

Stefan Ewing said...

There is the fact that the world is, in fact, tilted on its axis. By the providence of God, this gives us our seasons.

What this has to do with anything else, I don't know.

Pastor Eldred said...

Cover 2 is my choice

38 years old

First cover seems to imply that the individual is tipped, not that the world needs to be tipped.

Second cover indicates that the world has indeed tipped and the individual is along for an exciting ride.

Word verification is unslysp ... does this mean it knows I am an UN-SLY Senior Pastor?

Gilbert said...

Before I comment on Hither and Tither, I was directed thather. Glad I was, to save Dan from utter financial ruin from picking the wrong cover! ;-)

OK...I like "A" and "B" but for different reasons, and with different flaws. Yes, "A" is retro, but I like the bright colors, the contrast. But it looks kind of smudgy with the ink smears on the side.

On the other hand, at very first glance...I repeat, at VERY FIRST *GLANCE*, I thought the guy was hanging on to the side of a commode in "B"! Thankfully, I saw that and thought that it looks like the cover for a modern youth ministry or "hip churches". On the other hand, it is eye-catching, modern (although I wish the seat color wasn't pink, it doesn't look "manly" for a modern man's home). Oh well.

So having said that, since this book is for believers, and new ones in our modern world, I'd rather not give even the hint of hindering the Gospel, even by an old-fashioned picture. I'm guessing this book will go back to the basics in a big way, and upset enough people even at first glance in the bookstores. I don't want the cover to assist in that in any way, even if the idea sounds silly to us aging folks.

In short, if you can change the chair color to something other than a feminine color, I choose "B".

Dan Sudfeld said...

I choose door #2. I just wouldn't take cover #1 seriously enough to make me want to page through it. Also, the title and subtitle stand our more on #2.

As for the other stuff:
Age: 46
Position: Pastor

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time commentor.

The first cover! I would actually pick that one up and look through it. The second one looks too much like it's for teens/young adults.

Oh, and I'm a 35 year old mom and do not hold a position in the church.

Anonymous said...


Brad Gilbert said...

I will agree with some and say that the second one looks too "hip" and might turn off some, so I would go with the first one. I am 32 years old and am a pastor.

Bobby Grow said...

I choose #2 above, but in all reality I don't really like either. Do you have any other alternatives?

They both kind of seem generic, there's no real artistic value to either. The first looks too comic bookish and the second does look like something that you would find on a how to book for being a "relevant" youth pastor or something.

Unknown said...

Dan, for future reference, I suggest you use SurveyMonkey for a question such as this. As far as I know, you can use it free for up to 10 questions. You can instantly quantify results and follow responses as they come in. People can leave comments and it is so user-friendly to set up.

I don't know which privileges are for pay, but you can also filter responses (according to age of the responder?) and do some other cool and helpful stuff.

I don't know what I'd do without it.

Solameanie said...

I like the first cover. Reminds me of a movie poster from the 1960s i.e. a thriller-type film. The second one is more Gen-X "slacker," and too green.

I am 50 and don't hold a church position. But I am a communications/publications manager for an international Christian mission. (Also have 30 years of broadcasting under my expanding waistline.)

James Scott Bell said...

Wow! 176. I haven't read them all, but several objected that B looks too emergent-y...I say, GREAT. Isn't that a mission field Dan wants to reach with a little tough love? Personally, getting this book into more of those hands is a great idea.

Jerry said...

Neither. Both look clownish.

54, Pastor

Rupert said...

I like the first cover. It looks like it's from the 1950's, which is appropriate. :-)

I am very very close to 54.

My position in the church is absent.

cslewis3147 said...

I like cover B, the second cover, it's just more visually interesting to me.....31, married, Bible Teacher, former pastor (not expelled but just chose to work elsewhere for now)....

Unknown said...

I like the first one on it's own, but in the context of a store with a lot competing for the attention of the buyer, i think the second one will be more attractive, as it is simpler and more clean-cut. So my vote goes to cover #2.

I'm an 18 year old layperson.

Michael said...

This 46 year old likes cover A.
No church position.
That's my immediate feeling just after seeing both.
I would pick up A to read the back cover. I wouldn't pick up 2 as quickly. Probably because I'm attracted to the drawing more than a photograph no matter how clever the shot is.

Ron (aka RealityCheck) said...

Johnny Dialectic said:

“…but several objected that B looks too emergent-y...I say, GREAT. Isn't that a mission field Dan wants to reach with a little tough love? Personally, getting this book into more of those hands is a great idea.”

I thought of that and almost said it but getting it into their hands because of the emergent cover and getting them to read it, when it’s bound to be loaded with “d”-word (doctrine) kind of stuff, is another thing.

I mean… seriously… just how superficial do you think these people are? Wait a minute… on second thought… well… never mind. ;-)

Deb said...

I like the second cover better. It matches the subtitle of the book better (however, it doesn't help much with the World-Tilting Gospel part)

The first cover does not stand out as much, nor does it quite seem to convey the intent well, as it seems like the guy is embracing the world, rather than a 'biblical' worldview. I doubt that the book will be about hugging the world, right? Plus as others have mentioned, the guy looks a little strange.

I'm 47, PCA, vp of our presbytery's PresWIC.

tobekiwi said...

Cover # 2 does grab my attention with the layout of the title and colors, but the dude just isn't hanging on tight enough. Jonathan Hunt's propeller comment almost brought tears to my eyes.
Like the colors and the idea of the globe on # 1, but the handstand guy just looks out of place.
Seriously, like someone else said, it could be wrapped in plain brown paper and I'd buy it, but I do understand lots of folks judge a book by it's cover :o)
Now my confession, I'm 48 and a church secretary.

Mike Erich the Mad Theologian said...

I like the first cover better perhaps because I am more old fashioned and find in more interesting, though I admit the second is more eye catching, but my response is what in the world is this about anyway. So I vote for cover A. 55 years old (explains a lot), elder and Bible study teacher.

Steve Scott said...

A is more catchy to my eye, but that's probably becuase I like retro graphic art. Neither says "conservative Calvinistic guy here," so I see where either might hit the target.

46, no current church position; former deacon & sound board guy.

Gov98 said...

I'm 30 and a Deacon and I don't like either at all. If I didn't know Dan Phillips, I wouldn't be interested in either from the cover.

That's just me, Cover A just looks atrocious

Cover B looks like a Boomers too lame attempt to look cool.

(I don't mean to be harsh, but I don't like either)

wordsmith said...

I guess the first cover is more eye-catching, but in an irritating, turn-off kind of way. Don't care for the imitation 60's musical type of style. I would therefore prefer the second. ("Emergent" did not enter my mind as a possible categorization of its style.) If anything, I would have pegged the first one as trying too hard to be retro and therefore "hip."

Female, late 40's, no position in church.

SolaMommy said...

I like A better, mostly because B reminds me of pomo book covers.

30 yrs old SAHM, write for the church newsletter, sing in the choir, and serve in the nursery. My husband is a deacon, does that matter? LOL

GrammaMack said...

I vote for cover B. A is too dated and dull looking. B is vibrant and attractive.

I'm 54 and a Sunday school teacher.

Scott McClare said...

Apparently I'm in the minority, but chalk up one more vote for cover A. I like the retro-poster look of the graphics (like a screwball comedy from the 60s) and the sense of the world being turned upside-down.

Cover B is more in keeping with your subtitle, but a little too youth-ministry-ey for my tastes.

40, occasional Sunday-school teacher but no formal church position otherwise.

2OFUS said...

I'm a 53 year old baby boomer who is also hanging on to my faith for dear life. The most important job I do is trying to be contagious for middle school kids (not because I love kids so much, but the mature adult that they can be) I don't like either cover. Please start over

Unknown said...

My husband and I liked the first cover better. The second looked like something I would pick up and then put back down because it looks "too cool."

I'm 25 (high school librarian) and my husband is 28 (IT manager). We are part of a Reformed Baptist Church Plant in our hometown and are former youth Sunday School teachers in a SBC.

Susan said...

Okay, I kinda scanned through all the comments--guess I'm not alone in seeing "emergent" written all over the second cover!! :)

And Gilbert, I don't think that chair is pink. I think it's white, but because of the lighting, the bottom of the chair looks pink.

(And you know, this whole thing about telling DJP how old we are and whether we hold any positions in church--don't think I've ever participated in any introduction en masse quite like this, online or offline. It's kinda fun!) :D

Morris Brooks said...

59 years old and a pastor. I don't like A because it looks like the cover of one of those "B" detective novels. In other words, a little cheesy.

Lilian said...

Will turn 40 next month, mother of 2, member of church music team, steering team member of local MOPS group, bible study leader, former ESL teacher.

Personally I prefer Cover #1. Reminds me of some of my father's paperbacks from the 60s or 70s.
But from a marketing point of view, I think #2 will have more currency with the young.

As for me, I don't buy books based on cover illustrations. A clever title will do much more for me.

Rick Wahler said...

Age 63, adult Sunday school instructor, adult counselor.

#1 to me looks amateurish, not well-drawn. #2 is eye-catching and humorous. This one I would pick up to see what's inside.

Unknown said...

23, member in a PCA church. I like A more; B is too dark and, like has been said, it looks too post-modern for my taste.

Silly Old Mom said...

I'm 37, with a background in video production, marketing, and graphic design. In the past I served in choir and various children's ministries. Right now I run a tutor-and-taxi ministry to five children living in my home. (Said the homeschool mom with a high-mileage Suburban.)

I like/hate both of them, but I think Cover #2 does a better job of catching the reader's eye and communicating the content of the book. I have a few ideas on how each can be improved.

Cover #2 Pros:

1.) Overall cleaner layout. I tend toward preferring cleaner layouts as a rule, while some designers like throwing in lots of elements to create visual texture. I think #2 works because there are a few strong visual elements, rather than many items competing for attention.

2.) Title design -- high contrast of green-on-black, along with the placement at the top and the relative size of the title compared to the subtitle, makes it a major focal point. Dan's a first-time author, so he can't put his lovely mug on the cover and expect to sell books. The cover has to sell the book's thesis in about 3-5 seconds.

3.) Color -- the bold colors help make it more eye-catching.

4.) Chair guy -- the overall visual of the chair on the ceiling does a somewhat better job of selling the concept, but there's room for improvement in the execution of the visual itself.

Which leads me to the Cover #2 cons...

1.) Chair guy -- his arms make him look too relaxed, yet awkward; he's not "hanging on tight." And I think the clothing and age of the guy leads some people to think it skews young.

2.) Fonts -- they're a double-edged sword. Contemporary enough to say "this is a timely topic"? Too trendy, with a short expiration date? I think I lean toward too trendy.

3.) Title -- "world-tilting" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue (those L's are too close together), and it's a little confusing. "Wait, I thought the world was already tilted. Why do I want to tilt it with the gospel?" It sounds like a solution in search of a problem. Sorry, but there ya go. "World-tipping," maybe?

Cover #1 -- I think there are two main things wrong with Cover #1.

1.) The visuals don't strongly support the title, and in some ways contradict it. I get how it's just a visually different version of #2, but it doesn't communicate the same things.

The man, rather than being dressed like a twenty-something in a hipster uniform, is at the other extreme in a three-piece suit and hat. He's in the working-stiff's uniform of fifty years ago. Neither seem like they help your target audience (25-49?) put themselves in the picture.

Furthermore, the guy looks like he's holding onto the world, rather than a biblical worldview (i.e., the truth of Scripture). Maybe he should be holding onto a big, steady boulder.

The globe is right-side up -- it doesn't look tilted, so it works against the title. Maybe the guy could be the one who's right side up, with the earth placed on a tilt. Or flip the whole image around about 270 degrees so it comes from the bottom corner, and only shows the man from the waist up.

Also, there could be a few cynics who misread the upside-down man figure as being a symbol of God (an out-of-touch-yet-stern dad figure in a fuddy-duddy suit, not unlike the old man with a beard in The Far Side cartoons).

2.) Cover #1 is visually cluttered. It's trying to do too much. The grainy feel contributes a lot to it, as well as the blue bar at the top (What's that for, anyway? Is it the ground, or the sky?) The figure with the globe would be much more eye-catching without the bar. The tilted word stands out on Cover #2, but here the tilt just adds to the clutter.

I think that covers it. Sorry I wasn't brief. I was aiming for being detailed.

Thomas Louw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thomas Louw said...

I like choice “B”. I already see bookstore staff packing it upside down.
I am a very visual kind of guy, when I first read about your book I envisioned a picture of the earth with a lever stuck under it, resting on some log type thing tilting the world.
I’m a former associate Pastor and blogger of 34.
Will the book be in South Africa? (Normally the good stuff has to be mailed to us personally)

10:05 PM, January 07, 2011

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