Doug Eymer’s Tweeting Blackbeard: 10 Swashingbucking Business Tips from the World’s Greatest Pirate shows how design and story combine to create a memorable ebook.
Good ebook content, by itself, is not enough these days.
No matter how good your ideas or business tips may be, if the title doesn’t immediately arouse curiosity, your ideas may never be read.
Design + Story = Memorable Ebook
To cut through the clutter, you need a combination of design and story to encourage downloads and social media referrals. Here are some of the elements that immediately attracted me to Tweeting Blackbeard:
- Why Blackbeard? The genius of using Blackbeard as a lead character in a story containing business tips is that Blackbeard, or Edward Teach, is recognizable enough as a pirate meme, but the details aren’t as well known. As a result, he’s enough of a a “mystery celebrity” to arouse interest, but he’s not a cliche. So, I’m willing to download (no registration) and read more.
- Cover design. The simplicity of the cover, the birds, and the balance of blue and white, promise an easy, informal reading experience. This is reinforced by the irony of the “piratey” typeface used for the title–at odds with so much of today’s social media branding.
- Artwork and page layouts. The inside pages continue the juxtaposition of design restraint–in terms of plenty of white space on each page–and seriously helpful ideas based on Blackbeard’s story told in a lighthearted way, illustrated with nautical artwork. The text and graphic elements play off each other, without sacrificing readability. The business tips clearly emerge as the story continues.
- Format. Contributing to Tweeting Blackbeard’s “readability is its horizontal, or landscape, format. This makes it perfect for desktop monitors and iPads.
- Length. Contributing to its pleasing, share-worthy, reading experience is its length: long enough to spin a yarn about Blackbeard, provide open pages with appropriate artwork, but short enough to for enjoyable reading in a single sitting.
Perhaps my biggest takeaway is the way that Tweeting Blackbeard is clearly a departure from the typical serif-versus-sans serif ebook or white paper treatment, yet it is equally a departure from today’s use of hand-drawn sketches or doodles for nonfiction books.
As you’re undoubtedly noticed from the many books with hand-drawn graphics that I’ve featured recently, I really love the simplicity and character of books with hand-drawn graphics like The Sketchnote Handbook, Show and Tell, The Doodle Revolution, The One Thing, and Essentialism, etc.
The above books are an important part of today’s publication design world–and a healthy alternative to “too much computers in our lives.”
Tweeting Blackbeard, however, shows that it’s also possible to create a strong impression by using design plus story in yet another way to “package” serious business lessons.
Does Tweeting Blackbeard resonate with you?
Do you share my enthusiasm for Doug Eymer’s Tweeting Blackbeard? What did you think of the cover? Did you download it? What about the inside pages? What were your impressions? Did you share it on social media? Would this type of approach work for you? Share your impressions below, as comments.