Back in 2017 I was the feature artist for Booklife’s “Cover Redesign” feature which was printed in the monthly Booklife edition in Publisher’s Weekly magazine. One of the covers I redesigned for this column was a memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House by Nika Beamon.
Book description: When a lymphoma scare threatened the life of a journalist, she began a quest to find the correct medical diagnosis for the mysterious illness she’d battled for nearly 20 years. She turned to her favorite TV show, House M.D., for inspiration. She used her research skills to look for a “real life” Gregory House to give her some answers. In this brutally honest memoir, Nika Beamon reveals how she found the doctor who saved her and how you might be able to also.
Here are the two covers side-by-side.
The original cover did a good job of letting you know the theme (medical) and possibly the tone (emotional). However, it lacked readability for the title and author name, and relatability for the readers.
When working on the redesign, I focused on including people because readers are more likely to have an emotional reaction to seeing a woman in the hospital versus an object. If you’ve ever been in the hospital, or had someone you love in the hospital, it’s something you can quickly relate to. Since the book ties in with the Dr. House theme, I decided to include an image that could easily represent him since he’s famous for his cane.
I chose a black, blue and orange color scheme not only because it’s eye-catching, but it helps set the tone for the story, both emotional and mysterious.
What Nika C. Beamon said back in 2017:
Exhilarating: That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think about the process of working on a new cover for my memoir, Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House. I’d settled on the original cover after I decided to abandon my plan to find a traditional publisher. You see I was told that complications from my autoimmune condition required that I have my 20th procedure and this was going to be a major surgery. And so, fear that I might not recover and ever get to publish my book drove me to hastily rush it to market myself. I certainly didn’t think the original design did the story justice nor did it share with the public the wonderful reviews the book had received. The redesign has inspired me to release a second edition of the memoir that heeds reader comments and removes distracting explicit content. And, of course, I will display the new cover prominently. I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the vision I always had for the book come to life. It illustrates the story, shows off the praise and, I think, will allow my message to reach and touch so many more people.
I reached out to Nika now that it’s been almost two years since we did the redesign. I asked if she had noticed any difference in sales when compared to the original cover and if she noticed a difference when doing promotions.
Thank you again for the redesign. It did generate additional publicity which led to a modest sales increase but nothing dramatic. The boost was short-lived. Even so, I believe it makes the work more polished, professional and consistent with mainstream publishing industry standards, which legitimizes a self-published work.
I will always appreciate your hard work on my behalf.
Promotion is definitely the key to keeping momentum alive. Although her boost was short-lived, she stills seems very happy with the redesign.
Misdiagnosed: A Search for Dr. House by Nika C. Beamon is available on Amazon.
You can see the original online article here, or I’ve included the print version below.