As a first-time author, I’m experiencing first-hand a lot about marketing even though I’ve spent a lot of my working life directly in marketing.

Learning about writing a non-fiction book was been guided by others who have gone before, namely a person who runs a consultancy for non-fiction writers and wrote a book called The Scribe Method. That book makes it pretty clear the most important marketing decision to make is the title; the second most important decision is the cover art.

After agonizing over many titles you see the one I’ve finished with. The first one, ‘The biology of a pandemic’ is too generic. Several iterations later, one I thought about going with was “World War C”. But I needed a title to capture the message of the book in five words or less, and so we have “COVID-19: From Chaos to Cure”.

Now in the middle of the second major decision, what about the book cover design. Many choices to make, and I decide to use professionals. I could try to design one myself, could get a volunteer or pay someone anywhere from very little to several thousands of dollars (which is what best-selling authors do).

I decided to run a contest on, and ended up with over 40 designers submitting over 200 designs and edits to prior designs. Some really generic ones and others are interesting to take a look at. I’ll share a few below.

And then there is the reject pile. Of the rejects, plenty were just middle-of-the-road, not anything interesting or otherwise special. And there were the few that were remarkably strange and bad, from designers that did other great designs.

Needless to say I’ll be staying (far) away from these!