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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

I Hope That You Love- Or Despise- My Book Cover

Written By: Carol Roth | 34 Comments
While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that’s all that I have for now…

In working towards the release of my new book, The Entrepreneur Equation, I was faced with the opportunity of either taking- or not taking- my own advice. My publisher conceptualized the cover and finally I can share the first look at the cover art for the book (note, the coloring is a bit off in the upload, but you can get the gist):

[Duplicate, since the first one wasn’t showing in Explorer for some reason]

Some of the initial feedback on the cover was polarizing. Amongst those respected friends and colleagues that I shared it with, some of them absolutely loved it and some of them absolutely hated it. Actually, even the book’s cover designers and the publisher’s salesforce didn’t like it- all for the same reason- that I apparently didn’t “look” like that author of the business book. Some of the specific feedback- including from people that I very much respect- was that I “looked more like a model than an author” and that “some people may not take it seriously as a business book”.

This feedback solidified my choice to go with this particular cover for three reasons:

It Made an Impression: Nobody was so-so on the cover. They all either loved it or hated it, which meant it made an impression. To make the suggested changes would turn it into something that would be ignored instead of something that could be talked about. Those who didn’t like it had a strong aversion, which, as I have said here many times before, is more favorable than having something that elicits no reaction at all.

To Make a Point for Women Business Owners: Over half of all new businesses are now started by women, but there are few women providing credible business advice to them (just look at the “best seller lists” and you’ll notice that women popping up with business books are few and far between). Why shouldn’t modern women have someone to speak to them as well who looks like them and who they can relate to? Why can’t a woman wear a sheath dress and pink shoes and still be smart and credible? I can hardly imagine anyone telling a male business author that they were too good looking to be on the cover and to “ugly” themselves up. I wanted to face this double-standard head on.

It’s Who I Am: Authenticity is at the core of who I am and frankly, this is what I look like and how I show up for meetings, appearances and tv shows- in places that I am talking business. Why would I pretend to be something that I am not, when that is against everything that I stand for? Good content speaks for itself and I am confident that those men and women who know me and who review the content will be thrilled with the value that’s provided.

So, that’s it. While I would prefer that you love it, my second choice is that you hate it- either way, I just hope that you will remember it.

Oh, and if you are not on my mailing list to get information on the book (as well as newsletters) you can do so here:

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth
  • Elizabeth

    Count me as one of the people who like this cover. This cover gives me the impression that you are a strong and confident business woman. I have been reading your blog for some time and I am sure that your book will be great.

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  • What is wrong with looking like a model? You are beautiful – and smart. It is very disconcerting that you have to school-marm it up to “look” like the author in some people’s eyes. You aren’t in a bathing suit, you don’t look ditsy. You look strong and confident – hell, I my legs don’t look anything like that! 🙂 Good for you, your feminility, and your intellegence.

    The rest can go sit in the corner!

  • You really are just 57 shades of fabulous. Never, ever, for even a second should you be hiding the fact that you are both gorgeous AND remarkably intelligent. Why should the author of a business book appear school-marmish? You are strong, confident, intelligent and beautiful. The cover shows that. I respect that. And I am thrilled for you.

  • I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that this is what people can expect when you show up at meetings/conferences et al.

    Our strongest asset as people, whether we are in business or not, is that people know what to expect from us. If you were to represent yourself on this book cover as Sexy Brain Girl or Frowsy Business Scold, neither of them would be accurate.

    You are a powerful women who has a a healthy, strong exterior to match. Good for you. Any of those who decry this representation have issues of their own and are projecting them through their opinions.

  • webmaster

    I really like the cover. At first glance I thought it may be to sexy to really be taken as seriously as it should be, however I think it is the right amount. I think it stands out and hits the mark. Can’t wait to read it!

  • So a beautiful woman can’t also be an entrepreneur? You can’t look great AND do great business?

    I love the cover. Of course it captures you which it should do and while I can completely see some people being turned off by it, they will be the ones missing out on reading a great book.

    Good for you, on sticking with the cover. Like you pointed out, it will get reactions. People are definitely going to pick up the book. If they think it is a model on the cover just think how surprised they will be when they find out it is you doing the writing.

    People need to realize that just because a woman is confident in her looks and appearance, she shouldn’t have to hide it in business situations. That is just crazy in today’s modern world.

    I can’t wait to buy a copy and read it!

  • Hey CR – I hated it at first, and now I 100% LOVE IT. SMRT call – you ‘get it’. You’ll have thousands talking about your book, before they climb over each other to read it.

    Well done – again. Now, if you had a booger dripping from your nose it’d REALLY take off 😉


  • Noah

    Is everyone writing a book the days? I love the cover. I’d love to read early and help create some hoopla. 🙂


  • oh Carol… Love the concept for this one, though a white board may have been a better choice, the colors would definitely take a hit and I dig green! I dig your look sexy but strong look, but as a fan of one of the coolest chicks rockin’ the biz world, I think the pink shoes are a little much. A little too girly… for you. I much prefer the look of the biz suit with the pink tie but that’s just me. Either way, I do like it, not love it from a branding/design perspective. Can’t wait to get to buy it, let me know as soon as it is available!

    Thanks for sharing, and I hope I’m still on the friends list after my “honest” review! hehehe

  • I love it- It works on so many levels- and it will sell! Rock on!

  • Take their hate as a compliment 🙂 And those pink shoes ROCK!

  • I am definitely in the love the cover category. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that someone isn’t smart, business savvy, educated because they are attractive. Congratulations on the book, I look forward to reading it.

    By the way, it was nice chatting with you at SOBCon.

  • Carol – I absolutely love it! As an authentic business woman myself with my own artsy style, I give you kudos for your book cover! Best, Jane

  • I love the cover but the first thing I looked at was your shoes not the title…..did you try dark shoes.

  • The whole purpose of the cover is to get attention — the PINK SHOES do it! It doesn’t really matter what you look like – the pink gets the attention and encourages a potential buyer to go to the next step – read the title, open the book and want it or not!

    Love it!

  • You’ve got to be consistent and change those awfull pictures on your blog and twitter account !
    I mean the tie …

  • Carol,
    You are a woman of integrity. I would expect nothing less than an awesome, powerful and yes….sexy book cover.
    Sexy is a major part of business. Is it not?

    Peace always,

  • I reckon it’s a done deal. I do like it and your rational thoughts about it. My little take is that the stick youre holding seems to be on defense and could be more offense. 6 more months? Book teaser.

  • Love it! I think it is the perfect mix of sexy, professional, and fun!

  • Alright, so, I’m in the camp that says you look like a model… but as usual I wanna be in the camp, you’re – it is who you’re – the authenticity beats rest of the crap 😉

  • I like the cover. It is eye catching and clever, but those heels look really uncomfortable!

  • Carol,
    I love the cover, I think it is smart, sexy and brilliant like you.
    And I love the pink shoes.
    Best of luck with it’s launch!
    Jane Morrison

  • Hi,
    It certainly is intriguing! The first impression is that is probably wrongly under the business section, but once you read the cover (and I mean the wordings 🙂 ), you would want to pick it up and read it. I for one will. All the best!


  • Like the book cover layout a lot, and never even thought about whether the dress or shoe color was an issue.

    You look great until your foot position, which belies your confidence & professionalism. Standing firmly, maybe with feet apart about a foot, makes more sense to me with your image and approach to business. Too many women stand as though they don’t own the space around them, and that isn’t usually your style.

    Congrats on the book!

  • Count me as one that loves the cover.

    I applaud you for sticking with what you feel truly conveys you and your message. That, in and of itself, is an invaluable lesson for entrepreneurs.

    Look forward to reading it!

  • Carol,

    It rocks. Plus, one doesn’t see the color green around too much.

    I wonder how folks will feel about my Crown. I’ll bet that it will make them notice and remember me.

    Your book cover works, Carol. Big time.

    The Franchise King®

  • I came of age in business when ‘they’ had us dressing in drab gray suits. We were little gray mice!! I rejoice in your authenticity. I rejoice in our increasing freedom as women to dress in ways that express who we are.

  • The cover works great. It captures you, your point of view and the content of the book. No-nonsense smart and savvy advice and insights with style, flair and a bit of a wink. Can’t wait to read it and share. Be well.

    Hank Wasiak

  • Love it. The concept has legs (too!). I can see the chalkboard in videos. @ book signings. On your website. On follow up books. Brave & terrific move, Carol.

  • Hey Carol,

    My heart relates and I’m stunned that you’ve put it out there for us to give feedback! That’s more daring than putting yourself on the cover. It’s authentic and shows a savvy woman that’s also beautiful. I’m liking not compromising being a woman to be professional.

    Going threw the ropes with feedback on my book and perhaps I should get a little bolder too on the next one! You go girl!

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  • Hi Carol,

    I wanted to get over here since you were kind enough to comment on my post yesterday. I think the cover is gorgeous!

    I guess for me, the interesting thing is that I have always thought your Twitter avatar, where you have a tie on, really made you stand out. It seemed to make a bold statement that you were feminizing a predominantly masculine world. Is that a purposeful disconnect from how you prefer to portray yourself? Are you making a statement there?

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