Cover Conspiracy!!!

Kingsfavmastercover035
By Susan/Miranda

Here at the Wenches, we like to discuss covers.  We talk about covers we’ve had (Cover Girl) and covers we wish we had (A Makeover for Lady M). Our covers, other authors’ covers (Art vs. Commerce), good covers, bad covers, and really, really ugly covers.   I suspect much of our fascination with covers is that authors often have very little input into what goes on the front of our books.  We open those jpg files from art directors with great trepidation, each time hoping against hope that we got a “good one.” 

So imagine my surprise to see that the subject of cover-art is suddenly considered big-time news in the rest of the (non-Wench) world.  There it was, in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the third-oldest surviving newspaper in the country, a venerable journal that has won eighteen Pulitzer Prizes –– there, on the front page of the section, a bold-faced headline that couldn’t be missed:

These book covers say women are dumb

Well! Not much grey area in a headline like that, is there?  The article that followed was written by one of the Inquirer’s most popular columnists, Karen Heller, and here’s the link so you can read it yourself. 

On first reading, I completely agreed with Ms. Heller.  I, too, am heartily sick of the cover-art conventionsJenniferweiner
for books targeted towards women readers, from cheesy clinches to empty Adirondack chairs to the random, faceless body parts favored for chick-lit.  (Yes, I know, my last two covers have featured headless women, and yes, I would have preferred they have had heads, and we’ll leave it at that.) 

I also agree that a writer’s entire career can be determined by the pigeon-hole of a cover.  Consider all the fantastic books out there that will never even be seen by a wider audience, let alone purchased or read, because they have the single word “romance” printed on the spine, and a “romance” cover on the front.  (A good many excellent Wench books would surely fall into this category.)  Ditto “women’s fiction.”  Why are so many women writers singled out and branded like that?  Books like The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks or Love Story by Erich Segal or even Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy aren’t labeled women’s fiction, though in theory they could be. They’re just fiction, suitable for all readers, and not banished to the “girl ghetto” section.

Louiseerdrich
It’s worked in reverse as well.  Consider an author like Louise Erdrich, whose complex, spiritual novels of families and lovers evolve from her own Chippewa heritage.  Currently she’s regarded as one of the most important American novelists of her generation, and deserves to be, too. But what would have happened to her career if, in the beginning, some misguided art director had given her a “western romance” type cover?  Would she have ever found her audience of both male and female readers, and the literary reputation that’s come with it? (OK, so most likely she would, but in the wonderful world of publishing, believe me, ANYTHING is possible.)

I was getting up a righteous head of steam to match Ms. Heller’s, with all kinds of proof to back it up.  But then I began to think a bit further, and realized it’s not quite so easy to win the argument with feminist indignation.

Because women DO read more than men, and buy many more books than men, too.  Every bookseller willCountess
tell you that.  Therefore tailoring cover art to the biggest possible readership makes sense, doesn’t it?  And if romance-reading-women-readers are the largest group of book-buyers, then offering them books that look like every other book they’ve already bought and enjoyed –– books that tell them in an instant what’s inside –– is good business sense, isn’t it?  Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

As the wise man says, I dunno.  But maybe you do, or at least you’ll have an opinion you’d like to share.

Do you agree with Ms. Heller that these book covers say women are dumb?  Is it demeaning to women readers and writers to have such “Lifetime fuzz” (Ms. Heller’s term) and other hearts-and-flowers-Barbie-pink clichés on the covers of our books?  Or is it just smart marketing?

120 thoughts on “Cover Conspiracy!!!”

  1. Hmm, an interesting topic to munch on. As both a writer and a recovering graphic designer, I have lots of thoughts, but no solid conclusions.
    For example, I quite like the cover that Ms. Heller trashes, for GIRLS IN TRUCKS. Yes, there’s a girl and a truck which is pretty literal, but the photo is attractive and intriguing and it seems to give a sense of the story. Nor does it look like 50 other books that have come out in the last 12 months.
    As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there. (That’s just a generality, of course. Much variation is possible.)
    Within the vast realm of books by, about, and for women, there are good covers, awful covers, and occasionally fabulous covers, but I don’t think that branding them with a feminine look is a bad thing.
    All genres have brand looks. If I see a dragon on a cover, it’s probaly fantasy. If there’s a space ship, science fiction is a good bet.
    In fact, it took me a couple of attempts to buy my first Catherine Asaro book because of the soulless and generic space ship on the cover.
    Once I started reading her, I’ve read everything she’s written. The cover did her book a disservice in not adequately conveying the fullness of the story, but it did identify the story as science fiction, which was appropriate.
    So I think it’s not a bad thing for a book to look like what it is. Ideally, that will be done brilliantly. Sometimes, we get lucky and the cover gods smile. Other times–not so much. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  2. Hmm, an interesting topic to munch on. As both a writer and a recovering graphic designer, I have lots of thoughts, but no solid conclusions.
    For example, I quite like the cover that Ms. Heller trashes, for GIRLS IN TRUCKS. Yes, there’s a girl and a truck which is pretty literal, but the photo is attractive and intriguing and it seems to give a sense of the story. Nor does it look like 50 other books that have come out in the last 12 months.
    As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there. (That’s just a generality, of course. Much variation is possible.)
    Within the vast realm of books by, about, and for women, there are good covers, awful covers, and occasionally fabulous covers, but I don’t think that branding them with a feminine look is a bad thing.
    All genres have brand looks. If I see a dragon on a cover, it’s probaly fantasy. If there’s a space ship, science fiction is a good bet.
    In fact, it took me a couple of attempts to buy my first Catherine Asaro book because of the soulless and generic space ship on the cover.
    Once I started reading her, I’ve read everything she’s written. The cover did her book a disservice in not adequately conveying the fullness of the story, but it did identify the story as science fiction, which was appropriate.
    So I think it’s not a bad thing for a book to look like what it is. Ideally, that will be done brilliantly. Sometimes, we get lucky and the cover gods smile. Other times–not so much. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  3. Hmm, an interesting topic to munch on. As both a writer and a recovering graphic designer, I have lots of thoughts, but no solid conclusions.
    For example, I quite like the cover that Ms. Heller trashes, for GIRLS IN TRUCKS. Yes, there’s a girl and a truck which is pretty literal, but the photo is attractive and intriguing and it seems to give a sense of the story. Nor does it look like 50 other books that have come out in the last 12 months.
    As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there. (That’s just a generality, of course. Much variation is possible.)
    Within the vast realm of books by, about, and for women, there are good covers, awful covers, and occasionally fabulous covers, but I don’t think that branding them with a feminine look is a bad thing.
    All genres have brand looks. If I see a dragon on a cover, it’s probaly fantasy. If there’s a space ship, science fiction is a good bet.
    In fact, it took me a couple of attempts to buy my first Catherine Asaro book because of the soulless and generic space ship on the cover.
    Once I started reading her, I’ve read everything she’s written. The cover did her book a disservice in not adequately conveying the fullness of the story, but it did identify the story as science fiction, which was appropriate.
    So I think it’s not a bad thing for a book to look like what it is. Ideally, that will be done brilliantly. Sometimes, we get lucky and the cover gods smile. Other times–not so much. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  4. Hmm, an interesting topic to munch on. As both a writer and a recovering graphic designer, I have lots of thoughts, but no solid conclusions.
    For example, I quite like the cover that Ms. Heller trashes, for GIRLS IN TRUCKS. Yes, there’s a girl and a truck which is pretty literal, but the photo is attractive and intriguing and it seems to give a sense of the story. Nor does it look like 50 other books that have come out in the last 12 months.
    As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there. (That’s just a generality, of course. Much variation is possible.)
    Within the vast realm of books by, about, and for women, there are good covers, awful covers, and occasionally fabulous covers, but I don’t think that branding them with a feminine look is a bad thing.
    All genres have brand looks. If I see a dragon on a cover, it’s probaly fantasy. If there’s a space ship, science fiction is a good bet.
    In fact, it took me a couple of attempts to buy my first Catherine Asaro book because of the soulless and generic space ship on the cover.
    Once I started reading her, I’ve read everything she’s written. The cover did her book a disservice in not adequately conveying the fullness of the story, but it did identify the story as science fiction, which was appropriate.
    So I think it’s not a bad thing for a book to look like what it is. Ideally, that will be done brilliantly. Sometimes, we get lucky and the cover gods smile. Other times–not so much. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  5. Hmm, an interesting topic to munch on. As both a writer and a recovering graphic designer, I have lots of thoughts, but no solid conclusions.
    For example, I quite like the cover that Ms. Heller trashes, for GIRLS IN TRUCKS. Yes, there’s a girl and a truck which is pretty literal, but the photo is attractive and intriguing and it seems to give a sense of the story. Nor does it look like 50 other books that have come out in the last 12 months.
    As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there. (That’s just a generality, of course. Much variation is possible.)
    Within the vast realm of books by, about, and for women, there are good covers, awful covers, and occasionally fabulous covers, but I don’t think that branding them with a feminine look is a bad thing.
    All genres have brand looks. If I see a dragon on a cover, it’s probaly fantasy. If there’s a space ship, science fiction is a good bet.
    In fact, it took me a couple of attempts to buy my first Catherine Asaro book because of the soulless and generic space ship on the cover.
    Once I started reading her, I’ve read everything she’s written. The cover did her book a disservice in not adequately conveying the fullness of the story, but it did identify the story as science fiction, which was appropriate.
    So I think it’s not a bad thing for a book to look like what it is. Ideally, that will be done brilliantly. Sometimes, we get lucky and the cover gods smile. Other times–not so much. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  6. So … if Ms Heller says the covers are dumb, does that make us women readers dumb for noticing those books & buying them?
    The whole thing sounds kinda snotty to me.
    I wonder if Ms Heller likes those abstract trade paperback covers that scream “you are supposed to think this book is Literature” better. I hate ’em myself 🙂

    Reply
  7. So … if Ms Heller says the covers are dumb, does that make us women readers dumb for noticing those books & buying them?
    The whole thing sounds kinda snotty to me.
    I wonder if Ms Heller likes those abstract trade paperback covers that scream “you are supposed to think this book is Literature” better. I hate ’em myself 🙂

    Reply
  8. So … if Ms Heller says the covers are dumb, does that make us women readers dumb for noticing those books & buying them?
    The whole thing sounds kinda snotty to me.
    I wonder if Ms Heller likes those abstract trade paperback covers that scream “you are supposed to think this book is Literature” better. I hate ’em myself 🙂

    Reply
  9. So … if Ms Heller says the covers are dumb, does that make us women readers dumb for noticing those books & buying them?
    The whole thing sounds kinda snotty to me.
    I wonder if Ms Heller likes those abstract trade paperback covers that scream “you are supposed to think this book is Literature” better. I hate ’em myself 🙂

    Reply
  10. So … if Ms Heller says the covers are dumb, does that make us women readers dumb for noticing those books & buying them?
    The whole thing sounds kinda snotty to me.
    I wonder if Ms Heller likes those abstract trade paperback covers that scream “you are supposed to think this book is Literature” better. I hate ’em myself 🙂

    Reply
  11. Yes, yes, YES.
    Taste is always subjective, and there’s no exception where cover art is concerned. Besides, I’m always leery of any public-watchdog-figure who wants to tell us all how we should think, react, behave…I’d rather think for my ornery, opinionated self, thank you.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  12. Yes, yes, YES.
    Taste is always subjective, and there’s no exception where cover art is concerned. Besides, I’m always leery of any public-watchdog-figure who wants to tell us all how we should think, react, behave…I’d rather think for my ornery, opinionated self, thank you.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  13. Yes, yes, YES.
    Taste is always subjective, and there’s no exception where cover art is concerned. Besides, I’m always leery of any public-watchdog-figure who wants to tell us all how we should think, react, behave…I’d rather think for my ornery, opinionated self, thank you.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  14. Yes, yes, YES.
    Taste is always subjective, and there’s no exception where cover art is concerned. Besides, I’m always leery of any public-watchdog-figure who wants to tell us all how we should think, react, behave…I’d rather think for my ornery, opinionated self, thank you.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  15. Yes, yes, YES.
    Taste is always subjective, and there’s no exception where cover art is concerned. Besides, I’m always leery of any public-watchdog-figure who wants to tell us all how we should think, react, behave…I’d rather think for my ornery, opinionated self, thank you.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  16. I find that many covers have become more sophisticated over time or, in the case of say, Moning or Ward, almost a signature thing for certain writers. You see the cover on the shelf, it has very similar ‘art’ work to the writer’s previous covers and you just know who wrote it without even reading the title. In fact, there are a few authors who come to mind whose covers are SO them, they really don’t need the title on the book.
    On the opposite end, you have covers that may depict a H/Hn together and yet, you read the book and the couple’s entire physical make-ups are completely different than that pictured.
    I have to say, I’m probably as guilty as the next for being drawn to the cover art, especially when looking for a new author to read. Many stories I’ve loved, a few with exceptional covers, I loathed. I think overall, it boils down to a ‘roll of the dice’. As you stated, you open the jpeg with a mix of fear and hope, your hand over your eyes, and slowly peek, praying the graphic designer ‘got it right’.

    Reply
  17. I find that many covers have become more sophisticated over time or, in the case of say, Moning or Ward, almost a signature thing for certain writers. You see the cover on the shelf, it has very similar ‘art’ work to the writer’s previous covers and you just know who wrote it without even reading the title. In fact, there are a few authors who come to mind whose covers are SO them, they really don’t need the title on the book.
    On the opposite end, you have covers that may depict a H/Hn together and yet, you read the book and the couple’s entire physical make-ups are completely different than that pictured.
    I have to say, I’m probably as guilty as the next for being drawn to the cover art, especially when looking for a new author to read. Many stories I’ve loved, a few with exceptional covers, I loathed. I think overall, it boils down to a ‘roll of the dice’. As you stated, you open the jpeg with a mix of fear and hope, your hand over your eyes, and slowly peek, praying the graphic designer ‘got it right’.

    Reply
  18. I find that many covers have become more sophisticated over time or, in the case of say, Moning or Ward, almost a signature thing for certain writers. You see the cover on the shelf, it has very similar ‘art’ work to the writer’s previous covers and you just know who wrote it without even reading the title. In fact, there are a few authors who come to mind whose covers are SO them, they really don’t need the title on the book.
    On the opposite end, you have covers that may depict a H/Hn together and yet, you read the book and the couple’s entire physical make-ups are completely different than that pictured.
    I have to say, I’m probably as guilty as the next for being drawn to the cover art, especially when looking for a new author to read. Many stories I’ve loved, a few with exceptional covers, I loathed. I think overall, it boils down to a ‘roll of the dice’. As you stated, you open the jpeg with a mix of fear and hope, your hand over your eyes, and slowly peek, praying the graphic designer ‘got it right’.

    Reply
  19. I find that many covers have become more sophisticated over time or, in the case of say, Moning or Ward, almost a signature thing for certain writers. You see the cover on the shelf, it has very similar ‘art’ work to the writer’s previous covers and you just know who wrote it without even reading the title. In fact, there are a few authors who come to mind whose covers are SO them, they really don’t need the title on the book.
    On the opposite end, you have covers that may depict a H/Hn together and yet, you read the book and the couple’s entire physical make-ups are completely different than that pictured.
    I have to say, I’m probably as guilty as the next for being drawn to the cover art, especially when looking for a new author to read. Many stories I’ve loved, a few with exceptional covers, I loathed. I think overall, it boils down to a ‘roll of the dice’. As you stated, you open the jpeg with a mix of fear and hope, your hand over your eyes, and slowly peek, praying the graphic designer ‘got it right’.

    Reply
  20. I find that many covers have become more sophisticated over time or, in the case of say, Moning or Ward, almost a signature thing for certain writers. You see the cover on the shelf, it has very similar ‘art’ work to the writer’s previous covers and you just know who wrote it without even reading the title. In fact, there are a few authors who come to mind whose covers are SO them, they really don’t need the title on the book.
    On the opposite end, you have covers that may depict a H/Hn together and yet, you read the book and the couple’s entire physical make-ups are completely different than that pictured.
    I have to say, I’m probably as guilty as the next for being drawn to the cover art, especially when looking for a new author to read. Many stories I’ve loved, a few with exceptional covers, I loathed. I think overall, it boils down to a ‘roll of the dice’. As you stated, you open the jpeg with a mix of fear and hope, your hand over your eyes, and slowly peek, praying the graphic designer ‘got it right’.

    Reply
  21. I’d really be interested to see an example of a book cover that Ms. Heller thinks is great. She mentions they are mostly reserved for books by men. I have to admit that I so rarely read fiction written by men that I can’t even recall a “catchy” cover on a book by a man. Can anyone think of any good examples?

    Reply
  22. I’d really be interested to see an example of a book cover that Ms. Heller thinks is great. She mentions they are mostly reserved for books by men. I have to admit that I so rarely read fiction written by men that I can’t even recall a “catchy” cover on a book by a man. Can anyone think of any good examples?

    Reply
  23. I’d really be interested to see an example of a book cover that Ms. Heller thinks is great. She mentions they are mostly reserved for books by men. I have to admit that I so rarely read fiction written by men that I can’t even recall a “catchy” cover on a book by a man. Can anyone think of any good examples?

    Reply
  24. I’d really be interested to see an example of a book cover that Ms. Heller thinks is great. She mentions they are mostly reserved for books by men. I have to admit that I so rarely read fiction written by men that I can’t even recall a “catchy” cover on a book by a man. Can anyone think of any good examples?

    Reply
  25. I’d really be interested to see an example of a book cover that Ms. Heller thinks is great. She mentions they are mostly reserved for books by men. I have to admit that I so rarely read fiction written by men that I can’t even recall a “catchy” cover on a book by a man. Can anyone think of any good examples?

    Reply
  26. Make women seem dumb to whom? or who? (I’m a dumb girl and can’t remember which is correct). I confess to a love/hate relationship with the old clinch covers. I loved that they told me exactly what to expect, and hated that people who didn’t know what was between those covers would judge me based on that cover.
    All those books with the backs of women in corsets or lace-up gowns? Love ’em. I can’t help it, but I love a corset and it just draws me in every time. I know they make no sense historically and I don’t care; they speak to my fantasy, and that is all that matters.
    Chick lit covers confuse me, because I don’t see the appeal. How did that artwork style come to convey a sort of “Sex and the City” dynamic?
    I shy away from what I call the “snotty literary covers.” The message they give me is that this is a book based on a cynical world view, wherein sh** happens and there’s nothing you can do about it but slog through the mudpit of life. So those covers will never get me to pick up a book and buy it. I may well read the book eventually, because of a friend’s recommendation, or interesting buzz, but the covers depress me.
    I bought Diana Gabaldon’s first book, Outlander, solely because of the cover. It had one of those covers with a cutout like a mirror and a setback, if that’s what they’re called. It was beautiful, romantic, mysterious and thoroughly intriguing. I almost did not buy Kim Harrison’s book, Dead Witch Walking, because of the terrible perspective in the drawn cover figure. Her neck looked like it had been stretched like taffy. But Kim Harrison got lucky. I was in an airport and there wasn’t much else there that said, “if you’re a woman and you want something either romantic or involving women who kick butt, this is for you.”
    So do the covers of Westerns make men look stupid? Do Sci-fi novels make men look stupid? They are not literary in the “snotty” sense, though I know there are both westerns and sci-fi novels that have as much a right to be marked literature as some romances.
    I love to see books by authors like Dickens or Austen with really evocative covers. I think people are more likely to buy a book with a cover that tells some kind of story, than one with a nice “tasteful” look. How come tasteful tends to mean “lacking in emotion”?
    If the covers of women’s books make us look dumb, then lets just have all the covers done that way and see what happens. I bet we’ll find that everyone else is just as dumb.
    (Thanks Susan/Miranda for this provocative post. I’ve been thinking about this for a while).
    Jrox

    Reply
  27. Make women seem dumb to whom? or who? (I’m a dumb girl and can’t remember which is correct). I confess to a love/hate relationship with the old clinch covers. I loved that they told me exactly what to expect, and hated that people who didn’t know what was between those covers would judge me based on that cover.
    All those books with the backs of women in corsets or lace-up gowns? Love ’em. I can’t help it, but I love a corset and it just draws me in every time. I know they make no sense historically and I don’t care; they speak to my fantasy, and that is all that matters.
    Chick lit covers confuse me, because I don’t see the appeal. How did that artwork style come to convey a sort of “Sex and the City” dynamic?
    I shy away from what I call the “snotty literary covers.” The message they give me is that this is a book based on a cynical world view, wherein sh** happens and there’s nothing you can do about it but slog through the mudpit of life. So those covers will never get me to pick up a book and buy it. I may well read the book eventually, because of a friend’s recommendation, or interesting buzz, but the covers depress me.
    I bought Diana Gabaldon’s first book, Outlander, solely because of the cover. It had one of those covers with a cutout like a mirror and a setback, if that’s what they’re called. It was beautiful, romantic, mysterious and thoroughly intriguing. I almost did not buy Kim Harrison’s book, Dead Witch Walking, because of the terrible perspective in the drawn cover figure. Her neck looked like it had been stretched like taffy. But Kim Harrison got lucky. I was in an airport and there wasn’t much else there that said, “if you’re a woman and you want something either romantic or involving women who kick butt, this is for you.”
    So do the covers of Westerns make men look stupid? Do Sci-fi novels make men look stupid? They are not literary in the “snotty” sense, though I know there are both westerns and sci-fi novels that have as much a right to be marked literature as some romances.
    I love to see books by authors like Dickens or Austen with really evocative covers. I think people are more likely to buy a book with a cover that tells some kind of story, than one with a nice “tasteful” look. How come tasteful tends to mean “lacking in emotion”?
    If the covers of women’s books make us look dumb, then lets just have all the covers done that way and see what happens. I bet we’ll find that everyone else is just as dumb.
    (Thanks Susan/Miranda for this provocative post. I’ve been thinking about this for a while).
    Jrox

    Reply
  28. Make women seem dumb to whom? or who? (I’m a dumb girl and can’t remember which is correct). I confess to a love/hate relationship with the old clinch covers. I loved that they told me exactly what to expect, and hated that people who didn’t know what was between those covers would judge me based on that cover.
    All those books with the backs of women in corsets or lace-up gowns? Love ’em. I can’t help it, but I love a corset and it just draws me in every time. I know they make no sense historically and I don’t care; they speak to my fantasy, and that is all that matters.
    Chick lit covers confuse me, because I don’t see the appeal. How did that artwork style come to convey a sort of “Sex and the City” dynamic?
    I shy away from what I call the “snotty literary covers.” The message they give me is that this is a book based on a cynical world view, wherein sh** happens and there’s nothing you can do about it but slog through the mudpit of life. So those covers will never get me to pick up a book and buy it. I may well read the book eventually, because of a friend’s recommendation, or interesting buzz, but the covers depress me.
    I bought Diana Gabaldon’s first book, Outlander, solely because of the cover. It had one of those covers with a cutout like a mirror and a setback, if that’s what they’re called. It was beautiful, romantic, mysterious and thoroughly intriguing. I almost did not buy Kim Harrison’s book, Dead Witch Walking, because of the terrible perspective in the drawn cover figure. Her neck looked like it had been stretched like taffy. But Kim Harrison got lucky. I was in an airport and there wasn’t much else there that said, “if you’re a woman and you want something either romantic or involving women who kick butt, this is for you.”
    So do the covers of Westerns make men look stupid? Do Sci-fi novels make men look stupid? They are not literary in the “snotty” sense, though I know there are both westerns and sci-fi novels that have as much a right to be marked literature as some romances.
    I love to see books by authors like Dickens or Austen with really evocative covers. I think people are more likely to buy a book with a cover that tells some kind of story, than one with a nice “tasteful” look. How come tasteful tends to mean “lacking in emotion”?
    If the covers of women’s books make us look dumb, then lets just have all the covers done that way and see what happens. I bet we’ll find that everyone else is just as dumb.
    (Thanks Susan/Miranda for this provocative post. I’ve been thinking about this for a while).
    Jrox

    Reply
  29. Make women seem dumb to whom? or who? (I’m a dumb girl and can’t remember which is correct). I confess to a love/hate relationship with the old clinch covers. I loved that they told me exactly what to expect, and hated that people who didn’t know what was between those covers would judge me based on that cover.
    All those books with the backs of women in corsets or lace-up gowns? Love ’em. I can’t help it, but I love a corset and it just draws me in every time. I know they make no sense historically and I don’t care; they speak to my fantasy, and that is all that matters.
    Chick lit covers confuse me, because I don’t see the appeal. How did that artwork style come to convey a sort of “Sex and the City” dynamic?
    I shy away from what I call the “snotty literary covers.” The message they give me is that this is a book based on a cynical world view, wherein sh** happens and there’s nothing you can do about it but slog through the mudpit of life. So those covers will never get me to pick up a book and buy it. I may well read the book eventually, because of a friend’s recommendation, or interesting buzz, but the covers depress me.
    I bought Diana Gabaldon’s first book, Outlander, solely because of the cover. It had one of those covers with a cutout like a mirror and a setback, if that’s what they’re called. It was beautiful, romantic, mysterious and thoroughly intriguing. I almost did not buy Kim Harrison’s book, Dead Witch Walking, because of the terrible perspective in the drawn cover figure. Her neck looked like it had been stretched like taffy. But Kim Harrison got lucky. I was in an airport and there wasn’t much else there that said, “if you’re a woman and you want something either romantic or involving women who kick butt, this is for you.”
    So do the covers of Westerns make men look stupid? Do Sci-fi novels make men look stupid? They are not literary in the “snotty” sense, though I know there are both westerns and sci-fi novels that have as much a right to be marked literature as some romances.
    I love to see books by authors like Dickens or Austen with really evocative covers. I think people are more likely to buy a book with a cover that tells some kind of story, than one with a nice “tasteful” look. How come tasteful tends to mean “lacking in emotion”?
    If the covers of women’s books make us look dumb, then lets just have all the covers done that way and see what happens. I bet we’ll find that everyone else is just as dumb.
    (Thanks Susan/Miranda for this provocative post. I’ve been thinking about this for a while).
    Jrox

    Reply
  30. Make women seem dumb to whom? or who? (I’m a dumb girl and can’t remember which is correct). I confess to a love/hate relationship with the old clinch covers. I loved that they told me exactly what to expect, and hated that people who didn’t know what was between those covers would judge me based on that cover.
    All those books with the backs of women in corsets or lace-up gowns? Love ’em. I can’t help it, but I love a corset and it just draws me in every time. I know they make no sense historically and I don’t care; they speak to my fantasy, and that is all that matters.
    Chick lit covers confuse me, because I don’t see the appeal. How did that artwork style come to convey a sort of “Sex and the City” dynamic?
    I shy away from what I call the “snotty literary covers.” The message they give me is that this is a book based on a cynical world view, wherein sh** happens and there’s nothing you can do about it but slog through the mudpit of life. So those covers will never get me to pick up a book and buy it. I may well read the book eventually, because of a friend’s recommendation, or interesting buzz, but the covers depress me.
    I bought Diana Gabaldon’s first book, Outlander, solely because of the cover. It had one of those covers with a cutout like a mirror and a setback, if that’s what they’re called. It was beautiful, romantic, mysterious and thoroughly intriguing. I almost did not buy Kim Harrison’s book, Dead Witch Walking, because of the terrible perspective in the drawn cover figure. Her neck looked like it had been stretched like taffy. But Kim Harrison got lucky. I was in an airport and there wasn’t much else there that said, “if you’re a woman and you want something either romantic or involving women who kick butt, this is for you.”
    So do the covers of Westerns make men look stupid? Do Sci-fi novels make men look stupid? They are not literary in the “snotty” sense, though I know there are both westerns and sci-fi novels that have as much a right to be marked literature as some romances.
    I love to see books by authors like Dickens or Austen with really evocative covers. I think people are more likely to buy a book with a cover that tells some kind of story, than one with a nice “tasteful” look. How come tasteful tends to mean “lacking in emotion”?
    If the covers of women’s books make us look dumb, then lets just have all the covers done that way and see what happens. I bet we’ll find that everyone else is just as dumb.
    (Thanks Susan/Miranda for this provocative post. I’ve been thinking about this for a while).
    Jrox

    Reply
  31. That’s an excellent question, Michelle. While the original Heller column in the paper had about a half-dozen examples of “bad” covers, it didn’t include any that she found agreeable.
    IMHO, genre books written by men are just as likely to have predictable covers as romance/women’s fiction. Romance may have too much pink, but thrillers and suspense are almost alway red and black (at least the ones lying around my house), and more often than not have guns on the cover, or maybe a splatter of blood. And not that long ago, most men’s action books featured a bodacious blond in a towel and stilletto heels…not much better than a gauzy dress or clinch, really.
    At least on the women’s fiction covers, the high heels are going to be Manolos or Louboutins. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  32. That’s an excellent question, Michelle. While the original Heller column in the paper had about a half-dozen examples of “bad” covers, it didn’t include any that she found agreeable.
    IMHO, genre books written by men are just as likely to have predictable covers as romance/women’s fiction. Romance may have too much pink, but thrillers and suspense are almost alway red and black (at least the ones lying around my house), and more often than not have guns on the cover, or maybe a splatter of blood. And not that long ago, most men’s action books featured a bodacious blond in a towel and stilletto heels…not much better than a gauzy dress or clinch, really.
    At least on the women’s fiction covers, the high heels are going to be Manolos or Louboutins. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  33. That’s an excellent question, Michelle. While the original Heller column in the paper had about a half-dozen examples of “bad” covers, it didn’t include any that she found agreeable.
    IMHO, genre books written by men are just as likely to have predictable covers as romance/women’s fiction. Romance may have too much pink, but thrillers and suspense are almost alway red and black (at least the ones lying around my house), and more often than not have guns on the cover, or maybe a splatter of blood. And not that long ago, most men’s action books featured a bodacious blond in a towel and stilletto heels…not much better than a gauzy dress or clinch, really.
    At least on the women’s fiction covers, the high heels are going to be Manolos or Louboutins. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  34. That’s an excellent question, Michelle. While the original Heller column in the paper had about a half-dozen examples of “bad” covers, it didn’t include any that she found agreeable.
    IMHO, genre books written by men are just as likely to have predictable covers as romance/women’s fiction. Romance may have too much pink, but thrillers and suspense are almost alway red and black (at least the ones lying around my house), and more often than not have guns on the cover, or maybe a splatter of blood. And not that long ago, most men’s action books featured a bodacious blond in a towel and stilletto heels…not much better than a gauzy dress or clinch, really.
    At least on the women’s fiction covers, the high heels are going to be Manolos or Louboutins. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  35. That’s an excellent question, Michelle. While the original Heller column in the paper had about a half-dozen examples of “bad” covers, it didn’t include any that she found agreeable.
    IMHO, genre books written by men are just as likely to have predictable covers as romance/women’s fiction. Romance may have too much pink, but thrillers and suspense are almost alway red and black (at least the ones lying around my house), and more often than not have guns on the cover, or maybe a splatter of blood. And not that long ago, most men’s action books featured a bodacious blond in a towel and stilletto heels…not much better than a gauzy dress or clinch, really.
    At least on the women’s fiction covers, the high heels are going to be Manolos or Louboutins. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  36. What came to my mind as I read blog, comments and Ms. Heller’s column was William Goldman’s comment about movies: Nobody knows anything. Do the publishers *know* what sells a book? I suspect they are constantly trying out new theories, without doing any multivariate analysis to determine what actually works v. what people think is working or what seems to be working but may be due to the multitude of other factors in play.
    Which supports my own opinion that the writer out to have a BIG voice in the creation of the cover; after all, s/he’s the one who came up with the book, from idea to execution. Given that the publisher has signed on for that, shouldn’t s/he trust the author to know what goes with her work?
    I, too, am tired of headless people on covers; I’ve never liked cartoony ones; and what’s up with all these shoes? Why, when *I* was a girl… ooops. I guess everybody wants to look modern and clued-in, etc. To stand out from the crowd, but NOT TOO MUCH! I’ve always thought it’d be interesting if they put a debut author’s name in huge gold letters on the cover. I bet that’d sell books!

    Reply
  37. What came to my mind as I read blog, comments and Ms. Heller’s column was William Goldman’s comment about movies: Nobody knows anything. Do the publishers *know* what sells a book? I suspect they are constantly trying out new theories, without doing any multivariate analysis to determine what actually works v. what people think is working or what seems to be working but may be due to the multitude of other factors in play.
    Which supports my own opinion that the writer out to have a BIG voice in the creation of the cover; after all, s/he’s the one who came up with the book, from idea to execution. Given that the publisher has signed on for that, shouldn’t s/he trust the author to know what goes with her work?
    I, too, am tired of headless people on covers; I’ve never liked cartoony ones; and what’s up with all these shoes? Why, when *I* was a girl… ooops. I guess everybody wants to look modern and clued-in, etc. To stand out from the crowd, but NOT TOO MUCH! I’ve always thought it’d be interesting if they put a debut author’s name in huge gold letters on the cover. I bet that’d sell books!

    Reply
  38. What came to my mind as I read blog, comments and Ms. Heller’s column was William Goldman’s comment about movies: Nobody knows anything. Do the publishers *know* what sells a book? I suspect they are constantly trying out new theories, without doing any multivariate analysis to determine what actually works v. what people think is working or what seems to be working but may be due to the multitude of other factors in play.
    Which supports my own opinion that the writer out to have a BIG voice in the creation of the cover; after all, s/he’s the one who came up with the book, from idea to execution. Given that the publisher has signed on for that, shouldn’t s/he trust the author to know what goes with her work?
    I, too, am tired of headless people on covers; I’ve never liked cartoony ones; and what’s up with all these shoes? Why, when *I* was a girl… ooops. I guess everybody wants to look modern and clued-in, etc. To stand out from the crowd, but NOT TOO MUCH! I’ve always thought it’d be interesting if they put a debut author’s name in huge gold letters on the cover. I bet that’d sell books!

    Reply
  39. What came to my mind as I read blog, comments and Ms. Heller’s column was William Goldman’s comment about movies: Nobody knows anything. Do the publishers *know* what sells a book? I suspect they are constantly trying out new theories, without doing any multivariate analysis to determine what actually works v. what people think is working or what seems to be working but may be due to the multitude of other factors in play.
    Which supports my own opinion that the writer out to have a BIG voice in the creation of the cover; after all, s/he’s the one who came up with the book, from idea to execution. Given that the publisher has signed on for that, shouldn’t s/he trust the author to know what goes with her work?
    I, too, am tired of headless people on covers; I’ve never liked cartoony ones; and what’s up with all these shoes? Why, when *I* was a girl… ooops. I guess everybody wants to look modern and clued-in, etc. To stand out from the crowd, but NOT TOO MUCH! I’ve always thought it’d be interesting if they put a debut author’s name in huge gold letters on the cover. I bet that’d sell books!

    Reply
  40. What came to my mind as I read blog, comments and Ms. Heller’s column was William Goldman’s comment about movies: Nobody knows anything. Do the publishers *know* what sells a book? I suspect they are constantly trying out new theories, without doing any multivariate analysis to determine what actually works v. what people think is working or what seems to be working but may be due to the multitude of other factors in play.
    Which supports my own opinion that the writer out to have a BIG voice in the creation of the cover; after all, s/he’s the one who came up with the book, from idea to execution. Given that the publisher has signed on for that, shouldn’t s/he trust the author to know what goes with her work?
    I, too, am tired of headless people on covers; I’ve never liked cartoony ones; and what’s up with all these shoes? Why, when *I* was a girl… ooops. I guess everybody wants to look modern and clued-in, etc. To stand out from the crowd, but NOT TOO MUCH! I’ve always thought it’d be interesting if they put a debut author’s name in huge gold letters on the cover. I bet that’d sell books!

    Reply
  41. I have some major issues with covers of romance novels. So many of them are badly done. It’s not the topic per se but the execution that does it to me. All those blurry lines, cheesy guys with no shirt on, weird ribbons flowing and blowing, 80s hair and so forth. And those garish colours! I always felt that romance got the short straw there, “let’s the least talented person do these covers, those readers don’t mind”. That’s the impression I get. Yes, there are some nice covers out there and I do not think romance should have “literary” covers (although I have issues with the “snotty”). But they could be well-executed!
    My second issue is the female pigeonholing that’s going on. Everything has to be pink, lace, soft focus, fashionable, high heeled…. you get me. Well, that’s okay ocasionally but sometimes I feel really uncomfortable buying such books. These covers suggest for me that a woman has to like these things, and I just don’t – all the time. So yes, I think there’s something there – a sort of disdain for the romance reader’s intelligence and taste. There are bad covers in every genre of course, but still, ronance covers got the short straw there. Just speaking for myself, I do not buy romance because of the covers, but despite them. (not all the time of course. Some covers are great, but overall….)

    Reply
  42. I have some major issues with covers of romance novels. So many of them are badly done. It’s not the topic per se but the execution that does it to me. All those blurry lines, cheesy guys with no shirt on, weird ribbons flowing and blowing, 80s hair and so forth. And those garish colours! I always felt that romance got the short straw there, “let’s the least talented person do these covers, those readers don’t mind”. That’s the impression I get. Yes, there are some nice covers out there and I do not think romance should have “literary” covers (although I have issues with the “snotty”). But they could be well-executed!
    My second issue is the female pigeonholing that’s going on. Everything has to be pink, lace, soft focus, fashionable, high heeled…. you get me. Well, that’s okay ocasionally but sometimes I feel really uncomfortable buying such books. These covers suggest for me that a woman has to like these things, and I just don’t – all the time. So yes, I think there’s something there – a sort of disdain for the romance reader’s intelligence and taste. There are bad covers in every genre of course, but still, ronance covers got the short straw there. Just speaking for myself, I do not buy romance because of the covers, but despite them. (not all the time of course. Some covers are great, but overall….)

    Reply
  43. I have some major issues with covers of romance novels. So many of them are badly done. It’s not the topic per se but the execution that does it to me. All those blurry lines, cheesy guys with no shirt on, weird ribbons flowing and blowing, 80s hair and so forth. And those garish colours! I always felt that romance got the short straw there, “let’s the least talented person do these covers, those readers don’t mind”. That’s the impression I get. Yes, there are some nice covers out there and I do not think romance should have “literary” covers (although I have issues with the “snotty”). But they could be well-executed!
    My second issue is the female pigeonholing that’s going on. Everything has to be pink, lace, soft focus, fashionable, high heeled…. you get me. Well, that’s okay ocasionally but sometimes I feel really uncomfortable buying such books. These covers suggest for me that a woman has to like these things, and I just don’t – all the time. So yes, I think there’s something there – a sort of disdain for the romance reader’s intelligence and taste. There are bad covers in every genre of course, but still, ronance covers got the short straw there. Just speaking for myself, I do not buy romance because of the covers, but despite them. (not all the time of course. Some covers are great, but overall….)

    Reply
  44. I have some major issues with covers of romance novels. So many of them are badly done. It’s not the topic per se but the execution that does it to me. All those blurry lines, cheesy guys with no shirt on, weird ribbons flowing and blowing, 80s hair and so forth. And those garish colours! I always felt that romance got the short straw there, “let’s the least talented person do these covers, those readers don’t mind”. That’s the impression I get. Yes, there are some nice covers out there and I do not think romance should have “literary” covers (although I have issues with the “snotty”). But they could be well-executed!
    My second issue is the female pigeonholing that’s going on. Everything has to be pink, lace, soft focus, fashionable, high heeled…. you get me. Well, that’s okay ocasionally but sometimes I feel really uncomfortable buying such books. These covers suggest for me that a woman has to like these things, and I just don’t – all the time. So yes, I think there’s something there – a sort of disdain for the romance reader’s intelligence and taste. There are bad covers in every genre of course, but still, ronance covers got the short straw there. Just speaking for myself, I do not buy romance because of the covers, but despite them. (not all the time of course. Some covers are great, but overall….)

    Reply
  45. I have some major issues with covers of romance novels. So many of them are badly done. It’s not the topic per se but the execution that does it to me. All those blurry lines, cheesy guys with no shirt on, weird ribbons flowing and blowing, 80s hair and so forth. And those garish colours! I always felt that romance got the short straw there, “let’s the least talented person do these covers, those readers don’t mind”. That’s the impression I get. Yes, there are some nice covers out there and I do not think romance should have “literary” covers (although I have issues with the “snotty”). But they could be well-executed!
    My second issue is the female pigeonholing that’s going on. Everything has to be pink, lace, soft focus, fashionable, high heeled…. you get me. Well, that’s okay ocasionally but sometimes I feel really uncomfortable buying such books. These covers suggest for me that a woman has to like these things, and I just don’t – all the time. So yes, I think there’s something there – a sort of disdain for the romance reader’s intelligence and taste. There are bad covers in every genre of course, but still, ronance covers got the short straw there. Just speaking for myself, I do not buy romance because of the covers, but despite them. (not all the time of course. Some covers are great, but overall….)

    Reply
  46. I’m a huge romance fan, be it historical, contemporary, or paranormal. I’ll read books no matter what the cover looks like, but to be honest I prefer that the covers don’t have half-naked people on them. If the book’s by an author I like or shelved in the romance section, I trust that it really is a romance without needing to see evidence of it.
    I’m not ashamed to read romance novels, but when the cover looks like I’m reading pornography, I do feel embarrassed to read it in certain settings, like my mostly-male engineering firm. I deliberately pick books with innocuous covers for work and doctor’s visits so I don’t draw stares. That usually means contemporary or paranormals instead of historicals, which are my favorite.
    It seems like there are fewer historicals with the H&H in a clinch on the front cover – a trend that makes me happy. Give me a pretty setting or a classy picture of the heroine (that actually looks like the description in the book!) any day. If the publisher really wants to include an embrace, I prefer it relegated to the inside cover or a smaller image on the back.
    As for the contemporary covers, I tend to be drawn to ones that feature the heroine in a situation that’s relevant to the plot. However, I have no complaints about the random inanimate objects or disembodied appendages. I don’t find covers demeaning, although they can be a bit over the top. One cover I remember liking (even though it doesn’t fit my normal criterion that the image be relevant to the story) is Gena Showalter’s cover for Catch a Mate. It’s simple, interesting, and there’s no scantily-clad people in sight. Just because the story’s steamy doesn’t mean the cover needs to be too.
    Here’s a response to Heller’s article that I mainly agree with: http://www.booksquare.com/in-defense-of-womens-fiction-book-covers/

    Reply
  47. I’m a huge romance fan, be it historical, contemporary, or paranormal. I’ll read books no matter what the cover looks like, but to be honest I prefer that the covers don’t have half-naked people on them. If the book’s by an author I like or shelved in the romance section, I trust that it really is a romance without needing to see evidence of it.
    I’m not ashamed to read romance novels, but when the cover looks like I’m reading pornography, I do feel embarrassed to read it in certain settings, like my mostly-male engineering firm. I deliberately pick books with innocuous covers for work and doctor’s visits so I don’t draw stares. That usually means contemporary or paranormals instead of historicals, which are my favorite.
    It seems like there are fewer historicals with the H&H in a clinch on the front cover – a trend that makes me happy. Give me a pretty setting or a classy picture of the heroine (that actually looks like the description in the book!) any day. If the publisher really wants to include an embrace, I prefer it relegated to the inside cover or a smaller image on the back.
    As for the contemporary covers, I tend to be drawn to ones that feature the heroine in a situation that’s relevant to the plot. However, I have no complaints about the random inanimate objects or disembodied appendages. I don’t find covers demeaning, although they can be a bit over the top. One cover I remember liking (even though it doesn’t fit my normal criterion that the image be relevant to the story) is Gena Showalter’s cover for Catch a Mate. It’s simple, interesting, and there’s no scantily-clad people in sight. Just because the story’s steamy doesn’t mean the cover needs to be too.
    Here’s a response to Heller’s article that I mainly agree with: http://www.booksquare.com/in-defense-of-womens-fiction-book-covers/

    Reply
  48. I’m a huge romance fan, be it historical, contemporary, or paranormal. I’ll read books no matter what the cover looks like, but to be honest I prefer that the covers don’t have half-naked people on them. If the book’s by an author I like or shelved in the romance section, I trust that it really is a romance without needing to see evidence of it.
    I’m not ashamed to read romance novels, but when the cover looks like I’m reading pornography, I do feel embarrassed to read it in certain settings, like my mostly-male engineering firm. I deliberately pick books with innocuous covers for work and doctor’s visits so I don’t draw stares. That usually means contemporary or paranormals instead of historicals, which are my favorite.
    It seems like there are fewer historicals with the H&H in a clinch on the front cover – a trend that makes me happy. Give me a pretty setting or a classy picture of the heroine (that actually looks like the description in the book!) any day. If the publisher really wants to include an embrace, I prefer it relegated to the inside cover or a smaller image on the back.
    As for the contemporary covers, I tend to be drawn to ones that feature the heroine in a situation that’s relevant to the plot. However, I have no complaints about the random inanimate objects or disembodied appendages. I don’t find covers demeaning, although they can be a bit over the top. One cover I remember liking (even though it doesn’t fit my normal criterion that the image be relevant to the story) is Gena Showalter’s cover for Catch a Mate. It’s simple, interesting, and there’s no scantily-clad people in sight. Just because the story’s steamy doesn’t mean the cover needs to be too.
    Here’s a response to Heller’s article that I mainly agree with: http://www.booksquare.com/in-defense-of-womens-fiction-book-covers/

    Reply
  49. I’m a huge romance fan, be it historical, contemporary, or paranormal. I’ll read books no matter what the cover looks like, but to be honest I prefer that the covers don’t have half-naked people on them. If the book’s by an author I like or shelved in the romance section, I trust that it really is a romance without needing to see evidence of it.
    I’m not ashamed to read romance novels, but when the cover looks like I’m reading pornography, I do feel embarrassed to read it in certain settings, like my mostly-male engineering firm. I deliberately pick books with innocuous covers for work and doctor’s visits so I don’t draw stares. That usually means contemporary or paranormals instead of historicals, which are my favorite.
    It seems like there are fewer historicals with the H&H in a clinch on the front cover – a trend that makes me happy. Give me a pretty setting or a classy picture of the heroine (that actually looks like the description in the book!) any day. If the publisher really wants to include an embrace, I prefer it relegated to the inside cover or a smaller image on the back.
    As for the contemporary covers, I tend to be drawn to ones that feature the heroine in a situation that’s relevant to the plot. However, I have no complaints about the random inanimate objects or disembodied appendages. I don’t find covers demeaning, although they can be a bit over the top. One cover I remember liking (even though it doesn’t fit my normal criterion that the image be relevant to the story) is Gena Showalter’s cover for Catch a Mate. It’s simple, interesting, and there’s no scantily-clad people in sight. Just because the story’s steamy doesn’t mean the cover needs to be too.
    Here’s a response to Heller’s article that I mainly agree with: http://www.booksquare.com/in-defense-of-womens-fiction-book-covers/

    Reply
  50. I’m a huge romance fan, be it historical, contemporary, or paranormal. I’ll read books no matter what the cover looks like, but to be honest I prefer that the covers don’t have half-naked people on them. If the book’s by an author I like or shelved in the romance section, I trust that it really is a romance without needing to see evidence of it.
    I’m not ashamed to read romance novels, but when the cover looks like I’m reading pornography, I do feel embarrassed to read it in certain settings, like my mostly-male engineering firm. I deliberately pick books with innocuous covers for work and doctor’s visits so I don’t draw stares. That usually means contemporary or paranormals instead of historicals, which are my favorite.
    It seems like there are fewer historicals with the H&H in a clinch on the front cover – a trend that makes me happy. Give me a pretty setting or a classy picture of the heroine (that actually looks like the description in the book!) any day. If the publisher really wants to include an embrace, I prefer it relegated to the inside cover or a smaller image on the back.
    As for the contemporary covers, I tend to be drawn to ones that feature the heroine in a situation that’s relevant to the plot. However, I have no complaints about the random inanimate objects or disembodied appendages. I don’t find covers demeaning, although they can be a bit over the top. One cover I remember liking (even though it doesn’t fit my normal criterion that the image be relevant to the story) is Gena Showalter’s cover for Catch a Mate. It’s simple, interesting, and there’s no scantily-clad people in sight. Just because the story’s steamy doesn’t mean the cover needs to be too.
    Here’s a response to Heller’s article that I mainly agree with: http://www.booksquare.com/in-defense-of-womens-fiction-book-covers/

    Reply
  51. So many good point have already been made, so I have only three to add.
    One, that as a graphic designer too I agree with MaryJo’s point about cropped images having more dynamism. If the image of a person on a cover was fully intact it would seem like a photo and our eyes would gloss over it on the shelf. Cropping off the head draws attention to it. Especially for a historical, the cropping calls out the period costume and shouts “I’m historical!”
    Second, about those nude male torso covers, I don’t mind them. I can see how others might, but I see them as a rare example of the Female Gaze. Let’s face it, most of what we see in movies, TV, advertising, and yes book covers, are the Male Gaze — how men see women. Romance is one of the few areas where women are both the primary authors and readers, and the marketing of it reflects that.
    Third, how can we call Romance the any kind of “ghetto” when the genre outsells just about all the other genres and accounts for over a quarter of *all* books sold? Romance is one of the few areas where women authors and readers truly dominate. Heller says of Crouch’s cover that its “halving her potential readership from the start,” but I don’t think that’s accurate since demographically women read much more than men do. Books that bridge the gap between Science Fiction and Romance have this challenge, but ultimately more women are likely to buy *any* book, so why not go where the market is?

    Reply
  52. So many good point have already been made, so I have only three to add.
    One, that as a graphic designer too I agree with MaryJo’s point about cropped images having more dynamism. If the image of a person on a cover was fully intact it would seem like a photo and our eyes would gloss over it on the shelf. Cropping off the head draws attention to it. Especially for a historical, the cropping calls out the period costume and shouts “I’m historical!”
    Second, about those nude male torso covers, I don’t mind them. I can see how others might, but I see them as a rare example of the Female Gaze. Let’s face it, most of what we see in movies, TV, advertising, and yes book covers, are the Male Gaze — how men see women. Romance is one of the few areas where women are both the primary authors and readers, and the marketing of it reflects that.
    Third, how can we call Romance the any kind of “ghetto” when the genre outsells just about all the other genres and accounts for over a quarter of *all* books sold? Romance is one of the few areas where women authors and readers truly dominate. Heller says of Crouch’s cover that its “halving her potential readership from the start,” but I don’t think that’s accurate since demographically women read much more than men do. Books that bridge the gap between Science Fiction and Romance have this challenge, but ultimately more women are likely to buy *any* book, so why not go where the market is?

    Reply
  53. So many good point have already been made, so I have only three to add.
    One, that as a graphic designer too I agree with MaryJo’s point about cropped images having more dynamism. If the image of a person on a cover was fully intact it would seem like a photo and our eyes would gloss over it on the shelf. Cropping off the head draws attention to it. Especially for a historical, the cropping calls out the period costume and shouts “I’m historical!”
    Second, about those nude male torso covers, I don’t mind them. I can see how others might, but I see them as a rare example of the Female Gaze. Let’s face it, most of what we see in movies, TV, advertising, and yes book covers, are the Male Gaze — how men see women. Romance is one of the few areas where women are both the primary authors and readers, and the marketing of it reflects that.
    Third, how can we call Romance the any kind of “ghetto” when the genre outsells just about all the other genres and accounts for over a quarter of *all* books sold? Romance is one of the few areas where women authors and readers truly dominate. Heller says of Crouch’s cover that its “halving her potential readership from the start,” but I don’t think that’s accurate since demographically women read much more than men do. Books that bridge the gap between Science Fiction and Romance have this challenge, but ultimately more women are likely to buy *any* book, so why not go where the market is?

    Reply
  54. So many good point have already been made, so I have only three to add.
    One, that as a graphic designer too I agree with MaryJo’s point about cropped images having more dynamism. If the image of a person on a cover was fully intact it would seem like a photo and our eyes would gloss over it on the shelf. Cropping off the head draws attention to it. Especially for a historical, the cropping calls out the period costume and shouts “I’m historical!”
    Second, about those nude male torso covers, I don’t mind them. I can see how others might, but I see them as a rare example of the Female Gaze. Let’s face it, most of what we see in movies, TV, advertising, and yes book covers, are the Male Gaze — how men see women. Romance is one of the few areas where women are both the primary authors and readers, and the marketing of it reflects that.
    Third, how can we call Romance the any kind of “ghetto” when the genre outsells just about all the other genres and accounts for over a quarter of *all* books sold? Romance is one of the few areas where women authors and readers truly dominate. Heller says of Crouch’s cover that its “halving her potential readership from the start,” but I don’t think that’s accurate since demographically women read much more than men do. Books that bridge the gap between Science Fiction and Romance have this challenge, but ultimately more women are likely to buy *any* book, so why not go where the market is?

    Reply
  55. So many good point have already been made, so I have only three to add.
    One, that as a graphic designer too I agree with MaryJo’s point about cropped images having more dynamism. If the image of a person on a cover was fully intact it would seem like a photo and our eyes would gloss over it on the shelf. Cropping off the head draws attention to it. Especially for a historical, the cropping calls out the period costume and shouts “I’m historical!”
    Second, about those nude male torso covers, I don’t mind them. I can see how others might, but I see them as a rare example of the Female Gaze. Let’s face it, most of what we see in movies, TV, advertising, and yes book covers, are the Male Gaze — how men see women. Romance is one of the few areas where women are both the primary authors and readers, and the marketing of it reflects that.
    Third, how can we call Romance the any kind of “ghetto” when the genre outsells just about all the other genres and accounts for over a quarter of *all* books sold? Romance is one of the few areas where women authors and readers truly dominate. Heller says of Crouch’s cover that its “halving her potential readership from the start,” but I don’t think that’s accurate since demographically women read much more than men do. Books that bridge the gap between Science Fiction and Romance have this challenge, but ultimately more women are likely to buy *any* book, so why not go where the market is?

    Reply
  56. Great post (one of my favorite topics “G”)!
    I will be the first to say that I despise pink and prefer slippers to Manolos, so I don’t relate well to chicklit type covers. But what I favor has extremely little to do with what sells in the marketplace. You only have to stop in your nearby Target to see that these days all “girlie” things are marketed with pink. (so much for my feminine revolution to black!) And chicklit book sales soared on the back of shoe-buying frenzies apparently inspired by Sex and the City. One must assume shoes sell books. So, does shoe-buying and pink make us dumb?
    I don’t have a graphic bone in me and I’m quite happy to have someone else design my artwork. I just want it to represent what I write. I don’t write shoes or pink, and so far, I’ve not had such marketing tools foisted upon me. As a reader, I want the cover to evoke in some manner the contents. That’s all we can ask, really, isn’t it?

    Reply
  57. Great post (one of my favorite topics “G”)!
    I will be the first to say that I despise pink and prefer slippers to Manolos, so I don’t relate well to chicklit type covers. But what I favor has extremely little to do with what sells in the marketplace. You only have to stop in your nearby Target to see that these days all “girlie” things are marketed with pink. (so much for my feminine revolution to black!) And chicklit book sales soared on the back of shoe-buying frenzies apparently inspired by Sex and the City. One must assume shoes sell books. So, does shoe-buying and pink make us dumb?
    I don’t have a graphic bone in me and I’m quite happy to have someone else design my artwork. I just want it to represent what I write. I don’t write shoes or pink, and so far, I’ve not had such marketing tools foisted upon me. As a reader, I want the cover to evoke in some manner the contents. That’s all we can ask, really, isn’t it?

    Reply
  58. Great post (one of my favorite topics “G”)!
    I will be the first to say that I despise pink and prefer slippers to Manolos, so I don’t relate well to chicklit type covers. But what I favor has extremely little to do with what sells in the marketplace. You only have to stop in your nearby Target to see that these days all “girlie” things are marketed with pink. (so much for my feminine revolution to black!) And chicklit book sales soared on the back of shoe-buying frenzies apparently inspired by Sex and the City. One must assume shoes sell books. So, does shoe-buying and pink make us dumb?
    I don’t have a graphic bone in me and I’m quite happy to have someone else design my artwork. I just want it to represent what I write. I don’t write shoes or pink, and so far, I’ve not had such marketing tools foisted upon me. As a reader, I want the cover to evoke in some manner the contents. That’s all we can ask, really, isn’t it?

    Reply
  59. Great post (one of my favorite topics “G”)!
    I will be the first to say that I despise pink and prefer slippers to Manolos, so I don’t relate well to chicklit type covers. But what I favor has extremely little to do with what sells in the marketplace. You only have to stop in your nearby Target to see that these days all “girlie” things are marketed with pink. (so much for my feminine revolution to black!) And chicklit book sales soared on the back of shoe-buying frenzies apparently inspired by Sex and the City. One must assume shoes sell books. So, does shoe-buying and pink make us dumb?
    I don’t have a graphic bone in me and I’m quite happy to have someone else design my artwork. I just want it to represent what I write. I don’t write shoes or pink, and so far, I’ve not had such marketing tools foisted upon me. As a reader, I want the cover to evoke in some manner the contents. That’s all we can ask, really, isn’t it?

    Reply
  60. Great post (one of my favorite topics “G”)!
    I will be the first to say that I despise pink and prefer slippers to Manolos, so I don’t relate well to chicklit type covers. But what I favor has extremely little to do with what sells in the marketplace. You only have to stop in your nearby Target to see that these days all “girlie” things are marketed with pink. (so much for my feminine revolution to black!) And chicklit book sales soared on the back of shoe-buying frenzies apparently inspired by Sex and the City. One must assume shoes sell books. So, does shoe-buying and pink make us dumb?
    I don’t have a graphic bone in me and I’m quite happy to have someone else design my artwork. I just want it to represent what I write. I don’t write shoes or pink, and so far, I’ve not had such marketing tools foisted upon me. As a reader, I want the cover to evoke in some manner the contents. That’s all we can ask, really, isn’t it?

    Reply
  61. “As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there.”
    I agree, and I also like headless or back view covers because I don’t necessarily want a full visual representation of the protagonist there on the cover. I’d rather have some blanks to fill in using my imagination and the author’s description.
    And I really don’t see the problem with any of the covers linked in Heller’s article. Unlike many romances and not a few science fiction and fantasy covers, there’s nothing about those images that would make me blush to read them on the city bus. They’re clearly targeted for a female market, but I don’t see anything demeaning about how it’s done.

    Reply
  62. “As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there.”
    I agree, and I also like headless or back view covers because I don’t necessarily want a full visual representation of the protagonist there on the cover. I’d rather have some blanks to fill in using my imagination and the author’s description.
    And I really don’t see the problem with any of the covers linked in Heller’s article. Unlike many romances and not a few science fiction and fantasy covers, there’s nothing about those images that would make me blush to read them on the city bus. They’re clearly targeted for a female market, but I don’t see anything demeaning about how it’s done.

    Reply
  63. “As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there.”
    I agree, and I also like headless or back view covers because I don’t necessarily want a full visual representation of the protagonist there on the cover. I’d rather have some blanks to fill in using my imagination and the author’s description.
    And I really don’t see the problem with any of the covers linked in Heller’s article. Unlike many romances and not a few science fiction and fantasy covers, there’s nothing about those images that would make me blush to read them on the city bus. They’re clearly targeted for a female market, but I don’t see anything demeaning about how it’s done.

    Reply
  64. “As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there.”
    I agree, and I also like headless or back view covers because I don’t necessarily want a full visual representation of the protagonist there on the cover. I’d rather have some blanks to fill in using my imagination and the author’s description.
    And I really don’t see the problem with any of the covers linked in Heller’s article. Unlike many romances and not a few science fiction and fantasy covers, there’s nothing about those images that would make me blush to read them on the city bus. They’re clearly targeted for a female market, but I don’t see anything demeaning about how it’s done.

    Reply
  65. “As for the use of body parts–sure, it’s been overdone, but anything effective gets overdone. As a general rule,there’s more dynamism in such an image than in a completely contained picture that just sits there.”
    I agree, and I also like headless or back view covers because I don’t necessarily want a full visual representation of the protagonist there on the cover. I’d rather have some blanks to fill in using my imagination and the author’s description.
    And I really don’t see the problem with any of the covers linked in Heller’s article. Unlike many romances and not a few science fiction and fantasy covers, there’s nothing about those images that would make me blush to read them on the city bus. They’re clearly targeted for a female market, but I don’t see anything demeaning about how it’s done.

    Reply
  66. Call me a snob, I adore well written and accurate historical romance but am embarrassed to be seen reading some of them in public. I even re-covered one particularly awful one in brown paper before I took it out on public transport with me! Lurid pictures of men in breeches with bare torsos embracing half naked women on the front cover often bear no resemblance to what’s inside and can be an insult to the quality of the content.
    In the UK at the moment the fashion seems to be veering into the realms of the slightly more tasteful. Loretta’s most recent books had lovely and un-embarrassing covers and I could leave them lying about without shame! 😉

    Reply
  67. Call me a snob, I adore well written and accurate historical romance but am embarrassed to be seen reading some of them in public. I even re-covered one particularly awful one in brown paper before I took it out on public transport with me! Lurid pictures of men in breeches with bare torsos embracing half naked women on the front cover often bear no resemblance to what’s inside and can be an insult to the quality of the content.
    In the UK at the moment the fashion seems to be veering into the realms of the slightly more tasteful. Loretta’s most recent books had lovely and un-embarrassing covers and I could leave them lying about without shame! 😉

    Reply
  68. Call me a snob, I adore well written and accurate historical romance but am embarrassed to be seen reading some of them in public. I even re-covered one particularly awful one in brown paper before I took it out on public transport with me! Lurid pictures of men in breeches with bare torsos embracing half naked women on the front cover often bear no resemblance to what’s inside and can be an insult to the quality of the content.
    In the UK at the moment the fashion seems to be veering into the realms of the slightly more tasteful. Loretta’s most recent books had lovely and un-embarrassing covers and I could leave them lying about without shame! 😉

    Reply
  69. Call me a snob, I adore well written and accurate historical romance but am embarrassed to be seen reading some of them in public. I even re-covered one particularly awful one in brown paper before I took it out on public transport with me! Lurid pictures of men in breeches with bare torsos embracing half naked women on the front cover often bear no resemblance to what’s inside and can be an insult to the quality of the content.
    In the UK at the moment the fashion seems to be veering into the realms of the slightly more tasteful. Loretta’s most recent books had lovely and un-embarrassing covers and I could leave them lying about without shame! 😉

    Reply
  70. Call me a snob, I adore well written and accurate historical romance but am embarrassed to be seen reading some of them in public. I even re-covered one particularly awful one in brown paper before I took it out on public transport with me! Lurid pictures of men in breeches with bare torsos embracing half naked women on the front cover often bear no resemblance to what’s inside and can be an insult to the quality of the content.
    In the UK at the moment the fashion seems to be veering into the realms of the slightly more tasteful. Loretta’s most recent books had lovely and un-embarrassing covers and I could leave them lying about without shame! 😉

    Reply
  71. I believe for the greater part a book cover sells the book and if a picture of a girl is on the cover that doesn’t make women appear “dumb”…I’m sure to a man it just says to him “This is a story about a woman and I don’t want to read it”…I doubt he even takes the time to think that it is about a “dumb woman”.

    Reply
  72. I believe for the greater part a book cover sells the book and if a picture of a girl is on the cover that doesn’t make women appear “dumb”…I’m sure to a man it just says to him “This is a story about a woman and I don’t want to read it”…I doubt he even takes the time to think that it is about a “dumb woman”.

    Reply
  73. I believe for the greater part a book cover sells the book and if a picture of a girl is on the cover that doesn’t make women appear “dumb”…I’m sure to a man it just says to him “This is a story about a woman and I don’t want to read it”…I doubt he even takes the time to think that it is about a “dumb woman”.

    Reply
  74. I believe for the greater part a book cover sells the book and if a picture of a girl is on the cover that doesn’t make women appear “dumb”…I’m sure to a man it just says to him “This is a story about a woman and I don’t want to read it”…I doubt he even takes the time to think that it is about a “dumb woman”.

    Reply
  75. I believe for the greater part a book cover sells the book and if a picture of a girl is on the cover that doesn’t make women appear “dumb”…I’m sure to a man it just says to him “This is a story about a woman and I don’t want to read it”…I doubt he even takes the time to think that it is about a “dumb woman”.

    Reply
  76. I wouldn’t call you a snob, Caroline! I’ve had those few books that have great stories and horribly trashy covers that I’m embarrassed to carry. For those, I have two of these: http://www.hardbacker.com/
    Both have lasted me several years and they come in almost all paperback sizes. Might want to look into them

    Reply
  77. I wouldn’t call you a snob, Caroline! I’ve had those few books that have great stories and horribly trashy covers that I’m embarrassed to carry. For those, I have two of these: http://www.hardbacker.com/
    Both have lasted me several years and they come in almost all paperback sizes. Might want to look into them

    Reply
  78. I wouldn’t call you a snob, Caroline! I’ve had those few books that have great stories and horribly trashy covers that I’m embarrassed to carry. For those, I have two of these: http://www.hardbacker.com/
    Both have lasted me several years and they come in almost all paperback sizes. Might want to look into them

    Reply
  79. I wouldn’t call you a snob, Caroline! I’ve had those few books that have great stories and horribly trashy covers that I’m embarrassed to carry. For those, I have two of these: http://www.hardbacker.com/
    Both have lasted me several years and they come in almost all paperback sizes. Might want to look into them

    Reply
  80. I wouldn’t call you a snob, Caroline! I’ve had those few books that have great stories and horribly trashy covers that I’m embarrassed to carry. For those, I have two of these: http://www.hardbacker.com/
    Both have lasted me several years and they come in almost all paperback sizes. Might want to look into them

    Reply
  81. An interesting discussion, with much considered opinion. Now I’m going shallow.
    I’ve got a book coming out in the fall that has a “cheesy” cover that I love. It’s a very buff young man in what is little more than a loincloth–which, btw, is totally wrong for my time/setting (as is the sword he’s holding and, for that matter, the castle in the background).
    But it works. He *is* my Immortal Warrior, and I’m pleased as can be. I’ve had clinch covers, pretty covers, cartoon covers, metallic covers. I like my hunk. And this is the first book in a long series for Berkley, so I’m expecting a lot more hunks.
    Please.

    Reply
  82. An interesting discussion, with much considered opinion. Now I’m going shallow.
    I’ve got a book coming out in the fall that has a “cheesy” cover that I love. It’s a very buff young man in what is little more than a loincloth–which, btw, is totally wrong for my time/setting (as is the sword he’s holding and, for that matter, the castle in the background).
    But it works. He *is* my Immortal Warrior, and I’m pleased as can be. I’ve had clinch covers, pretty covers, cartoon covers, metallic covers. I like my hunk. And this is the first book in a long series for Berkley, so I’m expecting a lot more hunks.
    Please.

    Reply
  83. An interesting discussion, with much considered opinion. Now I’m going shallow.
    I’ve got a book coming out in the fall that has a “cheesy” cover that I love. It’s a very buff young man in what is little more than a loincloth–which, btw, is totally wrong for my time/setting (as is the sword he’s holding and, for that matter, the castle in the background).
    But it works. He *is* my Immortal Warrior, and I’m pleased as can be. I’ve had clinch covers, pretty covers, cartoon covers, metallic covers. I like my hunk. And this is the first book in a long series for Berkley, so I’m expecting a lot more hunks.
    Please.

    Reply
  84. An interesting discussion, with much considered opinion. Now I’m going shallow.
    I’ve got a book coming out in the fall that has a “cheesy” cover that I love. It’s a very buff young man in what is little more than a loincloth–which, btw, is totally wrong for my time/setting (as is the sword he’s holding and, for that matter, the castle in the background).
    But it works. He *is* my Immortal Warrior, and I’m pleased as can be. I’ve had clinch covers, pretty covers, cartoon covers, metallic covers. I like my hunk. And this is the first book in a long series for Berkley, so I’m expecting a lot more hunks.
    Please.

    Reply
  85. An interesting discussion, with much considered opinion. Now I’m going shallow.
    I’ve got a book coming out in the fall that has a “cheesy” cover that I love. It’s a very buff young man in what is little more than a loincloth–which, btw, is totally wrong for my time/setting (as is the sword he’s holding and, for that matter, the castle in the background).
    But it works. He *is* my Immortal Warrior, and I’m pleased as can be. I’ve had clinch covers, pretty covers, cartoon covers, metallic covers. I like my hunk. And this is the first book in a long series for Berkley, so I’m expecting a lot more hunks.
    Please.

    Reply
  86. I confess to covering my lurid-looking books with contact paper! I always, always research before I purchase. Anything iffy, I read from the library, only buying fav authors. The covers and titles don’t matter. HOWEVER when I read on the plane or beach, I don’t want people presuming…anything.
    I love the covers on the newly printed Georgette Heyer novels–ladies in period dress who might be the heroine inside. Yes, they do kinda scream “lit for girls,” but I’m a girl.

    Reply
  87. I confess to covering my lurid-looking books with contact paper! I always, always research before I purchase. Anything iffy, I read from the library, only buying fav authors. The covers and titles don’t matter. HOWEVER when I read on the plane or beach, I don’t want people presuming…anything.
    I love the covers on the newly printed Georgette Heyer novels–ladies in period dress who might be the heroine inside. Yes, they do kinda scream “lit for girls,” but I’m a girl.

    Reply
  88. I confess to covering my lurid-looking books with contact paper! I always, always research before I purchase. Anything iffy, I read from the library, only buying fav authors. The covers and titles don’t matter. HOWEVER when I read on the plane or beach, I don’t want people presuming…anything.
    I love the covers on the newly printed Georgette Heyer novels–ladies in period dress who might be the heroine inside. Yes, they do kinda scream “lit for girls,” but I’m a girl.

    Reply
  89. I confess to covering my lurid-looking books with contact paper! I always, always research before I purchase. Anything iffy, I read from the library, only buying fav authors. The covers and titles don’t matter. HOWEVER when I read on the plane or beach, I don’t want people presuming…anything.
    I love the covers on the newly printed Georgette Heyer novels–ladies in period dress who might be the heroine inside. Yes, they do kinda scream “lit for girls,” but I’m a girl.

    Reply
  90. I confess to covering my lurid-looking books with contact paper! I always, always research before I purchase. Anything iffy, I read from the library, only buying fav authors. The covers and titles don’t matter. HOWEVER when I read on the plane or beach, I don’t want people presuming…anything.
    I love the covers on the newly printed Georgette Heyer novels–ladies in period dress who might be the heroine inside. Yes, they do kinda scream “lit for girls,” but I’m a girl.

    Reply
  91. Tal,
    I thought about ordering one of those covers to try it, but they’re backordered and aren’t letting you put them on order. *sigh*

    Reply
  92. Tal,
    I thought about ordering one of those covers to try it, but they’re backordered and aren’t letting you put them on order. *sigh*

    Reply
  93. Tal,
    I thought about ordering one of those covers to try it, but they’re backordered and aren’t letting you put them on order. *sigh*

    Reply
  94. Tal,
    I thought about ordering one of those covers to try it, but they’re backordered and aren’t letting you put them on order. *sigh*

    Reply
  95. Tal,
    I thought about ordering one of those covers to try it, but they’re backordered and aren’t letting you put them on order. *sigh*

    Reply
  96. Theo, google for Bible covers/totes and you’ll find quite a few, some even paperback size. There are some very discreet ones, plain solid color with a small brass plaque with the fish icon engraved on it, for those who aren’t interested in proclaiming a religious stance.
    “Leather book covers” also brings up a few, mostly pricey. At $20, this one seems to be the cheapest:
    http://www.dvynewrytes.com/book_covers.htm

    Reply
  97. Theo, google for Bible covers/totes and you’ll find quite a few, some even paperback size. There are some very discreet ones, plain solid color with a small brass plaque with the fish icon engraved on it, for those who aren’t interested in proclaiming a religious stance.
    “Leather book covers” also brings up a few, mostly pricey. At $20, this one seems to be the cheapest:
    http://www.dvynewrytes.com/book_covers.htm

    Reply
  98. Theo, google for Bible covers/totes and you’ll find quite a few, some even paperback size. There are some very discreet ones, plain solid color with a small brass plaque with the fish icon engraved on it, for those who aren’t interested in proclaiming a religious stance.
    “Leather book covers” also brings up a few, mostly pricey. At $20, this one seems to be the cheapest:
    http://www.dvynewrytes.com/book_covers.htm

    Reply
  99. Theo, google for Bible covers/totes and you’ll find quite a few, some even paperback size. There are some very discreet ones, plain solid color with a small brass plaque with the fish icon engraved on it, for those who aren’t interested in proclaiming a religious stance.
    “Leather book covers” also brings up a few, mostly pricey. At $20, this one seems to be the cheapest:
    http://www.dvynewrytes.com/book_covers.htm

    Reply
  100. Theo, google for Bible covers/totes and you’ll find quite a few, some even paperback size. There are some very discreet ones, plain solid color with a small brass plaque with the fish icon engraved on it, for those who aren’t interested in proclaiming a religious stance.
    “Leather book covers” also brings up a few, mostly pricey. At $20, this one seems to be the cheapest:
    http://www.dvynewrytes.com/book_covers.htm

    Reply
  101. We shouldn’t be forced into this tho! I agree I love the new Georgette Heyer covers – they are obviously aimed at women – nothing wrong with that – but they’re taken from original paintings representing Regency characters in Regency settings. It’s not so much that the dumb covers make women look dumb – IMO the dumb covers make the contents look dumb which, as long as you are reading the right authors ;), they are most certainly not!

    Reply
  102. We shouldn’t be forced into this tho! I agree I love the new Georgette Heyer covers – they are obviously aimed at women – nothing wrong with that – but they’re taken from original paintings representing Regency characters in Regency settings. It’s not so much that the dumb covers make women look dumb – IMO the dumb covers make the contents look dumb which, as long as you are reading the right authors ;), they are most certainly not!

    Reply
  103. We shouldn’t be forced into this tho! I agree I love the new Georgette Heyer covers – they are obviously aimed at women – nothing wrong with that – but they’re taken from original paintings representing Regency characters in Regency settings. It’s not so much that the dumb covers make women look dumb – IMO the dumb covers make the contents look dumb which, as long as you are reading the right authors ;), they are most certainly not!

    Reply
  104. We shouldn’t be forced into this tho! I agree I love the new Georgette Heyer covers – they are obviously aimed at women – nothing wrong with that – but they’re taken from original paintings representing Regency characters in Regency settings. It’s not so much that the dumb covers make women look dumb – IMO the dumb covers make the contents look dumb which, as long as you are reading the right authors ;), they are most certainly not!

    Reply
  105. We shouldn’t be forced into this tho! I agree I love the new Georgette Heyer covers – they are obviously aimed at women – nothing wrong with that – but they’re taken from original paintings representing Regency characters in Regency settings. It’s not so much that the dumb covers make women look dumb – IMO the dumb covers make the contents look dumb which, as long as you are reading the right authors ;), they are most certainly not!

    Reply
  106. Thanks, Tal! 🙂 Those are nice. The most I came up with were all ‘custom’ covers. But all my books aren’t exactly the same size.
    Caroline, I don’t feel forced into covering my books. Really, I don’t. I have one in my purse at all times and the covers protect those sexy pictures, or the beautiful ones, and yes, even the cheesy ones, from so much wear and tear. I might read some of my books so much they’ve been replaced two or three times, but it wasn’t because the beautiful cover had been torn off or scratched or bent over. My books though, look like I’ve *read* them, not like I’ve tried to kill them 😆
    I understand exactly what you’re saying though and I agree. Not everyone who reads Shakespeare, loves Shakespeare. Sometimes they’re reading it for some other reason and to make the assumption they’re oh…highly intelligent because they’re reading it does a disservice to both the reader and the observer.

    Reply
  107. Thanks, Tal! 🙂 Those are nice. The most I came up with were all ‘custom’ covers. But all my books aren’t exactly the same size.
    Caroline, I don’t feel forced into covering my books. Really, I don’t. I have one in my purse at all times and the covers protect those sexy pictures, or the beautiful ones, and yes, even the cheesy ones, from so much wear and tear. I might read some of my books so much they’ve been replaced two or three times, but it wasn’t because the beautiful cover had been torn off or scratched or bent over. My books though, look like I’ve *read* them, not like I’ve tried to kill them 😆
    I understand exactly what you’re saying though and I agree. Not everyone who reads Shakespeare, loves Shakespeare. Sometimes they’re reading it for some other reason and to make the assumption they’re oh…highly intelligent because they’re reading it does a disservice to both the reader and the observer.

    Reply
  108. Thanks, Tal! 🙂 Those are nice. The most I came up with were all ‘custom’ covers. But all my books aren’t exactly the same size.
    Caroline, I don’t feel forced into covering my books. Really, I don’t. I have one in my purse at all times and the covers protect those sexy pictures, or the beautiful ones, and yes, even the cheesy ones, from so much wear and tear. I might read some of my books so much they’ve been replaced two or three times, but it wasn’t because the beautiful cover had been torn off or scratched or bent over. My books though, look like I’ve *read* them, not like I’ve tried to kill them 😆
    I understand exactly what you’re saying though and I agree. Not everyone who reads Shakespeare, loves Shakespeare. Sometimes they’re reading it for some other reason and to make the assumption they’re oh…highly intelligent because they’re reading it does a disservice to both the reader and the observer.

    Reply
  109. Thanks, Tal! 🙂 Those are nice. The most I came up with were all ‘custom’ covers. But all my books aren’t exactly the same size.
    Caroline, I don’t feel forced into covering my books. Really, I don’t. I have one in my purse at all times and the covers protect those sexy pictures, or the beautiful ones, and yes, even the cheesy ones, from so much wear and tear. I might read some of my books so much they’ve been replaced two or three times, but it wasn’t because the beautiful cover had been torn off or scratched or bent over. My books though, look like I’ve *read* them, not like I’ve tried to kill them 😆
    I understand exactly what you’re saying though and I agree. Not everyone who reads Shakespeare, loves Shakespeare. Sometimes they’re reading it for some other reason and to make the assumption they’re oh…highly intelligent because they’re reading it does a disservice to both the reader and the observer.

    Reply
  110. Thanks, Tal! 🙂 Those are nice. The most I came up with were all ‘custom’ covers. But all my books aren’t exactly the same size.
    Caroline, I don’t feel forced into covering my books. Really, I don’t. I have one in my purse at all times and the covers protect those sexy pictures, or the beautiful ones, and yes, even the cheesy ones, from so much wear and tear. I might read some of my books so much they’ve been replaced two or three times, but it wasn’t because the beautiful cover had been torn off or scratched or bent over. My books though, look like I’ve *read* them, not like I’ve tried to kill them 😆
    I understand exactly what you’re saying though and I agree. Not everyone who reads Shakespeare, loves Shakespeare. Sometimes they’re reading it for some other reason and to make the assumption they’re oh…highly intelligent because they’re reading it does a disservice to both the reader and the observer.

    Reply
  111. Publishers have no notion of what readers want in covers; a perfect example would be the incident on SBTB where one of them submitted two potential covers and asked the Bitches to choose between them, and the answer was a resounding “Neither!” My own preference is for landscapes like the current Lady Macbeth one or tchotchkes like the enamelled snuffboxes, fans, and the like that appear on the Amanda Quick covers.
    I have a really nice book cover that I think Kimball used to carry: it’s canvas–quite like this one (5th down), which I mentioned before, and which I think is more what you want, Theo):
    http://www.catholicsupply.com/books/leccover.html
    Mine has initials and an extra pocket on one side for reading glasses, plus a zip pocket on the other side for eyeglass cleaning cloth, key, whatever.
    I know we are generally agreed we don’t like cartoon covers, but I have to admit to a fondness to this one:
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n12/n64631.jpg

    Reply
  112. Publishers have no notion of what readers want in covers; a perfect example would be the incident on SBTB where one of them submitted two potential covers and asked the Bitches to choose between them, and the answer was a resounding “Neither!” My own preference is for landscapes like the current Lady Macbeth one or tchotchkes like the enamelled snuffboxes, fans, and the like that appear on the Amanda Quick covers.
    I have a really nice book cover that I think Kimball used to carry: it’s canvas–quite like this one (5th down), which I mentioned before, and which I think is more what you want, Theo):
    http://www.catholicsupply.com/books/leccover.html
    Mine has initials and an extra pocket on one side for reading glasses, plus a zip pocket on the other side for eyeglass cleaning cloth, key, whatever.
    I know we are generally agreed we don’t like cartoon covers, but I have to admit to a fondness to this one:
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n12/n64631.jpg

    Reply
  113. Publishers have no notion of what readers want in covers; a perfect example would be the incident on SBTB where one of them submitted two potential covers and asked the Bitches to choose between them, and the answer was a resounding “Neither!” My own preference is for landscapes like the current Lady Macbeth one or tchotchkes like the enamelled snuffboxes, fans, and the like that appear on the Amanda Quick covers.
    I have a really nice book cover that I think Kimball used to carry: it’s canvas–quite like this one (5th down), which I mentioned before, and which I think is more what you want, Theo):
    http://www.catholicsupply.com/books/leccover.html
    Mine has initials and an extra pocket on one side for reading glasses, plus a zip pocket on the other side for eyeglass cleaning cloth, key, whatever.
    I know we are generally agreed we don’t like cartoon covers, but I have to admit to a fondness to this one:
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n12/n64631.jpg

    Reply
  114. Publishers have no notion of what readers want in covers; a perfect example would be the incident on SBTB where one of them submitted two potential covers and asked the Bitches to choose between them, and the answer was a resounding “Neither!” My own preference is for landscapes like the current Lady Macbeth one or tchotchkes like the enamelled snuffboxes, fans, and the like that appear on the Amanda Quick covers.
    I have a really nice book cover that I think Kimball used to carry: it’s canvas–quite like this one (5th down), which I mentioned before, and which I think is more what you want, Theo):
    http://www.catholicsupply.com/books/leccover.html
    Mine has initials and an extra pocket on one side for reading glasses, plus a zip pocket on the other side for eyeglass cleaning cloth, key, whatever.
    I know we are generally agreed we don’t like cartoon covers, but I have to admit to a fondness to this one:
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n12/n64631.jpg

    Reply
  115. Publishers have no notion of what readers want in covers; a perfect example would be the incident on SBTB where one of them submitted two potential covers and asked the Bitches to choose between them, and the answer was a resounding “Neither!” My own preference is for landscapes like the current Lady Macbeth one or tchotchkes like the enamelled snuffboxes, fans, and the like that appear on the Amanda Quick covers.
    I have a really nice book cover that I think Kimball used to carry: it’s canvas–quite like this one (5th down), which I mentioned before, and which I think is more what you want, Theo):
    http://www.catholicsupply.com/books/leccover.html
    Mine has initials and an extra pocket on one side for reading glasses, plus a zip pocket on the other side for eyeglass cleaning cloth, key, whatever.
    I know we are generally agreed we don’t like cartoon covers, but I have to admit to a fondness to this one:
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n12/n64631.jpg

    Reply

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