Cover Crimes

Uncommon_vowsoriginal From Mary Jo:

I’ve had my share of good and bad covers.  On the whole, more good than bad, for which I am most grateful.  Having spent many years as a graphic designer, I’m probably even crankier about covers than most authors (though by the same token, I have a better sense of what’s possible and what isn’t.) 

The cover that probably made me craziest was this one from UNCOMMON VOWS, my second historical romance and only medieval.  A person or two has told me that they bought the book because they liked the cover, so clearly tastes vary.  But I looked at it and saw that my fey forest sprite heroine had been turned into a busty bimbo with a distinctively shopworn look.  The falcon is an important element of the story, but why isn’t blood running down the heroine’s arm since she isn’t wearing a leather hawking gauntlet?

The hero is worse.  My dangerous warrior, who had sought the cloister as a way of controling his potential violence, has been turned into a teenaged beach boy with a pouffy pompadour.  And you could see the raglan seams carefully copied from the torn sweatshirt the model was wearing!  Note that despite the slashed shirt, there is no sign of blood.  Very clean blows those 12th century warriors struck.  I got them to paint out the raglan seams, but he still looks like a teenager who has never faced anything more stressful than misplacing his cell phone. 

Silksecretschinese

As for foreign covers, take a look at the Chinese edition of SILK AND SECRETS.  This is actually a take-off of the original American cover, which was very good.  In fact, the original painting hangs in my living room, startling unwary guests.  But it appears that the Chinese publisher ran a really bad color photocopy of the original, then used something like eyebrow pencil to make the characters look more Chinese.  The effect of this on a Scottish redheaded heroine is—interesting.  <g> 

One thing is for sure: get a group of romance writers together and sooner or later—probably sooner—we’ll start talking about our covers!

24 thoughts on “Cover Crimes”

  1. From Pat:
    I can remember you screaming about the teenager in a sweatshirt when the book came out. But I do adore the idea of a red-haired Chinese Scotswoman. Tell us her story sometime.

    Reply
  2. From Pat:
    I can remember you screaming about the teenager in a sweatshirt when the book came out. But I do adore the idea of a red-haired Chinese Scotswoman. Tell us her story sometime.

    Reply
  3. From Pat:
    I can remember you screaming about the teenager in a sweatshirt when the book came out. But I do adore the idea of a red-haired Chinese Scotswoman. Tell us her story sometime.

    Reply
  4. MJP–
    The cover for WILD CHILD was particularly good. As well, the cover for SHATTERED RAINBOWS (step-back, I think) evoked the right colors and the heroine looked like how I pictured her.
    Cathy

    Reply
  5. MJP–
    The cover for WILD CHILD was particularly good. As well, the cover for SHATTERED RAINBOWS (step-back, I think) evoked the right colors and the heroine looked like how I pictured her.
    Cathy

    Reply
  6. MJP–
    The cover for WILD CHILD was particularly good. As well, the cover for SHATTERED RAINBOWS (step-back, I think) evoked the right colors and the heroine looked like how I pictured her.
    Cathy

    Reply
  7. Goodness, Mary Jo! As you say, tastes differ. I’m ashamed to say that I sometimes do buy a book for its cover, and Uncommon Vows just screamed at me to buy it. For one thing, the H/H were attractive and unusual–not your run-of-the-mill stock cover models. For another, I loved the composition. For a third–and you’re gonna just shake your head–I thought the hero was gorgeous, pouffy pompadour and all. (I have to admit I chortled my way through your entire post, and when I came to “pouffy pompadour,” I burst into loud and long laughter. Then I read the bit about the misplaced cell phone, and I was on the floor, laid out with a fit of giggles.
    But then I haven’t had my coffee yet today.
    Sherrie Holmes
    http://www.holmesedit.com

    Reply
  8. Goodness, Mary Jo! As you say, tastes differ. I’m ashamed to say that I sometimes do buy a book for its cover, and Uncommon Vows just screamed at me to buy it. For one thing, the H/H were attractive and unusual–not your run-of-the-mill stock cover models. For another, I loved the composition. For a third–and you’re gonna just shake your head–I thought the hero was gorgeous, pouffy pompadour and all. (I have to admit I chortled my way through your entire post, and when I came to “pouffy pompadour,” I burst into loud and long laughter. Then I read the bit about the misplaced cell phone, and I was on the floor, laid out with a fit of giggles.
    But then I haven’t had my coffee yet today.
    Sherrie Holmes
    http://www.holmesedit.com

    Reply
  9. Goodness, Mary Jo! As you say, tastes differ. I’m ashamed to say that I sometimes do buy a book for its cover, and Uncommon Vows just screamed at me to buy it. For one thing, the H/H were attractive and unusual–not your run-of-the-mill stock cover models. For another, I loved the composition. For a third–and you’re gonna just shake your head–I thought the hero was gorgeous, pouffy pompadour and all. (I have to admit I chortled my way through your entire post, and when I came to “pouffy pompadour,” I burst into loud and long laughter. Then I read the bit about the misplaced cell phone, and I was on the floor, laid out with a fit of giggles.
    But then I haven’t had my coffee yet today.
    Sherrie Holmes
    http://www.holmesedit.com

    Reply
  10. Mary Jo — thought your cover crit was a riot. Especially this, “…saw that my fey forest sprite heroine had been turned into a busty bimbo with a distinctively shopworn look.”
    Oh and the falcon bit. Gold!

    Reply
  11. Mary Jo — thought your cover crit was a riot. Especially this, “…saw that my fey forest sprite heroine had been turned into a busty bimbo with a distinctively shopworn look.”
    Oh and the falcon bit. Gold!

    Reply
  12. Mary Jo — thought your cover crit was a riot. Especially this, “…saw that my fey forest sprite heroine had been turned into a busty bimbo with a distinctively shopworn look.”
    Oh and the falcon bit. Gold!

    Reply
  13. LOL on the cover comments! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve bought books because of a ravishing cover (though I’ll read a few pages of text, too.) And there are times I’ve had trouble buying a book because of a bad cover. (Hand over the credit card and think of England. 🙂
    At least I never had a three armed heroine!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  14. LOL on the cover comments! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve bought books because of a ravishing cover (though I’ll read a few pages of text, too.) And there are times I’ve had trouble buying a book because of a bad cover. (Hand over the credit card and think of England. 🙂
    At least I never had a three armed heroine!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  15. LOL on the cover comments! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve bought books because of a ravishing cover (though I’ll read a few pages of text, too.) And there are times I’ve had trouble buying a book because of a bad cover. (Hand over the credit card and think of England. 🙂
    At least I never had a three armed heroine!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  16. Tal–
    LOL about the costume she’s climbing the cliff in. You’re right that Patricia Briggs is a first rate author–I’ve just bought her newest book. Now I’ll have to look for the acrobatic lady in the bikini. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. Tal–
    LOL about the costume she’s climbing the cliff in. You’re right that Patricia Briggs is a first rate author–I’ve just bought her newest book. Now I’ll have to look for the acrobatic lady in the bikini. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. Tal–
    LOL about the costume she’s climbing the cliff in. You’re right that Patricia Briggs is a first rate author–I’ve just bought her newest book. Now I’ll have to look for the acrobatic lady in the bikini. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, better look quickly! WHEN DEMONS WALK was recently reprinted after being OOP, and I suspect that it will sell out again soon if it hasn’t already.

    Reply
  20. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, better look quickly! WHEN DEMONS WALK was recently reprinted after being OOP, and I suspect that it will sell out again soon if it hasn’t already.

    Reply
  21. tal sez:
    Mary Jo, better look quickly! WHEN DEMONS WALK was recently reprinted after being OOP, and I suspect that it will sell out again soon if it hasn’t already.

    Reply

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