Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday Surprise - More Reasons Why Not To Judge A Book By It's Cover

This Saturday at The Pink Heart Society we look at some more of the reasons why we shouldn't always judge a book by it's cover with our very own Trish Wylie...

We all do it - come on tell the truth - if we're stuck for time when we're buying our books then the cover can make the difference between buying a book and leaving it the heck alone... And moaning or cheering about covers isn't just done by us as readers - it's an author topic too - cos we all cheer when we get a great cover and bemoan a bad one. So in order to make us feel better I thought I'd look at what have been considered over the years as some of the worst...

And I'll even be brave enough to show you one of my own worst moments. Yes - cos it would just be my first book - not that it's that bad when you compare it to some of the ones I'm ABOUT to show you... But The Bridal Bet had what I thought was a rather yummy hero... and it wasn't until the US Version came out two years later that I got to see Ryan pictured the way I'd pictured him in my head... In the UK the artwork had gone by the title (which any of you who have read the book will know was a bit of a stretch to begin with) - so I got a wedding picture (which never happened in the book btw) with a *bride* and *groom* and the *Ryan* on the cover had a RECEDING HAIRLINE. My lovely US cover had it right - Ryan was scrummy and Molly had the LEGS that drove him crazy from page one - BLISS!

Still - having gone searching for this blog I can tell you ALL IS FORGIVEN.... Let's start with the three handed heroine shall we???

Now I couldn't actually find the cover in it's original form (had I been sans deadline I'd have considered it a mission to find it as you all well know) but let's just count those hands together shall we??? One on the end of one arm - one on the end of the other...ooohhh and the one the hero is holding!!!

Hmmm... anyone who can come up with an alternate scenario for this please let us know...I'm also fascinated enough to now believe that the hero would also appear to have extra fingers too... Strange.

But is it the worst cover??? Let's not be too hasty gals.

Every year at All About Romance they have a best/worst covers of the year contest (which has recently moved to the Cover Cafe) and in 2004 this one took the prize for worst cover... which is a bit of a shame - cos from the waist up this guy held a certain amount of promise doncha think? However - from the waist down - what's going on there then??? And it was this that the judges had the most questions about...

Now you gotta say that the author probably knew what they were aiming for - I know any time I've had a dodgy cover (which thankfully hasn't happened since the Art Department got so gosh darned good with the launch of the new Romance line and the new Modx lines) I've had a fair idea of why I've got what I've got, even if I've initially cringed. And there's no doubting that an authors name will sell a book if it's a big enough/well enough known name regardless of any cover art faux pas... but you kinda gotta feel for those of us not famous or we readers who know no better, right?

But hey - we category romance authors/readers don't get off scot-free (and apologies to any of the authors whose covers I use as examples...really... I *feel* your pain.)

This one wasn't a worst cover winner at AAR but even so you can see why it was nominated and the pic along with the titling led to many's a raucous comment at the time of judging... But you can't say that it's gonna be a reflection of the story inside and you also gotta wonder what was going on inside the photographer and models minds as this pose was struck! Mind you - if I was the heroine's model I'd be equally as concerned with the lack of interest on the hero models face myself...

And did you know that a great many of the cover models are NOT professional models but folks that come in *off the street* so to speak? I once had one of mine's mother email me to tell me about her son and it really was lovely to hear about him and to send thanks for his depiction of my hero... How would I have felt if his mother had emailed about this one I ask you???

Winner of the AAR Worst Cover in 2004 came from the fantabulous Blaze line - where I have to say I've been tempted again and again and again over the years by the sexy hero's on the covers - and I've found some of my favourite authors as a result!

So this pic itself probably wouldn't have put me off that much - BUT - it would have made me think for a little itty bitty second before I figured it out... And it wouldn't be a cover you could leave lying around the house for very young eyes to see and ask the kind of question that would start with 'Mummy/Auntie/Granny... what are they...?'

Might that element have put some folks off? Knowing the author's work it wouldn't have for me - but that brings us back to the whole name recognition thing again doesn't it?
Oh and just in case we think the three handed heroine was something from the dark ages a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - we have a more recent cover where there is another anatomically challenged heroine... anyone spot the problem here??? No? Okay - if I said the word FEET would you get it??? But then - would you have noticed if I hadn't given you a clue???

I guess what I'm trying to ask in my usual very long winded manner is can a *bad* cover influence us equally as much as a good cover? You see, way back at the start of The Pink Heart Society Blogazine we asked about the things that make us pick up a book - was it the name, was it the line, was it the back-blurb, was it the cover? See - it's all falling together beautifully now. Cos I confessed that I'm a cover gal - well I'm a cover followed by back-blurb followed by excerpt inside the front cover gal. As a reader would I even have picked up one with a bad cover? To be honest - if it was a writer I knew and loved then yes, I would still pick it up - if it wasn't...hmmm... I'll confess I might take a little longer to even look. And as a writer - that confession is scary to contemplate from the point of view of ever selling a book with a dodgy cover.

So what about you - would you be put off by a *bad* cover? Readers - do you have a worst one you particularly remember? Authors - do you want to confess to your worst cover and maybe leave us a link to it on your own Blog or site??? Be brave and we can all suffer together! And just out of interest - AAR and the Cover Cafe are now taking nominations for the worst and best covers of 2007 if you want to add one or vote when the short list is in... Just remember though - behind every *worst* nomination is an author who somewhere is weeping...LOUDLY.

It all goes to prove that old adage I feel... Altogether now... You can't judge a book...

H's & K's - Trish

Trish hits us with double releases in July - The Return Of The Rebel (which is a follow up to Breathless!) in Modern Extra - and Bride Of The Emerald Isle (the book she'll be signing at the RWA Nationals) in Romance...

The Return Of The Rebel is available from Amazon UK next month or from Mills & Boon right now! And Bride Of The Emerald Isle is available from Eharlequin or Amazon in the USA & Canada and Mills & Boon or Amazon UK in the UK. AND you can also buy it as an E-Book here!!! For more info visit her Website or her Blog.
(And she'll let you be the judge of these covers for yourself...)


  1. Oh my gosh, some of those are too funny. I just spit out apple juice all over my monitor on Maggie's cover. lmao, yikes that's a bad one. And its the first time I've seen the much talked about 3 handed heroine. Thanks posting the covers! hehe

  2. LOL! Love the three handed heroine. The hero must be happy about that!

  3. OMG, those are hilarious! That Blaze cover, wowee, she's very limber lol.

    A bad cover can be a turn off, but if it was an author that I enjoyed or a book that I had heard good things about, I would buy it anyway. I think where this is most damaging is with a new author. That cover might be the difference in me picking up the book, or not.