Monday, December 20, 2010

Our girl Muriel….

The woman on this cover I’ve nicknamed. Muriel. She’s been around a bit. I reckon I’ve seen her on a dozen covers already – mine/Penn’s included. Muriel’s picture makes me ask these questions –

1. Are cover artists basically busy/lazy and grab the first image that fits?
2. Are there too many novice e-book cover makers out there with limited to no imagination?
3. Are publishers paying the right people enough to do cover art or are they relying on paying people/authors, who think they have talent, dirt cheap?
4. Is Muriel on special – by that I mean is she cheap – like 0.75 cents a download?
5. Do women want to be tied up?
6. Are we all writing the same story and should we be tied up?
7. Do readers give a crap about the cover?
8. Do publishers give a crap about their readers?
9. Has publishing lost touch with reality or does reality no longer matter with so many small presses out there all trying to make a buck so screw quality?

Yes, yes, I know there are some very good covers artists out there who know what they’re doing and they strive to look beyond the obviousness of Muriel. They are indeed Artists by trade. The other patch-and-paste-four men-and-one-woman-in-a row-to-let-everyone-know-one-heroine-is-going-to-be-lucky-with-multiple-lovers cover people? I can’t stand disjointed covers that look like someone has cut out figures from a magazine for a school project. My opinion? They’re not artists. They’re making money with scissors and glue pots and good luck to them. But that’s not artistic. And yes, e-book romances are not real but can we at least have covers where the characters look like they may actually know each other?

Oh, and don’t get me started on cover hacks who read buxom and overweight on a cover request and see it as thin and emaciated….

Amarinda Jones
Penn Halligan
Be an Amarinda book


  1. For better or worse (and we've had both) we do our covers in-house. This means it has been a learning process to try and both fit the cover to the story and to make the cover appealing to prospective readers. It also has the advantage that the cover can more closely reflect the story, and we don't have any worries about copyright, etc. (For our latest efforts, have a look here.)

    Of course, the title is another crucial element of the cover. In the case of the cover posted here, I would never have suspected that it was for a romance novel had the top not told me it was from a romance line. The image itself, and the title, sound and look much more like a BDSM erotic piece.

    As to the use of the same picture for multiple covers, this is a natural result of the democratization of the publishing process. Large publishers can commission unique artwork (though I have seen them re-use cover art too), but smaller and self- publishers can't often afford the investment. So stock photos are used instead, and that means popular ones will get used multiple times.

    But since good covers are crucial to selling books, even ebooks, this is a timely post which raises some good points.

  2. I like your comment. It answers a lot of the stuff I have been thinking about. I'm now very interested to check you guys out.

    Thanks mate