Welcome. This blog was started three years ago by four aspiring writers who are now three published authors of novels and short stories (Barbara Elsborg, Dawn Jackson, Arlene Webb) and one multiple award-winning writer (Laurie Green). We blog to keep readers updated on our new releases or other random topics. We hope you enjoy your stay. :] Coffee?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Have you ever...

Have you ever read a book, where the cover art completely conflicts with the story?
Recently I read a book, and it was well written, but the attention to detail paid by the author, was not shared by the publisher.

The image created of the heroine is very distinct. She has black hair, so dark it has blue hi-lights. The cover art portrays her as a light blond. I can't begin to tell you how much that irritates me.

Now, as I've told you before, I'm not shallow, but little descrepancies like this really can throw me off the story. I've been known to buy a book for the cover art. Yes, I said it. If you don't think the average romance reader does, your mistaken.

Where was I going with this? I felt a bit betrayed, mislead. Not by the writer. She wrote a solid story. If a publisher hires an artist to do the cover, they should read the story. How else are they going to get it right?

Don't give me the whole, "This isn't how an artist works", because I know better. I know how an artist works. If I was hired to paint the cover art, I'd read the story. Not only to ensure I got it right, but for inspiration. It's a beautiful cover, but it doesn't belong with the story. For the publisher to slip on this, shows how little they care. The reader will lose trust. Hopefully not in the writer. We all know how little control a writer has over these things. What makes me mad is I know that it takes months, sometimes years to write these stories. If someone would have taken a couple of days to do their research, this wouldn't have happened.

Let this serve as an example of why we should do our research, and I'm not talking to just the writers. The Devil really is in the details. Do your research.

Book written by: Julia Latham, and the story is "One Knight Only."


Flick said...

Oh, I've seen this too. Hero described as having blond hair and there he is on the cover with dark hair. I even want the clothes to be right. Thigh high boots are NOT the same as knee high. A cherub is not the same as an angel.It's especially important in romances I think!!

Trouble is - most of the time the artists don't have time to read the books - much as we might like them too. They rely on author input - so it does make you wonder how they can get it so wrong. Is it the publishers??

But like you, Dawn, I set a lot of stock on the cover. It wouldn't stop me buying a book if I didn't like it, but it might well encourage me to buy one if I liked the cover art.

I've just finished a book by Thea Devine. A great writer. 'Tempted by Fire' - 1992 - so an old book. The cover is awful - probably fine 16 years ago but no one would pick it up today and admire it. Gaudy, gypsy looking characters - nothing like those in the book. But the writing - just great.

Laurie said...

Cover art is so important to the marketing of the novel, I wonder how anyone--especially the author--can let such blatant errors slide.

One of my worst fears is that writer's affliction I call HCA (Hideous Cover Art). I've seen some real dogs. Heroes with um...tight jean syndrome (to the point it's grotesque, not sexy). And my biggest peeve...cartoon art. Now what writer in their right mind would want their characters portrayed as cartoon figures. (OK, maybe in childrens' or teen markets, but certainly not for the adult readership--the kind of stuff I write.)

I wonder how the marketing department--those who are supposed to be the whiz kids at this stuff--can sometimes get it so wrong? And why wasn't the author not screaming bloody murder?

I've also seen some really great art that has obvious um...inconsistencies. OK, maybe an admiral in an alien empire could have shoulder length hair, but living, working and breathing the military makes this seem very alien to my experience (excuse the pun).

Then there are the covers I absolutely ADORE...like Lisa Shearin's MAGIC LOST, TROUBLE FOUND, and I have to scratch my head when other readers trash the art. It's perfect for the story. The colors are vivid and gorgeous. The outfit the MC is wearing is described to a T in the book. WHAT are they thinking?