I genuinely do know that I'm a dreadful nag. In my first post here at CFC, I posted the second part of my discussion on book covers (Cover Design Calypso, Part II), which appeared here in November of 2011, and then reposted the first portion, which originally appeared on my own website, Cover Design Calypso, Part I, here on CFC during the Christmas holiday, I did indeed nag our gentle readers about the import of good cover art. In thinking about it (and in my happy treks around the Internet), I discovered a source that has become a daily stop for me, before I open my emails--it's called "Lousy Book Covers" (on tumblr) and it's the CakeWrecks of book covers. If you haven't discovered CakeWrecks, ("Where Professional Cakes Go Horribly, Hilariously Wrong") you don't know how to live, but suffice it to say: LousyBookCovers is worth a daily visit.
And it occurred to me, in my enjoyment of LBC, that I'd learned an old but valuable lesson: a picture is worth a thousand words. And thus, this week's nag is an urge for you to visit LousyBookCovers, and think to yourself: Would I ever pick up this book and flip through the pages?
Since Blogger won't allow you to reblog from Tumblr, and my understanding of the associated rights isn't quite thorough (Mr. Shumate pulls the images through his Amazon associates link, and I don't know how he manages to obtain only the cover images, sans Amazon text--I think it's a Tumblr thing, which is, after all, an images weblog site), here are some links to his Tumblr blog that I know reinforced my theories on "what NOT TO DO" when creating a cover:
Erotic Refugees: (captioned, "We don't want your kind here!")
Talon of the Raptor Clan (captioned: "I don't want to startle you, but you have an eagle where your hair should be."
Goat Suckin' --- Hotter Than It Sounds (captioned: "It would have to be, wouldn't it?")
Elfthade (captioned: "Words fail me.")
If You Miss the Train Im [sic] On (captioned: "On the plus side, the unreadable font almost hides the fact that the apostrophe is missing")
Now, trust me when I tell you: there are plenty more. These aren't even the worst; they're just five examples of why you not only need Beta readers for your book (not to mention editors and critique groups!!), but for your cover design as well. Remember two things: if you enjoy LBC from now on, you have me to thank. (Okay, really, you have Nate Shumate to thank, the evil genius behind LousyBookCovers, but, hey, I am the one who toldja!). Secondly: when you look at your cover, close your eyes and just imagine: "can my cover end up on Lousy Book Covers?" If the answer is yes, or maybe: get working on that redesign! (if you're on a budget, don't forget our Super-Secret Budget Saving Tip from Cover Calypso 2: Check out Goonwrite.com, for high-quality pre-made covers.)
If you have a good amount of memory on your computer, click through and view Nate's "ARCHIVE," which will leave you gasping for air, because you'll either be crying or laughing so hard, you won't be able to breathe. If these don't make you laugh, you're clearly a cyborg designed by Cyberdyne systems, and they left out your humor module.
You've been warned! The posts are all in good fun--but an object lesson is to be had, as well.
Next time: actually, I have absolutely no idea.
Great post, Hitch, and an important one. When I released my first book, While the Savage Sleeps, I created my own cover. Bad move. Really bad. I'm a writer--an artist, not so much. I remember Amanda Hocking telling me (with great tact and kindness) that my cover was horrid. She said to lose it and hire a professional. I did, and it was one of the best pieces of advice I ever received.ReplyDelete
You only get one chance to make a first impression. Don't get caught in gabardine pants...or with a bad book cover.
Thanks for a good laugh. I'll be checking back with this site.ReplyDelete
Oh my gosh, these were hilarious!ReplyDelete
What a fun time-suck.ReplyDelete
Thanks for another great post, Hitch! I sent two of my clients here who are shopping for cover designers. What not to accept! Great stuff!ReplyDelete
Well, thanks, but I can't take credit. This guy--Nate Shumate--is positively my "new best friend," in terms of my badly-need laugh du jour. He and CakeWrecks are my only two "musts" per day. I wish I had the wit and humor to do something like that, but I don't. I do, however, have the ability to laugh like HELL when I see it.
As I said, though: a wonderful object lesson. The Fire Crotch may be my all-time favorite, though, just in...WHAT was that author THINKING? ;-)
And so, thanks to Kimberley Hitchens, I've found a new addiction. Is there a pill I can take so I won't keep going back?ReplyDelete
"What not to do" is a great instructor, isn't it?
So what you're saying is that if we should get good cover designs if want our books to sell without a Hitch. Or is that with a Hitch? I'm confused, but those were hilarious. As were the comments.ReplyDelete
There's the "what were they thinking?" group and the "Didn't anybody tell them?" group and the "I just feel sorry for them" group. Of course, some of the pulp covers were also ridiculous - but at least they weren't photobombed or neo-kindergarten. (No, random author, impressionism is not whatever you think it is.)