Home » Agents » The Agent as Publisher – Ugly Cover Contest Winner

The Agent as Publisher – Ugly Cover Contest Winner

27 May 2011

Passive Guy has seldom seen a more captivating cover. He can’t tear his eyes away and finds himself constantly thinking of passion, vainly attempting to still his beating heart. Count PG as yet another Captive . . .  a Captive . . . of the Night.

Consider the sophisticated typography and the subtle interplay of color and texture. Of course, the art is le plus grand des grands as the ravished yet satisfied heroine wonders if she should return to the world of patent law or stay stoned forever.

Admit it, this cover just calls out to you to buy the book.

Here’s the story: Romance writer Loretta Chase apparently signed one of those contracts that made her agent her publisher for backlist books.

The first backlist release by the agent/publisher was Captives of the Night and romance blogger Sara Wendell thought the cover was so terrible that this must be one of those self-published books.

Commenters closely examined the cover, smelled piracy and worried their beloved Ms. Chase might be the victim of an Amazon Kindle Swindle.

Ms. Chase responded that the book’s cover was not the work of cheesy pirates, but rather the product of her agent/publisher. She indirectly acknowledged that the cover sucked, but explained her agent/publisher “had to find public domain material, and I didn’t want to drag the process out by micromanaging the design.”

Isn’t it nice for authors to have savvy agents who know all about design and promotion handling all these publishing details? That way, authors don’t have to worry their pretty little heads about micromanaging anything. And saving tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars with public domain covers! This is genius on a stick!

Link to a lovely discussion of this whole mess at Dear Author



15 Comments to “The Agent as Publisher – Ugly Cover Contest Winner”

  1. The subject of ‘covers’ is a sore one. Many of us who are e-pubbed have experienced ‘bad cover blues’. A good book can become an internet book blogger joke because of a bad cover.
    We’ve learned about stock photography, how to buy covers direct from cover models, how to describe what we want to either a pub’s cover artist or a hired cover artist. These are lessons learned over time. You can’t just slap any old thing together and foist it upon the public.
    I’ve battled with publishers over covers. Sometimes I’ve won the battle, sometimes lost the battle to my everlasting chagrin. A reader may not buy your book, but the one thing that will tempt them to pick it up is the cover. Make no mistake about this, THE COVER. A bad cover might get you sales only when it does get a mention on a site like DA as ‘the most awful cover the world has ever seen.’
    Yikes, that’s a bad cover. The agent’s inexperience in the world of e-publishing is on display. I guess, since she approved it, so is the author’s.

    • Julia – The whole cover thing sounds familiar.

      Have you ever looked at using someone you find on one of the big freelance sites?

      • It’s not an issue for me any longer because I plan to self-pub my next book and my cover was a gift from an animator! Exactly what I wanted!
        When you work with an e-pub, you are given a cover form to fill out, but there is no guarantee the cover artist will provide you with anything close to what you’ve requested. Nor do the cover artists read the books they’re creating covers for, so they are creating with very little information. Some are better at it than others.

        • Julia – A good artist is wonderful to work with, but one who doesn’t get the book can be an enormous pain.

          I know one author who changed the book so it would match the cover a little better.

  2. *sigh* I was paranoid about my cover for next week’s novel release. Not so much any more.

  3. Well, at least the lettering on the cover is not purple and sparkly. Neither are my vampires. *grin*

    • Suzan – Isn’t every book supposed to have sparkly purple lettering? I thought that look was “In” this year in certain sections of Manhattan.

  4. I just paid someone to knock up a mockup of a cover for me. I sent info on the book, a short synopsis, the book description and my thoughts on what might work.

    Unfortunately, I think all that the cover artist saw was “Australia” in the description and put a stock image of an outback highway on the top and a pack of kangaroos on the bottom (neither of which figure in the book AT ALL).

    So I got a relatively expensive template with some nice fonts in it really. Maybe I should just switch to the mooning and dramatic art nouveau poses and curly script?

  5. Ha, ha, these cover stories are just hilarious!

    But bottom line, isn’t it just a matter of taste or lack of it for those who don’t like it?

    In other words, isn’t there somebody out there who actually likes this cover? I’m sure it works for somebody…or else it wouldn’t have been dreamt up, right?

    • Claude – I’m certain whoever created the cover liked it and I assume someone else liked it enough to approve it.

      On a very cynical basis, all the discussion about the cover has certainly generated a lot of attention for a backlist book that might not have received so much on its own. Long-time fans of Ms. Chase, the author, will know that, regardless of the cover, they’ll like the book and buy it.

  6. Well, it’s not that horrible as described. It’s bad. But I’ve seen a lot worse and for high selling books, as well as on self-published ones by authors who give instructions on how a cover should look like and they are considered gurus in self-publishing. However, I wouldn’t use the covers they use. But I don’t mock them.

    And I really don’t like bitchy attitudes like the one on the link you posted to Sara Wendell’s blog. That lady has issues for sure.

    If one doesn’t like something, it’s ok. And it’s ok to say so. But launching into flowery speeches, laced with hatred (I use appropriate words as you see, as the ones I read on that site), it only shows a person with lack of personality and self-confidence. Plus, it is a low quality show-off, because that person has no substance and intelligence to make an impression and resorts to mockery for that. Pathetic way.

    Mockery and hateful comments are not the way of intelligent people.

    • Jacqvern – As always, you have an intelligent response that examines an issue differently than others do. For me, the most significant point in the story was not the bad cover because they are easy to find, but rather that this cover was the product of one of the new breed of agents who have decided they’ll make more money as publishers and that publishing can’t be that hard to do.

      Personally, while I recognize some covers are excellent and reflect a lot of talent on the part of the designer, I don’t think a competent cover is that hard to do and there are a great many people capable of creating one. The most telling evidence that this cover was a serious failure is that a number of people thought it was evidence that this was a pirated edition. As far as the bitchy attitudes on the other blog, I’m glad that I don’t see that same attitude in comments on this blog.

      Thanks for your comment.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.