Yesterday, author Maureen Johnson had a great idea. She tweeted “I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says, “Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it.
My coverflip (Kandinsky’s take on Ally Carter’s Heist Society) is in the slideshow for this, #34.
But I just wanted to add this: it’s so easy* to just give people what they supposedly want rather than to force them to question it. Maybe we shouldn’t be “trying to teach everyone a lesson” but maybe we should be thinking about whether it’s really necessary to perpetuate the trend of skinny, pretty, headless/blurred out women on covers.
I can be very naïve about this sort of thing, so I may be entirely wrong, but I can’t help but think of CJ’s dialogue with Charlie: “Everyone’s stupid in an election year, Charlie.” “No, everyone gets treated stupid in an election year, CJ.” It’s about changing the way you treat the “consumer,” I think. As I said to someone earlier, you can’t wait for people’s buying attitudes to change. You have to create those buying attitudes.
I don’t think it’s enough to say this crappy cover sells, that ambiguous one doesn’t sell, let’s not do it. I understand why that happens, especially as publishers (in the U.K. at least) are really struggling and bookshops are competing with stupid massive greedy websites (for whom, by the way, many of these covers are tailored: that whole “thumbnail” shit which is so effing offensive I won’t even go down that road *reels anger in*). But I also don’t think it’s something that should make us, any of us, fall on our sword.
Basically…I think it’s time we raised the level of debate in the industry ;)
tl;dr: The West Wing is always relevant.
*easy isn’t the right word here but I’m tired and can’t think of an appropriate synonym. Convenient? I don’t know.