by Leigh Lundin
I have a nice kitchen stove with digital temperature, slow pre-heat,
glass top, USB and firewire ports, automatic transmission, and other
features I'm sure. I also own pots and pans and a bottle of extra-virgin
olive oil. Just because I have them, doesn’t mean I should attempt to
When it comes to vanity publishing, I’m of the opinion just because some have the weapons to write a book, doesn’t mean they should.
Indeed, 98% should refrain.
A blog called Lousy Book Covers applies my opinion to book covers using
the motto “Just because you CAN
design your own book cover doesn't mean
you SHOULD.” It made me
realize if one can’t or won’t use an artist,
they sure as hell won’t pay an editor.
My friend Deborah used to point out the Ellora’s Cave covers that looked
like sixth-graders had discovered Smith Micro art programs, software putting the S&M in Poser, creating oddly stiff mannequin
figures committing unnatural acts in unnatural positions.
Later in a LinkedIn discussion on self-pubbing with the attendant interpersonal
drama, one ‘historical’ writer became a hysterical writer, attacking a
friend and colleague, calling her a slut for writing sex scenes while
insisting his were tasteful. He was bent on pushing his Civil War
‘true-life’ story which cover featured an ultra-busty plastic Poser babe dressed in six-guns and a plunging leather vest. He claimed
the cover had cost him a thousand or so, but it still looked like it
was cobbled by a hormonal driven teen in a hurry.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that thin-skinned 'indy' writers are equally
thin-skinned about their pride-n-joy covers. But, as one observer said,
“If you can't take the heat, stay out of the Photoshop.” And oh,
Lord… vanity press book covers have become internet cannon fodder
with sites like the Caustic Cover Critic, Judge a Book, Bad BookCovers, More Bad Book Covers, Awful Library Books, WTF Bad RomanceCovers, Something Awful, of course Lousy Book Covers and more!
If you can stand the crimes, here are a few mostly ‘indy’ self-published books and their covers flogged on an unsuspecting internet audience.