Monday, April 21, 2008

When Is a Cover Too Racy?

The other day on one of my kajillion email loops, I read one author’s comment that her book was finally getting to go to print, but before it did, the cover would have to be re-done, and she wasn’t happy about it. Another author said that she had been told the same thing and had fought it, but when she found out some bookstores refused to stock the book with that cover, she decided it would have been prudent of her to go ahead with the suggested change in the first place.

I had a similar problem with SIMOLIF. In the original, the young woman was pretty much “free to the wind” graphically speaking. Knowing it might (or might not) be a bone of contention with the bookstore here in town that has supported me 200% in the past, I took a print-out of the cover to the book manager. I was right; the cover, as it was, would not “fit” their decency standards. But I detested having to re-do a cover I dearly loved.

Fortunately I have a fabulous graphics designer at WCPT, who blurred most of the woman’s crucial components. The results – my bookstore accepted the revised cover.

But I realize, after looking over some of the covers initially in question, that “blurring” wouldn’t quite be enough. And some authors questioned whether some books haven’t gone to print earlier because of the cost of having to do a second cover. As with many epublishers, knowing if a book will sell enough to warrant going to print is a crap shoot. Yet, if the e-book cover doesn’t “tantalize”, sales could be lost.

Where does the author draw the line? Print covers are just as important as they are on e-books. At what point does a cover become too racy?

I would love to hear from authors who have had to face the same kind of situation. How was the problem resolved? Or was a compromise offered?


Angelia Sparrow said...

I haven't had to face it yet.
But my cover for Glad Hands got an "inappropriate, explicit material after link" warning from my writers' group.

Love the cover. It's insanely hot. But for print (if we go print, we're not even done editing yet),
I'd have been happier if Chuck's hand was on Seven's shoulder and not shoved into his jeans.

Linda Mooney said...

Ooooh! You're right! That IS a hot cover! But I do see your point. :D