Who Says An Author Can’t Hate Their Book Cover?

Every blogger in Ireland has been blogging about our rare once-in-a-lifetime snowpocalypse this week, so I’ve decided to be original and not even mention it once.


Anyhoo, I’d rather blog about Terry Goodkind. He’s been plastered over both social and anti-social media this week regarding the news that he hates his new book cover. For the record, it looks like this.

Who Says An Author Isn't Allowed To Hate Their Book Cover?

Pic via Guardian.co.uk, via @RovinaCai on Twitter

Goodkind made the headlines (well, in the Guardian anyway, which as we all know is the Books section I read the most, so naturally, principles of materiality and relevance are 100% satisfied) by calling this cover “laughably bad” in a Facebook post.

Goodkind said that it was “a very good book with a very bad cover”, and offered readers the chance to win a hardback copy by participating in a poll, voting on whether the cover was “excellent” or “laughably bad”. He was subsequently snowed under (oh, for Blog’s sake) with votes, accruing around 12,000 votes by the time the Guardian went to print.

Cheek Of Him

Well, the people were outraged. Although we don’t know if many of the outraged folk were fans of Goodkind’s books, or people who had ever heard of Goodkind before, or illustrators, or people who liked the fantasy genre, or people who read books, I’m sure some of them were involved in the mass-being-outraged event which raged like a blizzard (oops) online, for all of three hours.

An avalanche of derision (I’ll stop now) ensued from the illustrator himself, Bastien Lecouffe-Deharme, who said Goodkind’s post was disrespectful, and his behaviour unprecedented.

So far, so Facebook. Man makes statement. Nother man takes offence. Man who made statement may not have intended offence taken by Nother Man, and might even apologise, but a big row happens anyway because it’s already snowballed (okay, I lied) and everyone has an opinion. And so on.

Who Says Authors Aren't Allowed To Hate Their Book Covers?

But the thing is, the wrong person took offence here. The illustrator pointed out that he’d merely done exactly as he was instructed to do. So who instructed Lecouffe-Deharme? Was it Goodkind himself? Or is it not far more likely that it was his publisher?

He Said Bad, The Cad

The way I read it, Goodkind thought that the book cover was bad. He did not say the illustration was bad, or the graphic design, or the illustrator. He said the cover was bad. That’s the difference.

Some authors don’t see their book covers until they’re a fait accompli. Others, like Goodkind, not only see them, but get to tell their publishers they don’t like them. And then their publishers get to completely ignore that because they believe (not unfairly, it must be said) that they know better.

A book cover is an advertisement. It’s a merchandising tool. It’s supposed to be a representation of something which makes someone want to buy that something. A bad book cover, therefore, means that it’s either not representative of what’s inside the book, or that it may not help the book to sell. It does not mean that the art is bad, let alone the artist.

If anyone should have been taking offence, it was his publisher, or his editor, or the person working for his publisher who gave the illustrator that specific brief. Not the illustrator.

One More Pun And We’re Done

But because the illustrator went all snowflakey (you knew that was coming), taking offence at what he perceived to be a personal attack, Goodkind’s publisher didn’t have to address the charge at all. The argument became about two men having a difference of opinion in public, rather than authors having a say in their own book covers.

Who says an author isn't allowed to hate their book cover?

I’m not saying that I or anyone else not working in publishing knows better than the person working in publishing who commissioned this cover: but I will say, subjectively, that I don’t like it either.

Then again, I am not a major fan of fantasy. I read some, but not lots. For all I know, it might be the best fantasy book cover ever. But the thing is, Goodkind is a New York Times bestselling fantasy author who has sold 25 million books. In this matter, my opinion doesn’t matter. His, on the other hand, does.

Think about it: the most beautiful, most skilled painting of a tree is not going to sell weedkiller, or pencils. But if an advertising agency commissions a beautiful painting of a tree in order to sell either of those things, then the agency will have failed. Not the artist who painted the bloody tree.

We all know that thousands of authors have taken at least one of their books into their hands only to have that “Oh my! My book has been made into a book!” feeling ruined by another feeling of “Oh my God. They did this to my story? Why? Why??

(For example: every female author who has ever written about a serious issue, only to be presented with a pink cover featuring high bloody heels. Sigh.)

Goodkind doesn’t think that his book cover is a fair or good representation of his story. Should he not be allowed to think that? And having written the book, should he not be allowed to say so?

To sum up, a very public row has managed to be about something that I don’t believe it was about at all.

And if we can learn one thing from this week, it’s this: I need to find whoever does Goodkind’s publisher’s PR. Then I need to offer them some higher-paying job immediately, because they are obviously some kind of evil genius, and I want them on my side.

  64 comments for “Who Says An Author Can’t Hate Their Book Cover?

  1. March 4, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Reblogged this on anita dawes and jaye marie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. March 4, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Somebody once said that ‘ there was no such thing as bad publicity’ and your post makes a good argument!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 11:01 am

      If that was what Goodkind intended, then it’s a coup for him. Actually, even if it wasn’t what he intended, it’s still a coup!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Susanne O'Leary
    March 4, 2018 at 10:17 am

    The cover is not good, I agree. But the cover designer must have made it according to instructions and it had to be approved by the sales department etc of the publisher, so it’s their fault. But I think the book would have sold anyway, as the cover is similar to others in the genre. I can imagine the author’s frustration when he saw it. I have myself been upset by a particular cover of one of my books, and now I’m in a state of nerves waiting to see the next one. I think authors should be allowed to be more involved in the design before the final decision. But what a lot of publicity! I bet loads of people looked up the book and the ‘look inside’ feature on Amazon to see if it is any good, and then probably bought it when they saw that it is. Fabulous job by the PR department! There is no such thing as bad publicity they say…

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 11:02 am

      I think we’re literally on the same page here Susanne…


      • Susanne O'Leary
        March 4, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        I see they have a new cover. That bad cover didn’t match the 1st book in the series at all, but the new one does. I’m beginning to think the whole thing was planned from start to finish and everyone was in on it. Nothing like a public fight to excite people and bring out the popcorn. Hmmm…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. March 4, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Very measured, Tara. Especially from you 😉

    Interesting that Goodkind didn’t take the same line. But then, his tweets were generating interest in his book and All PR Is Good PR, no?

    Probably all authors have had covers they hate. I had one from Harlequin. Didn’t say anything in public at the time — missed a trick there, didn’t I? — but when I got the rights back, it was the first book I published as an Indie. And with a spectacular cover on which I had the final say, natch. I blogged about that experience here:

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 11:06 am

      My guess is that if you’d said anything in public at the time, Joanna, you would have run into a LOT of trouble. It’s all about who has the power, isn’t it? And I love your take on having the freedom to allow your characters to breathe and grow, as well as choosing your own cover. The frustration otherwise must be stifling in itself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 4, 2018 at 11:13 am

        Well, unlike Goodkind, I wasn’t a NYT bestseller so, yes, my publisher would probably have…er…objected. And it had the power, as you say, to create trouble for me.

        Who said “discretion is the better part of valour”? In that case, possibly me 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 4, 2018 at 11:25 am

          I wish you weren’t right, but you are. You know what they say: the first casualty of publishing is pride…


  5. tbrpiledotcom
    March 4, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I think the cover designer had every right to be offended. The author called out the cover without reference to the publisher and so people will naturally think that it is the cover artist’s fault. The cover would have been commissioned by the publisher, briefed by the publisher, approved and signed off by the publisher. The author could have avoided the argument by pointing this out. General readers won’t be aware of what happens inside the editorial and marketing offices of publishers. Granted the author didn’t name the cover artist, but the name would have got out there at some point and I think the designer was pre-empting that. I don’t think it was a PR stunt and I don’t think it would work if a publisher thinks they can try that on another book on the back of this discussion. I expect it will have a backlash on sales, at least for the short term. It will all blow over soon enough and the person it will have a lasting effect on will be the designer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 11:16 am

      I suppose my take on it is that anyone actually taking an interest in the row itself would know that it’s the publisher who made the decisions in this. Most people wouldn’t even bother looking up the illustrator or think about how it came about. They’re certainly not going to have any influence over his career prospects. What might have an influence on his career prospects is how he reacted online. I’m not saying he wasn’t put in an awkward position, but I don’t think he handled it well.

      Agreed, the author could have pointed it out about who was to blame, but that’s a blog post, not a Facebook giveaway post. The PR stunt I spoke of with regard to the publisher is the deflection of blame in this instance, not the publicising of the book. And I still want them working for me. The alternative is too horrible to contemplate.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. sophiewestonauthor
    March 4, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Some years ago a romance novel had a cover in which the hero, in the (NY Times bestseller) author’s words, looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy. And he certainly did. Possibly with added homicidal tendencies. I remember recoiling.

    She made a big joke of it. and, at conferences, passed out stickers to put over his face. It won that year’s Worst Cover contest, hands down. (http://bit.ly/2I0C1Mk if you want chapter and verse) We readers laughed with her and bought the book anyway. And there was a happy ending – when she got the rights back, she gave him the cover she thought he deserved.

    Same PR it, I imagine. A lot more fun, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 4, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Couldn’t agree more, Sophie – seems like Suzanne Brockmann wrote the book on how to handle a tricky cover situation: make people laugh!

      I imagine, though, that a lot of authors are terrified that they’ll get in trouble with their publisher too, so this comes up far less often than it should.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. March 4, 2018 at 10:54 am

    What a fun issue, for those of us who couldn’t care less whether the book makes a dime. It’s almost an internet perfect storm (hey, you went there, don’t flap).

    I DO write fantasy. I HAVE seen my covers change, from my own first efforts (dreadful) to the current form for one series which is now serving as the foundation for all the marketing around it. No thanks to me.

    -I will say I think this line of reasoning that it’s the cover, not the art, is a bit disingenuous. Nobody says “I hate that car” and then covers by saying “no, no, the TIRES”. The font, the layout, the matte/gloss finish certainly affect how you engage with the book. But come now, the art. Right there. Nobody has a strong reaction to the font, because nobody even notices that, not consciously. They think about what’s right there.

    -At least for epic fantasy. Stereotypical elements are everywhere broadly signaling genre, and whatever height or color or sharpness the heels have, the reaction is still “ah, high heels, OK” and off your brain goes. I showed an audience once a brace of 50+ thumbnails of book-covers about Africa, both fiction and non-fiction. Almost all of them had a banyan tree or a giraffe on the cover (a dozen had both) because that’s what publishers in their wisdom think will tell folks “it’s a book about Africa”. And they’re not budging. So yeah, the publisher’s to blame. But again, it’s the cover ART they react to. If you tell me my car is going to crash I will not expect the second seat to absorb the damage.

    -Having said all that… I LOVE THIS COVER! And I have NO idea what on God’s green EARTH Mr. Goodkind is on about. Female warrior guarding statues? At the first subliminal instant, I thought I saw shovels and said “she’s making them dig their own graves!”. No, but still a feast of curiosities. The author can have his opinion of course, but he’s no better suited to judge artwork than the drivers are qualified to repair their cars. He immediately put out a second post in which he tried to say just what you have Ms. Sparling- that it was the cover, not the art. And I’m calling BS. Of course he meant the artwork. It’s right there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      I can’t say I agree with you about it really being about the art, Will – but you knew I was going to say that! Nobody looking at this particular book cover would say that the art is bad, because it isn’t. Even I think the art is excellent, and I don’t like the book cover. A car is not the same thing. A functioning car will get you from A to B no matter how ugly the body, so it still fulfils its purpose. But if a cover puts people off a book, then it’s a bad cover.

      The fact that you like the cover means more here than my not liking it, because you are a big fantasy reader and I’m not. But Goodkind doesn’t like it, and whether he’s right or wrong about it being a bad book cover, I still believe he has a right to say so.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. March 4, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    I agree that the only Bad Publicity is No Publicity. On the other hand, are you familiar with lousybookcovers(dot)com? I don’t propose you visit there (it’s somewhat cruel, really, and an obvious ploy to attract indie writers to use their services). My first cover–designed by my very own self–graced their list two years ago. Points taken, but the contributors also failed to recognize the book’s satiric nature. Ooo, how I hated to see myself on LBC and mocked by a dozen ignoramuses! Even so, I found myself wishing the site had some NYTimes-type bandwidth!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 5:03 pm

      It’s a difficult one, Ben… the only people who win in situations like these are the ones who manage to make comedy out of it. There’s a whole new market online for things like a site about nothing except lousy book covers, and I’ll wager that nobody behind such sites would ever have been in the market for any of the books involved, and neither would the people going to those sites for entertainment. It’s all very well someone like me saying ‘they’re not your readers anyway’ but let’s face it – If I had a book up there, I’d feel the sting too.


  9. March 4, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    I like Terry’s post about, and the idea of a poll. Fun writer. Now I gotta buy the book in question (and trying not to see the art).

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      We’ll chalk that one down as a Goodkind win then Robert!


  10. March 4, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    The thorny subject of the latest ‘shelf-shout’ book cover that’s caused a ruckus on FB for fantasy rockstar Terry Goodkind (courtesy of the inimitable Ms. Sparling). It’s a good illustration of what’s/who’s in the book presumably, but it’s a ‘catalog’ piece and the character positioning is dull, dull, dull!
    I don’t have this problem as I’m my own illustrator, marketeer and publisher. It’s just the buck starts and stops with me… so I only have myself to blame! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 5:05 pm

      Don’t take on too much blame, Jan. Now that we have the internet, there’s more than enough blame for everyone 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  11. March 4, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    This cover SUCKS!! But I happen to think the art sucks too. The composition is cheesy; why are the two stone knights, or whatever they are, staring down at the title? If we’re supposed to be drawn to what they’re staring at, the title is occluding it, so FAIL. And if we’re supposed to be drawn to the blonde chick with the surly look on her face, why does she look like one of the Runaways with a sword? The whole thing looks… cheesy. Gah. Maybe I just don’t get fantasy!

    As someone who’s INCREDIBLY picky about book covers, both for my own books and the books I read, so I get the author’s plaint. It’s an awful cover and if Goodkind wasn’t allowed to see it, much less have a say in it before it went to print, he has a lousy publisher. Now, to be honest, I don’t know from traditional publishers — maybe, like a groom seeing his bride before the actual ceremony, traditional publishers feel that authors seeing their book covers before rollout is bad luck (hogwash), but it seems to me an author should at least have a SAY in the damn thing. If Goodkind didn’t, I get his outrage. I’d be mad about that cover too.

    As for cover illustrators caterwauling in defense of the cover illustrator — typical in today’s pitchforky environment — not all cover illustrators are the same, for God’s sake! Some of them are brilliant, some are mediocre, and some suck; it’s up to the standards of the publisher to choose which category of artist they settle on for a given book. In this case, it looks like the publishers settled on “suck.”

    When most people buy their books online, those little thumbnail covers we see become deeply essential in grabbing the eyes and interests of readers. So this is no small thing for the guy. I imagine illustrators, authors, and publishers will be gnashing away on this for as long as it’s viral, but bottom line: Goodkind not only has a point, i share it. This cover would make me NOT buy this book.

    And not a damn snow reference in the whole comment. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 4, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      What I understand from the whole sorry saga, Lorraine, is that Goodkind did get to see the cover before it went to print, and told his publisher he hated it. They more or less said ‘Tough’, and went ahead with it anyway.

      I suppose there are still two sides to this – in a certain amount of cases, I’m sure some authors are the absolute worst judge of their own book cover, and their publishers know this. On the other hand, by the time any author gets to see an original book cover (rather than a stock photo) the art has already been paid for, and no publisher is going to want to pay out a second time for a new attempt. The question then is whether the least worst business decision is to stick with the original commission, or scrap it and pay for another one.

      Having said that, and perhaps by accident, the publisher definitely made the correct business decision here, because of all the free publicity. I’m not sure this would work again, but this is the book business, where imitation is guaranteed, and my money is on someone else trying to pull the exact same stunt fairly soon – by which time it will definitely be a stunt.


      • March 4, 2018 at 5:41 pm

        Ah, I guess that’s the way traditional publishers do it, then. The poor author has no say in the cover… which also sucks. One of the perks of indie publishing, I’d say. It would be VERY hard for me if a book of mine was out in the marketplace with a cover I truly hated. I’m moving forward with a hybrid publisher my next go-around and I have to admit some trepidation about how much voice I’ll have in that decision. Gulp.

        As for the free publicity, I’ve come to believe that’s only beneficial if it actually results in more people buying the book. There’s much evidence to suggest such “stunts” may result in viral social media chatter, but not necessarily sales. Like how book giveaways are supposed to engender more reviews but more frequently only result in you giving away a bunch of your books. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 4, 2018 at 5:52 pm

          To be fair, fresh and unusual publicity is usually profitable in some way, even if it’s only brand recognition. Book giveaways don’t generally make headlines, and a lot of authors have told me over the past 3 years that they find them a complete waste of time and money. But anything gimmicky which gets people talking is beneficial.

          The problem is that once a gimmick is seen to work, it’s imitated by hundreds trying to clamber on the same bandwagon. People selling marketing services to indie authors are a case in point. If some gimmick worked a month ago, you can be bloody sure it’s already obsolete now.


  12. March 4, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    I actually like the cover, Tara, but I have no idea how it represents the story, and it obviously didn’t fit with Goodkind’s vision. Oh well. My publisher produced awful covers, and the first thing I did when switching to indie was buy new ones. Are they exactly what I envisioned? Some yes, some no, some are better than I could have possibly have imagined. One thing I am sure of – my sales improved immediately with the new covers. And yes, Goodkind’s PR person deserves a raise!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 5:45 pm

      Well, Diana, if your sales improved with a new cover, then that is absolute proof that your previous publisher gave you ‘bad’ covers, and you were right about them. But what a painful journey to get there. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

      I know that publishing isn’t an exact science, but it suggests to me that authors need to involved in the creation of the artist brief. At least then, if they don’t like the covers, they can’t argue that they had nothing to do with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 4, 2018 at 6:07 pm

        The cover designer I use now asks for input and I get to see the cover along the way as the concept develops. There is part of me that doesn’t want to give too much direction initially as I don’t want to stomp on the artist’s creative inspiration. So far that’s worked well, but it’s a balancing act. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 4, 2018 at 6:25 pm

          Sounds like you’ve got the approach right. Now it’s just about staying upright!

          Liked by 1 person

  13. March 4, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    In the chicken and the egg scenario, I was a graphic designer (egg) before I was a writer (chicken) and returned to the egg to design my book covers… all ten of them… front, back, spine, and inside. I design the covers as soon as I have a ‘what-if’ concept. It helps me focus on the story. And I enjoy flipping in and out of right and left brain to tweak an image, write the back blurb, and dive into the palace of the muse to channel all manner of poultry and chocolate eggs.

    I have no desire to design covers for anyone else… and I would never have another designer create mine. That said, I do hire a format technician to translate by designs into digital files, and also act as art director so that my mock-ups are not misinterpreted. Artwork is critical to me. it has to be exactly what I want.

    Goodkind obviously has sensational sales numbers and recognition. The story is his from start to finish. He should have some recourse to preference. The art on this cover is professional. It just isn’t the author’s cup of tea. He cites its failure to accurately represent his story. He’s right. The publisher has rights. Big difference.

    Since he’s already carved a niche for himself, maybe it’s time for him to go indie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      Perhaps it is, Veronica, you’re absolutely right… although it’s one thing to dislike someone else’s effort. It’s another thing entirely to make all the effort yourself!


  14. March 4, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    I’m guessing that a) the publishers liked the alternative covers that the illustrator offered even less and b) so long as the (established best-selling) author’s name was big enough they had nothing to worry about in the sales department. The leather-covered woman centre-stage was a bonus – what’s not to like? and everyone ticked the OK box.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      If there even were alternative covers, Hilary… I wonder myself. I imagine original art isn’t cheap to commission, and whoever finalised the brief had their neck on the line. It’s situations like this that make me glad I don’t work in publishing!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. March 4, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    People have disliked my covers and said so publicly – even on one of those lousy book cover sites. Some of their points were valid. That doesn’t mean it didn’t sting, but I’ve been stung before and will no doubt be again. Honestly, I’d happily accept a little sting if it was because I thought they cared about the book. The old saying it’s better to be insulted than ignored – at least they care. In my case, I don’t think it was anything beyond a little smug snark to promote their services – even that might be okay if they compensated my publisher or artist for using the cover to promote themselves.

    As for the Goodkind flare up being about publicity, clearly it was – at least from the pole perspective. Whether the bigger author/artist “feud” was planned or just a fortunate happenstance I don’t know that it matters. Either way, everyone involved got a lot more press than even Goodkind is accustomed to getting. If I could get that kind of visibility, I’d swallow my pride and accept a sting or three.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 4, 2018 at 11:46 pm

      Nobody likes being insulted, Armen… unless these things are done with humour (and not cheap laughs, either) I don’t think they should be done at all. Also, it’s not for other people to call out random book covers. I don’t see who that’s supposed to benefit. If authors want to do it themselves, however, I’m all for it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 5, 2018 at 2:47 am

        I agree with you. It’s in poor taste to call out other people’s work – especially if you’re using it to promote your own without their knowledge/permission. As for those directly involved, yeah it’s fair game. As for being insulted, I was at first, but I got over it. As an author – no matter how successful (or otherwise) – it kind of comes with the territory.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. March 4, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    I think the cover’s OK. It isn’t a corny cliche (such as a semi-naked buxom warrior princess astride a toothy dragon and wielding an impractical axe) and ticks the fantasy boxes. And it’s pretty well executed. And it syncs well with his previous cover art.
    But if it isn’t relevant to the story, or gives incorrect impressions of what happens in the book, then yeah, the author has every right to say it sucks. And it’s a smart bit of PR (cos I’d never heard of him before this).
    I recently met historical fiction author Clare Harvey whose second novel, The English Agent, was about a female SOE agent dropped into war-time France. The publishers plumped for a background consisting of the Eiffel Tower (tick for generic location reference) and searchlights (tick for wartime reference) and what looks like a B-17 and a P-47 (WW2 US aircraft, so extra tick), but wait… what’s this? The female character that dominates the foreground is wearing an American WASP uniform (Women Airforce Service Pilots). I mean, yeah, female, wartime but the book’s not about a female American pilot (although it’s definitely a good topic), it’s about an English undercover agent. The clue is very clearly in the title. I pointed it out to Clare and she pretty much said, “yeah, I could have screamed when I found out but what can you do?”
    I was gobsmacked that publishers give such little consideration to what the readers will make of how well the cover reflects the story, never mind how much it must aggravate the author. As a reader, I really, really want the cover to align almost perfectly with the story (perhaps I’ve been spoiled by Discworld). As an author I would be furious if it was a piece of half-hearted cliche-ridden slush (yay, points to me) with no relevance to the story.

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 4, 2018 at 11:49 pm

      Yeah, that would drive me insane. If ridiculous mistakes are made, someone should at least swing for it. It’d all be grand if you could be sure that publishers were making their best and most skilled people responsible for commissioning these covers, but there are far too many stories which suggest otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Joni Nemeth
    March 5, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Respectfully, you’ve missed much of the nuances of this issue. The bedrock is, that Terry Goidkknd objected to the cover because it looked like, in your own words, that he wrote a fantasy book. This author considers that label an insult – he writes “literature” (in his opinion), genre-defying literature that should not be labeled ‘fantasy’. Therefore he objects when his covers are not given the ‘literature’ treatment. And he has a long history of objecting to his covers. The illustrator did not act like a snowflake – he was appalled at the unprofessional and belittling manner in which it was called out. The vast majority of the ‘votes’ Goodkind received were calling him out on this behavior. If you came late to this party you wouldn’t see that because he has gone through and deleted many of the negative comments. I know – he’s deleted mine. Of course an author should be able to have a say in his cover – I find it ludicrous that an author who’s been around as long as Goodkind would not have this in his contract. However nothing excuses his behavior, and your belittling the illustrator in this post makes your smugness complicit.


    • March 5, 2018 at 6:48 am

      Just like Goodkind, Joni, you have the right to your opinion: I just don’t happen to share it. I also see the ‘nuance’ somewhat differently, as I and other people outlined above and in the rest of the comments here, and don’t agree with your reading of that either. Thankfully, on the internet we get to express what we think, even when we disagree!


  18. March 5, 2018 at 7:14 am

    I’m very small, actually microscopic, fry compared to Good kind, but the same thing happened to me, and I believe killed my book’s chances of being read by its target audience. Here’s my story, if you want another writer’s experience: https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5286233-books-and-covers

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 5, 2018 at 10:11 pm

      Did a publisher overrule you? That must be so disheartening, even if they were to come up with a great cover! It’s such a subjective thing, book covers, but if authors at least had a veto – even if not a full vote – it might help.


  19. March 5, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Reblogged this on The Bookwormery and commented:
    This is a refreshing (and humourous) look at the Goodkind controversy. For what it’s worth, I also dislike the cover. Yes, it represents ‘fantasy’ but, I think, in a way that is old-fashioned and a little cliched.
    Was Goodkind wrong to call it out on social media? Perhaps, but I think it’s more likely an issue of semantics and the way in which he approached it as opposed to the act in itself. If he intended to call out the publishers rather than the illustrator, he should have made that clear. I can see why the illustrator was upset.
    What do you think? Was Goodkind wrong?

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 5, 2018 at 10:16 pm

      Thanks for the re-blog, Riley! Great to keep the conversation going. Or the fighting, whichever comes first, I don’t mind. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  20. March 5, 2018 at 9:05 am

    I wonder how much of this is the Weinstein effect. It isn’t so much the cover I dislike, but that godawful female warrior with no sensible clothes on (and high heeled santiagos????). Haven’t we got beyond that particular male fantasy yet? Women read these books too. If I thought the story was going to be about an umpteenth girl with a big sword twice her weight saving a village/world/universe from the kind of mammoth critters digging holes that you see on the cover, I wouldn’t even read the blurb. Maybe Goodkind fears his female readers might be thinking the same kind of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 5, 2018 at 10:31 pm

      You’ve made me rethink that, Jane… so often I look at certain book or album covers and think ‘I’m not the target audience so it’s probably okay”, when it probably isn’t okay at all.

      Did you see the furore over the Wonder Woman costume issue? Strikes me as the same thing. Apparently, whoever designed the costumes for the new Justice League film decided that the costumes from the most recent Wonder Woman film weren’t revealing enough – so they were redesigned for the female warriors with bralets and bare midriffs. Warriors. With bare midriffs. I’d say ‘how annoying’ only it would be like fighting a fire with a… snowflake. The enduring fantasies of teenage boys need to stop getting so much airtime.
      More on that here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/justice-league-appears-to-make-costumes-sexier-for-amazons_us_5a0b5c2ae4b00a6eece4e916


      • March 6, 2018 at 8:26 am

        Somebody should have told those costume designers that Amazons had a boob removed to stop it getting in the way of shooting arrows. I’d like to see how they work one-boob bimbos into the teenage fantasy thing. Teenage? Why teenage? Do men ever grow out of it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • March 6, 2018 at 2:53 pm

          No, they don’t, which is precisely the point. It’s a long time to harbour idiot inclinations, let alone be encouraged in them. I’d love to see the faces of these Hollywood toddlers when the one-boobed costume is presented.


          • March 6, 2018 at 3:20 pm

            It won’t happen. I don’t understand the position of the new feminists on this either. They seem to admire characters like Wonder Woman and don’t see any ambivalence in their feminine/feminism.

            Liked by 1 person

            • March 6, 2018 at 11:30 pm

              I think you can admire Wonder Woman for certain qualities without having to admire the whole package… nobody’s perfect after all!


              • March 7, 2018 at 10:24 am

                I haven’t seen the movie. Two of mine saw it and had diametrically opposed views. One said she thought it was a great ’empowerment’ film, the other one just saw WW as how the Guardian described her—a weaponised smurfette.


  21. March 5, 2018 at 11:45 am

    I actually like the cover, as I find it representative of the genre: one look and you know it’s a fantasy. In a world where branding is king, that’s great. It sounds to me like the author has a gripe with his publisher, though, and a lot of people got caught in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. March 6, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    From my perspective, it’s in line with the majority of fantasy covers, so I don’t know what made it ‘bad’ for him unless the scene depicted has nothing at all to do with the story, then, by all means, someone needs to be properly taken to task.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 6, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      It’s hard to know, Allie – but one thing’s for sure. Whoever’s truly responsible has been keeping dead quiet!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. March 8, 2018 at 8:40 am

    You’re absolutely right: genius PR. I’m off toTwitter to start a vicious argument with myself and then post the bloodied photographs on Instagram. (Do you think it’s possible to hold a cameraphone and punch myself at the same time?)

    For the record I think the cover’s ace. It jauntily references 40s and 50s pulp illustration without the usual cliched nods to Roy Liechtenstein. I predict bevelled fonts will be big in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 8, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      I’m distraught, Chris. I thought I’d tried every trick in the book to start arguments online but I never for one moment thought of starting one with MYSELF, let alone a vicious one. I must be slipping. Anyway, can I watch yours? Or am I too late – have you beaten yourself to a bloody pulp already?

      I like that you like the cover. It proves that people still think they have their own opinions around here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 9, 2018 at 6:03 pm

        The bad news is you are too late, the even worse news is I head butted the camera and broke it, so there’s no evidence any of it happened.

        Liked by 1 person

  24. March 10, 2018 at 2:46 am

    It looks like part of the marketing strategy. It may be a gimmick to get publicity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 10, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      Who knows, Pat? It doesn’t seem to me like the exercise was quite so cynical, but nothing would surprise me, and nobody’s going to be admitting anything…


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