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Covering up

OK, so I’m getting a little obsessed with cover art (ever since Nick Stathopoulos turned in the fabulous A Book of Endings cover!). Yesterday I spent a couple hours staring at these sites:


I also followed various links, finding myself in a world of cover debate. Including a link to a rant by Stuart Evers on the good side of bad books:

After a promising first page, which actually made me laugh, Low Alcohol descended into the kind of literary hell most readers would hesitate to enter, even led by a Dickens or an Austen, let alone a debut novelist sniffing like a mangy dog around the arse end of Martin Amis. Derivative, unfunny, nasty and puerile, the whole shabby affair – concerning the life and loves of Doug Down – was an ill-conceived disaster. And I’m glad I read it before it fell out of print.

See, I’m not convinced there’s a value in that. Surely life is too short for bad books in the same way it’s too short for bad coffee, bad food and bad love affairs…?

Over at The Guardian, Alison Flood asks the question “are we really going to admit to judging books by their covers?” To which the answer must be ‘yes’. Even in an age when more & more of us are looking at electronic solutions for our libraries, it’s probably useful not to stray TOO far from your content with a misleading cover.

(This presented a particular problem for the cover of my own antho, as I find myself moving further away from genre into just a kind of ‘weird urban’ storytelling. Which — I hope! — the Stathopoulos cover captured rather brilliantly!)

Please-god, spare me from ever having a chicklit cover! Or from finding myself in the ‘chicklit’ section of Barnes & Noble (seriously, does that exist?). Somewhere I’ve seen chicklit referred to as the ‘buying shoes in the big city’ genre. Which reminds me, I think I *did* write a story about buying shoes in a big city once. But I like to think it was only because I needed shoes. And live in a city.

I digress. Let’s leave the final word on that one to author Janelle Brown, ““Chick lit” is a catch all for everything that’s not “hard” literature written by a woman. It implies that the male experience is universal, while the female experience is something only other women would be interested in.”