Friday, April 24, 2009

Worst Cover Contest

As I may have mentioned a time or ten, winter’s been long, hard and kind of grumpy here in the Northland. And I need some time to play and laugh and poke fun.

So…for your viewing delight, I hereby present RWTTD’S WORST COVER CONTEST.

Below you will find some fine examples of how good books go bad, each submitted by the author. Please peruse the pictures and let us know who you think has the absolute worst cover. The winning/losing author will receive an Amazon gift card, as will one commenter/voter.

#1
#1 I believe this little number is a strong contender. Real Men Sell Bras, was a 2003 title written and submitted by Cathy McDavid. You are a brave and much appreciated woman, Cathy.















#2 Trish Morey tells us that The Spaniard's Blackmailed Bride, “has morphed into Love Bites. He's so cross eyed he can't even see those choppers closing in.”

Point taken.










#3 Karen Templeton affectionately calls this the Pepto-Bismol Lady cover. Apparently, the protagonist is supposed to be holding a baseball mitt in her hands, but general consensus is that it looks like a large chunk of German Chocolate cake.

Yummy.



#4 C.S. Chatterly, author of Incorrect Spelling, says she thinks her smurf-like hero looks as if he may be on crack.

Maybe, but he has great abs, and sometimes a girl can't ask for more than that.









#5 This novel is titled MEDICINE MAN. According to Cheryl Reavis, the hero was a twenty-something Navajo 82nd Airborne paratrooper. Perhaps in different light, he would actually look Navajo...or twenty-something, but our intrepid author still seems to believe the model might have been someone’s balding brother-in-law who just happened to be in need of a job. She would like to mention that she likes the flowers in the background. Though, of course, they had absolutely nothing to do with the book.














#6 The Greek's Virgin in Hebrew probably translates as The Greek's Extreme Makeup Collection. It comes complete with nanna's crochet table cloth and coasters that double for head wear.

This is another of Trish Morey's notable entries.















#7 Oh look! Olive Oyl with a martini, sitting on a...television, I believe.

Thanks, Julie. This one made me laugh out loud.













#8 In the Hebrew version of A Virgin for the Taking, Trish tells us, her heroine looks as if “she's been taken by alien hairdressers and spat out again, sans her clothes.” Our intrepid author also spoke of some kind of dead animal hanging from protagonist's ears.

Hmm, dead animals. Check.


#9 This entry is our own Michele Hauf's. Personally, I don't see the problem here (please note other entries) but apparently she finds the hero less than heroic. (Oh please, remember the blue smurf cover?)

Although Hauf's name was spelled wrong on the spine, and that's enough to make any author a little miffed.










And for #10 I submit my own My Desperado done in Norwegian. Being the equine fanatic that I am, I always wanted a horse on one of my covers. This book cured me of that desire. I also no longer want people.


There you have it. Eight lovely entries for your consideration. So have a vote, and tell us the truth, after seeing these strong contenders, how important are covers when you make your book purchases? Have you ever bought a novel because the cover was fabulous? Have you ever bought one because it was hideous? Or, have you, as an author, ever gotten one that made you cry? Be brave, my friends. After all, I’ve shown you my horse-rearing-on-the-guy’s-head cover.

'Nuf said.













www.loisgreiman.com

52 comments:

Venus Vaughn said...

great googly moogly
That ain't right.

For my money, REAL MEN SELL BRAS is the winner of the worst. But it could jest be because my brain short-circuited at the beginning and there was no more room for input.

As for my shallow, book-cover-judging-self, yes, I have picked up a book because the cover art is fabulous, and sometimes that can influence me to buy, though it's more often the genre itself and a mere whiff of back-blurb. (I don't like spoilers at all, so I can't read back blurbs.)

However, I have DEFINITELY left books on the shelf for having bad covers. It doesn't even get consideration when the cover is awful.

Betina Krahn said...

Venus, you aren't shallow, you're human! We all pick up books sometimes because of the cover-- that's why publishers spend huge budgets trying to get it right. We all love the covers. Which is why we're so bummed when we get a "Real Men Sell Bras" cover! Ouch.
Lois, can I send you one of mine to post? Not a contender probably but still my least favorite book cover and good for a snicker or two.

My money's on "Bras."

PJ said...

Oh my. Those are some seriously bad covers but "Real Men Sell Bras" definitely gets my vote. Very cringe worthy.

I have picked up books because of the covers but if I'm unfamiliar with the author it's the back blurb that determines my buying decision. The cover of Robyn Carr's "Virgin River" caught my eye from the store shelf and went home with me that day. I've bought every book she's published since (and much of her backlist) - and it all started with a cover.

On the flip side, if a book has a really bad cover (and, again I don't know the author) I won't even pick it up to check out the blurb.

lois greiman said...

Venus!! I know. Isn't RMSB great.

Betina, I wish I could load your cover, but it was crazy just trying to get these on. Maybe you could get it up there for our viewing enjoyment by going to edit? Not sure.

PJ, I think you're in there with the rest of us. A pretty cover is simply eye catching. And we authors have so little to do with what the public sees on the shelves.

Helen Brenna said...

Oy!

#1 bad, heck they're all bad, but my vote goes for #8 because it has absolutely no redeeming qualities. Ouch, is right!

Trish, poor baby. Hugs.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Real Men Sell Bras gets my vote, what year is it supposed to be from?
Ouch! I hope not anything recent.

I look at cover art and the sexier grabs my attention, but doesn't get me to buy the book. Honestly, the cover of RMSB would have grabbed my attention and I would have read the blurb. I know, weird, but I would have to see what was behind the cover, especially with that cover.

Arkansas Cyndi said...

Lois - Having loaded a BUNCH of pictures onto blogger, it's almost impossible to get the wording along side the picture. Make it easy on yourself...post the pictures in the center and write the info below. I spend HOURS trying to align pictures and text!

I swear, I've been sitting here laughing outloud at these, plus the author comments are scream worthy.

Let's all admit it--Real Men Sell Bras is just the WORST TITLE ever! I can't even remember the picture on the cover. The title stopped me dead. I can only hope the author did not pick that title.

Lois - The woman's bust on your cover is hysterical. Too pointy. I'll also note that her hair is blowing to the right while the horse's mane is blowing to the left. And is that thing in her hair supposed to an earring? If so, OUCH. And what's the dark area on the guy's pants? looks like he set himself. Not sexy! LOL

Michele - Nothing wrong with your guy except he looks demonic.

Trish - On my - that hair style. No wonder she's a virgin. At least if she "gives in", she won't have to worry about hitting her head on the bed's headboard!

These are wonderful. Thanks for the great laugh!

Michele Hauf said...

I vote for the Olive Oil cover. I mean, yikes!

But seriously, this goes to show that the author, after living with her characters for sometimes years, is a good judge of what DOESN'T work on the cover. YOu must know, for my book, the hero is a sexy rock star with long gypsy black hair. So I get this cover and think "who is that?" Not the hero, that's for sure. He looks like the greasy kitchen boy. And if you could see the spine, with my name spelled Michelle. Aggh!

See now, I think Lois cover rocks. The pretty yellow dress, the horse...

Cindy Gerard said...

Whoa boy. Thanks for the giggles. My vote is the Real Men Sell Bras cover and let's add in worst title for that one too :o)
The whole package is an author's nightmare!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Lois, you've unearth some real winners here. If we were voting for worst title, I'd say "Real Men Sell Bras" has it going away. Clyde once informed me that cowboys don't buy Kotex, and Elizabeth's hubby says real men don't buy toilet paper. My next title: Real Men Have Issues.

I'm voting for #4--Smurf hero. I love the Blue Man act, but this is ridiculous.

lois greiman said...

Pointy boobs. I know, right! My cover got eye appeal, huh? And they are flowers in her hair. Flowers, in case you can't tell. Dark spot on guy's pants. Never noticed that. Will have to look again.

JulieLeto said...

Thanks, Michelle! I wouldn't want to think I was the only one who was HORRIFIED when that cover showed up in the mail. To add insult to injury, that book was the LAUNCH title for Harlequin's SIGNATURE imprint--which flopped. Huh? Wonder why???

Kathleen said...

It is a toss up for me. I have two in the running, but I really think the worst cover is the "Real men sell bras".

Kara Lennox said...

::SNORT::
Oh, my, coffee just went out my nose.

Although RMSB is appalling ... well, I was going to vote for the smurf man. His head is too small for his body. It's a close race. I just don't know.

I've had some bad ones--like the hero who literally made some people flinch. And the book that got renamed "Ben," who looked like a 12-year-old wimp doing his homework. That book will forever be remembered as "Ben the Rat."

Michele Hauf said...

Julie, I feel your misery.
It just makes we wonder what goes on in those cover meetings publishers supposedly have. The art department shows off their new cover, the editorial staff and marketing all sit around and comment. Does the original artwork just not transfer well to the smaller book size? Or do they have Martinis all around during those meetings?

I remember my first nekkid cover. My first Nocturne had a man and woman from waist up, nekkid. He was going at her to bite her (vampire, don't you know) and she was leaning back and well, moaning in joy, or somesuch. She looked like she was in ten kinds of pain, if you ask me. I told my editor it was ghastly. She LOVED IT. Which just goes to show, I don't know a thing about what makes a good book cover.

Cheri2628 said...

Oh my, how to decide which is THE worst? #'s 3, 5, and 8 particularly irritate me.

#3- the colors and the facial expression are hideous.
#5 - aging, goofy computer analyst, NOT Navaho paratrooper!
#8 - I can't get past the alien hairdo.

I feel so sorry for authors when they get a bad cover. Your book's cover is the "face" to your story. A really good cover can draw me to a book. An awful cover can turn me off so much that I can't bear to look at it, much less buy it!

lunaticcafe said...

I'm going to go with #1 and #3- both covers look ridiculous. I thought they maybe looked like each was from the eighties or something. Nothing against the 80's because I grew up back then (and did the big hair and shoulder pads) but these covers had that silly overdone quality to them.

Lara Dien said...

Yes, there are some terrible covers here. Prize-winning terrible, I think.

But I'm picking my fav for a whole different reason. These are romances, right? So why does the Greek Virgin look like she just finished exsanguinating someone?

Seriously, she's really got that whole I vant to suck your blood except I just sucked someone else's thing going....

Lorena

Anne said...

Real Men Sell Bras is pretty bad, But I really have to go with Incorrect Spells blue dude. I took a look at the book excerpt and it did not say anything about him being blue, so not only is it nasty, but misleading as well!
I look at covers as I scan the shelves to get an idea of which books I might be interested in. A cover that is inappropriate for the book will turn me off.

Eshani said...

Thank you for the laughs! Some of these covers don't seem so bad, until I read the little author descriptions =)
The pepto-bismol lady's mitt definitely looks like a piece of cake =)I have to say the cover for Real Men Sell Bras is worse though. The colors make it seem ancient instead of a 2003 book title.
I'm definitely attracted to a pretty cover. It's what makes me pick up a book by a new author and actually read the back blurb. I think that Lauren Dane has some gorgeous covers!
Best,
Eshani

Betina Krahn said...

two or three of these are in Hebrew? Oy! Don't the Israelis have enough to deal with?

And I don't know. . . that Greek Virgin chick just better give it up and get on with life.

limecello said...

lol lol lol - thanks for giving me my "laugh of the day" ladies! These aren't THE WORST covers I've ever seen - but - sorry ladies, they're not the best either.
Trish Morey has bad cover luck - but her comments are hilarious!
Read Men Sell Bras is... oh just horrid. And... sorry, but the title isn't doing it for me either. But the Greek's Virgin cover might give me nightmares. Same with A Virgin for he Taking. How to choose?

I think... I'm going with "Real Men" as the worst. I have to say though, it looks to me like the woman on Karen's book is holding some odd sort of cheese. And the cover for Medicine Man - he really looks... well, creepy. Like he walked in front of the set during a shoot -and they lost all the other pictures. :X (Sorry, cover dude, I'm sure you're a nice guy and all...)

georganna said...

Oh wow, these are pretty bad.
I'm going to have to pick #1 as the worst of the bunch with #8 as a close second.
Have a great weekend.

Christie Ridgway said...

Hebrew version of Virgin for the Taking. That hairdo thing is unbelievable.

Did have to laugh at the bra-seller. Can someone give a recap of the plot line? Does the hero really sell bras? Wow!

Lois said...

Hmm, well. . .

#1 - really sucks.
#2 - all things considered, not too bad
#3 - um, defintely not a mitt, but doesn't look like cake. . . maybe a donut.
#4 - well, not too bad, but yeah, the blue=smurf. LOL
#5 - well, all things considering, not too bad here too, especially if you don't know the story or such. ;)
#6 - well, it's not too terrible, but looks more like it's a fashion mag cover, and she looks like she's a model walking a catwalk.
#7 - well, maybe because I have this one I'm just really used to it, but yep, a little strange, but yet another, all things considered, not too bad. . .
#8 - actually, I didn't think aliens, before looking at the print and recognizing it's Hebrew, I thought it was about/from an Oriental country, Japan, China, something like that. . .
#9 - definitely not too bad here, but it probably could be the most spectacular cover, only no one will notice it if the author's name is mispelled!
#10 - yep, another for me that isn't too bad all things considered. . . just hope they aren't too close to the horse while it's going nuts! LOL

So, I guess in the end, my choice for worst is number one. Probably why I kept saying not too bad for the ones I did, compared to what I think is horrible, those aren't! :) So, to all authors, sure hope you always and forever get terrific covers or at least ones that might be boring, but they sure can't screw up much! :)

Lois

Lois said...

(not sure if it posted, so totally sorry for the repeat if it did after all)

Hmm, well. . .

#1 - really sucks.
#2 - all things considered, not too bad
#3 - um, defintely not a mitt, but doesn't look like cake. . . maybe a donut.
#4 - well, not too bad, but yeah, the blue=smurf. LOL
#5 - well, all things considering, not too bad here too, especially if you don't know the story or such. ;)
#6 - well, it's not too terrible, but looks more like it's a fashion mag cover, and she looks like she's a model walking a catwalk.
#7 - well, maybe because I have this one I'm just really used to it, but yep, a little strange, but yet another, all things considered, not too bad. . .
#8 - actually, I didn't think aliens, before looking at the print and recognizing it's Hebrew, I thought it was about/from an Oriental country, Japan, China, something like that. . .
#9 - definitely not too bad here, but it probably could be the most spectacular cover, only no one will notice it if the author's name is mispelled!
#10 - yep, another for me that isn't too bad all things considered. . . just hope they aren't too close to the horse while it's going nuts! LOL

So, I guess in the end, my choice for worst is number one. Probably why I kept saying not too bad for the ones I did, compared to what I think is horrible, those aren't! :) So, to all authors, sure hope you always and forever get terrific covers or at least ones that might be boring, but they sure can't screw up much! :)

Lois

catslady said...

I'm going to give the foreign books a pass - just because lol.
Number one has to be the winner though - It's a bad cover and a ridiculous title. I've never been a fan of the cutsey covers and will pass them up I'm afraid to say. No. 5 would drive me crazy as I read the book. I'm currently reading a highland type book and he has long dark hair all through the story but not on the cover - how hard is that to get right!!! Every time his hair is mentioned (quite often actually) it draws me out of the story.

Playground Monitor said...

We have to pick one? Seriously, they are all bad in their own way. The Pepto-Bismol cover makes me ill looking at it and I can't even tell what the title is because it disappears into the catcher's mitt/German chocolate cake. And #5, the Navajo paratrooper looks like he should be be selling used cars.

I feel for authors when they get a bad cover. It affects sales and it's not the author's fault. I've had several friends with attrocious covers and all I can do is commiserate.

Marilyn

flip said...

I am picking #5. Honestly, if you judge a book by its cover, this books should be titled The Single Grandson of the Woman in your Grandma's Sunday School Class that Granny Has Arranged to Go on A Blind Date With You

ev said...

Julie posted the link, so I had to check it out.

I think the horse in #10 is just plain jealous. Just sayin' is all.

:;Scoots back to the Jungle::

Estella said...

I think #1, Real Men Sell Bras, is the worst looking cover.

M. said...

I think my comment got eaten. If this appears twice - sorry....


In defence of bras -
I feel like with a title like that, the art department had no choice to go with something cartoony, tongue-in-cheekish. What else could they do? If it was poking fun at itself, so to speak, then it's not quite fair to compare it to covers that were intended seriously. Apples and oranges.

To me, it's a three-way tie for worst: the two mondo-scary virgins (Ladies: perhaps there is a reason no one dares approach you) and the torpedo breast lady, whose pet horse is so jealous he tries to concuss all her suitors. Or maybe he's just upset she put his breakfast in her hair as decoration again.

M. said...

forgot to say: yes, I've bought books on cover alone, and yes, I've stayed far away from books just because of covers.

and: I'm reading 'Getting Real' right now, and up close, I don't see what's so terrible about the cover. Granted, it's not the best I've ever seen, but neither is it the worst. Though she'll have to find another place to sit soon since TVs overheat.

Celise said...

I would say #1 with #5 coming a close second. #5 is my greatest fear when submitting to publishers.

Emma said...

The worst cover is the "Real men sell bras".
It's a bad cover and a ridiculous title.

EllenToo said...

I think its a close call between "Real Men Sell Bras" and "A Virgin for the Taking" but I'll go with "A Virgin for the Taking" being the worst.

Jeanette J said...

I vote for #8...just the hairdo alone is enough to make it the winning worst cover for me.

Venus Vaughn said...

RMSB is such a bad cover, now I'm intrigued. I kind of want to read it.

Is anyone else having this reaction?

Jane said...

I'm voting for number 2. The woman on the cover looks like she's taking a bite of his cheek.

Amy S. said...

I vote for #1.

Karen Templeton said...

Pepto-Bismol author here. I believe I shrieked when I saw the cover on Amazon. Immediately emailed my editor. She said, "I know, I didn't know how to tell you..."

I mean, there's cheery bright, and then there's garish, butt-ugly bright.

Sales for this book tanked. Gee, I wonder why...?

Caffey said...

I love laughing at these, LOL. I feel bad for the authors tho!

I do depend on the book covers, honest, for me to pick them up. If I see a cartoonish cover I might think its not a romance you know. So I really think it should fit the story and genre too!

trish said...

My vote is for #1 RMSB. I thought they were all equally bad! However, the panties hanging on the wall touching the top of their heads clinched it.

I am not too picky about the book cover when buying/reading a book. I have my fav authors that I will read regardless of the cover. I decide if I am going to read/buy a book by using spoilers. I search blog information, read part of the beginning, part of the middle, and part of the end before I decide to purchase the book.

None of the covers posted would stop me from picking up the book and reading it. I would just have to work on my imagination and create a different picture in my mind for the cover.

ForestJane said...

Hmm, I'm still stuck on the "eight entries for your consideration" but ten covers... which two aren't to be voted on?

A note to cheer you all up: When it's on the shelf at the library, nobody chooses it based on the cover. All we see is the spine, and the genre sticker on the spine. :)

Trish Morey said...

Hey Lois, thanks for running such the contest. You were right, competition is stiff! LOL. Karen T, wow. That's all, Just. Wow.

No wonder your editor was afraid to tell you:-))

As to the 20-something Navajo hero. Methinks someone lied on their CV.

The blue smurf does have great abs. Does he come with a paper bag?

LOL. Thanks again, Lois.

Patricia said...

Have to go with the blue man. I remember seeing this cover before and wondering who would have wanted that design on their book. I agree your pointy busted female goes back to the early bodice rippers and the reason I did buy romance novels for such a long time.
Covers have kept me from buying books. I have also selected books because I liked the cover and the story blurb sounded interesting. I never would have picked up the book in the first place if not for the cover.

Annie West said...

Thank you for this blog! These covers are just...amazing. For me the rampaging horse cover is close to 'winning' but nothing, absolutely nothing can beat Trish's dangerous alien lady on no8. Wow. I've never had a Hebrew translation. I can't wait...!

Serena said...

Hi everyone,
Hmmm what amazing covers! But to make a choice of just one baaaaaaaad cover? This is difficult (as is the choice between the famous three-armed woman...(Castles in the Air, Christina Dodd) or the chubby but cute (in a chubby way) Lucky from Suzanne Brockmann's Get Lucky

Blue guy with six pack is actually quite cute, in a blue sort of way. Cross-eyed guy is way up there. Maybe he's an orthodontist in this book? Navajo paratroopers must age prematurely. In The Greek's Extreme Makeup Collection the heroine could be the Navajo's girlfirend? Her dress looks like a Dream Catcher! (fringes on sleeves look like feathers)

Have to say Trish Morey's A Virgin for the Taking cover really is baaad. The heroine reminds me of someone in the old Lost in Space episodes. Not the one who was in love with Doctor Smith {GRIN}

I would pick up a bad cover just to see how the writing compares. But usually we don't get covers quite like these in Australia. These are truly unique!

Thanks for the laughs :)
Hugs
Serena
xx

Lori T said...

I am going to have to go with #1 Real Men Sell Bras...it is just odd. I think they are all interesting choices.

I have bought a few books based solely on their covers. One of the most recent was Adrian Phoenix's A Rush of Wings and I loved it.

GunDiva said...

I have to go with #1 - it looks like it came out of a 1950s Redbook, although #5 is pretty darn bad too. It's a tough decision - they are all bad in their own special way :)

cas2ajs said...

I'd have to go with REAL MEN SELL BRAS as the worst cover. Although I like looking at covers, they're not the selling point for me. If I had read and enjoyed an excerpt before seeing the cover, I would still buy the book. I'd probably just leave it front-cover side down when i wasn't reading it.

Cheryl S.

Catherine Bybee said...

Stop it!!! lol... really, stop.