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Book Title: Author Name
September 21, 2012 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Book Title: Author Name. Political thriller, erotica, sword and sorcery, cookbook, lock-picking manual, travel guide? Doesn't matter. Book Title: Author Name.
posted by codacorolla (67 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
They've got just the right amount of clearly pasted images and mismatched typefaces to give it that real self-published novel feel.

Although I have to add that one generally does not pick locks with keys.
posted by griphus at 12:03 PM on September 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


"He Told Me He Loved Me and Then I Found Him Looking in My Purse" by Peggy Henderson
posted by davebush at 12:05 PM on September 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yep, I'm pretty sure I could make a better book cover with my camera and MS Paint.

Except for this one. Now I REALLY want to read that book. (I hope the cat wins).
posted by jb at 12:10 PM on September 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


RASPBERRY FLAMBE: The FBI Plot to Set Prince's Knuckles on Fire by "Jerome"
posted by PlusDistance at 12:10 PM on September 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Bow of S'Moré, by Hestia Trindner
posted by Iridic at 12:13 PM on September 21, 2012


It's not real clear with this guy is doing with his hands while he stalks that wolf, but I don't care for it.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:13 PM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


That wolf has the same expression I do when I'm waiting for the dog to pee, goddammit.
posted by griphus at 12:15 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


These remind me somehow of the novels that sims could write in Sims 3: you picked the title and then opened a screen of icons and clicked on them to put them in the plot flow chart which had IIRC five spots and arrows leading from the first to the last. "My novel is called 'Meditations in Blue' and goes [flying saucer] -> [dollar sign] -> [football] -> [trophy] -> [ocean liner]. I guess it is about an alien who makes a lot of money betting on the Super Bowl and then goes on a Caribbean cruise."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:17 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


These remind me somehow of the novels that sims could write in Sims 3: you picked the title and then opened a screen of icons and clicked on them to put them in the plot flow chart which had IIRC five spots and arrows leading from the first to the last. "My novel is called 'Meditations in Blue' and goes [flying saucer] -> [dollar sign] -> [football] -> [trophy] -> [ocean liner]. I guess it is about an alien who makes a lot of money betting on the Super Bowl and then goes on a Caribbean cruise."

What the hell expansion is THAT? I only get the prompt for the title.
posted by AugieAugustus at 12:21 PM on September 21, 2012


So, this person is charging this much to do this level of work, and apparently making a living at it?


Hmmmm.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:21 PM on September 21, 2012


This is perfect for my novel "Die Hard in a Royalty-Free Stock Photo."
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 12:23 PM on September 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Obviously she's doing this freelance because publishers couldn't afford to hire her fulltime.
posted by chundo at 12:24 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tons more for e-books.
posted by davebush at 12:26 PM on September 21, 2012


WTF?
posted by davebush at 12:28 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I say mad props to this woman.
posted by jwhite1979 at 12:34 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't live in a world where this is not a joke I can't I can't I can't I can't I can't
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:37 PM on September 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, this person is charging this much to do this level of work, and apparently making a living at it?

A major publisher put this cover on a serious work of history, so maybe this person's not so outrageous after all
posted by IndigoJones at 12:38 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think this is a get-rich-quick scheme with not a lot of thought put into either the "get rich" or "quick" parts. Like all get-rich-quick schemes.
posted by griphus at 12:39 PM on September 21, 2012


Lol, this one looks like one of those lately-maligned Apple maps.
posted by AugieAugustus at 12:44 PM on September 21, 2012


Hmmm.... I didn't see the generic urban fantasy book cover (you know: woman in tight pants, weapon, tattoo, back to the camera, absurd pose, no face). What cover does one order if one wants to write yet another female supernatural detective in the big city story? Obviously a tragic oversight that needs to be addressed immediately.
posted by yeolcoatl at 12:46 PM on September 21, 2012


That last one will be perfect for my sci-fi novel about outer space horses materializing in fields at random and distorting the space-time continuum.
posted by Curious Artificer at 12:47 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ah, THERE you are, Chancery font. I knew I'd find you here.

"So, whudja thank o' mah yearbook photo?"

The Marley Mysteries: Book One: The Suspiciously Fat Tree
posted by AugieAugustus at 12:49 PM on September 21, 2012


I can't live in a world where this is not a joke

This is a joke even if this hopeful entrepreneur doesn't realize it and I'm clinging to that belief until my cold dead fingers rot away.
posted by hat_eater at 12:51 PM on September 21, 2012


Playing Hide And Seek With Cardboard Cutouts And You
posted by The Whelk at 12:55 PM on September 21, 2012


Sure, many of these are outright terrible and unprofessional. On the other hand, quite a few of them are a good deal for $120. They're obviously aimed at the self-published mass-market-style book, and many of them are perfectly targeted. Sure, there are a lot of bad photoshops here, but if an author is not savvy enough to avoid those, it's a perfect signal to the reader what level the writing will be at.
posted by rikschell at 12:56 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Falling For You: Love in the time of Narcolepsy by S'idarah Simmons
posted by The Whelk at 12:58 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wait. These AREN'T a joke?

I just stopped enjoying.
posted by DU at 12:58 PM on September 21, 2012


Elevators of the Gods by Erich Von Daniken
posted by pyramid termite at 12:59 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fifty shades of NO.
posted by jquinby at 1:00 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I assume this is some kind of gay John Carter vs. sexualized plants adventure cause I could get into that
posted by The Whelk at 1:02 PM on September 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


EMPIRE STATE BUILDING LIGHTING CODES THEIR HISTORY AND MEANING
posted by The Whelk at 1:03 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


My Secret Mexican Life by Mitt Romney
posted by pyramid termite at 1:06 PM on September 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Tough business, book covers. Chip Kidd discusses at TED
posted by BWA at 1:06 PM on September 21, 2012


Conversations with Michelle by Dina Eastwood
posted by pyramid termite at 1:12 PM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


This pose just can't be comfortable.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:17 PM on September 21, 2012


So, this person is charging this much to do this level of work, and apparently making a living at it?

Assuming that the artwork is being legally licensed, the amounts being charged don't leave much of a margin for even the work it would take to lay out a title, an author, a spine and the back cover, to say nothing of prepping the files for professional printing.

Maybe the photos are all copyright-free via stock.xchng or something, but my guess is they're mid-resolution iStock or Veer or Masterfile royalty-free "editorial images", and the varying costs flux according to the number of images that have to be licensed and combined to make the cover.

If these images are being legally licensed, the creator is probably making between $40-60 an hour to prep a cover, spine and back cover and produce art-ready files. Not super cheap, but not ludicrous ripoff rates, either.
posted by Shepherd at 1:18 PM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Man, there sure are a lot of these.
posted by box at 1:19 PM on September 21, 2012


Here's my first result for "iconic book covers." Regardless of whether these are really the best book covers or not, one instantly noticeable difference: not one of them has a photo on them. Several of them have drawings or paintings which show parts of the book but they're the kinds of sketches that could be hired out for probably not much more than these covers. Many of them are a nice looking font and a graphic design.

Less is more, in book cover and all other design.
posted by Apropos of Something at 1:19 PM on September 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


They might not be the greatest quality, but as a sideline for a graphic designer, the business idea is spot on. Maybe there aren't millions to be made here, but it wouldn't shock me to learn that it could be a nice little earner.
posted by Jehan at 1:20 PM on September 21, 2012


And in Mefite-related book cover news....
posted by The Whelk at 1:21 PM on September 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh shit, grats on the actually well-done cover PhoB!
posted by griphus at 1:28 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I admit it. I am judging these books.
posted by ckape at 1:29 PM on September 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


This really is crying out for someone to put up something like those meme generators but for awful self-published book covers.
posted by adamrice at 1:33 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, now that vampires and werewolves are in vogue, can we have a Frankenstein paranormal romance? I don't mean, like Doctor Frankenstein, or one of those revisionist "how this would actually work" Frankensteins. I mean a 7 foot tall, green, stiched-up flat-top neck-bolted platform-shoed Boris Karloff motherfucker. He can woo a P.A. at Universal Studios (IT'S METACOMMENTARY) while contemplating why fire bad.
posted by griphus at 1:34 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


a vampire-Frankenstein falls in love with a zombie-werewolf
posted by The Whelk at 1:39 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was very lucky when I put out my urban fantasy self-pub in that I had a photographer friend who gladly did a pic for me for free (well, free with author credit). It looks like none of these. (I'd link, but I don't want to look like I'm advertising. It's a picture of an angel statue we found in a cemetery.) Yet I wonder sometimes if the fact that it DOESN'T look just like all of these others actually causes people to pass it by because they think it's amateurish--after all, it doesn't look quite like every other book cover out there.

All that said, I'm finding the single most frustrating thing about self-publishing is the need to put together a decent cover. I am quite confident with my writing--my book has repeatedly paid the rent all on its own--but I have virtually no skills with visual art.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 1:47 PM on September 21, 2012


Oh shit, grats on the actually well-done cover PhoB!

I mean, it's okay, but it clearly lacks the selling power of some of the covers in the FPP.

PhoB, I took the liberty of making you a better cover. No need to thank me, and I'm giving you a special "friend rate" of only $160 to use this.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:01 PM on September 21, 2012 [21 favorites]


This pose just can't be comfortable.

Totally comfortable when you have HoverLuggage™.
posted by Zed at 2:03 PM on September 21, 2012


Excerpt from the dust jacket of "The Maybelline Meteor," by Arthur Nayme:

Paulo always knew there'd be time enough to reflect on the life he'd had, the things he'd done, the terrible decisions he'd made regarding tattoos. He'd just always figured that that time would come in a flash of revelation at the bedside of an ailing parent, or at the grave of a dear friend.

But the news had come loud and clear by every available channel, forcing Paulo to confront his mortality in a way he'd never imagined: An enormous woman's head, larger than the moon, was on a deadly collision course with Earth, threatening the life of every living thing on the planet's surface. Furthermore, scientists had announced that this strange object from space was also wearing too much makeup, for some reason.

Would Paulo have enough time to make peace with his dark past? Would any amount of time truly be enough?

posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:08 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


$125.00, eh? Why, it's a bargain at twice the price! You can hardly afford NOT to buy it!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 2:12 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait can this be the thread where we all gush about how great PhoeBs is?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:27 PM on September 21, 2012


hmmm? Guess I won't be changing my moniker to Author Name after all.

Maybe Arthur Name.
posted by philip-random at 2:28 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I mean, it's okay, but it clearly lacks the selling power of some of the covers in the FPP.

PhoB, I took the liberty of making you a better cover. No need to thank me, and I'm giving you a special "friend rate" of only $160 to use this.


I would send this to my editor immediately but I don't want her googling my metafilter name to discover my pooping habits.

(<3<3)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:52 PM on September 21, 2012 [7 favorites]


SPLAT!
posted by yellowbinder at 2:55 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh thank God, it was hard enough the first time, but I thought for sure I'd never find the perfect cover for my novel, "Curse of the White Peacock Treasure Chest That Fell Overboard in a Storm: Part Two, The Reckoning!"
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 3:19 PM on September 21, 2012


Some of the source images aren't completely terrible and could be improved with a little judicious photoshopping (color grading, adding textures, etc). Oh yeah and the type choices need a serious re-think. Seriously people, enough with the bevel effect already.
posted by Doleful Creature at 3:31 PM on September 21, 2012


Looking at the ebook covers, I felt, like several others here, that a lot of them were kind of shoddy, but there were some that could work OK for genre romance novels, mysteries or thrillers. If you're a writer working in one of those genres who's turning out several books a year, I could see how a service like this might be worth a look.

But there was something else that bothered me, and it took me a minute to figure out what it was: Pretty much all the people depicted on these covers are white.

There's one vaguely "ethnic-looking" woman - South Asian? Middle Eastern? Pacific Islander? - and two or three couples that could plausibly be read as Latino/Latina, but no black people, Indians (American or Asian), Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, etc. AT ALL.

I know nothing about the person who designed these, and am not accusing them of being a racist. But what does it say about the book business, or people who buy books, that the default assumption apparently still is that persons depicted on book covers ought to be white?
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 3:47 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brick the Oddly-Proportioned Stripper and his Levitating Motorcycle visit the Peculiarly-Tilted World
posted by KathrynT at 4:04 PM on September 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


One. Singular sensation, every little step she takes.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:36 PM on September 21, 2012


This sounds perfect for a plan where I buy the cover, and then spend the weekend writing a novel to match.
posted by happyroach at 6:15 PM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want to say I love how this post was framed. Thanks codacorolla.
posted by churl at 8:09 PM on September 21, 2012


Nat - it says nothing good about the book business, but the covers reflect pulp fiction. I've been reading a lot of pulp fiction in the last few years, and it's so so white. The few non-white characters are likely to be walking stereotypes - large, jolly black housekeeper who has no life outside of her employers, strong but sensitive and close to nature native man. Asian people don't even seem to exist, an there are no non-white communities.

Even the novels I'm reading now (which are nowhere near pulp, but still more pop than lit) concentrate heavily on the white or partly-white characters in a mixed white-black-native community.
posted by jb at 8:44 PM on September 21, 2012


jb, thanks for the perspective. I know there are romance novels aimed specifically at African-American women (though I don't know how successful they are), and there have been black protagonists in some thrillers & mysteries - Alex Cross and Easy Rawlins spring to mind, but there must be at least a few others. Still, I don't doubt that in terms of absolute numbers, the majority of genre fiction characters, and perhaps consumers as well, are white.

Still, the lack of racial diversity here strikes me as odd, just from a marketing perspective. It seems like when you're serving up a prefab product like these book covers, it would make sense to offer as wide a product line as possible.

OTOH, maybe the creator of these already has it in mind to do a series of alternate versions, with the various loving couples, sexy women, and/or studly shirtless dudes all swapped out for similar persons of different ethnicities. Given that the formula is pretty much (foreground photo of person(s)) + (background photo), it wouldn't be that hard to keep the same pictures of a beach, field, or swanky apartment, and make the loving couple Chinese, the sexy woman Indian, and the shirtless guy black.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 9:37 PM on September 21, 2012


Some of these covers could easily be used for NaNoWriMo inspiration or other creative writing exercises. Pirates and Peacocks? The Ghost Cowboy? Deadly Curse of the Russian Blue? I can feel my creative juices pumping already.
posted by Gordafarin at 2:41 AM on September 22, 2012


I don't know, I kind of like the placeholder titles: Santa's Vacay.
posted by univac at 9:32 AM on September 22, 2012


I don't know why y'all find this aesthetic so foreign. It's in perfect harmony with the all-American classic film The Room. Candles, rose petals, voile bedcurtains...
posted by gusandrews at 12:26 PM on September 22, 2012


Roadhouse Gynecologist
Lady Gaga and the Volume of Thinly-Disguised Rowling Characters
Wish I Were Here
A Clown College Mrs.
Bono: Terrorist for Hire
Mannequin Murder at the Office Park
The End of the Decline of Journalism: Journalism Attacks Where the Sun Don't Shine on a Perfectly Nice Sunny Day

and by Meta Filter:
Special Snowflakes
Wedged in a Scanner, Darkly
posted by jocelmeow at 1:15 PM on September 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


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