This article draws attention to a peculiarity of publishing, that could justifiably be labelled ‘sexist’—though, no one’s doing exactly that yet.
(click the BBC link for more of Jojo Moyes’ opinions on chick lit writing)
Many cover designs are formulaic and lazy. If you’ve ever thought that silhouettes were left behind in the 18th- and 19th-centuries, then you’ve never looked at a display of contemporary fiction in a bookshop.
Jojo Moyes makes some strong points about how books written by women are marketed. I’ve always found the pink and glittery approach to be patronising, but I feel the same way about action novels aimed at a mainly male readership—depicting guns, battleships and jet fighters—this is sometimes referred to as dad lit. How butch can you get?
For my own Cornish Detective novels, should they ever be published, I’d prefer something that wasn’t pigeonholing them as being for male or female readers, and I’d also like to avoid overt suggestions that they’re crime writing. I’m fairly skilled artistically and have designed the covers for all of the titles I published online.
I also created a cover for the second story in my crime series The Perfect Murderer, which shows an anonymous figure cycling at night; the serial killer used a bicycle to stalk victims.
I somehow doubt that my designs would be acceptable to a book publisher. The only author I can think of, who’s got his own way with book design is Alasdair Gray—who uses his own typography and illustrations within the text and for the book cover.
What do you think about the clichéd use of colour, glitter and weaponry on book covers?
Is it an acceptable form of targetting an audience, who know what they’re after and don’t care about the packaging?
Are you put off by such book covers, maybe missing a good story? After all, many readers are already deterred by a book being of a genre they think they don’t like.
Hold the front page!
Forget pink and glittery book covers, what we really need are pulp makeovers of classic titles, as this amusing article shows.
I particularly like the Immortal Madame Bovary A BRILLIANT AND CYNICAL STORY OF THE WOMAN WHO FLOUTED THE MORAL LAWS OF HER DAY COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED which has the price of 3 shillings and 6 pence printed on the title character’s bum!
On a serious note, I wonder how many fans of pulp fiction were introduced to serious literature by this marketing tactic?