PDA

View Full Version : The great chick lit cover-up



Ali B
08-11-2008, 02:59 AM
"Having cottoned on to the fact that chick lit books sell like cupcakes, publishers are now adding chick lit-style covers to any book written by a woman whether it fits the genre definition or not." - The great chick lit cover-up (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/07/the_great_chick_lit_coverup.html)
I find this hard to believe, though the article was compelling. What do you guys think about this article?

ETA- Hmm...my title isn't showing up. It just says 'A'....

Shweta
08-11-2008, 03:06 AM
Odd about the title, Alina. I'll try to change it.
I'm also going to move this over to the Roundtable, since it's more talking about novels than about writing novels.

veinglory
08-11-2008, 03:06 AM
Sure, it happens. but I don;t think she chose good examples at I would not call those chick lit covers at all, and actually chick lit is not selling so good right now. I think she may be using the term to mean something different from what it actually means.

Ali B
08-11-2008, 03:10 AM
Sweet, thanks Shweta!

Veinglory- Yah, I didn't think chick-lit was all that hot anymore, either. The term chick-lit is used loosely a bunch, so maybe she just doesn't understand the term.
I found it funny that the male author's books all looked the same. Even if they are sequels, you'd think they'd look a little different.

Polenth
08-11-2008, 04:26 AM
I think publishers in general tend to take shortcuts with covers. Samey covers tell fans what sort of book it is. You see a lot of samey and unsuitable covers in other genres too, so I don't think it's a big conspiracy against women.

Stacia Kane
08-11-2008, 04:27 AM
The article is about books published in the UK, which is a very different market (at least in my experience) too.

SPMiller
08-11-2008, 04:51 AM
Yeah, let's take a look at fantasy covers and see how often we see things like, say, unsheathed swords...

Ali B
08-11-2008, 04:57 AM
Yeah, let's take a look at fantasy covers and see how often we see things like, say, unsheathed swords...

LOL, excellent point!

Kryianna
08-11-2008, 04:58 AM
I've started to see it on this side of the pond as well. I was browsing in B&N for a new romance book. I saw a cute spine, and pulling it out, saw a very artistic line art cover, reminiscent of chick-lit and contemporary romance. It was a purely historical romance, though. At least it wasn't a bodice-ripper cover.

Andreya
08-11-2008, 05:01 AM
I've started to see it on this side of the pond as well. I was browsing in B&N for a new romance book. I saw a cute spine, and pulling it out, saw a very artistic line art cover, reminiscent of chick-lit and contemporary romance. It was a purely historical romance, though. At least it wasn't a bodice-ripper cover.
lol Hilarious.

What can I say? I love chick-lit. (If done well.) I'm a fan of Carrie & Sex And the City. lol Will I read every historical romance or book of no relevance with a chick-litty cover? uhm, probably no. (Though some historical romaces are just awesome. Even if they have bodice-ripping covers. lol)

It's awesome to read the comments on that site... A book designer responds & tells why this was done :) Fascinating... :)

Ali B
08-11-2008, 06:37 AM
lol Hilarious.

What can I say? I love chick-lit. (If done well.) I'm a fan of Carrie & Sex And the City. lol Will I read every historical romance or book of no relevance with a chick-litty cover? uhm, probably no. (Though some historical romaces are just awesome. Even if they have bodice-ripping covers. lol)

It's awesome to read the comments on that site... A book designer responds & tells why this was done :) Fascinating... :)

Here's the reason the designer gave-
"Until two weeks before publication it looked like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zuzus-Petals-0-Sue-Hepworth/dp/1905005873/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217331434&sr=8-2
-snip-

I don't know if you prefer this cover or not, but you might agree that it is probably a better reflection of the tone and style of the book. However, our best efforts to sub this book into retailers for 6 months with this cover resulted in pre-orders for... wait for it... 19 orders. That is, orders for 19 copies."

WOW! 19 copies without the chick-lit-like cover...Geess? Are we that brainwashed or was the original cover just really bad? I have to say that I like the new one better, but I like light and airy books, too.

SPMiller
08-11-2008, 07:08 AM
The mistake might have been as simple as not providing an identifiable human on the cover. That seems to be one thing that many covers have in common across all genres. Whether it needed to be chick-litty in particular is questionable.

Polenth
08-11-2008, 07:36 AM
The mistake might have been as simple as not providing an identifiable human on the cover. That seems to be one thing that many covers have in common across all genres. Whether it needed to be chick-litty in particular is questionable.

Though looking at the book, it's women's issues with a humorous tone. And the customers who brought it also brought chick lit books with quirky cartoon covers (and with stories that are women's issues with a humorous tone). So perhaps the marketing wasn't so off-base. It's selling the book.

Deccydiva
08-11-2008, 12:05 PM
Interesting that one of the comments related to Dublin bookstores. I have only found two Agents in Ireland that will accept women's fiction and one of those firmly states that she will NOT take chick-lit. Perhaps the tide is turning here, or it's simply that the Irish market is saturated.

nevada
08-11-2008, 05:14 PM
I know this is happening in Canada. There have been several books that I rejected based solely on the cover. Too chic-lit (which I hate), too funny (which I find rarely funny), and both on one cover means I won't even pick it up to look at it. I saw the same book in the library (sorry, can't remember which book it was.) I picked it up at the library because I was looking for books for my mom. I read the back blurb and it was definitely not chick lit and definitely not funny. I read it and enjoyed it very much. But because of that cover, the author lost a sale. I wonder how many sales she lost because of that cover? And I wonder how many people who bought it based on the cover felt cheated when it turned out to not be chick lit nor funny.

Soccer Mom
08-11-2008, 09:14 PM
Yes, the generic covers are becomming common across genres. I'll have to find the post recently about "jean butt" covers on urban fantasy. It does make it hard to know what you're getting in a book.

DeleyanLee
08-11-2008, 09:18 PM
It was a purely historical romance, though. At least it wasn't a bodice-ripper cover.

Personally, I'll take a bodice-ripper cover over a chick-lit cartoon cover any day, so it's all what the individual likes. For me, having a cartoony cover is a sure-fire bet that I won't even pick the book up without every one of my friends assuring me that I'll love the book inside.

As far as publishing goes, those style of covers are fast and relatively cheap on the artist commission so I can understand why they're popular. Doesn't surprise me that they'll go for cheap and fast as often as possible. It's a business, after all.

AZ_Dawn
08-12-2008, 03:01 AM
"Having cottoned on to the fact that chick lit books sell like cupcakes, publishers are now adding chick lit-style covers to any book written by a woman whether it fits the genre definition or not." - The great chick lit cover-up (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/07/the_great_chick_lit_coverup.html)
I find this hard to believe, though the article was compelling. What do you guys think about this article?
That sound you hear is my dream of being read by both genders crying in despair, begging for reassurance that this guy is wrong.:cry:

Do you think that since most of my characters are male and I'm writing under my initials and last name I might be safe from those chick lit covers? :(

SPMiller
08-12-2008, 03:08 AM
Margaret Ogden (aka Megan Lindholm, aka Robin Hobb) chose her second pen name specifically to "hide" her sex when she wrote two trilogies of first-person male POV fantasy novels.

Polenth
08-12-2008, 03:22 AM
That sound you hear is my dream of being read by both genders crying in despair, begging for reassurance that this guy is wrong.:cry:

Do you think that since most of my characters are male and I'm writing under my initials and last name I might be safe from those chick lit covers? :(

So far, the books mentioned are either women's fiction or romance. I haven't seen anyone say they put a chick lit cover on a military sci fi or a murder mystery, just because a woman wrote it. Other genres have their own flavour of the month for covers.

SPMiller
08-12-2008, 03:28 AM
a chick lit cover on a military sci fiThat. Would. Be. Awesome.

bluehawk
08-12-2008, 03:36 AM
Personally, I like "chic lick," I mean, "chic lit" covers if it looks like she can kick my a**. You'll have to forgive men for being hardwired this way. . . .

Polenth
08-12-2008, 03:43 AM
That. Would. Be. Awesome.

I thought as I wrote it, that might work simply because it's so wacky and unsuitable. But only for the first book to try it.

AZ_Dawn
08-13-2008, 01:02 AM
So far, the books mentioned are either women's fiction or romance. I haven't seen anyone say they put a chick lit cover on a military sci fi or a murder mystery, just because a woman wrote it. Other genres have their own flavour of the month for covers.
That's a relief!

Ali B
08-13-2008, 09:56 PM
So far, the books mentioned are either women's fiction or romance. I haven't seen anyone say they put a chick lit cover on a military sci fi or a murder mystery, just because a woman wrote it. Other genres have their own flavour of the month for covers.

Good point. I would love to see an example of that!