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Rachel Udin
08-21-2012, 09:10 PM
I think it's time to reveal PoCs on covers and have a rankings. I know the majority here aren't artists, but I thought we could share and celebrate good covers and discuss the nature of covers.

First ranking:
http://66.147.242.160/~cindypon/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/cover11.jpg (http://66.147.242.160/%7Ecindypon/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/cover11.jpg)
- Proper PoC on cover.
- Face is shown
- And from a pure artistic POV...
It communicates the book well, warm colors offset the cooler colors, the green is offset with the pink (because red and green are complimentary) and the typography doesn't suck. (You have no idea how much of a relief that is) Also, there are no strange tangencies.

http://www.sfreviews.com/graphics/Octavia%20Butler_1998_Parable%20Of%20The%20Talents .jpg
OMG PoC on the cover, well done too. Face is shown.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-b0gjcPtc6Ac/Ty9BBPKrY0I/AAAAAAAAAtw/R51SdEoxYK0/s1600/leguin-powers.jpg

http://images-eu.amazon.com/images/P/0152056785.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

http://twittertales.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/69852-cover.jpg
(Ursula LeGuin must be thrilled with these covers after her long struggle)

Second Ranking:
http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1328311934l/8170840.jpg
I would say it's where the PoC isn't really shown, or it's obscured... Almost like the publisher says, "It's good, but not quite good enough." or simply not brave enough.

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Covers/Gifts-2_166x250.jpg

Third ranking:

Use images (stereotypical or not) that cover the culture.
http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1175817146l/563002.jpg


http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_hLKX08Lq8x4/TJu1qtOOn0I/AAAAAAAAPVc/drG4mQ5PCZA/s1600/ImageSession08AmyTan.jpg

http://behance.vo.llnwd.net/profiles5/196484/projects/597698/c7de9a3a5ecfcb213ac6b0dd27a95b2b.jpg (You can see a cover where it has a face on it: http://ia700807.us.archive.org/zipview.php?zip=/5/items/olcovers661/olcovers661-L.zip&file=6611881-L.jpg)

Fourth ranking:
No PoC on a PoC book, but no one else either/no identifiers.

This one gets close: http://ia600802.us.archive.org/zipview.php?zip=/32/items/olcovers57/olcovers57-L.zip&file=576842-L.jpg (in terms of design making the fenghuang so dark against dark is cowardly...

http://www.fantasy-fan.org/files/wizard-of-earthsea-cover.jpg

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Covers/TalesEarthsea.jpg

http://www.publishersweekly.com/images/cached/ARTICLE_PHOTO/photo/000/000/010/10676-v1-300x.JPG

And negative ranking:
Outright put a white person on the cover because you don't think a PoC on the cover will sell.

http://i2.listal.com/image/531411/936full-a-wizard-of-earthsea-%28the-earthsea-cycle,-book-1%29-cover.jpg

http://scv.bu.edu/~aarondf/earthsea/images/awoe_Gordeev_front.jpg (http://scv.bu.edu/%7Eaarondf/earthsea/images/awoe_Gordeev_front.jpg)

http://demiday.net/hkportfolio/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/velho_full-900x625.jpg

http://cindypon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/SilverPhoenixpbc1.jpg

http://cindypon.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/FuryPhoenix21.jpg

(At least we have yet to see a flub where the wrong ethnicity is represented on the cover... besides white, so I guess it could get worse.)

This isn't to say that some covers with whites don't have obscured faces:

http://www.glassonion.com/catalog/images/large_weyrworld.jpg

http://www.saltmanz.com/pictures/albums/Cover%20Scans/Book%20Covers/Girl%20Who%20Heard%20Dragons.jpg

But they aren't often overwritten by people of color taking their place. So I prefer to make up the deficit with an in-your-face. 'cause if they are going to get insulted, they may as well do so with the cover. And besides, if the person gets to the end on a clearly PoC book, I don't think making it obvious will hurt any.

Afterall, if a white character can have a cover like this:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xTRDt-9mFZY/Tsw2WWTzvYI/AAAAAAAAA3I/OEj8-y-2dFc/s1600/book+cover.jpg

and this:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_t68ar0SFX54/TOCJSMcKfJI/AAAAAAAAFhg/VJPWQkJxoLU/s1600/The%2BDiviner.jpg

PoCs should be the same.

BTW, though Gorsha is not the main character...

http://www.glassonion.com/catalog/images/large_sarra.jpg

still makes me happy. Michael Whelan didn't make him a light-skinned black person to try to color grade (the books make a point that he's very dark-skinned). Makes me all kinds of happy. (But then I'm kinda a fan of Michael Whelan... I wish he would come out of cover artist retirement~)

How about your favorite PoC covers?

aruna
08-21-2012, 10:22 PM
Purple Hibiscus (http://www.amazon.com/Purple-Hibiscus-Chimamanda-Ngozi-Adichie/dp/1565123875)

also Purple Hibiscus
(http://books.google.de/books/about/Purple_Hibiscus.html?id=-C-iPwAACAAJ&redir_esc=y)
So Long a Letter (http://www.amazon.com/So-Long-Letter-African-Writers/dp/0435913522/ref=pd_sim_b_5)

Nervous Conditions (http://books.google.de/books/about/Nervous_Conditions.html?id=t7iWQgAACAAJ&redir_esc=y)

The Joys of Motherhood (http://www.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http://40brown.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/080760950101lzzzzzzz.jpg&imgrefurl=http://40brown.wordpress.com/2007/07/13/book-review-the-joys-of-motherhood/&h=178&w=116&sz=11&tbnid=dAqu8HxBdMvTcM&tbnh=0&tbnw=0&zoom=1&usg=__gALlNjE6aGHfRSyxKFSegtOlRx4=&docid=heoX0MyPcSgunM&sa=X&ei=3M8zUKquOMTYtAbwpIGwDw&ved=0CHoQ1Rc)

My own book:

The Speech of Angels (http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Speech-Angels-Sharon-Maas/dp/0007123868)

The original hardcover of this book is a full-frontal picture of a dark-skinned Indian child. Will scan and post tomorrow.

Kitty27
08-23-2012, 07:45 AM
Thanks for this,Rachel! Ms.Butler's covers give me LIFE!

Covers mean a LOT. To see someone who looks like you means sooooo much to kids and teens.

Thanks,Aruna. I love when a publisher/author gets it right.

Unimportant
08-23-2012, 08:35 AM
"Wild Seed" by Octavia Butler (http://media.ove.cybermage.se/2010/08/wild-seed.jpg)(this is the cover on the paperback version I have) -- African protagonist

"In Keisha's Shadow" (http://www.amazon.com/In-Keishas-Shadow-Sandra-Barret/dp/1934452092/ref=pd_sxp_f_i#_) by Sandra Barret -- bi-racial (African-American/Caucasian) protagonist

Heiresses of Russ 2011 (http://www.amazon.com/Heiresses-Russ-2011-Lesbian-Speculative/dp/1590213963)(anthology -- a potpourri of stories and protagonists)

aruna
08-23-2012, 08:44 AM
BTW, though Gorsha is not the main character...

http://www.glassonion.com/catalog/images/large_sarra.jpg

still makes me happy. Michael Whelan didn't make him a light-skinned black person to try to color grade (the books make a point that he's very dark-skinned). Makes me all kinds of happy. (But then I'm kinda a fan of Michael Whelan... I wish he would come out of cover artist retirement~)

How about your favorite PoC covers?

I didn't get this at first -- all I saw was the white blonde woman. I had to look several times to actually "see" the second person -- blondie grabs all the attention. Still.....

tprevost
04-08-2013, 11:52 PM
I'm working on a cover now for a contest and the PoC is seen from the back and you can't really see that she's African American in my opinion. I'm trying to determine the best way to talk to the publisher about this, but am a little hesitant.

Kim Fierce
04-09-2013, 05:55 AM
It's difficult for me to find covers with PoC for my stories. I have to select from stock photos, so it is usually very difficult for me to find characters who look exactly like the ones I created! For example, my latest short story features a main character who is a black gay teenager with dreadlocks who plays tennis. The title is "My Secret Pain". Even finding a black teen boy on the approved sites with dreadlocks was difficult, and when I did find some, it was a person smiling or too old or playing guitar. Or I could find a character who looked almost exactly what I was looking for, but he had a shaved head. So I either have to change what my character does/looks like to fit a picture, or choose something that is like a shadowy teen walking down a corridor with his head hanging down.

Custom-design covers would be helpful!

*Tprevost: I have had someone tell me that PoC covers don't sell as well, which is one reason I keep trying to find a blatantly PoC cover and fight for it . . . but it's a matter of me finding the one that I can actually fight for!

lolchemist
04-09-2013, 08:46 AM
Wow that sucks Kim Fierce! I wonder if they'd let you pay out of pocket to just advertise on Craigslist, find a model and have a quick picture taken for your cover instead. It sucks that they're handcuffing you like this. Don't they want to give your book the perfect cover???

kuwisdelu
04-09-2013, 09:34 AM
If people stopped putting people on their covers, this wouldn't be a problem.

(I know I'm in the minority here, but I prefer covers without characters on them.)

Kim Fierce
04-10-2013, 12:45 AM
That was the other thing I was told. . . for most of the stories I was told people on covers sell better? But for my dystopia (The Divide) it was said that a symbol would do better, and I do agree with that. It is DEFINITELY hard to find characters that look like the ones in The Divide. Everyone is multi-racial. I would so love to have someone draw them for me!

But I think it would be possible for them to consider finding someone who could custom design some things. They are a small press so maybe this is more difficult, though.

I prefer symbols as well on covers. And for some reason I prefer a drawing of a character on the cover better than an actual photo?

Kim Fierce
04-10-2013, 12:45 AM
Wow that sucks Kim Fierce! I wonder if they'd let you pay out of pocket to just advertise on Craigslist, find a model and have a quick picture taken for your cover instead. It sucks that they're handcuffing you like this. Don't they want to give your book the perfect cover???

Well there was one time they said we could use different sites, but they have preferred web sites. So maybe if I do find something better else where I can see if that would work!

Maybe for a new story I should just look at pictures til I find the perfect cover haha, then write the story.

SBibb
04-10-2013, 02:31 AM
Thought I'd share a couple book covers with POC that I liked. :-)

Akata Witch: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7507944-akata-witch

Cold Fire (the one with Daja ice skating): http://www.amazon.com/Cold-Fire-Circle-Opens-Book/dp/0590396560

kuwisdelu
04-10-2013, 05:50 AM
I prefer symbols as well on covers. And for some reason I prefer a drawing of a character on the cover better than an actual photo?

I prefer drawings to photos, too.

Cyia
04-10-2013, 06:02 AM
I prefer drawings to photos, too.


It depends on the execution. Too many drawn covers end up looking like concept art, or unfinished, to me.

kuwisdelu
04-10-2013, 06:20 AM
It depends on the execution. Too many drawn covers end up looking like concept art, or unfinished, to me.

Concept art generally looks pretty good to me?

Corinne Duyvis
04-11-2013, 05:57 PM
With regard to Cindy Pon's covers--the original is often praised as being culturally appropriate, but I've seen several Chinese people roll their eyes at that. So while it still unarguably features a PoC, which is excellent, it's less excellent that they didn't get the rest of it just as right.

Also, the model on the new covers is apparently Asian. I totally think they should be critiqued since the covers do everything in their power to hide that the model is Asian, but it still feels inaccurate to say that it's a white person on that cover, end of story.


A recent cover I love is Nalo Hopkinson's THE CHAOS. It's gorgeous from a design perspective and prominently features a black girl. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11831627-the-chaos

Rachel Udin
04-12-2013, 02:20 AM
With regard to Cindy Pon's covers--the original is often praised as being culturally appropriate, but I've seen several Chinese people roll their eyes at that. So while it still unarguably features a PoC, which is excellent, it's less excellent that they didn't get the rest of it just as right.

It depends on what time period and culture group of Chinese you're thinking. Cindi Pon, herself said that "Xia" was "Chinese-like" rather than a Historically Accurate time period...

The clothes on the cover are actually Han-ish. Meaning Hanfu and the Han Dynasty. The hair is even Han Dynasty-ish too.

In addition Cindi Pon said she helped make the cover so it was accurate to her vision. (She's Taiwanese.)

While the typography isn't perfect, I don't think one could pick on it for its exact Chinese-ness.

The cover DOES NOT feature the character in a Qipao, which came much later in the timeline and is mostly considered Mongolian-influenced. And there are other types of groups within China besides the Han, which often do not get remembered/recognized. Even the make up seems to match...

So, Uhh... what's the problem with the accuracy about it being from a Xia to Han-ish representation? Weren't there flying eves, and motifs...?

For the character's rank in society it's not a bad basic match from what I do understand of hanfu... (representing it as silk isn't that off either).

She also commissioned: http://cindypon.com/images/sp.jpg

So definitely Han Dynasty.

Corinne Duyvis
04-14-2013, 03:31 PM
Rachel, I know nothing about Chinese history, I'm afraid! I'm not arguing for or against it, just pointing out what I've seen people mention. If I ever come across the specific post(s) again I can link it here, though, if you're interested in seeing their arguments.

Kitty Pryde
04-14-2013, 07:35 PM
Pinned (http://www.amazon.com/Pinned-Sharon-Flake/dp/0545057183/) - Sharon G. Flake (also see the back cover with the 'look inside' feature)

I liked this one. There's no attempt to shadow out the teens, they're dressed in casual clothes and appear to match the descriptions of them in the book. Adonis is in a wheelchair, which is also shown clearly on the back cover.

Cute kids, though I'd give it a poor grade on minority representation as they've put him in the completely wrong kind of wheelchair (one for hospitals or temporarily injured people).

I've been admiring the cover for Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone, from Tor. I think they did a nice job on it. Lady of color with natural hair and sweet magical knife in a dark fantasy setting. Bonus points for having a hot lady on the cover who's fully clothed.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13539191-three-parts-dead

slhuang
04-14-2013, 08:05 PM
Rachel, I know nothing about Chinese history, I'm afraid! I'm not arguing for or against it, just pointing out what I've seen people mention. If I ever come across the specific post(s) again I can link it here, though, if you're interested in seeing their arguments.

I remember seeing that at the time, too. I did a quick search but the results were overwhelmed by posts about the whitewashing, so I couldn't find where I'd seen it. (I haven't read Silver Phoenix and the only Chinese history I've studied heavily is the last couple of centuries, so I can't comment myself, but I do remember seeing negative reactions to the original cover from some Asian reviewers.)

Polenth
04-14-2013, 11:10 PM
Cute kids, though I'd give it a poor grade on minority representation as they've put him in the completely wrong kind of wheelchair (one for hospitals or temporarily injured people).

I had a relative with one rather like that, so I'm curious what about it makes it say American hospital?

Kitty Pryde
04-14-2013, 11:34 PM
I had a relative with one rather like that, so I'm curious what about it makes it say American hospital?

So, a teenage boy with no legs. He would likely either be covered under a family insurance plan or Medicaid (state health insurance for the disabled or very poor). He would have an expensive snazzy wheelchair, all black or with a nice paint job, and customized fancy cushioning, sized to fit him precisely. He would probably also want a chair with a low back and no handlebars (so people don't literally push him around) or brakes (that kind gets in the way of pushing oneself around). You can visit the Quickie or Colors wheelchair website for an idea of what I am talking about.

The one in the picture is uncomfortable, can cause pressure sores due to total lack of padding, and isn't for long term use by an active individual (ergonomically it's much harder to get around in because of its shape as well). It's for an old person recently incapacitated, a younger person who just busted up their knee, or someone getting pushed around a hospital. The only time I have seen an actual person who can't walk in one of those, it's because their regular wheelchair is in for repairs. And I know they've used it in the photo because it was one they could rent for the day from a shop to use in the photo shoot. But to me it stands out like a YA novel cover photo of a girl wearing one of those plastic old lady hair bonnets and flowered housedress. Nothing wrong with those particular items, but a YA protagonist wouldn't use them.

Polenth
04-15-2013, 03:06 AM
So, a teenage boy with no legs. He would likely either be covered under a family insurance plan or Medicaid (state health insurance for the disabled or very poor). He would have an expensive snazzy wheelchair, all black or with a nice paint job, and customized fancy cushioning, sized to fit him precisely. He would probably also want a chair with a low back and no handlebars (so people don't literally push him around) or brakes (that kind gets in the way of pushing oneself around). You can visit the Quickie or Colors wheelchair website for an idea of what I am talking about.

The one in the picture is uncomfortable, can cause pressure sores due to total lack of padding, and isn't for long term use by an active individual (ergonomically it's much harder to get around in because of its shape as well). It's for an old person recently incapacitated, a younger person who just busted up their knee, or someone getting pushed around a hospital. The only time I have seen an actual person who can't walk in one of those, it's because their regular wheelchair is in for repairs. And I know they've used it in the photo because it was one they could rent for the day from a shop to use in the photo shoot. But to me it stands out like a YA novel cover photo of a girl wearing one of those plastic old lady hair bonnets and flowered housedress. Nothing wrong with those particular items, but a YA protagonist wouldn't use them.

Thanks. I was curious, because the one I'm thinking of really was a lot like that, and was used as an every day wheelchair. It had handles and no padding (so they added cushions to stop sores). It also wasn't that easy to manoeuvre around doors. Which makes me wonder now where it came from.

Rachel Udin
04-15-2013, 07:43 PM
Rachel, I know nothing about Chinese history, I'm afraid! I'm not arguing for or against it, just pointing out what I've seen people mention. If I ever come across the specific post(s) again I can link it here, though, if you're interested in seeing their arguments.
Just curious... ^^;; Didn't mean to sound argumentative.

Silver-Midnight
04-16-2013, 08:31 AM
(I know I'm in the minority here, but I prefer covers without characters on them.)[/size]

Sometimes I'm kind of like this. It kind of depends though really. Some covers I've seen do look nice.

Okay, seeing as how I don't seen a genre requirement, I'm going to share my favorite covers:
(All of these are by the same author; she has other books out. But I'm going to try to post only my favorite covers of hers.)


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15712502-the-rose-petal-beach


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1298576.The_Cupid_Effect


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1298578.The_Chocolate_Run


http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9981618-the-woman-he-loved-before

Cyia
04-16-2013, 11:45 PM
Thanks. I was curious, because the one I'm thinking of really was a lot like that, and was used as an every day wheelchair. It had handles and no padding (so they added cushions to stop sores). It also wasn't that easy to manoeuvre around doors. Which makes me wonder now where it came from.

It's a transfer chair, used for people who need to be put into a chair for going into and out of bathrooms at home, doctors' visits or onto/ off of an airplane, but who don't move on their own at all.

They're usually either acquired from the hospital after surgery or accident with a fairly quick recovery time, or they can be purchased from a medical supply facility. My uncle's came from the VA.

Most of them can't be controlled by the patient, unless they paddle it with their foot because it's literally just a chair on wheels, with four small casters on the legs and no rotary push wheels for the patient to use. It has to be pushed along by the handles on the back. They're used a lot in hospitals, physical rehab facilities, and nursing homes, but they're also designed to be folded and put in a trunk to make it easier on families if they want to take a patient out of the facility for the day.

SBibb
04-19-2013, 04:51 AM
The Dear America series came to mind the other day. It's been awhile since I read them, but I think they generally stayed true to the main character on the covers.


http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Seasons-Bravery-Collection/dp/0439129427/ref=sr_1_36?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366332597&sr=1-36&keywords=dear+america

http://www.amazon.com/Color-Me-Dark-Migration-America/dp/0590511599/ref=sr_1_70?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366332629&sr=1-70&keywords=dear+america

Cyia
05-03-2013, 04:23 PM
Saw the reveal for this book today; thought I'd add it to the list:

http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x423/JosinLMcQuein/ef920797-ff70-42f1-8122-e81a142cd551_zpsbd133eee.jpg (http://s1181.photobucket.com/user/JosinLMcQuein/media/ef920797-ff70-42f1-8122-e81a142cd551_zpsbd133eee.jpg.html)

aruna
05-03-2013, 09:57 PM
I'm thinking of buying this image (http://www.gettyimages.de/detail/foto/happy-rural-indian-girl-dancing-in-natural-lizenzfreies-bild/117145889) for my upcoming book cover. It would be placed above a background of an abundant garden, but the background muted, a bit like the original cover for Of Marriageable Age (http://www.google.de/imgres?sa=X&rlz=1C5CHFA_enDE514DE514&biw=1207&bih=654&tbm=isch&tbnid=KrOXNvt5a4YseM:&imgrefurl=http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/sharon-maas/of-marriageable-age.htm&docid=RiGh-hqVvxJDXM&imgurl=http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n59/n296362.jpg&w=311&h=475&ei=3vqDUdr7E4qJtQak24H4Dg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=236&vpy=265&dur=38&hovh=278&hovw=182&tx=107&ty=229&page=1&tbnh=160&tbnw=112&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0,i:124), but with a girl instead of a butterfly.
The girl is exactly how I picture the character. What do you think?

An alternative would be a non-person image: hennaed hands, or something equally symbolic of a Hindu wedding.

Kitty Pryde
05-03-2013, 11:32 PM
I'm thinking of buying this image (http://www.gettyimages.de/detail/foto/happy-rural-indian-girl-dancing-in-natural-lizenzfreies-bild/117145889) for my upcoming book cover. It would be placed above a background of an abundant garden, but the background muted, a bit like the original cover for Of Marriageable Age (http://www.google.de/imgres?sa=X&rlz=1C5CHFA_enDE514DE514&biw=1207&bih=654&tbm=isch&tbnid=KrOXNvt5a4YseM:&imgrefurl=http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/sharon-maas/of-marriageable-age.htm&docid=RiGh-hqVvxJDXM&imgurl=http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n59/n296362.jpg&w=311&h=475&ei=3vqDUdr7E4qJtQak24H4Dg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=236&vpy=265&dur=38&hovh=278&hovw=182&tx=107&ty=229&page=1&tbnh=160&tbnw=112&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0,i:124), but with a girl instead of a butterfly.
The girl is exactly how I picture the character. What do you think?

An alternative would be a non-person image: hennaed hands, or something equally symbolic of a Hindu wedding.

I think that's a gorgeous image. I would definitely pick up that book to look at. Striking and out of the ordinary.

Cyia
05-04-2013, 12:40 AM
I'm thinking of buying this image (http://www.gettyimages.de/detail/foto/happy-rural-indian-girl-dancing-in-natural-lizenzfreies-bild/117145889) for my upcoming book cover. It would be placed above a background of an abundant garden, but the background muted, a bit like the original cover for Of Marriageable Age (http://www.google.de/imgres?sa=X&rlz=1C5CHFA_enDE514DE514&biw=1207&bih=654&tbm=isch&tbnid=KrOXNvt5a4YseM:&imgrefurl=http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/sharon-maas/of-marriageable-age.htm&docid=RiGh-hqVvxJDXM&imgurl=http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/n59/n296362.jpg&w=311&h=475&ei=3vqDUdr7E4qJtQak24H4Dg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=236&vpy=265&dur=38&hovh=278&hovw=182&tx=107&ty=229&page=1&tbnh=160&tbnw=112&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0,i:124), but with a girl instead of a butterfly.
The girl is exactly how I picture the character. What do you think?


All 5 photos of the model are gorgeous, but the one you've linked has so much energy and joy packed into it, I think it would draw a lot of attention straight to it. It's got a quality to it, almost like a girl running to start a kite flying, like she's going to lift off the ground at any second. The lighting and contrast of colors is almost perfect; it certainly pulls the eye directly to the model.

little_e
05-04-2013, 12:44 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Mansa-Musa-Lion-Khephra-Burns/dp/0152003754/ref=la_B001ITPI1S_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367613777&sr=1-1
Mansa Musa, the Lion of Mali -- I love this one so much. The art throughout the book is just gorgeous.

aruna
05-04-2013, 07:56 AM
Thanks to you both! Thats exactly how I feel about it, and describes the character in the book as well.
ANd luckily, it is available for commercial purposes.


I think that's a gorgeous image. I would definitely pick up that book to look at. Striking and out of the ordinary.


All 5 photos of the model are gorgeous, but the one you've linked has so much energy and joy packed into it, I think it would draw a lot of attention straight to it. It's got a quality to it, almost like a girl running to start a kite flying, like she's going to lift off the ground at any second. The lighting and contrast of colors is almost perfect; it certainly pulls the eye directly to the model.

Cyia
05-08-2013, 04:40 PM
The ever rare guy on a cover without a girl.

http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x423/JosinLMcQuein/17852682_zps4932ef72.jpg

Rachel Udin
05-08-2013, 09:25 PM
That is awesomeness.

Kim Fierce
05-14-2013, 01:38 AM
http://www.queerteen-press.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=90&zenid=tg3baaqmjml81pslvobe5u8nj3

This link will take you to my upcoming short story Two-Spirit's Red Road. I do not think this image is completely perfect but I did a lot of searching and it also matches well with the first part of the series. I asked my publisher if she could possibly make his skin darker, and it looks like she somehow did it! :D

The third story in the series is tentatively called Nadine's Dream, and I am already looking for images of a steampunk-looking black girl with a knife that will also mesh with the other two covers. It is going to be a challenge but one thing is for sure, that will be a PoC cover for sure! And I also plan on a fourth story from the POV of Two-Spirit's boyfriend and plan on doing much more research on Lenape culture in the meantime.

In this story Two-Spirit is going to be getting a new nickname in his initiation ceremony, after much conversation and dismay from some who thought his name was cliche, which I was not aware of before. I am still waiting on official edits, but right now, to keep familiarity with the character, I'm leaning towards Spirit Warrior as the new nickname. In Lenape culture, a person's true name is only revealed to close family, so it isn't mentioned in any of the stories.

Kim Fierce
06-15-2013, 01:47 AM
PoC author, PoC MC: I am your Sister Season Two by Ericka Simpson. The cover does not have any character face, but the author's picture is on back cover. Her MC is a black lesbian in the WNBA. I have only read a couple chapters so far, but as a lesbian WNBA fan who likes to read about diverse characters I am happy so far. (There is a lot of religious stuff too and it is interesting although I am personally squeamish about religion at this time.) I also quoted Simpson (with her permission, of course, but I first saw her talking about this on an FB post) in an article that was published this week about a new show called The Fosters, and she is planning to become a foster parent herself!

Here is a quote to the article, Foster the Children http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/VIEWPOINT-Foster-the-children-/43213.html

And here is a link to Ericka Simpson's book: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Sister-Ericka-K-Simpson/dp/0615796915/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1371246191&sr=1-2-fkmr0&keywords=erika+simpson+i+am+your+sister#_

I am not sure yet about the significance of the cover, but I do plan on asking her, she said she would like feedback when I am through reading!

aruna
06-21-2013, 09:37 PM
My friend Amanda (from Guyana) has some fantastic photos including many POC (hunky men etc!). I am buying one of her photos fir the cover of my book (a flower image -- just gorgeous!) She has not officially tried to sell her photos -- I approached her myself. However, Getty images has just invited her to join them so they may soon be stock images. She also took a photo for me to order, though it wasn't one that worked.

Amanda is a booky person, being an Amazon Top Reviewer.

This is her flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arichards-gallery/

Kim Fierce
06-29-2013, 12:46 AM
Upcoming short story: My Secret Pain

http://www.queerteen-press.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=95&zenid=qqkoep4nik3bgnl6rv4hnidjf6

The cover here shows a person in shadow, my MC is black. I really tried to find someone who fit the description of my character but it was difficult to find a black teen tennis player with dreadlocks on the sites I had available. I found one that was so close to what I wanted but a shaved head, and most of the pictures with dreadlocks they were playing guitar, and I would have had to rewrite the story to fit the picture, which I have done before, but the teenagers were also smiling which does not fit the title. *heh*

But on a future short story I am not going to be ambiguous, the sequel to Amelia's Revolution and Two-Spirit's Red Road will be in the POV of Nadine, and it will definitely be a PoC cover for her, but I know it will be difficult to find so I have already been looking for ideas!

aruna
06-29-2013, 09:22 AM
But on a future short story I am not going to be ambiguous, the sequel to Amelia's Revolution and Two-Spirit's Red Road will be in the POV of Nadine, and it will definitely be a PoC cover for her, but I know it will be difficult to find so I have already been looking for ideas!


The friend I mentioned above, Amanda, would probably be able to do something to order for you for a reasonable price. I told her I was looking for something particular (flower shot) among her images and she just went out and took a photo for me! Since Guyana has a majority POC population (black and Indian) she has lots of models to choose from.

Kim Fierce
07-02-2013, 12:14 AM
Thanks, aruna! I will definitely keep that in mind. First I will double check, I think they might have changed things so that we can use an outside source for a cover but we may not be allowed to.

aruna
07-02-2013, 09:09 PM
I have written to Amanda and she is happy to take made-to-order POC photos. PM me, anyone who wants to contact her.
Here's her flickr link again. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/arichards-gallery/)

Yorkist
07-31-2013, 04:02 AM
If people stopped putting people on their covers, this wouldn't be a problem.

(I know I'm in the minority here, but I prefer covers without characters on them.)

I wonder if that's because you like literary fiction (IIRC?) and you've been trained to think that way.

I think that obscured faces/body parts other than faces on covers are meant to target a literary or "character-driven" market, and full-frontals (immature giggling may commence) are meant to target a genre market.

For example, these (http://reading.kingrat.biz/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/cover-of-parable-of-the-sower.jpg) three (http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbk16bbkmh1qzxsveo1_500.jpg) covers (http://www.google.com/imgres?client=firefox-a&hs=o8z&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1321&bih=711&tbm=isch&tbnid=0H97UGhypA5mUM:&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Sower_%28novel%29&docid=PyresUyeYwzPCM&imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/03/ParableOfTheSower%281stEd%29.jpg/200px-ParableOfTheSower%281stEd%29.jpg&w=200&h=301&ei=iUv4UfuINeWKjAKu64CYDw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:0,s:0,i:79&iact=rc&page=1&tbnh=225&tbnw=154&start=0&ndsp=19&tx=102&ty=137) of Butler's Parable of the Sower scream "sci-fi," "literary fiction," and "character-driven fiction," respectively. This Octavia Butler cover (http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbk16bbkmh1qzxsveo1_500.jpg) is meant to appeal to the same market that buys this (http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1274656075l/14050.jpg).

I've noticed the same thing with white ladies on covers - if she's looking away, if it's of the back of her head, or it's a shot that ends at her chin, etc. those all send different marketing messages (character-driven, literary, tawdry). Whereas if she's looking directly at the camera, it's an entirely different kind of book.



http://www.fantasy-fan.org/files/wizard-of-earthsea-cover.jpg

http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Covers/TalesEarthsea.jpg

http://www.publishersweekly.com/images/cached/ARTICLE_PHOTO/photo/000/000/010/10676-v1-300x.JPG


I think covers like this may just emphasize the genre and action rather than the character. Rather than, this is a book from the perspective of a girl, it's "this book is about DRAGONS."

Regarding Amy Tan - ok, well, I won't argue about the stock "OMG Asia" imagery (it's interesting that Ursula leGuin's Lavinia (http://anokatony.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/34005462.jpg) does the same thing with stock "Roman" imagery), but her name is so famous that it eclipses any art that says "this is what the story is about" they could put on the cover, kwim? I mean, the covers for ASOIAF don't have people on them, the covers of Philip K. Dick novels don't generally have people on them...

Favorite POC cover (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/ParableOfTheSower%281stEd%29.jpg) (I am totally biased because this is my favorite book by a POC and it is the edition that I happened to read), which is probably meant to appeal to the same market that bought this (http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS6l3YazJw_UIfHOFcPMJ4XCmF4W0tGb n28_fWhH7TykReb0obu) (another favorite of mine). Speaking of which, subsequent (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XEK4scGIL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg) covers (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XEK4scGIL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg) for this book are absolutely awful; I know what they're trying to do (appeal people who like reading historical fiction about Asian women), but ewww. Totally misrepresents the tone of the book in every possible way. Oh, and lookie here (http://nnedi.com/images/WFD2.jpg) at the cover of the book that's #1 on my "to find and read" list...

ETA: I looked (http://jacketupload.macmillanusa.com/jackets/high_res/jpgs/9780805063745.jpg) up (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510EXMfP-bL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg), like (http://jacketupload.macmillanusa.com/jackets/high_res/jpgs/9780312375935.jpg), all (http://images.harpercollins.co.uk/hcwebimages/hccovers/059300/059399-FC50.jpg) of (http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrs1o4PkoL1qdtc0wo1_400.jpg) my (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/99/The_Constant_Princess.jpg) favorite (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71YG4ME684L.gif) books (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0c/Peony_in_Love.jpg), and I can't (http://www.atomicbooks.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/c/o/confesugstep.jpg) find (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51g5lOna94L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg) a (http://geraldinebrooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/year_wonders.jpg) single (http://www.harpercollins.com/harperimages/isbn/large/9/9781841154589.jpg) cover (https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTku-inHwnGDy9Tp4Z1HZ4SfRdK6MxVo7XrzXRRuvfF4Cw8I3pV) with (http://litreactor.com/sites/default/files/images/column/innocent-traitor.jpg) a full-frontal, unobscured face shot that isn't a painting, except this one (http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344269239l/3181953.jpg). The best I got was half a face. Go figure.

Rachel Udin
07-31-2013, 07:44 AM
I wonder if that's because you like literary fiction (IIRC?) and you've been trained to think that way.

I think that obscured faces/body parts other than faces on covers are meant to target a literary or "character-driven" market, and full-frontals (immature giggling may commence) are meant to target a genre market.

For example, these (http://reading.kingrat.biz/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/cover-of-parable-of-the-sower.jpg) three (http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbk16bbkmh1qzxsveo1_500.jpg) covers (http://www.google.com/imgres?client=firefox-a&hs=o8z&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1321&bih=711&tbm=isch&tbnid=0H97UGhypA5mUM:&imgrefurl=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Sower_%28novel%29&docid=PyresUyeYwzPCM&imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/0/03/ParableOfTheSower%281stEd%29.jpg/200px-ParableOfTheSower%281stEd%29.jpg&w=200&h=301&ei=iUv4UfuINeWKjAKu64CYDw&zoom=1&ved=1t:3588,r:0,s:0,i:79&iact=rc&page=1&tbnh=225&tbnw=154&start=0&ndsp=19&tx=102&ty=137) of Butler's Parable of the Sower scream "sci-fi," "literary fiction," and "character-driven fiction," respectively. This Octavia Butler cover (http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbk16bbkmh1qzxsveo1_500.jpg) is meant to appeal to the same market that buys this (http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1274656075l/14050.jpg).

I've noticed the same thing with white ladies on covers - if she's looking away, if it's of the back of her head, or it's a shot that ends at her chin, etc. those all send different marketing messages (character-driven, literary, tawdry). Whereas if she's looking directly at the camera, it's an entirely different kind of book.



I think covers like this may just emphasize the genre and action rather than the character. Rather than, this is a book from the perspective of a girl, it's "this book is about DRAGONS."

Regarding Amy Tan - ok, well, I won't argue about the stock "OMG Asia" imagery (it's interesting that Ursula leGuin's Lavinia (http://anokatony.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/34005462.jpg) does the same thing with stock "Roman" imagery), but her name is so famous that it eclipses any art that says "this is what the story is about" they could put on the cover, kwim? I mean, the covers for ASOIAF don't have people on them, the covers of Philip K. Dick novels don't generally have people on them...

Favorite POC cover (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/03/ParableOfTheSower%281stEd%29.jpg) (I am totally biased because this is my favorite book by a POC and it is the edition that I happened to read), which is probably meant to appeal to the same market that bought this (http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS6l3YazJw_UIfHOFcPMJ4XCmF4W0tGb n28_fWhH7TykReb0obu) (another favorite of mine). Speaking of which, subsequent (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XEK4scGIL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg) covers (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51XEK4scGIL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg) for this book are absolutely awful; I know what they're trying to do (appeal people who like reading historical fiction about Asian women), but ewww. Totally misrepresents the tone of the book in every possible way. Oh, and lookie here (http://nnedi.com/images/WFD2.jpg) at the cover of the book that's #1 on my "to find and read" list...

ETA: I looked (http://jacketupload.macmillanusa.com/jackets/high_res/jpgs/9780805063745.jpg) up (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510EXMfP-bL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg), like (http://jacketupload.macmillanusa.com/jackets/high_res/jpgs/9780312375935.jpg), all (http://images.harpercollins.co.uk/hcwebimages/hccovers/059300/059399-FC50.jpg) of (http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrs1o4PkoL1qdtc0wo1_400.jpg) my (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/99/The_Constant_Princess.jpg) favorite (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71YG4ME684L.gif) books (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/0/0c/Peony_in_Love.jpg), and I can't (http://www.atomicbooks.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/c/o/confesugstep.jpg) find (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51g5lOna94L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg) a (http://geraldinebrooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/year_wonders.jpg) single (http://www.harpercollins.com/harperimages/isbn/large/9/9781841154589.jpg) cover (https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTku-inHwnGDy9Tp4Z1HZ4SfRdK6MxVo7XrzXRRuvfF4Cw8I3pV) with (http://litreactor.com/sites/default/files/images/column/innocent-traitor.jpg) a full-frontal, unobscured face shot that isn't a painting, except this one (http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1344269239l/3181953.jpg). The best I got was half a face. Go figure.
It's true there are nuances, and so on... however, this thread isn't trying to go over nuances. It's going over representation. Mainly I started this thread after going to two bookstores.

One was Barnes and Noble. And the other was a local bookstore.

I make a habit of combing the shelves of bookstores as a way to look at the market. What I found made me go Wha~

In summary, it went a little like this...

- Sexualized women doing Escher girl stunts with men fully armed and the women half naked in often WTH in comparison to the story.
- Reduced PoC books in the Barnes and Noble Bookstore. (I was going through my internal list of authors... and I couldn't find a whole bunch of them.)
- The PoC covers chosen by Barnes and Noble were generic at the same time as the ones with white characters were featured prominently. A few PoC women did show up, but only sexualized.

At the same time in the same day, I went to a local bookstore which had the opposite... more PoC books despite a smaller bookshelf. More books that represented diversity on the covers themselves. I actually went and tabulated and cross referenced.

A bit ranty and upset at the turn out... especially since Urban Fantasy is marketed towards women and the book covers made me go WTH the most, I started two threads. One on pro covers and one here on representation of PoCs on book covers.

'Cause it's clear--Barnes and Nobles thinks that when you put a PoC on the cover, the book won't sell. And that made me upset. This also came after a long list of books were revealed to have to request to have PoCs on the cover...

General ideas of why one book has a cover v. another is fine, but opting out when it has a PoC on the cover or refusing to buy it because it has a PoC on the cover is a whole other issue. Which is why the first post is a bit ranty... I'd like to see the *same* representation across the board... yes, with all nuances attached, but without the reasons of racism.

Yorkist
07-31-2013, 08:10 AM
General ideas of why one book has a cover v. another is fine, but opting out when it has a PoC on the cover or refusing to buy it because it has a PoC on the cover is a whole other issue. Which is why the first post is a bit ranty... I'd like to see the *same* representation across the board... yes, with all nuances attached, but without the reasons of racism.

Rant on. One thing that drives me crazy is how, even when book covers do feature PoC's, they are so light. Asian models who look like they could borrow my makeup (shade: paste), black models who look multi-racial (i.e. half white or more). Not that those colors don't exist, but they seem to comprise the majority of PoC's on book covers. I'd rather see this (http://bookmarfs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Fledgling-Octavia-Butler.jpg) than this (http://www.harcourtbooks.com/Images/Voices/art.jpg), personally, just based on the patterns I have noticed (though the latter gets points for hair).

I just took issue with your second category. If every book had a full-frontal face shot on it, I'd have no idea which books to look at anymore!

ETA: I almost never set foot in Barnes and Noble, so I had no idea this was a problem in their stores. That's absolutely awful. (Though IIRC, individual management has a lot of control at B&N's, so that could be one particular one.)

Cyia
08-01-2013, 07:07 PM
Saw these this morning:

http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x423/JosinLMcQuein/9781616146924_p0_v2_s260x420_zps287d8c6a.jpg

http://i1181.photobucket.com/albums/x423/JosinLMcQuein/9781600609824_p0_v1_s260x420_zpsfcb11965.jpg

kuwisdelu
08-01-2013, 07:32 PM
I wonder if that's because you like literary fiction (IIRC?) and you've been trained to think that way.

That might be part of it, but also I don't like being shown what the characters look like.

I say let the author do that with words.

aruna
08-02-2013, 08:51 PM
Cover for a future book. Can you tell she is dark-skinned? Supposed to be IndianSomehow she still just looks tanned to me. But maybe my imagination.
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h266/arunadasi/SOAdarker_zps6214b559.jpeg (http://s66.photobucket.com/user/arunadasi/media/SOAdarker_zps6214b559.jpeg.html)

frimble3
08-03-2013, 11:26 PM
Cover for a future book. Can you tell she is dark-skinned? Supposed to be IndianSomehow she still just looks tanned to me. But maybe my imagination.
http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h266/arunadasi/SOAdarker_zps6214b559.jpeg (http://s66.photobucket.com/user/arunadasi/media/SOAdarker_zps6214b559.jpeg.html)
She looks dark-skinned to me. Maybe Indian, maybe Black, but not just tanned. Maybe it looks different on the actual cover, but I don't think it's just the proximity to the pale background and skirt: those are dark-skinned hands, all right. Nice!

amaliegreen
08-19-2013, 03:23 PM
My first favorite PoC cover was this (http://www.amazon.com/Moon-Flash-Patricia-A-McKillip/dp/0142403016) omnibus edition of Patricia McKillip's MOON-FLASH. In the original cover (http://www.amazon.com/Moon-Flash-Patricia-A-McKillip/dp/0425084574) for the first MOON-FLASH novel, the character is in the background, but they still managed to make her unquestionably dark-skinned. I actually bought the book, as a teenager, purely because I loved the cover so much and it was something I'd literally never seen before. It is mostly accurate according to the description of the character in the book, though the model's skin is probably too light. The book begins, "Kyreol's eyes were so dark that if she looked at you between leaves you couldn't see them. Her skin was the color of a shadow, and her hair was blacker than that."

My MC has an Indonesian mother and a White father, and she looks much more like her mother. In the unlikely event that my book is published, I would be furious if they put a White girl on the cover.

Rachel Udin
08-19-2013, 08:08 PM
Rant on. One thing that drives me crazy is how, even when book covers do feature PoC's, they are so light. Asian models who look like they could borrow my makeup (shade: paste), black models who look multi-racial (i.e. half white or more). Not that those colors don't exist, but they seem to comprise the majority of PoC's on book covers. I'd rather see this (http://bookmarfs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Fledgling-Octavia-Butler.jpg) than this (http://www.harcourtbooks.com/Images/Voices/art.jpg), personally, just based on the patterns I have noticed (though the latter gets points for hair).



I just took issue with your second category. If every book had a full-frontal face shot on it, I'd have no idea which books to look at anymore!The last example above me shows why beautifully, plus the years of the Earthsea books.

It's when they could and it would benefit the book concept itself, but didn't want to 'cause of racism that I have a problem with. (Tracing the history of the Earthsea books is a pretty good history).

Ursula LeGuin had to fight for it... and write essays about it. Ged started out as full frontal white. I mean in your face, thumbing your nose white. Then they backed him up, still white. Then they backed it up further and made him vaguely Native American. (shrouded still). And then they finally started to make him properly Native American in skin color, but not actual features... >.<;; And then they broke down and did as she asked.

She had to point it out again for the Powers Books which were recent. This time she had enough clout that they redid the covers with properly black characters.

It's the exact history I have issue with. It's the step between "all people should be white" and "We're afraid to put a visible PoC on the cover."


ETA: I almost never set foot in Barnes and Noble, so I had no idea this was a problem in their stores. That's absolutely awful. (Though IIRC, individual management has a lot of control at B&N's, so that could be one particular one.)

And let's not forget Cindi Pon who was made to redo the cover she worked with the artist on which had a clearly Chinese character on it and then put her into a European cloak by Barnes and noble and now the extinct Borders.

But this isn't the only one that happened recently... there have been reports in the last few years...

So I think it's Barnes and Noble, in general, that has this policy. Which book cover they will allow their chains to have is definitely a corporate decision in the case of Cindi Pon.

What we, as authors/writers are fighting are not the librarians... the readers... the children... the parents... it's the publishers and the booksellers with the antiquated ideas of what does and doesn't sell. When they don't give books a fighting chance to reach their markets.

BTW, when Cindi Pon's book first came out and was turned down for being a "Chinese" fantasy, I went to Barnes and Noble/Borders--I looked everywhere. I couldn't find it. O.o;; So they raised that fuss and then in the diverse city I live in they didn't stock it? What is wrong with them...? I was forced to buy it online which doesn't have the same effect. Then I heard about the cover thing. So I went looking again... and still not in stock. --;; Yeah... something ugly with that.

waterdaughter
09-03-2013, 11:03 PM
I've been admiring the cover for Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone, from Tor. I think they did a nice job on it. Lady of color with natural hair and sweet magical knife in a dark fantasy setting. Bonus points for having a hot lady on the cover who's fully clothed.
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13539191-three-parts-dead

I agree that's a gorgeous cover, and has all the elements I like (and that you mentioned). Plus, it was a great book!

http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1333049511l/13539191.jpg

Rachel Udin
09-03-2013, 11:39 PM
I agree that's a gorgeous cover, and has all the elements I like (and that you mentioned). Plus, it was a great book!
There is also Japanese in the background too... which is a nice subtle hint.

Yorkist
09-04-2013, 07:22 AM
The last example above me shows why beautifully, plus the years of the Earthsea books.

It's when they could and it would benefit the book concept itself, but didn't want to 'cause of racism that I have a problem with. (Tracing the history of the Earthsea books is a pretty good history).

Shows why... what? Sorry, I am confused as to what you are referring to.

I like that book cover in the abstract, and it's good that there's a prominent PoC on the cover, it's just that I can tell that the book wouldn't appeal to me due to the posture and full frontal face and what that says about the tone/content of the book. It's not personal, and it has nothing to do with race, it's just that I have learned to interpret book cover marketing signals and what the pose of the models featured on the cover says about the story inside. (TBH I did an analysis of this very thing about a year ago for a friend.)

On the other hand, the cover for Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death has a full-on body shot that is clearly of an African lady, but not frontal (http://nnedi.com/images/WFD2.jpg). While the cover might be problematic in ways that I'm not sure about due to the fact that I'm not a PoC and not from Africa (though I am kind of into the Malinese Empire, as an aside), there is no whitewashing of this cover that I can see. It's a little blurry and atonal, but that is common to "literary fiction" covers. Anyway, I can look at that book cover and know that the story inside it will appeal.

Sorry to beat a dead horse, and I agree with you about almost everything, Rachel - it's just that the idea of taking away my marketing signals is scary. Indeed, if all covers of books featuring PoC's were full-frontal face shot power poses, I would lose the ability to tell what books I like and in fact read fewer books featuring prominent PoC characters. I just don't do, y'know, urban fantasy (not that there's anything wrong with urban fantasy, it just really isn't my thing). Just the perspective of one (white) reader, mileage may vary, yada yada.

On the other hand, I just got an alternative reading of your post that regarded my point about lightening up black ladies on covers, and the difference between LeGuin's Powers series and the cover posted. In which case, yes! Exactly! Word to the millionth power.


Ursula LeGuin had to fight for it... and write essays about it. Ged started out as full frontal white. I mean in your face, thumbing your nose white. Then they backed him up, still white. Then they backed it up further and made him vaguely Native American. (shrouded still). And then they finally started to make him properly Native American in skin color, but not actual features... >.<;; And then they broke down and did as she asked.

She had to point it out again for the Powers Books which were recent. This time she had enough clout that they redid the covers with properly black characters.

It's the exact history I have issue with. It's the step between "all people should be white" and "We're afraid to put a visible PoC on the cover."


And let's not forget Cindi Pon who was made to redo the cover she worked with the artist on which had a clearly Chinese character on it and then put her into a European cloak by Barnes and noble and now the extinct Borders.

But this isn't the only one that happened recently... there have been reports in the last few years...

So I think it's Barnes and Noble, in general, that has this policy. Which book cover they will allow their chains to have is definitely a corporate decision in the case of Cindi Pon.

What we, as authors/writers are fighting are not the librarians... the readers... the children... the parents... it's the publishers and the booksellers with the antiquated ideas of what does and doesn't sell. When they don't give books a fighting chance to reach their markets.

BTW, when Cindi Pon's book first came out and was turned down for being a "Chinese" fantasy, I went to Barnes and Noble/Borders--I looked everywhere. I couldn't find it. O.o;; So they raised that fuss and then in the diverse city I live in they didn't stock it? What is wrong with them...? I was forced to buy it online which doesn't have the same effect. Then I heard about the cover thing. So I went looking again... and still not in stock. --;; Yeah... something ugly with that.Yeah - all this, I am disgusted. Rant on, word, and yes.

And as a (white) reader, I have never given even a microgram of shit about the color of the protagonist. TBH, until you guys pointed out this disparity, I probably wouldn't even have noticed the race on a given book cover. I select for gender rather than race, and I unconsciously pay attention to the poses and body parts presented in covers, rather than the skin tone.

Rachel Udin
09-04-2013, 06:26 PM
Shows why... what? Sorry, I am confused as to what you are referring to.
Mostly equal representation. Marketing, yes. There are reasons to not put the face of a character in. (though I hate the chopping off heads bit with women to one side so it's just the torso, and an emphasis on the breasts, especially on a woman-oriented book (where the subject doesn't relate to that) but that's different issue.)

I'm just tired of not seeing equal representation where it's suddenly about a PoC, so for "marketing" reasons rather than valid ones, PoCs aren't put on the cover. Even if it's plastered on page one. (As in you have to be really dense live and a hole and be racist to not figure it out, as with Cindi Pon's book, where it's on page one...)

If there was equal representation of PoCs on covers with their faces shown and I strolled into Barnes and Nobles and went, Ah, PoC on cover, and the amounts of types of representation seem the same, then I would consider actual marketing as the reason, rather than PoCs being excluded just because.

Balancing act, I know, but the history leaves me cold. And also the excuses behind the real excuses also...

It's the same thing with the lighter skin color on PoC book covers too. Make it a tiny bit more acceptable to people who are stuck with that notion by not showing the face, rather than the book, as in the plot actually calls for it. When there is a disparity between the book and the cover and there is no good reason to say, hide Ged's face and cloak him in European clothes, yeah, an issue... but that happens too often.

Sometimes it doesn't have to be clear racism for it to be racism either. Sometimes it's just that line between subconscious and conscious. So I just want to highlight the issue and show that books can be good and sell with PoCs, and their faces showing clearly.

I do find it interesting that readers, librarians, etc are fed up... and that publishing and booksellers still won't get it, despite the civil rights movement years back (i.e. the rest of society has moved forward, but publishing has stayed slow). When I looked for ethnically diverse books that taught about it for children, I saw parents hungry for it... but such little selection. And Librarians apparently want the same thing... so what gives?

With QUILTBAG, part of their partial success is visibility... so I also think visibility might help overall. (Especially considering the back sliding by the Supreme Court and FL) And on book covers.

BTW, Michelle West often writes PoCs. All different skin colors, but she's Canadian... and she's got PoCs on book covers from the beginning. Some of her books don't have any people on the cover, but it's clear from the blurb that it *calls for it* rather than it's an avoiding move. She might just be lucky, or her publisher might just get it. I would love it if publishers just got it from the get-go. And the PoC with their face showing is second concern to how to market the book properly because, say, the whole book is about a dream scape, and no characters are needed to be shown.

Yorkist
09-04-2013, 06:43 PM
Mostly equal representation. Marketing, yes. There are reasons to not put the face of a character in. (though I hate the chopping off heads bit with women to one side so it's just the torso, and an emphasis on the breasts, especially on a woman-oriented book (where the subject doesn't relate to that) but that's different issue.)

Ditto. The message I get from covers like that is "tawdry." Though to be fair that tends to describe their content fairly well.


When there is a disparity between the book and the cover and there is no good reason to say, hide Ged's face and cloak him in European clothes, yeah, an issue... but that happens too often.ITA. I think there's a huge difference in what I've been harping on (poses that suggest "literary or character-driven fiction" rather than "lady kicks ass and takes names with Samurai sword") and that. There's absolutely no reason to hide Ged. There's also a huge difference between fully cloaking or shielding the color of the character and having a cover that's just legs or just arms.

I like Aruna's cover upthread, with the violin. Looks like a book I'd pick up and check out. I don't think the model can be mistaken for anyone other than a PoC, but mileage may vary on that one.

Now that you've mentioned it, Rachel, I'll peruse covers the next time I'm in a B&N or Books-a-Million. I'll even venture into the urban fantasy section. Speaking of which, we're doing a lot of talk about fantasy covers... might there be some intersectionality going on here? *glances at SFWA controversy thread* It looks like Club SF/F may have a white wiener club problem...

I also wonder if maybe there is less perceived prejudice amongst the literary/character-driven market and thus better representation amongst covers (or whether it's just less of an issue because the cover is less likely to include a model in the first place). I do think that there's at least less of a problem with lightening up PoC skin tones. I kind of don't like that Powers cover. MMV.

aruna
09-04-2013, 08:04 PM
I have to say, a cover with a woman holding a knife or a sword or a gun would immediately signal to me that the book is not for me, POC character or not.

The same goes for grim, fierce, angry or miserable female faces. I don't know why people, especially women, always have to be one of those things on covers, but they are. I suppose it's to signal conflict, or strength of character? whereas a happy face, I suppose, means boring.

My next book has a POC character with unmitigated joy on her face. I don't care if it's not a good marketing tactic. I love it!

Rachel Udin
09-05-2013, 12:48 AM
Ditto. The message I get from covers like that is "tawdry." Though to be fair that tends to describe their content fairly well.

I was thinking of Urban Fantasy for that. >.<;; The book back says something like the lady is a cop and going on a retreat trying to solve a mystery... and the cover is a person dressed in a short skirt, cleavage with high heels *in the snow* her hair loose carrying a small pistol, which looks nothing like a police gun. That sort of disparity...

Uhhh.... what's male gaze doing on a genre where the majority of the readers are said to be women?

Bodice rippers, especially recent ones tend to have more men on the covers than you would expect. I looked around.



ITA. I think there's a huge difference in what I've been harping on (poses that suggest "literary or character-driven fiction" rather than "lady kicks ass and takes names with Samurai sword") and that. There's absolutely no reason to hide Ged. There's also a huge difference between fully cloaking or shielding the color of the character and having a cover that's just legs or just arms.

I like Aruna's cover upthread, with the violin. Looks like a book I'd pick up and check out. I don't think the model can be mistaken for anyone other than a PoC, but mileage may vary on that one.
I have no issue if there is a valid reason for it. I have more of a reason if the blurb doesn't match the cover. It's more of the smack you on the head, wait a moment... bit.

Obscuring a PoCs face sometimes is used as an excuse to make it more palatable.

I did take graphic design, so I get marketing is an issue, but sometimes publishers are avoiding showing the face for the *wrong* reasons and that's what I want to highlight.



Now that you've mentioned it, Rachel, I'll peruse covers the next time I'm in a B&N or Books-a-Million. I'll even venture into the urban fantasy section. Speaking of which, we're doing a lot of talk about fantasy covers... might there be some intersectionality going on here? *glances at SFWA controversy thread* It looks like Club SF/F may have a white wiener club problem...

I also wonder if maybe there is less perceived prejudice amongst the literary/character-driven market and thus better representation amongst covers (or whether it's just less of an issue because the cover is less likely to include a model in the first place). I do think that there's at least less of a problem with lightening up PoC skin tones. I kind of don't like that Powers cover. MMV.

I think the uproar in SF/F is more because there is no excuse to not have diversity within the community. The community itself tends to say it's forward-thinking. You can do almost anything you want and set it almost anywhere you want, but the prevalence issue... and then paired with willful ignorance makes it a lot more outrageous. (Also some of the prejudice at cons...) Blatant racism is easier to spot, especially for a community who prides itself on being on top of the next newest thing and accepting "outcasts" (<--used very loosely)

I noticed it in other genres too. But I'm not quite sure since I'm not as versed how much of it is lack of knowledge on my part... some of it does seem justified.

For example, Women's Lit tends to feature White female protags as the lead. (Where as Literary takes the PoCs, even if the protag is a woman and it's clearly women's fiction. There is a level of insulting in that... see if you can spot it.)

Historical also has this issue around the edges. The majority are on white protags. So the covers are usually white protags.

Historical romance, as was discussed on AW before has to be regency. (Which is just... *sighs*) Which also means white protags.

Historical kinda has a good excuse for the time being, which is that school systems always favor the main power group, so the majority of books are set in Europe or in the US. It takes a lot more work to write a book outside of the "norm". (And I say this as someone who is trying just that).

Some people still hold onto the idea that Historical Europe didn't have PoCs...

Of the books that are set in a certain country not of the US, the majority are written by people with white-sounding names. Of the Historical ones, a lot of them are shelved in Literary. And of those that have covers, they usually conform to actually depicting PoCs (though I've caught a few avoid it). But I should also mention that the majority of the books are also nail-on-the-head of what people know about those countries rather than challenging them. (I've hashed this issue before.) Less issues because of less prevalence.

Mystery/Horror/Suspense is trying to catch up and I have seen people try to set it with PoCs as protags. I'm not as familiar with Mystery covers, but most of them are atmospheric to begin with, and have historically not shown the protag's face in full. (Most of the time)

The place where publishers don't have as many issues seems to be specifically YA (in terms of publishing). But in the 1990's I don't remember very many PoCs on covers even if the whole book was about PoCs. (And there was no excuse).

And the "specialized" sections of the bookstore to segregate novels from the rest of the books with PoC characters is kinda odd in some cases... Such as NK Jemisin's Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was put in the PoC section, though it's clearly Fantasy and Fantasy calls for it. I'd rather that books weren't segregated like that....

I make a game of visiting book stores and checking out marketing at least once a year. Bookstores tell you more than online where you can get isolated from what's happening in the market. Not everyone has access to online... and bookstores tell you what the market really thinks. I like visiting more than one and comparing the selection too. I've been playing that game since about the 1980's-1990's... 'cause there was no internet... and I figured sifting through books might be more fun that way. (I played other games with books too in bookstores which you can't play when you're online.) I also watched the selection shift as the internet kicked in as well. Books with PoCs--yay! Finding out that the same book has a different cover and Barnes and Noble's went with the one without PoCs on covers or avoided those books *boo*. Finding that Barnes and Noble's were more apt to take books with PoCs with hidden faces... over the local bookstore stocking the same books *boo*.

Disparity is the name of the game.

Yorkist
09-05-2013, 06:07 AM
I have to say, a cover with a woman holding a knife or a sword or a gun would immediately signal to me that the book is not for me, POC character or not.

Whew. *sits next to Aruna* I'm glad someone feels the same way as me. I was thinking for a second, "Hey, am I whitesplaining? I really didn't think so but OH SHIT I hope not." I'm pretty sure I haven't read a book with a woman with a sword on the cover since I was primarily surfing the YA section of the bookstore.


The same goes for grim, fierce, angry or miserable female faces. I don't know why people, especially women, always have to be one of those things on covers, but they are. I suppose it's to signal conflict, or strength of character? whereas a happy face, I suppose, means boring.

I have to admit I haven't noticed that. I wonder if the faces signify different tones? Like happy faces = happier fiction that, erm, redeems the human spirit or something like that, and long faces = sad conflicted fiction?

I don't disagree with ya, indeed I have not even noticed a pattern here, but I have a hard time picturing a happy face on historical fiction about the Salem Witch Trials, kwim?

I find myself really limited in this discussion due to my choices of reading material. Definitely going to do some cover browsing next time I'm in a chain bookstore.


The book back says something like the lady is a cop and going on a retreat trying to solve a mystery... and the cover is a person dressed in a short skirt, cleavage with high heels *in the snow* her hair loose carrying a small pistol, which looks nothing like a police gun.

I'm sorry. I can't see any more of your post because my eyes just rolled so hard that they are staring at the back of my skull.


For example, Women's Lit tends to feature White female protags as the lead. (Where as Literary takes the PoCs, even if the protag is a woman and it's clearly women's fiction. There is a level of insulting in that... see if you can spot it.)

Like, fiction featuring PoC's has to be about Serious Topics? It has to be minority pathology porn (™Kitty27) rather than about the relationships between women and motherhood and stuff, or rather than just a lighthearted chick-lit romp through shoe shopping and bad dates? If that's what you're referring to, word.

During one of my few recent forays into Barnes and Noble, I found Octavia Butler's vampire series (the title momentarily escapes me 'cause I haven't read it yet) in, IIRC, the appropriate section (SF/F). However, the covers were... odd. No faces, just body parts (IMO appropriate if that were the sole issue, considering Butler's work and its literariness and ground that has been covered), but... they were of sexy naked black ladies. There may have even been some side boob. I was like, WHUT? This looks like erotica, not vampire fiction or literary fantasy!

On the one hand... whut? On the other hand, perhaps the marketing idiots in charge decided to cater to a large pre-existing market base (African-American romance) because they assumed that a black SF/F fanbase doesn't exist, and that either/both (1) most fantasy fans won't buy a book featuring a PoC, or (2) most black folks won't buy fantasy books?

(If Kitty is reading - I am sorry for depressing you.)

That sort of reminds me of Alma Alexander's issue about her clear, unambiguous fantasy book being marketed as historical fiction, so it disappointed a lot of historical fiction readers (not me, for I love both) and didn't make its way into a lot of fantasy readers' hands.

I think the publishing execs aren't giving the audience nearly enough credit. JMHO.


Historical kinda has a good excuse for the time being, which is that school systems always favor the main power group, so the majority of books are set in Europe or in the US. It takes a lot more work to write a book outside of the "norm". (And I say this as someone who is trying just that).

I was just about to open my stupid fat (metaphorical) mouth and say something about how we at least have Amy Tan, and Chinua Achebe, and Naguib Mahfouz, and you know what? *privilege check* Fuck that. Those are some of the best authors of the latter half of the twentieth century. Historical fiction featuring PoC's should not have to be that good just to be published and get decent press. Not when there are eleventy godforsaken zillion Anne Boleyn books out there.

And yeah, you're definitely right on with historical fiction fitting preset topics (books about Rome are set during the height of the Empire, books about various African nations are set during colonial times, Japan - Samurai or WW2, Egypt - pharoahs or Cleopatra, etc.), but I think this may be able to be rationalized a bit just due to cultural familiarity? I dunno. It's much easier to market to people when they can put 2+2 together.


Some people still hold onto the idea that Historical Europe didn't have PoCs...

Have had lots of arguments with dumb history majors about this.

Gah. I am so glad that you opened up this avenue of discussion, Rachel. And I can't speak for anyone else, but if we tap this topic out and anyone wants to segue into the topic of general women of all colors on covers, I'm game.

Rachel Udin
09-05-2013, 07:15 AM
I'm sorry. I can't see any more of your post because my eyes just rolled so hard that they are staring at the back of my skull.
Me, I just went WTF. She's in a short red dress, long hair in the snow, small gun. WTF. NO! No and no. I don't care... she's on Earth, she's gotta wear some decent clothes, especially if she's a cop investigating a murder.



Like, fiction featuring PoC's has to be about Serious Topics? It has to be minority pathology porn (™Kitty27) rather than about the relationships between women and motherhood and stuff, or rather than just a lighthearted chick-lit romp through shoe shopping and bad dates? If that's what you're referring to, word.

That and if it's PoC, it must be hard to understand *sarcasm*. It has to be high and snooty for you to understand it. (Since people misunderstand literary.)

Sometimes I also see books thrown into Literary that just don't belong there sometimes...

BTW, If Kitty makes a "I'm not minority pathological porn" t-shirt or some such around that phrase I'd buy it. I'm in love with the phrase since it's so useful.



During one of my few recent forays into Barnes and Noble, I found Octavia Butler's vampire series (the title momentarily escapes me 'cause I haven't read it yet) in, IIRC, the appropriate section (SF/F). However, the covers were... odd. No faces, just body parts (IMO appropriate if that were the sole issue, considering Butler's work and its literariness and ground that has been covered), but... they were of sexy naked black ladies. There may have even been some side boob. I was like, WHUT? This looks like erotica, not vampire fiction or literary fantasy!

On the one hand... whut? On the other hand, perhaps the marketing idiots in charge decided to cater to a large pre-existing market base (African-American romance) because they assumed that a black SF/F fanbase doesn't exist, and that either/both (1) most fantasy fans won't buy a book featuring a PoC, or (2) most black folks won't buy fantasy books?

(If Kitty is reading - I am sorry for depressing you.) Yup. That's what I was driving at. Sorry for being vague. It gets starker when you're comparing the exact same books and you swore that PoC author made it to the NY bestseller list last week and you can't find them or their covers in the big chains are just not the same covers. (Sometimes I feel like a mad woman going into the local bookstore and cheering...)



That sort of reminds me of Alma Alexander's issue about her clear, unambiguous fantasy book being marketed as historical fiction, so it disappointed a lot of historical fiction readers (not me, for I love both) and didn't make its way into a lot of fantasy readers' hands.

I think the publishing execs aren't giving the audience nearly enough credit. JMHO.I've come to believe this too. I thought it was the responsibility of the readers, but nope. The manga phase hit, and people say things like they want to read serial novels and the publishers ignore them.

People are actively running into walls where they say they want to read a yet unpublished book and they get ignored.




I was just about to open my stupid fat (metaphorical) mouth and say something about how we at least have Amy Tan, and Chinua Achebe, and Naguib Mahfouz, and you know what? *privilege check* Fuck that. Those are some of the best authors of the latter half of the twentieth century. Historical fiction featuring PoC's should not have to be that good just to be published and get decent press. Not when there are eleventy godforsaken zillion Anne Boleyn books out there.Been there. I read all of Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt, etc (all her AKAs) and then went, wait... where are the Historicals about other places? No internet, so I was sure there were a ton of books I could find if I could only spend a month or two living in the Library of Congress. But NOOOO. (BTW, I still have fantasies about being in pajamas in the Library of Congress and living there... ^^;; Isn't it every writer's dream? Haha.)

There are still books I want that are public domain that aren't translated which don't hit the nail on the head. (We've gone over a few of those in these discussions. *.* That book that's not Magic realism and horror.... I have fantasies of reading that...)



And yeah, you're definitely right on with historical fiction fitting preset topics (books about Rome are set during the height of the Empire, books about various African nations are set during colonial times, Japan - Samurai or WW2, Egypt - pharoahs or Cleopatra, etc.), but I think this may be able to be rationalized a bit just due to cultural familiarity? I dunno. It's much easier to market to people when they can put 2+2 together. One part familiarity, and partially because often the time periods used have white people showing up somewhere. (No offense intended.)

For example, I asked my friend about the period before the Mughal Empire... and looked for documentaries... nothing. Mughal empire had white people arrive. There were records before that point, even there is something about a vast library--one of the first in the world in India, but again, selective translation. (That one drives me crazy too, because I want that information especially since it's supposed to have existed before my time period I'm researching. I have a chance that it would exist during the time I'm researching too. Loss of libraries is hard.)

Cleopatra, you get Marc Antony and Julius Cesar. (Not to mention making her white, but different subject).

And though Japanese History and Korean history is largely recorded in large books, the focus is mostly when white people arrive, so things like Meiji and Joseon. (Drives me nuts and a bit paranoid too...) Chinese History is around the same sort of thing as well.

Basically books reflect the documentaries that I found and the harder you look, the harder it gets to find things.



Have had lots of arguments with dumb history majors about this.

Gah. I am so glad that you opened up this avenue of discussion, Rachel. And I can't speak for anyone else, but if we tap this topic out and anyone wants to segue into the topic of general women of all colors on covers, I'm game.Definitely.

Given luck, I'm going to see if I can set up something that will fix the lack of translation on worldwide books. Selfishly there are several books I want to read in both fiction and non-fiction and they aren't getting translated because they don't deal with the Minority Pathological Porn or the stereotypes of those countries (A few books from Europe I also want to read). I'm looking into the financial end of it because I suck at numbers. (As my Asian friend teased, "You're not a proper Asian."<--making fun of the stereotype.) But that should get a different thread, probably.

I can hope if it goes well it'll put pressure on publishers to compete worldwide and improve those covers. Someone has to. 'Cuase I'm kinda sick of waiting and waiting and getting nothing. Plus it's going waaaaayyyy too slow. Where is the supply to the demand?

Yorkist
09-06-2013, 02:10 AM
Rachel, does the Library of Congress have comfortable couches and nachos? If so I'm down.

Regarding historical fiction from when white people arrive being more popular. I wonder if that's the case less because white people somehow legitimize the narrative, and because, given that whiteness defines the dominant hegemonic construct of our time, our general cultural historical focuses happen to be on those times?

In other words, do we actually know more about those parts of history because (1) white people showed up and wrote it down, and (2) then disseminated it to other white people, and (3) thus went the meta-history and cultural symbols and so forth?

I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other, I'm just wondering. My added theory is perhaps a little less sinister and more of a postcolonial reading. I wrote my senior thesis on this (with a framework of narratology rather than history) so I am biased.

No offense taken btw. :)

Rachel Udin
09-06-2013, 02:48 AM
Rachel, does the Library of Congress have comfortable couches and nachos? If so I'm down.

Regarding historical fiction from when white people arrive being more popular. I wonder if that's the case less because white people somehow legitimize the narrative, and because, given that whiteness defines the dominant hegemonic construct of our time, our general cultural historical focuses happen to be on those times?

In other words, do we actually know more about those parts of history because (1) white people showed up and wrote it down, and (2) then disseminated it to other white people, and (3) thus went the meta-history and cultural symbols and so forth?

I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other, I'm just wondering. My added theory is perhaps a little less sinister and more of a postcolonial reading. I wrote my senior thesis on this (with a framework of narratology rather than history) so I am biased.

No offense taken btw. :)
I'd break it down as part laziness, which is just the general human condition, part prejudice, part willful ignorance, and part imperialism overall. (For example, for a long time scholars just threw out records from other countries and pretty much called them invalid for a long time, rather than sifting a bit more.)

So neither quite malicious or innocent--like how humanity just is no matter where you are or what your group belongs to.

The war isn't ethnocentrism, per se. It has a function by giving identity to the group. The war is mostly with being able to look outside oneself and other groups and realize that what you held to be an automatic truth just might not be, but your truth is no less than theirs. I think History struggles with this quite a bit since victors win, and losers usually don't get to write it. But are the loser's POV any less valid? Does the winning side burning and overwriting the losing side lose something?

So there is less motivation for those victors to translate what they view as inherently "wrong" but, again, not always a bad thing, I think for the group mindset. Just a bit debilitating when you're trying to diversify and write inside of that mindset. (Kinda like writing slaves, but saying it's OK because the Master is nice and the slave really does love the Master kind of gag-worthy.)

A mix, of sorts, though I don't pretend to have all the nuances. I do not pretend either that it really frustrates me when I want to find something and I have grand illusions that if I just knew that language and had access I'd really be able to find that thing.

But given the rise of the internet and rising love of technology, the excuses kinda narrow, I think. And there is more solidarity where there used to be isolation. This may be why there is more exposure. 'Cause you could previously think you just haven't found that book yet. But now you know that book doesn't exist.