I thought things would improve when the marketing person left. Now it seems they hired a twin to replace her. This is a business. We get that.
And I applaud you for taking a difficult stand. But you are right — the only way for us to make a statement is to exercise economic clout. The damage is already done. The local city paper recently ran an article about my family and reading. We often buy two copies of a book — one for each daughter. If Bloomsbury releases the book without the original cover, the games over for many of us.
Justine, You did an amazing job explaining this. I really hope the dialog about race and covers, and race and books continues and eventually expands to disabilities and gender roles and religion. I would love to see something exceptional happen because of this. Thank you God!
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I understand that that cover was an illustration, but surely, surely it would have come up in the discussion at Bloomsbury, if they had been thinking about race? Is there some kind of official statement from Bloomsbury? Just, oh. I read a book to get lost in another world, and I want to feel like what is happening in the book is happening to me. I usually skim over descriptive details. Especially insulting since I am the birth mother of two beautiful brown-skinned Asian women…and I wanted them to know there were protags out there they could relate to.
Oh-my-Gawd, Justine. And having had two parents who used to work in the advertising and production biz, I know that the ahem-shallow- and cut-throat world like that, where image is everything, moral and rules seem to go out the window.
Bug companies use more and more extravagent ways to grab out attention, whilst some book series are completely commercialised. Rant over. A powerful, professional post, Justine! Thank you for doing this.
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Great article, Justine. I had no idea that it was like that. This article is an eye-opener! Out of context, the US cover for Liar is really interesting. From my own experience: I posted a query letter on my blog for some feedback. One response was from a good writerly friend of mixed ethnicities—Asian, Africa-American, white, etc. I live in Hawaii, PoC are the majority here. It is extremely irritating to me a reader when the cover bears absolutely no resemblance to the contents of the novel or, in this case, refutes the contents.
So, the white-washing exists in other industries, too. After reading your post my temperature is rising. There IS a market in AA books. Look at the Drama High series and Kimani Tru. These have been around for years and are in thousands of schools. As for books without cover models, I have to disagree. Only, they want the models to look just like them. That being said I do think that model should at least look sort of what the character description dictates otherwise why is that person on the cover? What a sad state our country is in that this is even an issue!
What kind of crap is it that publishing houses believe white people wont buy books if there is a black person on the cover? I think it should be important to have great sales but to also express the book or the books message via the cover, not to completely misconstrue it. That sends the wrong message altogether. They are notorious for not matching covers with stories. I picked up your book at BEA. Sorry that you have to deal with this crap.
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It infuriates the heck out of me. Dammit, it needs to STOP! Hang in there Justine. Great post on the vagaries of cover vs. Something the people who make the final decisions about covers should keep in mind.
muchmore.be/historia-de-la-santera-cubana.php People do in fact judge books by their covers. Who cares? All the other people I talked with about it cared. Look who cares now. What does it matter? It would appear obvious what matters now, and that this non-caring attitude is coming home to roost. I hope you kick their collective arse thoroughly and repeatedly.
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Excellent, important post, Justine. I hoped it was just a temporary one for the galleys. Fans are not pleased. I understand marketing constraints.
But do publishers have to insult an entire population of people to do it? Justine, thanks for this post. As an author of books featuring non-white characters, I am heartened by your bravery to speak out. Justine, Thank you very much for this post, for saying something so many writers of color have said to each other. Having a black person on your cover might mean your book will be taken less seriously.
Clearly, all of these are the decisions of adults. So, hopefully, this is a good sign for positive change in the future! Your publisher is afraid.
No one had recommended the book. I picked it up because I liked the cover.