Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Really, Really Bad Book Covers

James over at the Speculative Horizons has a little series going in which he regularly posts horrible book covers. Anyway, I couldn't resist adding to his list, which by the way, was recently updated with this horrible, strange, and amazingly bad book cover:


What is with that spiky-collared dog, and the smoke/fog curling around her leg?

So I stumbled across a few other covers that (to me) appeared equally bad. The one below appears to be in a similar genre to the cover above, with a horribly posed photograph, strange gloomy looking girl, and a lion this time, instead of a spikey-collared dog...


Maybe I'm just not in the target market for Magic Strikes (what does this title mean?). But I can say this, if I judged these books by their covers I would never, pick either of these up. So the old adage? Don't judge a book...? Well I guess I just did.

Here's another one that is simply shocking in its strangeness. "It Will Come to Me" is probably a great novel, but seriously, this cover is just shocking in its random application of an image of a giant baby.


The cover below just looks so thoroughly depressing and weird, I would veer away on sight. I love myself some good poetry, in fact, that was my major in college - well, creative writing - but I wouldn't pick up Silence Fell based on the cover alone. Sorry.


I think my problem with the book below, has less to do with the design itself, though I can't stand designs like this, and more to do with the title, which is Motive: Secret Baby. Gag me with a spoon.


And my favorite horrible COVER/TITLE combination that seriously misses any mark whatsoever, is this one (even though it is kind of funny):


So, do you have any really horrible covers you can share? Or do you LOVE the book covers above? And if so, I want to hear from you, why?

15 comments:

Alex said...

LMAO: 'Motive: Secret Baby'. Awesomely terrible!

I'm guessing 'It Will Come to Me' is a bit like Cloverfield/Godzilla except with a giant baby. HE'S HEADING FOR THE PACIFIER FACTORY!

Keanan Brand said...

I laughed out loud as I scrolled through this post.

The woman on the cover of Silence Fell -- is she in pain, ill, or otherwise unhappy to be there? That smile is kinda creepy, kinda forced. I hope she's not the poet!

Hate to say it, but these covers aren't as bad as some of the stuff I've seen on friends' book covers. A couple of middle-aged women in a hurry to be published, and only nominally taking editing advice, plunged into contracts with some low-rent outfits, and now have some terrible computer art (stiff, fill-in-the-blank people, where the "artist" or editor goes into the program and changes hair or eye color, clothes, arm positions, etcetera). Bad art in any case, but when the manuscripts are supposed to be steamy romances, I can only imagine that those kinds of covers don't bode well for what's between 'em.

Sunflower Ranch said...

Wow, a terrific post! I laughed out loud, too, at those covers. "Icky" came to mind on most of them, but the absolutely strangest one has to be "eating gifted children." Made my skin crawl once I stopped laughing. Ick. Just ick!! I sell used books and I've seen some butt-ugly covers in my time, but I don't think I've ever seen so many funny-ugly covers all in one spot before! Thanks for the laughs today -- and keep up the great work!

Samuel D. Smith said...

I'm with you on all, except the last. I like the title, anyway.

But I am now going to have to find a new title for my novel, looks like "Motive: Secret Infant" is just too close, and I'll have to rethink my title.

Motive: Hidden Embryo?

Alexander Field said...

Alex, yeah man the giant baby is a total head scratcher!

Keanan,I've seen some self published covers that have been pretty bad too...ugh! In some ways its all in the eye of the beholder, but some covers just repel customers!!

Sunflower, yeah I too felt the same way about the last one! Ewwww...but then it struck me as quite funny! Just so random...

Sam, Nice! And the sequel, "Motive: Hideaway Toddler" gonna have to shelve that one too. Shame! : )

etwriter said...

We can all learn some things from these examples:

1. Avoid author photos on the cover,

2. Discourage the use of random model photos/clip art or photo-realistic paintings of random models,

3. Do not write about eating people, unless you're Jonathon Swift.

beth♥ said...

SO FUNNY. Have you ever read the "Judge a Book" blog? Good stuff. And, they have used some of the same covers: http://judgeabook.blogspot.com/.

Andy said...

I saw the eating gifted children cover on failblog.com...hillarious.

Alexander Field said...

Andy! Yeah I just saw the cover over at Failblog too... crazy funny site man.

Beth, I did check out the judgeabook blog and found a bunch more nice covers...

Etwriter...yup, I think we could all learn some good lessons from these horrible covers. : )

Amydeanne said...

i don't know.. that harlequin one.. i might to to find that.. i wanna know about secret babies *snicker* and that last one... raise your iq by eating gifted children... mmmmm sounds delicious lol.. hahaha
you gotta wonder what people are thinking sometimes! I wish I'd remember where I saw some pretty brutal ones.. usually it's the self published books... there are a few that i've been given copies of ... may have to dig those out! lol thanks for the giggle!

Alexander Field said...

Amydeanne, yup, I have my list of very bad book covers that I've seen at work (most of which were self-published)...in fact, there's one in my head right now, bright neon pink and blue, horrible shiny fonts...ugh...I do wonder about that! : )

Brandon said...

Wow, I enjoyed these :)

I didn't realize there were bizarre titles out there as well!

Janet said...

Eating gifted children??? Wha...

All I could think when I saw the huge baby hovering over the building and "It Will Come to Me" is that the "It" in question was a huge pile of baby doo-doo. Somehow, I don't think that's the image they are trying to conjure.

Honestly, I am in despair over covers. Authors are exhorted to trust the marketing department, who know what they're doing. Yeah. Sure. I've seen too many disasters to buy that line. Or covers that look nice enough, but that have very little to do with the story in the pages.

Anita said...

These covers are hilarious! I do think the guy holding the baby is pretty hot, though.

Anonymous said...

I think the cover to 'How to raise your IQ by eating gifted children' did pretty well, its such a weird and random title, people would pick it up jsut to see what they are on about, and unless, its like, a boring non fiction book, I think most of the people who picked it up would read it!
But, the other ones suck....