Congratulations to the winners of my contest for signed cover flats of The She-Hulk Diaries, to be released June 14!
I'll send you emails to get your addresses.
There's been a lot of chatter on the internets lately about book cover design and gender. It started with a tweet by author Maureen Johnson, who then wrote "The Gender Coverup" in the Huffington Post. Here's the gist of it: women are given cover art with feminine coded stuff and men are usually given gender neutral covers. Allow me to summarize the basic points:
- Men assume rightly that their readers will be male and female.
- Women assume rightly that most men will not be inclined to pick up their books if they see a woman's name on the covers and/or any kind of female gender coding in colors or imagery.
- Critics do not take books with gender coded covers seriously, putting women authors at a disadvantage for the awards and accolades that generate increased sales.
- Women assume that the covers convince the critics that these female gendered books are froth.
- Actually, the critics think women's books are froth because they were written by women, and therefore have the dreaded GIRL COOTIES! but the critics can't really say that so they just say, "Look at the cover! It's pretty so it must be pretty shallow, duh!" even though they know authors don't have control over covers.
- Many women authors think that they will be taken more seriously if their book covers don't have gender coding and many women still use initials instead of first names to conceal their gender.
- Gender-neutral covers for women are the literary equivalent of writing V.A.C. on the back of your hand: Vaccination Against Cooties, although girls are seen to be the only carriers of this terrible condition. (Alternative form of vaccination is drawing a circle, circle, dot, dot.)
Women are the majority of readers. Women are the majority of writers. Hell, women are the majority of the fricking population. Here's what I think: all women readers should demand that publishers make the covers of men's books prettier. All books should have pretty covers. Stephen King, I'm talking to you! (And what is this obsession with door knockers on the covers of books by men?)
- Aja Romano at The Mary Sue: "NY Times to YA Publishing: Stop Being So Girly"
- Amanda Hocking "My Reaction to the Gender Coverup"
- See a slideshow of coverflips at the Huffington Post