When MSPaint Attacks!


Sarah: Fallen from Grace? More like, Fallen from a great height and is now a member of the walking dead. Perhaps a basic anatomy drawing course might be in order for that artist. Yeesh. And is it me, or is his head an entirely different color than his undead body?

Candy: I can just imagine the conversation pitching this cover: “So I’ll smoke a bunch of crack, see? And then I’ll, like, watch Fight Club over and over until my eyeballs explode, see? Then I’ll, like, sketch Brad Pitt from memory, only to make it less obvious that I’m painting Brad Pitt I’ll make him look like a zombie, see? Then I’ll smoke some MORE crack, and finish the painting. What do you say?”


Sarah: “Look what my next-door neighbor’s son drew in 7th grade art! Isn’t it perfect for our next book cover?!”

One should wonder about the kid next door’s interest in cross-eyed, no-necked Dark Lords sporting absolutely monstrous man-boobies. I imagine this Dark Lord has a voice like Eric Cartman and is screaming at the reader not to laugh at him, or he will throw his light-up purple fart at you.

Candy: I am so incredibly creeped-out by this cover because the character’s face looks eerily childish but his body is way, way overdeveloped, kinda like one of those child bodybuilders (e.g. Richard Sandrak). Was the artist a member of NAMBLA?

The uneven brush strokes also make the muscles appear lumpy and stringy. Brrrrr.


Sarah: Tall Dark and Diaphanous. Just how I like my heroes. With no real substance to them. Also, I like it when their cowboy hats look like fedoras with penises growing out the side. Whoo! Sexy!

Candy: You know you’re having a bad day when you can’t even draw a fucking silhouette right.


Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    charlotte says:

    Oh no. Those covers are so terrible, they make all the others you´ve posted look *nice* in comparison.
    (And all 3 are so ugly, I just can´t decide which one´s uglier.)

    I was thinking about buying “Fallen From Grace”, because of the rewiews, but if I had to make a decision based on the cover? Never!!

  2. 2
    Karen says:

    Wait, wait, in the first one it looks like there’s a hand creeping up his back, with the fingers on his right shoulder.  Could he have a prehensile tail with digits? 

    But for truly, well, interesting, check out The Third Corridor: 


  3. 3
    Candy says:

    Wow. The cover for The Third Corridor is… Wow.

    What is up with the poor woman’s torso? Why are her buttcheeks in the front of her dress? PLEASE tell me those are buttcheeks, because the alternative frightens me.

    And is the man not getting enough fiber? Has he had to resort to eating hair?

  4. 4
    Sarah says:

    Dear Dude on the Cover of The Third Corridor:

    You are supposed to munch her box, not munch her locks. Got it?


  5. 5

    Poor Laura Leone/Laura Resnick!  Such an awful cover for such a good book.  I feel her pain.

  6. 6
    Arethusa says:

    My apologies Angela Lynn of “Third Corridor” fame, but as soon as I saw your cover I quickly went and deleted the book from my history. Scary book covers were popping up in recommendations.

    Holy crap that Palmer book just about beats all. It makes those EC covers almost look like the work of Botticelli.

  7. 7
    Sarah says:

    You know, Mr. Mummy from Fallen from Grace kinda looks like Noel from Felicity. Either that or if Angel from Buffy and that wanker Brad Pitt had a baby.

  8. 8
    June says:

    Hmmm… I read Fallen From Grace and it had an entirely different cover.  What’s up with that?

  9. 9
    Nicole says:

    Don’t worry, Arethusa.  The Third Corridor sucked anyways.  *shuddder*

  10. 10
    Wendy says:

    Fallen From Grace had 2 different covers.  The one on display here is the hideously awful hard cover edition.  Leone got a much better cover for the trade paperback edition.


  11. 11
  12. 12
    fiveandfour says:

    I saw that the Belinda Palmer book was the second in a series and wondered if the first Guardians of Eternity had a similarly horrifying cover.  Unfortunately for Ms. Palmer, it does: http://www.belindapalmer.com/custom2.html

    I run away when I see covers like that, which is sad if the book is actually any good.  These covers say “hokey grade school level sci fi” to me that I would have avoided even when I was *in* grade school.

    So I wonder, when it comes to sequels like this, doesn’t the author get any say at all?  They’re just so terribly, terribly wrong that I can’t imagine that anyone, anywhere, and at any time ever thought they were right.

  13. 13
    Nicole says:

    I tried reading the first Guardians of Eternity book and just coulnd’t finish it. 

    Wings ePress has some of the worst covers.  Just…bad. But some good books.

  14. 14
    HelenKay says:

    It’s hard to say which one of those sucks more.  Really, it’s a race to the bottom.  What I’m trying to imagine is the editor sitting there saying to someone in the art department – probably the editor’s young child playing with a crayon – “gee, that’s a snazy cover.” 

    Yowza.  Those poor authors.  I’m willing to donate one of my really cool stick figure drawings as a cover.  They’re not well done (okay, they suck too) but they do not make the viewer reach for aspirin so they’re a step up from these.

  15. 15

    Every now and then I feel like bitching because my publisher isn’t a big dawg who can get me better distribution.  Then I remember that she says “What would you like your cover to look like?” and hires good artists, and listens to me.  And I feel much better.

    The bottom line though is for most writers, there’s no control over how the cover will look.

  16. 16
    Arethusa says:

    Nicole, dang thanks for warning me about that.

    I feel so sad for the authors though, made even worse by the fact that, author control or not, you would THINK this lack of control would not result in such horrifically disastrious covers. Surely the authors aren’t the only beings in the publishing circle with good taste? Where do these publishing houses get their marketers from?

    Nevermind. I probably don’t want to know.

  17. 17
    fiveandfour says:

    The funny thing is, I hate it when I become conscious that I’m being marketed to or researched on for marketing purposes.  And yet when I see covers like this, I can appreciate those places that have marketing departments that do their homework (or, indeed, just employ live humans with working eyes in lieu of chimps that resent us for our evolution of the opposable thumb) and thus spare us from these calamities. 

    It’s a devilishly uncomfortable position to be in to appreciate marketing for any reason.

  18. 18
    Sarah says:

    To be clear, a lot of our beef with the covers (and the enormous amount of suckage therein) is not with the authors – we know that authors rarely get to pick their covers! Our beef is with the publishing houses who think that’s what readers want, when really, we look at the entire man-titty oeuvre as an insult to our intelligence.

  19. 19
    Nicole says:

    Oh yes.  lol I keep wanting to make a post about “When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books/Authors”.

  20. 20
    Sarah says:

    Nicole, that is a great idea:

    OPEN CALL – give us a great book that had a bad cover! Send your links to candy @ smartbitchestrashybooks.com or sarah @ smartbitchestrashybooks.com.

  21. 21
    Candy says:

    Sheeit. For me, topping the list would have to be every Laura Kinsale, Anne Stuart and Loretta Chase novel published with Avon.

    I have learned to completely disregard ugly covers when it comes to romance novel purchasing decisions.

  22. 22
    Robyn says:

    The hand on Mr. Fallen From Grace’s shoulder looks like a dude to me.

    Tall Dark and Western? I live in Oklahoma. I’ve seen lots of cowboy hats. Never seen one yet that sits that far above someone’s actual head. I bet he had to make it fit over a ‘fro.

  23. 23
    SandyO says:

    Oh man, regarding the cover of the first Guardian of Eternity book.  All I can say:  When heroes hit the wall and go splat.

  24. 24

    Kay LeGrand is actually a very good writer. She writes for us as Evelyn Starr, and I have to say her style takes some getting used to, but once you get it, she writes some of the most sensual yet hot prose I’ve ever read. She describes an orgasm better than anyone I’ve seen.

  25. 25
    Sarah says:

    Those Richard Sandrak pictures creep me the fuck out. UGH.

  26. 26
    fiveandfour says:

    Those Richard Sandrak pictures creep me the fuck out. UGH.

    Me too.  I didn’t even know kids could look like that.  It really seems unnatural and raises all kinds of questions for me about his home life.

  27. 27
    Amy E says:

    I found that link to the Guardians of Eternity site several weeks ago and gleefully emailed it to all my snarky friends.  So glad it got the Bitch treatment.  I am currently thanking every god, goddess, minor half-god, specter, and force of nature that I can think of that I got such a lovely cover for my book.

    Then again, I’m waiting for my first glimpse of the cover art for my next book, so maybe I’d better just shut up now, just to try to minimize the possibility of Bad Cover Karma.

  28. 28
    Becca says:

    I thought at first glance that the Guardians of Eternety cover was a woman: the face sure looks female to me.

    it’s a recognized art style: I think it’s called the Primative Style or something like that. it’s not one that I like, so I don’t pay much attention to it.

  29. 29
    Missie says:

    Primitive style, as in a caveman drew this cover? I would agree with that.

    You ladies amaze me. Every time I think that you have found the most wrongly-wrongiest covers ever, you come up with new ones.

    I agree with Robyn. I have never seen a cowboy hat that looks like that before, and I live in Idaho. If one of our cowboys got caught looking like that, the other self-respecting cowboys would take him out back and beat the living crap out of him for giving them a bad name with his stupid hat.


  30. 30

    It’s pretty clear that Mister Tall Dark and Western has been overly influenced by Jamiroquai:

    see here

Comments are closed.

↑ Back to Top