Help A Bitch Out

Avon A Requests Consultation with Oracle of the Bitchery

It seems the vast knowledge of the Bitchery when it comes to all things cover art is not a secret, especially among the publishing houses. I received an email from Lauren Naefe, Online Marketing Manager at HarperCollins, who asked if I consult the Oracle of the Bitchery to help settle an in-house debate. It seems the cover art for a particular book is under discussion, and there are two hotly-contested candidates for the coveted position. It’s like deciding the Democratic presidential nomination, only with Bitchery, cussing, and fun! How perfect for SuperTuesday, eh?

The book in question is Confessions of a Beauty Addict, the fiction debut of Nadine Haobsh which comes out November 18. Haobsh is the beauty editor who was outed by New York Post as blogger behind “Jolie In NYC”, a hugely popular blog about all things involving beauty secrets. Her nonfiction advice manual, Beauty Confidential was published in October of ‘07.

The summary of Confessions of a Beauty Addict reads as follows:

When Bella Hunter, Beauty Expert and all around magazine editor wunderkind, loses her job for spilling top industry secrets to Page 6 she thinks her life is over. And, to top it all off, she’s managed to dye her hair bright orange. At her wits end and desperate not to return home with her tail between her legs, Bella accepts a job a Womanly Wear: a magazine her mom reads. But how can she face her glamorous ex-co-workers now that she works in an office where khaki (not Cavalli) is the way of life? Bella is out to wage war on the beauty world one bad makeover at a time, armed with only her Marc Jacobs shoes, three meddling best friends, and a flighty supermodel boyfriend. At odds with her stuffy (and undeniably gorgeous) publisher, Bella begins to realize that she may be fighting the wrong battle.

With that in mind, here are the two covers that the folks at Avon A are battling over. Which do you like? What comments do you have for either one. Lauren has graciously offered 2 advance copies of the book to the two readers who offer the most helpful comment – so speak often and as much as you want.



Sarah: My opinion? Re: the blue cover – which one is the beauty addict? I hope it’s the chihuahua. I appreciate the play on Tiffany blue and the dripping-gem opulence of the creatures featured, but I have no idea what this has to do with the plot. That said, half the cover images of the romances I read have fuck all to do with the plot, so I’m betting this one will win just because cute dog + nice gems = browsers will pick it up to read more.

And as for the pink one, I am pleased the model has paid scrupulous attention to her waxing regimen, given the position of that skirt.

But oy, that font. Right up until the hot pink doodle font I was down with this cover, but man, that font. It’s so corny and jarring and utterly not attractive. I can understand the effort at contrast setting the doodle-font against the groomed couture of the image above it, but man. That font just kills the cover for me. It hurts my feelings. I take that font very personally, and am offended as an American by that font.

So if I pick between Blue and Pink? I go with blue. Even though I like the image of the pink one more, I hate the font so much that it turns me off the cover entirely.

Candy: I like the composition of the blue cover better—it wins on just about every front, from font usage (side note to the people who chose that kuh-ray-zee font for the pink cover: Why didn’t you just use Comic Sans and put us out of our misery? Chrissakes) to the way the faces are framed to the choice of angle to the use of whitespace. If I had any beef with the blue cover, it would be with the use of the chihuahua and the bedecking of said chihuahua with godawful gewgaws. I look at that, and I think “Oh god, another Paris Hilton wannabe.” And really, who wants to associate their heroine with Paris Hilton? Unless being a vacuous coke-snorting trainwreck who provides an instant win on the STD Bingo card is a good thing.

The blue cover (despite the negative associations I have when it comes to over-pampered toy dogs) also wins for me because it looks different. It’s not pink. It’s not some faceless woman (I mean, really, how many chick lit/romance books out there feature some faceless woman’s legs and/or shoes? I love shoes, and God knows I love me some beautiful legs, but enough already). It actually features (parts of) faces, and the faces are fun and interesting. If I were in a store, I wouldn’t stop to look at the pink cover (unless it was to marvel at the rather horrid font), but I’d stop and look at the blue cover.

What’s your verdict?

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    FunkyBunny says:

    I think the Blue cover is much better- except I’d take out the stupid Chihuihui and put in a Silky Terrier. 
    Unless there is a Chihui in the book, then keep it in. 

    The font on the pink is just wretched.  Yuck Yuck Yuck.  If they used a normal font, I would much prefer the pink cover.  It looks fun and festive. 

    But I’m sure they don’t want a critique, just a vote.  I vote Blue.

  2. 2
    colleen gleason says:

    I agree with SB Sarah 100%. The pink cover was IT until that font at the bottom.

    Change the font, and we have a winnah.

  3. 3
    Randi says:

    Blue Cover: Always a big fan of Tiffany blue. I also like the profile of the face. But a chihuahua? Um, not for me, thanks. How about a bigger dog, like a husky. Or wait, maybe no dog at all. But wait, it’s NYC, all women have itty bitty dogs, right? I can’t get off the dog tangent…help!

    Pink cover: I gotta go with SB Sarah and Candy on this one. 1) what’s up with the fonts? Count them: 4. 4 different fonts. That’s too many. What am I supposed to be looking at? The title? The author? The sub-title? Which book Nadine wrote before? Ahhhh, my eyes, my eyes! And yes, why is her skirt um…flapping in the wind? Do women in NYC not wear underwear? Is it professional for a women to wear tiny pieces of cloth to work, in NYC? I’m confused.

    If I had to pick I’d go with Blue, but without the kickable. I like the color (it’s very soothing and happy, and of course it’s Tiffany blue!); While there are still too many fonts, they are not as spastic as the Pink cover (my favorite is the font for Nadine Haobsh); and I like the the profile and it’s position on the page.

  4. 4

    It looks like I could have designed the blue cover in Microsoft Paint with a little cut, paste, click, and drag. The dog is jarring and I found myself staring at its ugly face instead of reading the title and/or author.

    Second won is the winner, stupid font not withstanding. (The heroine is a beauty editor and probably has fantastic handwriting, so whose handwriting is that supposed to be? Her 5-year-old neice? Maybe it’s a missing plot detail…)

  5. 5
    ladypeyton says:

    I don’t like either, to be honest.  The first one creeps me right the heck out.  I mean who wants their face *that* close to a chihuahuas?  ICK! 

    The second cover is simply a boring retread of almost every other women’s fiction novel out there. 

    My advice?  Back to the drawing board.

  6. 6
    flea says:

    Blue is the winnah for me.  It gets the witty vote – I’m going to be generous and assume the designer is deliberately mocking the penchant for tiny, overdressed purse-dogs.  It’s also clean and will-fonted.  I’d pick it up.

    I would not pick up Pink.  Aside from the horrible mish-mash of styles between the cover image and the cutesy title font, the image is just too generic.  This I wouldn’t see as a witty dish, but just another generic chick lit clone.  Also, white cover background is rarely a good idea.

  7. 7
    MaryKate says:

    I’d have to agree with Candy and Sarah. The blue cover would get a second look from me. The second looks like something my 15 YO niece would doodle in her math class. I don’t like the comic book font at all.

    I don’t mind the Chihuahua, but hey, I own a miniature dachshund, so I’m not offended by the toy dog thing, unless of course, there’s not Chihuahua in the book. Then it’s just ridiculous and stupid.

    I’d definitely say #1 over #2.

  8. 8
    Nifty says:

    Blue!!  I’m not a huge fan of the choice of dog, but in general I like the cover.

    Can’t stand the 2nd cover.  I dislike all the pink and the so-short skirt and the so-long (and so-perfect legs) in their weird, artificial stance.  (Are we sure the book is not about Mac from Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series?)  Plus the font it terrible.  The cover looks cheap and homemade and kind of predictable.

  9. 9
    joopiter says:

    I’m voting back to the drawing board, too. I might stop to look at the blue cover, but the proximity of the dog and the face is a little off-putting. Plus I also have a rather vomitous reaction to blinged out purse dogs.  And the pink cover – my eyes, they bleed. What the hell is that font? There’s nothing sophisticated or beautiful about that at all.

    Verdict: Try again.

  10. 10
    jmc says:

    Neither of those, pls.  Back to the art dept.  Like the Tiffany blue but smooching dogs?  No, thanks.  And all the pink and the font and the blown up skirt?  Also no.

  11. 11
    Jennie says:

    I agree with ladypeyton—back to the drawing board. 

    The text blurb sounds interesting, but neither cover brings to mind a “beauty addict”, and my initial reaction to the first cover was that my squick radar went off loud & screaming.  Especially in this era of paranormal heros, I just had an image of her banging the dog that I really didn’t want seared into my retina.

    The pink cover, it just sucks for all the reasons mentioned above. 

    Spamword “order45”.  I’d like to order an ARC of the book, sans either cover please.

  12. 12
    K.L. says:

    Ugly dog not withstanding, the blue does it for me.  The pink is so standard chick/lit that I wouldn’t even take a second look.  Except for that gawdawful font which tells me it is supposed to be comic chick lit.

    But I really don’t like the dog.

  13. 13
    Glinda says:

    Well, snog a dog Maybe if they cleaned up the whisker line and showed a little tongue (on the dog), there would be enough creep factor to interest me. The color and composition of #1 works . . . a cat would so work for me here. If there’s a dog like this in the story, I’d have to pass on the story.

    Cover #2 is totally gagworthy. Fuschia fabric and funky fonts are bad enough, but I know on top of those Amazon legs Sarah Jessica Parker probably lurks. Sucks in the city . . . (I just tried standing in the model’s pose wearing Nikes, and fell over).

    I wouldn’t buy either book, they don’t say funny, romantic, quirky—anything that might grab me. They do say creepy and vapid.

  14. 14
    KristenMary says:

    I would like the blue cover better if it was a different type of dog, as others have said. A chihuahua is just not something I would want so near my face. The rest of the cover is good, nice fonts, good color with the Tiffany blue, nice jewels, somewhat playful.

    The pink cover I would like better if the skirt was longer (sorry I just don’t get how that ties in) and better fonts. I’m with everyone else who said there are way too many styles of font on that cover and its hard to decide what you are actually supposed to notice first.

  15. 15
    Carrie Lofty says:


    Isn’t it typeface, not font?


    Yeah, so that pink doodle stuff is terrible, and the idea of kissing a chihuahua makes me ill. I declare a draw—a draw of awfulness.

    Note: This is SO not my reading material (what’s Cavalli?). Maybe my opinion isn’t really what’s needed here.

  16. 16
    Jean says:

    If I had to choose one of these two, I’d choose the blue cover. It’s kinda cute.  And I agree with SB Sarah that the icky font on the pink cover is a real deal-breaker.  If you use a better font, I’d have a much harder time making the decision.

  17. 17
    Karla says:

    Blue, most def. I love chihuahuas, and the contrasting expressions (detached boredom of the dog, cloying adoration on the woman) give the book some personality and that what’s between the covers might have some substance.

    The Pink one looks like an ad for a complete home waxing system. Or for a douche. Or just vapid chick lit twittery – breezy urban woman taking on the world, blah blah blah. Seen it. Read it. Hated it.

    Oh, and the font doesn’t help either.

    So I vote Blue.

  18. 18
    Jenica says:

    The combination of the doodle font and the stupid-short skirt on the pink cover completely overwhelm the high-fashion concept—I look at that cover and assume it’s selling YA chick lit.

    As for the blue, yes, the chihuahua is ugly, but I love the juxtaposition of the jewels and the purse dog. It speaks to a whole cultural thing about fashion and spoiled luxury and urban life and, yes, the Paris Hilton phenomenon…  I like it.  It has far more personality, and it SAYS something.  The pink one doesn’t say anything other than “Hey, look, you can almost see my underpants.”  Which, granted, is also a Paris Hilton thing… but… less attractive, yeah?

  19. 19
    StephB says:

    I love dogs in general, but – or because of that? – I found the blue cover intensely creepy. The fact it looks like she’s about to kiss it on the mouth (plus has already covered him with those ridiculous pearls)…ewww. That turned me off so strongly that it would stop me from picking up the book.

    I thought the image of the woman on the pink cover was possibly too generic – and as everyone else said, the font was terrible – but at least it really did look *fun*, which the first one hadn’t. So my vote is for the pink one, with the font getting fixed.

  20. 20
    AgTigress says:

    The cover with the dog is considerably less ghastly than the other one, but that isn’t saying much.  Both are messy, but the dog one will at least stand out a bit in both colour and design from the 842 other tooth-rottingly pink chick-lit covers with shoes and fourteen ugly fonts each which will be crowding the shelves around this book.

    However, I hate most genre fiction covers, so my opinion is probably irrelevant.  I find most of them vapid and silly, and the American ones, in particular, frequently have far too much text on them. 

    If there is a dog, and specifically a Chihuahua, in the book, then the turquoise cover is just about passable.  If there isn’t, it’s false advertising…

  21. 21
    azteclady says:

    (will go back and read comments in a second, but first…)

    Is there anyway to put the pretty legs in a skirt in the blue cover?

    ‘cause that’d be a win-win for me.

    The poor dog? That’s abuse, y’all.

  22. 22

    I have to follow the crowd here and say I liked the pink cover until I scrolled down to that godawful typeface.  Now I like the blue better, but I too wouldn’t use that chihuahua unless there’s one in the story.

    I’d use a dachshund, but that’s a personal preference.  In my house, it’s all about the wiener.

  23. 23
    Jana J. Hanson says:

    Neither of these covers do justice to the written blurb.  Of the two, however, I’d most likely pick up the pink in order to read the back cover.  Then, after reading, I’d probably put it down since I’ve reached my chick-lit book quota. 

    I think the art department should play up more of a before/after.  You know how those makeover shows are—split screen so the audience can see just how awesome a woman looks with a nice haircut, monochromatic clothes and make-up!  This books seems like the opposite: Fashionista to How the Hell Did You Dye Your Hair Orange?

    Back to the drawing board.

  24. 24
    Diane says:

    I too vote to go back to the drawing board – I dislike both covers.

    The composition of the first cover is fine, but I think the Chihuahua is ugly and would not buy a book where a beauty addict thinks that dog is the epitome of beauty.  Now if they replace the chihuahua with Paul Tholme or Gerard Butler—then I’d like it.

    The second book cover looks like it was printed by a princess-loving 2nd grader and I don’t like the slutty picture.

    I wouldn’t buy the book if it had either of these covers —so I’d recommend a redo.

  25. 25
    azteclady says:

    Having read all the comments so far… if going back to the drawing board is at all possible, I beg the marketing people to do it. Please.

    (is there any way to skip the dog? poor creature)

  26. 26
    Donna says:

    The blue cover certainly catches your eye first.  But I don’t like how it looks as if she is going to kiss the dog. 

    The pink cover is cute, with the great legs and the skirt.  But that awful font-typeface.  Hate that.

    So, out of the two, I’d go with the Blue as being the one to catch a consumer’s eye first.

    If I saw both on a shelf, side by side, I would grab the Blue one first, flip it over and read the back cover blurb.

  27. 27
    Walt says:

    I get to play art director again! The bitches hit on all the high notes.  Since my snark gene is in denial, I’ll merely bore you. 

    The Blue: Tiffany blue is great for fashion connection, but jarring it is the dog, the ugly rat dog who 1)looks bored and 2)is lit straight on, hiding the eyes.  The appeal of dogs and cats are in the eyes, as opposed to the soulless pits on your mutt.  Also: Note the washout of the last name of the author on the model.  Centering the author’s name is good, but not at the expense of hiding it.  I’d wager you can’t see “Haobsh” from three feet away, especially when you use a glossy paper. 
    To sum: Dogs are attention grabbers, but ugly dogs with soulless eyes is a minus.  Bonus: Remove dog and replace with python wearing necklace for comic effect. 

    Pink Happy Legs: The action shot of a pair of well toned legs is great, but the hint of right butt cheek with the skirt flying up makes this cover essentially an upskirt porno shot, thus the “waxing regimen” snark from the bitches.  Note the difference here between the fonts of the two covers: The Blue has “Confessions of a” in block font, and the Pink has the “Beauty Addict” in the block font.  Again hiding the author name with the slashy font. Quick, look at the author’s last name on the pink cover.  What’s the third letter?  The “Author of” line is too compressed, break it into two lines, even if you keep the compressed font. Keep the “Beauty Confidential” in a different color.

    Now the horrid choice for font on the pink. You can fix this when you reshoot the model from a slightly higher angle.
    You can A) Shoot her running in front of a fashion store window, with the title of the book as the text written on the store front window B) Add the mutt to the pink handbag, head sticking out, tiny pink scarf around mutt’s neck, blowing in the breeze C) All of the above (The answer is always (C)  Which font to choose to put on the store front window is up to you, but the color might be a contrasty Gold, to clash with her Pink.

  28. 28
    Eunice says:


    But to be honest, I’m not really in love with either of them. I don’t like the choice of dog on the blue one, or the choice of jewelery (chihuahuas don’t go with pearls), and the pink one is a mix of blah and ugly.

    I’m in the “back to the drawing board” camp. But that’s my opinion.

  29. 29
    Lizzie (greeneyed fem) says:

    Hm. I’m not going to say “Back to the drawing board,” but I could be persuaded to.

    I agree that the pink cover is pretty offensive for all the reasons above: there are too many fonts, the legs-and-purse photo is too chick-lit generic, the heinous Young Adult cartoon font of the title hurts my eyes and overpowers the teeny “Confessions of a . . .” that comes before. I would also add that there are too many shades of pink for the cover to feel pulled together for me: the letters don’t match the shoes!

    But I wasn’t drawn to the pink cover even before hitting the awful title font. It really does seem like every other chick lit/modern romance cover already on the shelf. I’d walk by without a second glance. And how does this cover relate to the plot? Can we get a couple of cosmetics spilling from her purse?

    I’d say if you want to fix the pink cover, fix the fonts, especially the title, and give the photo a unique tweak, like a lipstick mid-air, or a spilled nail polish bottle on the ground behind her. Or both!

    Moving on to the blue cover: it definitely appeals to me much more: the white letters on the lovely shade of blue, the composition in general. I’d look at this twice in a bookstore. Like Candy, I also like that we see (part of) a woman’s face rather than face-less legs. HOWEVER – it does not prepare me to read cover copy about a cosmetics/magazine writer. It makes me think of a pampered and privileged heiress rather than a career-girl heroine. The dog doesn’t gross me out (cute!), but maybe a powder-puff or a make-up mirror would better suit the book’s plot?

    Given these two choices, I’d say blue. But they could both be improved on.

    /my $.02

  30. 30
    Tina says:

    I wouldn’t pick up the book based on either of these covers.  Cover #1-I hate that shade of blue!  It’s wishy-washy.  Is it blue?  Is it green?  It’s blah, either way.  Add to that the kitschy pocket pup, draped in bling (like the other dogs didn’t give the poor thing a hard enough time), and the daddy’s money fashionista (well, the fashionista’s lips) and I’m so not interested.  As for the pink cover, are they really trying to sell us that the truly fashionable beauty editors all head off to work wearing a skirt that wouldn’t make a belt on most women and no underwear?  I’m not sure where this woman could wear this outfit (too daytime for a nightclub, too skimpy for a picnic) but any supervisor I know would turn her around at the door as she would be a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen.  And when did women become just a collection of random body parts, anyway?  Lips here, legs there.  Does it cost more to put an entire woman on the cover?  (I think it’d be cheaper since you’re buying in bulk, but anyway.)  It’s not really a deal-breaking issue for me, but I’m curious what marketing genius decided that we’d rather buy books with just a representative piece of a woman and why that would be.

    If I absolutely had to pick one, though, I guess the pink with the puke-tastic font.  That’s only because the blue one seems to have absolutely nothing to do with the blurb. 

    soon43…soon enough, I guess, but not this year.

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