Cover Snark: Badly Photoshopped Animals

An increasing number of animals are making their way onto book covers – pets, it seems, sell really well! Unfortunately, they aren't always well Photoshopped. When review copies arrive, all too often, one of my cats, Gracie, is on the kitchen counter, and she has Many Opinions about the animals on these covers. 

Gracie: Yes. Ah have many of the opinions. Most notably that Ah am pretty. Move along.

A woman in a yellow gown leaning over with her one leg crossed high over the other so her butt is sort of tilted up. There's a dog right behind her butt, and honestly it looks like she's farting him out.

Sarah: This doesn't look so egregious digitally, but the paperback just looks absurd. The shadows don't match, the dog looks confused, I can't tell if he's supposed to have a handful of her dress in his mouth, and…well, there's the pose.

Gracie: OH MAH GOD. Humans can fart a poochie? Is ZAT why you take so long in zee bathroom? Ugh. Disgusting. 

Sarah: Yes, apparently Lord Jack will be VERY surprised. 



Heiress for Hire - a couple in pastel leaning into an embrace with a dog on the end of a purple leash in the foreground -

Same cover, only with a chihuahua instead of a poodle


Sarah: Which do you prefer, poodle or chihuahua? 

Gracie: Neither if Ah have a choice. Poochies is yucky. Ah feel a little bad for ze doggy, though.

Sarah: Why, because they're trapped on a planet with more than one major light source and the shadows are all wrong?

Gracie: No, because poochie is never going to get his walk. Look, both of zee poochies with zee sad eyes are trying to get ME to do zee walking. As if. 



Seeing is Believing - Erin McCarthy  - A couple embracing again with a dog in the bottom corner. It's a yellow lab and he's


Sarah: That is a SERIOUSLY talented dog, holding the flower with half the stem missing. Perhaps it is under his tongue?

Gracie: Forget zee flower – WHY is the GRASS eating the DOGGIE? Ah swear, it is a good thing that AH am an Indoor Cat, because Ah would never go outside after seeing that. 

Sarah: Grass doesn't really do that… except that mutant zombie grass has already partially devoured her big toe. OMG. I am never going outside again.

Gracie: See? You should stay inside. Yell at zee people to feed you. Lick your own buttocks. 

Sarah: I have to go metal shoe shopping before spring. Forget shoes, we are going to live in a bunker. Far away from TOE EATING MUTANT GRASS. 

Gracie: Told you. Outside is bad. Let's go to ze bunker. Leave ze doggies. Bring ze Pounce. 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    Sorry, can’t comment on the dress eating dog in the first cover, because I am too distracted by the PERFECTLY HAIRLESS LEGS. In the regency, even. Not to mention a garter belt/stocking hold up BEFORE NYLONS WERE INVENTED!

    Ahem. Those Erin McCarthy covers look like packaging for sanitary products. Or possibly laxatives.

    The dogs are disturbing. But not as disturbing as the person responsible for that rubbish photoshopping.

  2. 2
    Anony Miss says:

    I luvs me Madam Grace, but I sniff and miss the snark of Candy.

  3. 3
    Ren says:

    My cat is more concerned that on the last cover, the woman is kneeing the man in the groin, and the useless is dog is doing NOTHING.

    Whether she’s fending off a rapist or running around the park randomly assaulting innocent men, some intervention other than giving a photographer a stupid slobbery grin should be undertaken.

  4. 4
    StarOpal says:

    I like dogs. I like Romance. But I do not want dogs on my Romance covers, especially horribly photoshopped ones. And she’s sitting on the poor dog in Lord Jack, why is she crushing her own dog?!

  5. 5
    OtotheA says:

    I like how the covers get progressively bigger. Like the badly photoshopped animals are after us.

  6. 6
    Del Dryden says:

    Something about the Heiress for Hire doggies reminds me of Indifferent Cats in Amateur Porn…

  7. 7
    Jamarleo says:

    It looks like a four year old got a hold of her doggie sticker book and carefully improved all of mommy’s special books.

  8. 8

    I just spit coffee on my computer screen. You should have Gracie do cover commentary more often

  9. 9
    Carrie Gwaltney says:

    Did you notice the guy’s arm and both hands in the last title are really odd? It looks like she’s kneeing a man with manikin arms!

    And doesn’t that chihuahua look like he’s saying, “Help!”

  10. 10
    Barb Lie says:

    LOL Great post, Sarah.  I thoroughly love Gracie.  :)

  11. 11
    cleo says:

    Too funny, but I have an even *better* one for you – the cover of One Fine Fireman by Jennifer Bernard (alt title – is that a puppy in your pants, or are you just happy to see me?)…

  12. 12
    Jessirose713 says:

    I just snorted at my desk looking at that cover.  Thank you for the link.

  13. 13

    As a graphic designer, these covers offend me deeply. My eyes are burning. The most disturbing part of this is that someone received this cover and was all, “NAILED IT.”

  14. 14
    Tamara Hogan says:

    One thing that frankly depresses me is that these covers aren’t self-pubbed WTFery.  These books were released by big-name publishers.

  15. 15
    Carrie Gwaltney says:

    Oh gosh! The cover for One Fine Fireman is so bad—in a funny way!

  16. 16
    Carrie Gwaltney says:

    Good point Tamara! I hadn’t really thought of that. I mean, can’t they afford to put a real dog in a photo shoot so at least the poor animal looks like it belongs there (and isn’t getting eaten by carnivorous grass)?

  17. 17
    cleo says:

    I know – it’s so bad it’s kind of great.  I think Jane at DA reviewed it and I just couldn’t stop starring at the cover, trying to figure out WTH is going on in his pants.

  18. 18
    SB Sarah says:

    Oh, God. That cover is horrible.

    <img alt=“A badly photoshopped dog in a fireman’s pants.” src=“”&gt;

  19. 19
    GhengisMom says:

    Look, I’m not one to judge. I have the torso of a woman that’s 5’ 9” and I’m only 5’6, but the woman on the last cover has a serious giraffe torso.

    btw~Heiress for Hire was a fun little book.

  20. 20
    kkw says:

    Did the dog from the Sally MacKensie cover send out some sort of warning about the danger of ass? Perhaps the dogs in the McCarthy covers look so ill because they’ve preemptively gnawed off the buttocks of the women?  Could be why you don’t want to get the dogs and the models together for a photo shoot.

  21. 21
    April says:

    If the guy’s arms on the last cover looks odd, it’s because the dress is Photoshopped, too. I can only guess the model was actually wearing a shirt and shorts, or possibly a shorter version of the dress, and the editor or art director wanted her to be in a dress of a certain length. That explains the giraffe torso GhengisMom pointed out — the color and texture of the top was cloned to extend it — the result being her waist (the model’s, I mean, and not Ms. Ghengis’s) was unintentionally lengthened, her hips dropped, her legs shortened. It’s actually not too bad a job if you don’t look too closely at it, but the left calf needs a shadow from the dress. So does the back of the right knee and the back of her waist where his arm meets her body. The pleat of her skirt looks a little too neat and stiff and therefore unnatural, and the pattern of the cloth needs a little warping so it looks more like it’s following the contours of her body. Also, convincing cloth wrinkles need to be added to her waist. Other than that, the tiger in Life of Pi looks very, very real.

    I can usually spot Photoshoppery just because I live and die by Photoshop, but if I hadn’t been looking closely, I never would have noticed much beyond the dog. So it’s not bad, but I agree with Tamara — I expect better from the bigger publishers.

  22. 22

    Do pets play any relevant roles in these particular novels?

  23. 23
    SB Sarah says:

    This explains SO MUCH of what looked odd to me about her dress and abdomen.

  24. 24
    Beccah W. says:

    OMFG that poor dog is being stuffed down some sweaty dude’s pants!

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