Big Spankable Winning

Big Spankable AssesFrom DA, showcase of reviews and the everlasting hilarity of Authors Gone Bugfuck, a link to make the heart of my cockles grow warm with glee: The 2007 Cover Controversy is up. The winner of worst cover?

Guess. Just guess. Congrats to the crew at Kensington for about fourteen badrillion dollars worth of free advertising with their Big Spankable Win.

And, as Jane noted: the word of the week is “Asslet.” Use it well, use it wisely, and use it often.

Comments are Closed

  1. TracyS says:

    “Asslet” I love that word!!  My first thought when I saw that cover was “THAT is a big ass? You’ve got to be kidding me!”  That butt is not much bigger than my 9 year old son’s butt and he doesn’t have much back there!

  2. ev says:

    OMG!! I remember this one. It never made it out to the floor. I don’t believe in censoring what people read but there was no way on God’s green Earth (or whatever this weeks color is) that that.. thing was going into my romance section. I stripped them out and sent them back. And the publisher’s can kiss my big Ass.

  3. Chrissy says:

    I’m laughing my asslet off.


  4. ev says:

    Mine has not qualified as an asslet since I had my daughter.

  5. Charlene says:

    I’m still looking at the second-prize winner, and wondering which ass let Clay Aiken and Calista Flockhart pose for the cover of a romance novel.

  6. Daphne B. says:

    Does it count as “worst cover” when it’s really just “worst title”?  I mean… ugh!

  7. TracyS says:

    Does it count as “worst cover” when it’s really just “worst title”?  I mean… ugh!

    What makes it “worst cover” for me is that the image doesn’t fit the title.

  8. natasha says:

    On the contest result page. Is it me or did the erotic book covers get slammed for looking erotic?! I think the judges are a bit too prudish.

  9. DS says:

    It’s a popular vote although the judges pick the slate.  My choices mostly didn’t win although the one cover I thought stunning came in number 2 under a cover with a naked back.

  10. Marinka says:

    I must use “asslet” throughout the day today.  What better way to expand my vocabulary?

  11. Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Question:  Has anyone here actually READ Big Spankable Asses, and if so, would (s)he please post a review?  I’m dying to know if the content actually lives up to the godawfullness that is the cover art and title.

  12. SB Sarah says:

    I am on it. Fear not. My big spankable ass will sit and read of the big spankable asses, and report whether verily there are indeed asses of spankability contained therein.

  13. Amie says:

    I agree w/Natasha…and I guess I”m pretty warped because, size of her ass aside, I love the cover and the title (with the caveat that I’m an Aphro author AND I have a strange and twisted sense of humor).

    Asslet. Can I use that in my WIP? Kidding.

    Told you it was STrange.

  14. I kinda like it. The title is unique and intriguing. Hey, how many books have a title like that? The other titles we here often keep getting recycled.

    The ass isn’t overwhelmingly big. There’s only so much of a book cover that you could put a big ass on. I mean really. Can you picture a huge ass on the cover? Maybe, but it looks like a happy medium. At least it’s not a skinny ass!

  15. Karmyn says:

    Yay, my internet fame continues.

    As for the ‘erotic’ covers getting slammed just for being erotic, I don’t think that was the case. Those covers were awful. Too much red, the woman with one breast, the couple actually having sex, etc, were bad period. Porn dvd covers aren’t that explicit.
    The Harlequin covers were just as creepy in a totally different way.

  16. RStewie says:

    Yeah.  I’m about to take my ass to lunch.  Maybe if I skipped more lunches, though, I’d have an asslet again…

  17. Amie says:

    Porn dvd covers aren’t that explicit.

    Thanks to those cute little stars *snerk*

  18. The thing that bothers me most about that cover is the missing comma.  It should read, “Big, Spankable Asses.”  I can’t get past that to worry about why that woman seems to have no, um, Jungle Book, so to speak.

  19. karmelrio says:

    Part of my issue with Big Spankable Asses is that there’s a disconnect between the cover visual and the title right from the get-go..  Seems to me that a book called “Big Spankable Asses”would have an ass of some, uh, heft, some bigness, some badonadonk, on it.  What’s with that tiny, taut thing that an Olympic gymnast could have posed for?  Asslet indeed. 

    Safeword:  industry97.  In this industry, there are 97 bad covers per 100 books published. 

    Seriously folks, why do this to these authors?

  20. AgTigress says:

    Big Spankable Asses was discussed a little on the Delphi Forum Lunatic Café for Romance Readers (now mostly L. Café for Fantasy and Vampire Fiction!) a few months ago.  Those who had read the stories claimed they were very good and well written, and pointed out that they are all by black American authors, and that the entire system of cultural reference is specifically African American, or whatever the PC term is at the moment.

    This came as a surprise to me, because to my eyes the figure on the cover does not look like even a very light-skinned black woman: she looks like a white woman, or possibly a plastic one (as some of the commenters on the cover competition remarked).  However, I was shouted down and called a fool in no uncertain terms.  I consider that we have two levels of false advertising on that cover, first by implying that a very small and dainty derrière is a Big Arse (sorry, ass), and secondly by using a white model to advertise a book that is by black writers and is supposed to be particularly appealing to black readers.

    I am almost tempted to read the thing – but I think I would give it a brown paper cover.

  21. DearEvette says:

    Does it count as “worst cover” when it’s really just “worst title”?  I mean… ugh!

    Awww, I think the title Big Spankable Asses is just awesome! It isn’t coy, or purple or euphemistic.  It isn’t some bland hearts and twee birds title like “Love’s Sweet Delight.”  It is an erotic book with a title that alludes to something a little more raw than some people are used to seeing.  I think it is appropriate for what it is.  I do agree that as far as the cover goes, it certainly isn’t the greatest and the cover ‘Model’ does look like a Sims character, but there are much worse in the current pool.  I also believe that people who voted for it were mostly voting out of shock of the title.

  22. AT, I agree that it is very specifically directed towards an African-American audience much like Sir Mix-a-Lot’s paen’s to a healthy rear, Baby Got Back. Link provided, as not being AA you might not be familiar with the song.

    Interestingly enough, she does look like a black woman to me, but, of course, she does need a bigger ass. I DO think, however, that most of the people commenting on the cover don’t know she’s a black woman. Indeed, I suspect had they known this was a book with black authors it would’ve been ignored, title and all. Did the publisher intentionally place an ambiguously colored woman on the cover? Hmmm, I have no idea, but it’s certainly an interesting idea.

    I’m not offended by the title and I think it’s funny as hell. I’ve read the stories and agree that they are good. I especially enjoyed Lisa G. Riley’s, but must disclose that she is my critique partner.

    I was actually hesitant to bring up this point as it is a situation that does play up the cultural differences between black and white romances. Of course, I’ve argued on this and other boards that there are few differences between the two. This is one of them. In much of the black American community a big ass (when accompanied by a narrow waist and flat stomach) is greatly admired. Indeed one may well be denigrated for not possessing one. This, is of course, different from much of the white American community, as the rapper demonstrates in the beginning of the video.

    It would appear that publishers in particular like to emphasize the ‘otherness’ of black characters, play up the diversity as it were in an effort to appeal to black people. I’m not necessarily offended by this, as certainly I have no problem with celebrating those things that make black women beautiful and unique. I do think it is probably off-putting to some white readers.

    There has also been some feedback from black readers who see the cover as stereotypical, playing into the Jezebel image of black women that is so prevalent in our culture. I don’t see it in that light, but I can certainly understand where they’re coming from.

  23. Charlene says:

    I thought the worst part of Big Spankable Asses was that the woman on the cover is missing her right shoulder.

    That really creeps me out, but not as much as that blue church monstrosity.

  24. ev says:

    Is that a boob on What She Craves?? Cause if so, not only does she only have one huge one on the left side and nothing on the right (matectomy, perhaps?) but the one looks like a water balloon.

  25. AgTigress says:

    Roslyn, thank you for your comments on this. 

    Being part of a very multi-cultural (but not American) society, I was well aware of the powerful sexual messages of well-rounded female buttocks to black men of many backgrounds, although to be fair, there are a good many white men, too, who are much more turned on by buttocks than breasts.  I don’t need to tell you that the proportions of many women of African descent tend to have an emphasis on the lush curves of the rear that is seldom seen in females of European and Asian background.  Protuberant buttocks are, in general, much more attractive than a flattish bottom, but as with breasts, size is a separate issue.

    I genuinely did not perceive this cover image as a black woman, and I am very, very familiar with the appearance of women of all possible sorts of African, Caribbean, Indian, other Asian, Middle Eastern and extremely mixed racial backgrounds – though not, admittedly, in their underwear!  But perhaps she is a specifically African-American type?  Not only her skin tone, but also her proportions and her hair simply do not suggest any black or mixed black/white heritage to me, and I feel sure that many other people also assume she is white.  Goodness knows what the publishers were trying to achieve, but if, as I have now been assured by several people, the stories in the book are well-written and entertaining, I am not sure they were serving their authors well.

    On the title itself, I have the impression that it is the word ‘ass’ that offends many (I always have to do a quick mental switch from the image of a donkey to that of a derrière: we say arse (vulgar), or bum (colloquial)).  To me, the offensive word is spankable.  A celebration of big bottoms seems to me to be fine, but I have a very low opinion of spankers.  A title (I am putting it into British English) like Big, Beautiful Bums! would strike me as cheerfully and rather childishly vulgar, but not really offensive.  A title like Spank those dainty little derrières!, however, would make me angry – it is the smacking of the bottoms, not their size and shape, or the mere mention of them, that annoys me.

    We all have different hot buttons.  Whether the publishers of this book were sending mixed signals deliberately is hard to say.  I think most people really despise the title, though their reasons for objecting may vary.  Ultimately, it makes the book sound like no-holds-barred pornography, and the cover image underlines and confirms that.  It seems as though that gives a false impression.

  26. Sorry for taking coals to Newcastle as it were, AT. I remember you from the Delphi forums and knew you were black, but I hate to be a tacky American and assume that everyone knows about our cultural peculiarities. I know this particular one to be universal amongst black people throughout the world.

    I can’t find my copy of the book right now (recent move), and I really don’t trust images on the computer screen. With my own book the character was much darker on the book cover than she was on the proof they sent me beforehand. I’m not sure if it was something the publisher did, but I do know that colors are different on a backlit monitor than they are on a printed page. I see your point though. I’m wondering if I’d seen this in a store whether I would’ve known she was black. I, of course, knew about it well beforehand and ordered it online, I’ve never seen it on a store shelf.

    Interesting commentary on the word spank. To me it implies silliness. Probably because of all those historicals I read years ago where the hero spanked the heroine. Of course, in this book all the spanking is consensual, but I still think it’s rather absurd. I’m not offended by it, more than anything I think it’s amusing.

  27. AgTigress says:

    No, Roslyn – I am not black.  I am white British, but a Londoner, so I have known and have worked with people of many, many different races and backgrounds.  I am also a serious reggae fan (1970s roots reggae rather than more modern versions), so I know a bit about Jamaican culture from that angle too.  It has its unattractive side:  a seriously hostile and bigoted view of homosexuality is very common amongst Jamaican men.

    I agree with you about spanking; I think it often is rather childish. I remember a letter I had from a spanker once, who I presume was an adult male, complaining that I had said something rather dismissive on the subject in my book on Graeco-Roman erotic art, and really, his letter had me – and all the colleagues to whom I read it aloud – in stitches.  He described the delights of spanking, and really, it was just so silly.

    Your point about the way that images appear on a ciomputer screen is a very good one – it may well be that the apparent whiteness of the cover image of this book is changed on paper.  The person who haughtily informed me on the L.C. forum that the woman on the cover looked black to her (and that I was obviously a twit) had also read the book itself, whereas I have only seen it on screen.

    The whole question of what kind of female body-shape appeals most to people (of both sexes) at different places and periods is an interesting one.  One of the ways in which it is often possible to distinguish copies or fakes of works of art involving female figures is through subtle and unconscious changes of proportion: nobody would mistake a Medieval European woman for an ancient Roman one for an instant, and a 19th-century copy of either will usually declare itself.


  28. Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    I notice that nobody has commented on the “Authors Gone Bugfuck” link, and wanted to offer the following:
    One of my all-time favorite books, The Case of the Constant Suicides by John Dickson Carr, begins in much the same way, with a negative review of an historical novel escalating into an all-out war of words between author and critic.  Of course, they end up meeting and sharing a train compartment on a trip to Scotland, and being very attracted to each other, and….
    Well, I won’t spoil it, but what follows is one of the funniest murder mysteries ever written.  I’ve no idea if it’s currently in print or not, but it’s worth a read, even if it’s a bit dated by today’s standards.

  29. Danise says:

    Asslet… love it!  Does it takes 2 asslets to make one real ass-set, or just a few more years of growing up?  Looks like a boob job on the wrong side… Who has that much lift naturally?  D-cup?

  30. Trix says:

    Can I ask what two of the commentors have against spanking? Sure, if it’s not a sexual practice you enjoy, then it’s not going to be personally appealing. But I don’t care about books that might be called “Burning Hot Firemen” or “Studly SEALs” or any other one of those paens to macho manhood I find personally unappealing.

    As others have said, I think the title somewhat clumsily sums up the (presumed) content of the book – it could have been titled in a more witty way. That is, I presume that the arses concerned will be spanked – in a hot and not-demeaning way – and it’s not just an adjective used to describe any larger-than-skinny butt. I don’t think the pic looks convincing, though.

  31. Charlene says:

    ev, I keep wondering if the original images were both of men and they comped the breast into the image to let the reader know it was het. Because without that breast there is no way to tell what sex the person on the right is.

  32. Realityhelix says:

    I still laugh so hard at that cover that I don’t have time to be insulted by it.

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