Cover Snark: When Photoshop Goes Horribly Wrong. Again.

Sometimes, image editing creates… things. And sometimes those things are book covers. And sometimes we remain baffled. 

Nah, with this set, we're pretty much always baffled. 

Book A dude in a white long sleeved shirt and a cowboy hat embracing a woman - totally normal except they're sliced in the middle and beneath the banner for the book title is a set of dark grapes that kind of look like he's pooping.


Sarah: The position of those grapes is NOT GOOD. Like either he's half grape, or he's got a globular digestive problem I don't want to know about or… I have to stop thinking about this now. 

Carrie: My attempt to broaden my reading hits a high point with this masterful tome about two people who exist only from the waist up.  Luckily, the booze from their winery gives them the power of levitation.  They live their lives taking care of one another with selfless devotion – behold, as he farts, she listens with great concern for a heart beat (and some distaste, as his farts smell like the fancy cheeses they must live on).

Amanda: He has no bottom bits. Just a half man/half wine hybrid, which I would otherwise be okay with except for that mullet.

Elyse: I'm marginally ashamed to to admit that at first glance I thought the top of that bottle was a penis. In my defense I'm on a lot of allergy medication.

Book The Girl next Door - a dude in a dark shirt leaning one arm against a door frame -and there's a woman superimposed over his left pec and shoulder kind of like she's growing out of his armpit.


Sarah: HOLY CRAP. It's his Inner Goddess! And she's…checking for earwax! 

Carrie: The girl next door – another moving chronicle of living with an unusual physical condition – in this case, she is growing directly out of his chest.  Soon she will hatch – from his face we can see that this is an unpleasant and confusing process.

Amanda: The Girl Next Door: A suspenseful novel about a no-nonsense DEA agent and the tiny woman inside him. I bet the buddy cop film rights have already sold.

Elyse: The Girl Next Door… To my left nipple.

Not only is she a tiny person living in his chest…she's a tiny *glowing* person living in his chest. Let's not make it weirder or anything.


Book The Counterfeit Betrothal: A photograph of a dude's head and a woman's head but they're superimposed on what looks like MS Paint drawn clothing. Her dress is a big blue smear, pretty much.


Sarah: If anyone threw out some prom photos from 1982, well, we know what happened to them. 

Carrie: The counterfeit betrothal – this couple is even worse off than the first, as they consist only of heads, hands, and in her case, cleavage – and must make  a living posing for paper doll outfits as drawn by very small children.

Amanda: I just…I can't. It's too easy. WHY USE MS PAINT WHEN YOU COULD JUST SUPERIMPOSE THE FACES ON TO PICTURES OF ACTUAL PERIOD CLOTHING?! It's like they just made more work for themselves.


RedHeadedGirl: The Counterfeit Betrothal needs to stop counterfeiting covers.

Elyse: What the actual fuck. Did they ask someone's seventh grade nephew to do this? Scratch that. A 7th grader would have done better. This is the work of someone who still says “The Facebook.”

Also if Clippy from Office 2003 illustrated book covers, this would be it. Goddamnit, Clippy


And this is a special bonus! This cover was snarked awhile back

Book One Fine Fireman- the fireman has a puppy in his pants. A badly photoshopped puppy.


At the time of the original snarkage, I wrote the following

There is nothing that says “Hot Firefighter Romance” like a badly Photoshopped puppy, right?

The more I stare at this, the less sense it makes. Where's his thumb? What is the puppy sitting on, a stocking? Half a heart-shaped pillow? A fabric model of a liver?

Why does whatever the puppy is sitting on cast a weird drop shadow on the fireman's abs?

Is the puppy ACTUALLY IN HIS PANTS? Or is he shapeshifting INTO a puppy? 

Are those his pants? If so, why are they so much wider than he is? Or is he fighting fires in a wide, full-length, flame retardant skirt?


Poor Photoshopped puppy.  He looks as confused as I am.


I would like to admit at this time: I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. I discovered the original, and I'm sorry to say, the Photoshopped puppy of confusion is a vast improvement over the original, with this guy who is all, My vein let me show you it.

Have a look: 


Book Crashed - the original photo has a guy with suspenders and dark shiny pants with his zipper wiiide open and an enormous vein heading south of the border if you know what I mean and I think you do



Carrie: Dear fireman – let me give you three words of advice:

Keep.  The.  Puppy.

Amanda: You know what. I can get on board with the photoshopped dog. In fact, I think all covers need to have photoshopped puppies and kittens and whatever other baby animals you want to sneak in there. I don't even care if the animal never shows up in the book.


Sarah: Perhaps this is the solution to any cover problem: Just Add Puppy!

Comments are Closed

  1. Bea says:

    Ans the winner is…..The Counterfeit Betrothal!!!!! What is growing from her ear???
    And let’s face it: puppies are adorable, no matter how badly photoshopped they are, they always improve things.

  2. Stella L. says:

    How about a mullet-wearing pug where the guy’s hand is resting in the Counterfeit Betrothal?

    @Bea brings up an excellent point.  What IS growing out of her ear?  Looks like a nasty infection.

  3. 1. Elyse, I too thought the wine bottle was a penis. I’m not on meds, so I have no excuse.

    2. The Counterfeit Betrothal Seriously? Can’t we all get along and just do pictures of flowers or waterfalls or something, and not let these types of covers see the light of day?


    Put Back The Puppy

    is my new catch phrase for when a guy undoes his pants and I don’t want to see it. Thank you. I needed that in my repertoire.

  4. I, too, immediately honed in on that wine bottle. In fact, until I got to the comments, I thought that was why this cover was up for snark. I blame lack of coffee.

  5. Todd says:

    The Girl Next Door – OBVIOUSLY, this is a man in touch with his inner woman.

    And the photoshopped puppy – I think the dog was originally from something Christmas-y – that looks like a Santa hat that they kept with the dog, either from some obscure reason or because they didn’t have the skill to crop it out.

  6. harthad says:

    Is not the woman on The Counterfeit Betrothal cover Keira Knightley? (Or at least, her head, which is too large for the body they stuck it on.) I wonder how she feels about being ‘shopped into a paperdoll dress. I also wonder what message this is intended to convey to the buyer. Like, “If this were made into a movie, Keira would totally be in it!”

  7. Mary says:

    OMG I laughed so hard and at the wrong time I am lucky I did not get ice tea on the keyboard. 

    I seriously have no idea what I did before this site for laughs. 

    Love you!  (mean it)

  8. E. Jamie says:

    I totally agree about the bottle/penis! Lol! Had to do a double take!

  9. Oh lord. I am on the floor. Can’t get up.

    HOLY CRAP. It’s his Inner Goddess! And she’s…checking for earwax!

    Sarah, you slay me.


  10. chacha1 says:

    I am really seriously appalled by the Kihlstrom cover.  I read that book, back in the day, and it had one of the lovely Signet Regency painted covers.  I can only assume that e-book rights reverted, or she decided to go E for the first time, and had to DIY.

    But OMG.  A landscape, or a still life, would have been a better choice.

  11. Barb in Maryland says:

    I was thinking Natalie Portman!  or maybe Giada de Laurentiis.

    And, yes, please—Put Back the Puppy!!

    Once again I am happy that the computer station is a ‘no drinks’ zone.  That rule saved my screen.  Again.

    Thanks to all for the laughs.  Every day needs laughs.

  12. CC says:

    The Girl Next Door: Don’t they call that “fetus in fetu” where you absorb your twin and, according to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, later find teeth and a spinal column inside you? Though I don’t think they generally find flashlights…

  13. Darlynne says:

    THE COUNTERFEIT BETROTHAL dress, as magicked by the three fairies in the original Disney Sleeping Beauty film. This is the blue version. And Briar Rose has a really big head.

  14. L. says:

    Lousy Book Covers recently had The Counterfeit Betrothal as well as another cover from the author that used the exact same woman’s head, different body. If you look closely at this one, you’ll notice that there was another woman’s head on this body that Clippy (or whoever) didn’t get completely covered. That’s why she appears to have two right ears.

  15. Ova says:

    Are we voting? I’m voting for The Girl Next Door because it made me start singing. She’ll be coming round his chesticles when she comes! She’ll be coming round his chesticles when she comes! She’ll be coming round his chesticles, she’ll be coming round his chesticles, she’ll be coming round his chesticles when she comes! Yee haw!

  16. astrakhan says:

    In the fireman’s defense, you have to put down the puppy if you want to play the sexophone.

  17. C says:

    @chachal I just had to google the original The Counterfeit Betrothal cover and wow, its pretty. A landscape would definitely have been better than…that…if she could not have the original . Or maybe a photo similiar to that red door in the original painting – so there is some association between the two covers…

  18. Shannon says:

    I too though the wine bottle was his thingy.  And I wondered if he had a disease that caused balls to shrink and then multiply.

    I’m wondering which of these books is selling well…

  19. Karen H near Tampa says:

    The thing that gets me about “The Counterfeit Betrothal” is that the author is proud of those covers.  I found her blog and in an August 2013 post she showed how she did it and seemed pleased with the results.  Interestingly, one of the original pictures for “The Reckless Wager” looks like the same head as TCB (and the TRW face) and there’s no extra ear so I don’t know where that came from.

    I prefer people on my romance covers (especially good-looking men) but with examples like TCB and TRW, I’ll take a landscape or a bunch of flowers, too!  The only thing that’s worse than these are the “zombies” created with some kind of art software that all have dead eyes and just look creepy (I think other people refer to them as “poser” covers) but some of the erotic imprints especially use them a lot and I would never touch one of those books, much less buy or read it.

  20. chacha1 says:

    Well, at least with a DIY ebook it’s easy to CHANGE the cover as one’s skills improve.  o_O

  21. Kelly S. says:

    I agree the cover is better with the puppy, but I disagree with adding cute animals to the cover if they are not in the story.  Would drive me as batty as when the raven haired heroine is shown on the cover as a blond.  Hmm, maybe that’s why they cut off people’s heads like in badly taken old photos.

  22. denise says:


  23. L. says:

    @Karen H The Reckless Wager was the other Kihlstrom cover I was talking about, I just couldn’t remember the title. It’s still painfully obvious that Perky Patty’s face has been slapped onto someone else’s head. Now I wonder who this model is and is she aware of what Dr. Frankenstein is doing to her?

  24. L. says:

    Oh Lawd, Kihlstrom’s Miss Redmond’s Folly is just as bad. Miss Redmond’s Folly

  25. Karen H near Tampa says:

    L:  I think “Miss Redmond’s Folly” is even worse since the face model’s dark hair is showing so obviously next to the blond hair attached to the face that is pasted over.  Like I said, not only are these seriously awful but the author’s so proud of herself! Personally, I’d just be embarrassed to put my name on these.  No, I’d even be embarrassed to be seen holding one of them!

  26. Maite says:

    What sticks with me is the leaf.
    That leaf that’s kind of caressing the wine bottle, illuminated by the golden light coming from the two half-people above.
    Now I’m stuck with “She’ll be coming round his chesticles…” for at least a week.

  27. Karen D says:

    Choking on Teddy Grahams here. Not a bad way to go! Thanks for making the end of my day great:-)

  28. Chris says:

    Re: the firefighter – I called him LTGNAFG (Likes To Get Naked At Fires Guy) in my Misadventures in Stock Photography post about him:

  29. Stephanie Scott says:

    I always feel bad for the authors when the covers are super corny. I mean Harlequin, it’s not like they need to go cheap on the art, it’s more a matter of poor or outdated taste.

    But the self-pub ebooks, that regency cover with the MS Paint looking dress…I just want to hug the author and have a chat. Just because you own Photoshop does not mean you are good at using it (I’m not) and just because you’ve seen book covers does not mean you have the ability to design a good one.

    I wish more authors understood that is one thing you should invest on (along with editing!). That book could be wonderful, but you’re never going to get me to pay any money for it with that cover. I wouldn’t even download it for free unless it was someone I knew and I felt obligated.

  30. min says:

    everytime i look at that puppy-less photo, i think i’m some sort of growth that might be partial hip nipple and it’s creeping me out.

  31. Jen says:

    Hahahaha love the cover snark! That last one is particularly horrific.

    I have to say that I recently read Girl Next Door and it wasn’t half bad. The cover is ridiculous but the story is OK, if you like slightly formulaic but still decent Intrigues, which I do!

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