If you saw me reading this book somewhere, would you be embarrassed for me? And yet, it was a pretty good book. So why is fantasy book cover art even more mortifying to bring out in public than romance novels? Check that, AS mortifying?
I am a fantasy book addict. I’m pretty sure I’ve at least TRIED to read a majority of fantasy novels you’ll find at any store. I’m always looking for another good one, especially series, because the idea that there are seven more books in front of me over 800 pages long fills me with a delight unlike any other. But almost every time I pick a new one up, I immediately rip off the cover and take it everywhere naked, because a redheaded dude with horizontal hair is not something I want to explain to anyone. Even when I was like, 12 and reading the first “Wheel of Time” series (that needs to go away and die somewhere. Please Mr. Jordan, wrap it up) I would look at those disproportionate little gnome-like human figures that the awful Darrel Sweet cooked up for the books and shudder in embarrassment.
So, why do publishers insist on using this kind of cover art? I think it’s like Hollywood. They have “theories” about sales, and what their targeted public expects, and they don’t ever give them anything different. Thus, it’s a spiral of self-fulfillment. I read an interview with Jaqueline Carrey, author of my favorite “Kushiel’s” trilogy, and I learned that the authors have little say in how the cover looks. For her latest book they insisted that a woman figure be put on the front, even though the main character is A GUY! Do they really think fans of her books will not pick it up if there’s a guy on the cover, or a guy with a girl? Do they think we’re that stupid? She’s the author who spent upward of a year or more of her life creating this thing, let her use her brain and figure out what she’d like for the cover!
And, back to the original topic, look above at “Name of the Wind”! His hair is defying gravity and he’s got a phallic lute-neck coming out of his genital region! WHY OH WHY?!?! This book was actually pretty good, I want the next one, but please do better next time! Mr. Rothfuss, stand up for your character and at least give him the dignity of not have a phallic lute neck coming out of his genital region!