No seriously, is that my cover?

Every author knows, there’s nothing worse than pouring your heart and soul into a book, only for your publisher to make you a frightfully, cringeworthy cover. The kind that exists in your nightmares. The kind that you want to put a paper bag over. And what’s worse is your publisher lurves the cover. They think it is the greatest cover that has ever existed in the history of the milky way galaxy- possibly even the entire universe.

But you… ? You would rather give birth whilst having root canal without anesthetic than put that cover on your precious book-baby. (Dramatic, I know) I’m very lucky to have a publisher that heard me and made me a great cover. Because the reality is that most authors don’t really have much of a say in their covers at all.

In fact, I think it was authors who made up the saying, “Never judge a book by its cover’ just to make themselves feel better.

As an author, you want the cover to represent your book accurately. You want it to capture the atmosphere of the book, you want it to highlight the themes and you just want it to look kick-ass on the shelves amongst the millions of other books.

I decided to look into what makes a bad cover. And please, I’m in no way implying that the books themselves are bad, merely that the covers- in my opinion- are questionable. This is a subjective opinion, of course, perhaps my visually impaired grandmother would disagree with me.

So what makes a bad cover?

  1. Anything with Fabio on the cover! I’m not sure, I guess I’ve just never been a fan of a man whose jaw could chisel wooden blocks.


2. Anything with a schoolboy sporting a mustache (not to mention creepy serial killer eyes.)


3. This, I mean…. this? (But surprisingly, I just can’t help loving it)


4. Because killing polar bears is so damn sexy!

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5.  Oh, the masterful and delicate way in which the designer used photoshop. Not to mention the title.


6. Anything by Chuck Tingle, the purveyor of gay dinosaur erotica. (Yes, that’s a thing)


7. Anything where cute, fluffy baby animals are being burnt alive.

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8. Should he keep and care for the two alien babies? And are those really his hands?


9. Is it a bird, is it a plane, no it’s a shark. (That line is about as cheesy as the cover itself)


10. Covers with men sporting wood.



11. When your seven- year- old draws your cover.




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(I just had to include this one of God in a g-string)

12. Please don’t eat her face.


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Even Stephen King is not immune to the curse of tragic covers.


In the next installment of, ‘No seriously, is that my cover?’ I will attempt to make the world’s worst, most cringeworthy and shockingly cheesy covers. Although I think it’s going to be quite challenging to beat some of these.


*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.


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24 thoughts on “No seriously, is that my cover?

  1. I feel your pain. Even though I disagree with many of your choices, I still feel your pain at seeing someone else ruin your baby with something like that. When I was an ink-stained wretch toiling in the daily newspaper trenches, I used to have to regularly field calls from sources and say things like, “No, I didn’t know they were going to call you an alien-loving commie sycophant in the headline. I don’t write the headlines. I’m as surprised as you. Yes I will pass it along. No, I will not use a baseball bat.” Even worse is when they completely misunderstand the text I spent days sweating blood over to get just right. But, enough whining.

    Let’s do something much more fun.

    Let me tell you why you’re wrong.

    1. Fabio is awesome! End of sentence. End of debate. He’s gone beyond cheesy and passed into the realm of the untouchable. The man is THE MAN.

    2. Unless the person in question is Tom Selleck, there should never be a mustache on a man gracing the cover of the book. Unless the man is Magnum, P.I., the ‘stashe makes him look like a 1970s porn star.

    3. Zombie raccoons, killer bunnies and horrifyingly bad Photoshop are three of my favorite things. Combining all three on one cover. . . Let’s just say that I already am looking for that book. It is possible there is something wrong with me.

    4. Killing polar bears is NOT sexy. Killing polar bears a) up close and personal b) with a wooden pole c) in the snow d) on a floating ice pack e) in the arctic f) WEARING ONLY A LOIN CLOTH. . . That is the very definition of manly awesome. And, come on. . . It’s Jack London. Of course the cover guy is killing a polar bear.

    5. See No. 3, re: bad photoshop. And that is a killer torso.

    6. Set afire? No, that is the essence of cute jumping through a flaming hoop. Clearly this is a deep and philosophical meditation on the dangerousness of allowing yourself to become vulnerable by exposing your feelings to an uncaring world, trusting that the world will treat you with respect, only to find that trust twisted and crushed like a fragile origami sculpture underneath a crashing 16-ton anvil dropping from nowhere. Clearly.

    7. Personally, I’m wondering more about those alien hands that are wrapped around the babies. IF that guy has arms that fit those hands as pictured, there is something seriously wrong with the cover dude.

    9. Again, see No. 3. Also? I’ve read that book and the cover really does do the book justice.

    10. Seriously? You don’t like Chuck Connors sporting wood on that cover? That’s in my top 10 list of best covers ever. I mean, look at the smile Chuck Conners is giving to that little tyke who’s holding the massive wood. There’s going to be some fun in the bunkhouse that night.

    11. Okay, fine. You win. That was horrible. No redeeming features whatsoever.

    12. What obviously happened is the publisher owed someone a favor (holds finger to side of nose and pushes slightly indicating a bent or broken nose) and this was a way to pay back said favor, by putting this lovely woman on the cover. Of course, when the mobst– favor holder found out what the story was about, the publisher suddenly realized an urgent need to visit relatives at the bottom of the Adriatic Sea.

    What a fun post. Thanks so much for sharing. Though, I’d really love to see the before and after covers for your book.


    Liked by 3 people

  2. There are so many bad covers out there, unfortunately. Perhaps it is one of the million reasons to go independent when you publish and retain your power over your work. It would be a bit less funny if one stopped to think about all those horrible covers and realise your book could be one of them…

    Thank you for choosing to follow one of my blogs. I hope you continue to enjoy the posts. Léa

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m kind of wondering if the girl on the cover of the Spanish version of The Shining is supposed to be the woman from 237 or Wendy, rather than just “random model”… And I think that means I’m thinking about this too hard. XD

    Liked by 1 person

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