Gilded Illusion: The Perils Of Writing For Somebody Else (And why a picture does definitely NOT speak a thousand words.)

So I wrote a book. That’s the good news.

The bad news is I wrote it, then let somebody else take care of the publishing. (So I did the work, while he retained the rights to publish the story – got it?) That was the deal I made, and in my naïve mind, nothing could have gone wrong. I had complete create control over the title, the story, and the freedom to do pretty much anything to make the words sound nice – as long as it was all romantic. That was a caveat I was more than happy to adhere to. So I wrote some romance, I gave it a nice title, and – in my opinion – made it all sound pretty lovely. In my head I’d done a good job. In my head it was bulletproof.

Then I got hit with this…

Genuine proof why pictures are not always worth a thousand words.
(I’ll let you process that for a moment.)

If there was ever living proof of why you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, you’re looking at it. My story is a lovely short tale of an impossible love, yet this cover depicts a story where the word cock makes up a predominant percentage of the word count, and the only verbs used throughout are spank, thrust, and possibly gyrate. To say I was unhappy with it would be nothing short of an understatement. This guy had one simple job to do – one. To provide a cover that was, at the very least, in keeping with the overall tone of the story. And he screwed it up. Royally screwed it up.

Obviously I’m dissatisfied for the selfish reason that it taints my story with connotations of a genre I’d rather not be affiliated with, but also because I have to sympathise with those unassuming readers who paid for this book expecting to see some unadulterated action – only to be left feeling rather unfulfilled. (To clarify, there is no action in there. Honestly. None whatsoever.)

Fortunately everybody who has read the story (or at least everybody who I’m aware of) has only given me the kindest of compliments about it. That makes me happy. It means that as long as people are willing to detach the cover from the narrative, and take the words for what they are, they should be able to find some loveliness in there.
As for me? Well, I don’t really regret it. It was just one of those times in life where I had to learn the lesson the hard way  and come to understand that there are some very, very real perils of writing for other people. (The first one being, never – and I mean NEVER – let them design the front cover.)

(This post actually has a part two! You can find it here.)