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Monday, February 22, 2016

The Royal Truth Investigates Cover Crimes


Dear Readers, Writers, and Precious Patrons,

Today on Monday Memories, All Authors brings you an article from Issue 5 of All Authors Magazine called The Royal Truth Investigates Cover Crimes.

The Royal Truth Investigates Cover Crimes


Before proceeding with this article, we’d like to provide the following disclaimer: 

Disclaimer: This article’s purpose is not to cause any embarrassment to any author or cover artist but to provide a magnifying glass on an occurrence that is becoming more the norm than the exception.  Awareness and education is key.

Now, on with the show.

A typical day in the lives of Mini Truth and Queen of Spades did not exist. This particular day was no exception…

Truth: Ahem.

Narrator: Excuse me. Is there a problem?

Truth: You best believe there is a problem. You are trying to tell a story about Queen and me right?

Narrator: Correct.

Truth: But if I’m here and Queen’s en route, then why can’t we tell our own stories? What the-

Queen: I’m here. Why is the narrator’s face beet red? Why is he leaving? Mini, what did you do?

Truth: Not a thing. We are here and should tell the story. Narrator not needed. 

On with the story

While dealing with early morning traffic, I hit speed dial number six. Mini Truth’s greeting of “Cha’lo” sounded after the third ring. After getting the preliminary “how do you do’s” out of the way, Mini frothed at the bit to share some news. As it turned out, one of the writers in her networking circles had a book out, yet there was a book with an almost similar cover as that one.

I could hardly believe it! With the vast amount of images and concepts out there, how was it possible for the exact same image to be used on a book? I had not experienced this issue yet. For one, I tend to steer clear of using faces for my book covers (unless it is of me). Also, I am a fan of the abstract and letting my imagination run wild.

Since I was not in front of the computer as of yet, I instructed Mini to send me the pictures or links to this duplicate deal. Once my work computer fully booted, I immediately opened the email.  


The man was quite attractive. Gaze was a mixture of soul penetrating and seductive. Overall, he could be used in a variety of ways. It didn’t mean that I would use him: only that I understood his appeal.

After my first data processing assignment, my eyes needed a break from the mixture of different colors and figures. I logged onto my Facebook to see if I had any posts or messages. On the right hand side, there was an advertisement for hair products. That wasn’t what threw me off.  

What took me for a loop was the used image. It was of the same man that was on the two book covers! 

I wiped my eyes and looked at the screen again but the man was gone. 

“I should have had coffee today.” I told the screen. “Better yet, I should take my lunch.”

During lunch, I called Mini and told her I must be bugging. When she asked why, I said, “Remember that man you were talking about earlier?”

“Yeah what about him?”

“Mini I could have sworn while I was on Facebook, I saw that same man on an ad. Not even for a book but for hair products. When I looked again, he was gone.”

“Did you eat yet?”

“Not nearly enough. That’s why I’m going out to get some food.”

 
I took a glance in the side view mirror and almost rammed into the car in front of me. The driver behind me blasted his horn several times. In that mirror, I saw another book title, a different author but the image of the man was the same.

“What’s that noise back there? Queen, you okay?”

“Not really. I just saw that man again but it’s another title and author. Not even the two you sent me earlier. This whole thing is starting to wear me down. I will call you back after lunch.”

After getting off the phone with Mini, I immersed myself in radio tunes. Something was needed to take my mind off the man. I finally arrived at the café. Not wanting to risk another accident, I decided to eat in. While waiting on the food to arrive, another waiting patron picked up a newspaper. Same penetrating gaze but it was hard for me to tell if the cover was for the same advertisement I saw in my side view mirror.

“Excuse me? May I take a look at that?”

The guy nodded and told me I could have it. Yes, the same gentleman but the title of the book was different than all the rest, Getting it in the End by G.A. Hauser.

I was starting to feel a little dizzy. As I rushed to the bathroom, I ran into a lady stepping out. Her cell phone was knocked out of her hand. Thanks to her OtterBox cell phone case, her device was safe from shattering upon hitting the ground. I grabbed the phone and my mouth flew open.

“Can I get my phone back please?”

“Certainly.” I blushed in embarrassment while putting the phone in her hand.

“Yes he sure is fine!” The lady gushed. “Too bad he plays on the other team—at least according to this book Scott Sapphire and the Emerald Orchid.”

My sightings of the man didn’t cease after my trip to the bathroom. While checking out further Goodreads activity via the café’s Wi-Fi, a fellow author had given rave reviews on Return to Me a paranormal short that also acquired his face as the cover. Someone even thought the man had looks to kill and could take down a sea of terror in The Indian Prince.

◊◊◊
 
Truth be told (as I do so well—wink, wink), I thought my best buddy Queen was losing her mind; at the very least, coming down with something. I mean, fevers can produce hallucinations, right? Right!

Not giving it much thought, apart from my concern for Queen being ill, I moseyed on about my day doing what I did best—work my butt off.

I had a client that needed some cover work done. Based on her needs, she wanted the image to be a handsome man's face. Now, in order to get some ideas she issued me a book cover that she had spotted that got her attention, as she wanted something similar.

“Well, I'll be damned!” I cried out loud, my mouth agape and my eyes wide open.

Granted, this guy was both hot and wild, but this had already way surpassed the “seeing double” aspect, I was darn sure that this guy was neither a twin nor a triplet.
  
Dropping what I was doing, I reached out to Queen. “Queen, are you contagious?”

“No. Why?”

“Um. I think there's something super weird going on here. Something, really odd indeed.”

“What do you mean?” She asked genuinely interested.

“Well, remember that man, the guy from the covers and such?”

“Yeah, what about him?”

“Well, I'm beginning to think that you aren't sick, or crazy.”

Crazy? You thought I was crazy?” Insult in her voice.

“No, no! I mean, no-” I started over, “I just saw his face on another cover.”

“No way!”

“Yes way!”

Now, just to make sure that I was neither mentally unstable nor blind, I decided to make an appointment at my local eye doctor's office. Going to their website to schedule an appointment, I was genuinely transfixed with what I saw.


At this point I knew I wasn't going crazy. How could one man be everywhere? On book covers, on websites? It couldn't be!

Houston, we have a problem!

◊◊◊
 
In my opinion there is way too much of this man around.

I understand that cover artists can be expensive but there should be a way to edit so one can’t easily discern this image. One cover trimmed his hair. A few more gave him a close up. Some changed the coloring of the background. No matter what, I could still tell it was him.

◊◊◊
 
I agree with Queen. It was so obvious that this was the very same image, altered to fit each individual's needs.

I say that, to say this; it is super important that you do your research when hiring a cover artist, or doing covers for yourself. There has been an abundance of unoriginal covers going around. Following you'll find a few more examples:

 
I think I've said all that I have to say. Queen, take it away...

◊◊◊


How can one cut down on “Cover Crimes”? Here are some of my suggestions:

1. If at all possible, try to avoid using stock photos. Yes, a picture may fit the type of appeal or audience that one wants to attract. Yet there is also a strong possibility that someone else has the same idea. The many instances of “The Man” are prime examples.

2.  If one must use stock photos, do the research to see if that image has been used as well as how many times it’s been used. One way to do that is by using Google images (http://images.google.com). All you have to do is plug in the image link url (which can be discovered by right clicking on the image and selecting “copy image url”) or just upload the image if it has been downloaded to the computer. Google then searches and pops up all instances similar to the stock photo. Based on that information determines how one wants to proceed.

 
3. If one is relying on a cover artist, make sure that cover artist alters the image in a way where it’s not easily discernible. It has to go beyond the following alternations:

(A) Flipping an image horizontally (as shown in Mantequero) or vertically

(B) Adding a color effect to the whole image (such as sepia or black and white)

(C) Cropping the image

(D) Zooming in on the image

In other words, anything that Instagram, the basic Paint program, or a free downloadable or online picture editor can do qualifies under this category. It’s one thing for the author not to have the time or immediate resources to do the cover. However, for a cover artist to use these simple tricks and get (in some cases) top dollar for the end result stems on unethical.

◊◊◊

Once again, I agree with Queen. Also, if for some reason you are in desperate need of a cover artist, do some easy inquiries—just ask around. I'm sure you'll have some friends that can give you suggestions. Now here is the key—and don't take this lightly—if you have a friend that is recommending a cover artist, 9 time out of 10 he/she is using a cover artist that was recommenced to them.

What does this mean to you?

This means that you need to double check his/her recommendation. Just in case.

Why?

Because you don't really know if the cover artist he/she is using is one that commits the cover crimes.

So here are my steps to follow in order to steer free of cover crimes:

  • Check and double check! Especially if you are using a stock photo.
  • Try to stay away of realistic imagery. However, if it is completely necessary, then conduct all the investigation needed to ensure that the image that you want hasn't already been used.
  • If at all possible, do not use basic Paint programs like the ones Queen mentioned above. This is a hard one because many of us do not have the funds to purchase Adobe Photoshop, but there are alternatives out there. Such as Photoscape and Gimp.
  • Ask around. Someone is bound to know someone that can provide an original piece for your book(s).
  • Triple check that person’s suggestions.
  • WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT USE THE MAN! I don't know if I can handle another case of duplicates... triplicates... quadruplicates... well, you get what I'm saying!

 


Alrighty, I've said my piece... I hope.


Bye for now everyone! The Truth has spoken!

We will leave you with these thoughts: In order to avoid a Cover Crime, originality and research wins out every time!

Have any thoughts to share? Do you know someone, or have you been a victim of a cover crime? Contact admin@allauthorspp.net. Your comments could be featured in a future issue.


References

Book Covers

His Final Bounty by A.J. Williams (Mar 23, 2014)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20623095-his-final-bounty

Wear You Down by Rucy Ban (Mar 3, 2014)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18171200-wear-you-down

Hot & Wild by P.T. Macias (Kindle Version: Feb 2014)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17373030-hot-wild

Deep Blue Impact by Amie Nichols (Kindle Version: Jan 2014)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19547460-deep-blue-impact

Scott Sapphire and the Emerald Orchid by Geoffrey Knight (Kindle Version: Feb 2013)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13610661-scott-sapphire-and-the-emerald-orchid

Return to Me by Tara Fox Hall (Oct 2011)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13037825-return-to-me


Getting it in the End by G.A. Hauser (Jan 2010)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8815921-getting-it-in-the-end

Mantequero by Jenny Twist (Kindle Version: Jan 2014)
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18105471-mantequero

An Unwilling Husband by Tera Shanley (May 2014)
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18330020-an-unwilling-husband

Captive: Book 1—Formerly Life of Recovery (A New Life: Mar 2014)
http://www.amazon.com/Captive-Book-Formerly-Life-Recovery-ebook/dp/B00J1AO3JE

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Note:  The RemySoft picture was from an old promotion.  The company has since used another representative.