Monday, July 27, 2009

Controversial Cover

As reported at GalleyCat, YA fantasy author Justine Larbalestier was excited by the favorable reaction to the cover for her new book Liar: "This cover was so well received by sales and marketing at Bloomsbury that for the first time in my career a cover for one of my books became the image used for the front of the catalogue." Things were looking good until someone actually read the book and discovered it's about a black girl. In responding to criticism, Larbalestier explained she had no choice but to accept a cover image inconsistent with Liar's protagonist:

Editors have told me that their sales departments say black covers don't sell. Sales reps have told me that many of their accounts won't take books with black covers. Booksellers have told me that they can't give away YAs with black covers. Authors have told me that their books with black covers are frequently not shelved in the same part of the library as other YA—they're exiled to the Urban Fiction section—and many bookshops simply don't stock them at all.

Clearly, as Larbalestier says, "all of us—writers, editors, designers, sales reps, booksellers, reviewers, readers, and parents of readers—will have to do better."

1 comment:

Zibilee said...

This is so absurd as to be totally unbelievable! I can't even begin to understand this kind of prejudice, and I had no idea this kind of thing was still going on. Shame on these people!