Dishing Junk – The act of dispensing ideas of little value in a casual or silly manner.

I feel the need again to showcase a few covers that had me going …

This time I invited some of my favorite ladies to join me in critiquing these covers. Please give a warm welcome to our group of critics::


The stunning Natasha from Wicked Lil Pixie
The fabulous Rachel from Fiktshun
…and me.

A Rose By Any Other Name…

would hopefully not hire the same cover designer. Which one do you think conveys “Dreamwalker” the best? On last count, I also tallied up 10 novels with the title DREAMWALKER. So, on top of the not so great cover design, you also didn’t google your book name to see if it was original.

Mary Summer Rain Book – It looks like something that was handed out in school circa 1980’s about getting to know cultures…and ghosts, cause that old lady is scaring the shit out of me.
M.G. Chester Book – Is that a pony, a large dog or a man in a costume? I’m ashamed of the fae holding the giant dildo in the background, he is of no relation to me.
Rain Book – This looks like a crayon drawing and the old lady on the top is scaring me…maybe before Adobe products this was cool. Or maybe their kid drew this for them and they didn’t want to be mean, so they went ahead with it. I was published in 1989 so I feel like we are being mean to something vintage – but in 1989 that was still pushing it as far as cheese.

Chester Book
– There is a faerie pedophile with a big stick behind a bush, stalking a young girl with a cat photobomb??? WTF. Just WTF. But, obviously someone thinks they did a good job, because they slapped their name on it.
Rain – While the pastel drawing may fit in with the whole “spiritual” theme of this cover, it feels like a style that went out of date circa 1982. That old lady is totally creepy and if she was walking through my dreams I’d become an insomniac. Clearly that peace pipe is not working its mojo. Also I think one of the hands gripping the pole is missing.
M.G. Chester – I’m a little surprised that the cover artist is taking such obvious credit. Especially when: a) Only one font is used for the entire cover. Is that Apple Chancery? b) Their understanding of Photoshop seems to be of the most basic levels. No, I’ll never use that purple tint fx again. c) A half-naked fairy grabbing some wood behind a bush whilst staring at a young girl riding a horse would keep any psychologist in business for a long, long time. Paging Dr. Freud.
Is that what that is, a horse?? A horse?!?? Oh and she is riding it. Oh…oh.
LOL, I wondered where this “cat” was!

Saving Grace (Katie and Annalise) by Pamela Fagan Hutchins

Really Bad Cover Designs

Is she committing suicide, or dead already? I just keep thinking – “Go into the light Carol Ann…” But really this looks like what you do before you give it to the client. Like it is unfinished. They didn’t add any effects – it’s just there three images just slapped together. I never could wear orange.
It’s like a color explosion… of colors that just don’t work well together. And it drives me crazy that both the “Grace” in the title font and the author’s name are not centered left to right or are not so off center to seem purposeful. A little blending and softening would go a long way for this cover. Though all I keep thinking about is how painful the barefoot run over the rocky outcropping must have been. Perhaps the best way to save Grace is to give her a pair of flip flops?
First, I want that dress.
Second, why are the clouds so low but the water level so high? There’s just way too much color going on here, red, white, orange, blues, dirt…yeah epic no thank you but I still want that dress.

The Highwayman of Tanglewood by marcia Lynn McClure

Really bad cover design

What in the hell IS that? I see the sword, but is that a man’s head? A demon? *turns head sideways* oh shit, it’s a HORSE! The horse should have been lighter in color or the background. I swear my head is still turned sideways. Wait, why is there a horse? Anybody?
Yes! It’s a freaking horse. Or at first glance a de-horned dark grey unicorn. Where is the highwayman? I’m getting “The Floating Sword of the Broken Horned Unicorn…” I do like the text on this one, but they forgot the dude and the horse needs to have a bit of contrast. There is so much wrong with this cover…perspective, contrast…
The font actually works for me with this cover. I even like its placement. But like Rachel all I keep wondering about is where is this Highwayman. Is he a ghost or did the cover artist forget to ‘shop him in?

Marital Bitch by JC Emery


Not a fan of the fonts. At all. It took me a couple tries to realize it said “marital.” And the “bitch” font looks like someone went over and over the word with a magic marker. The hand scratching the dude’s back looks more like those hands clawing their way up out of a grave than a woman marking her man in ecstasy.
This just doesn’t say Sexy Time for me — it looks kind of scary and those things hanging off the T – I’m assuming they are supposed to be wedding bands…but they just look like someone sneezed or scratched the cover. And that Marital typography…sometimes you have to manually set your letter spacing.
Someone needs to go see a chiropractor! His spine looks a little out of wack to me. Also, the Martial part is so spaced that it looks like Marit al which confused me for a second. WHERES THE BADGE?!

Billionaire Part 1 by Juliette Jones


A moist and dripping cherry? No. Just no. The symbolism is just too obvious.
This book isn’t a copycat cover — It is not an APPLE it is a Cherry – with a secretion. Right??? Plus the pixelation gives it that originality… But, really – the only people that are allowed to use Copperplate are lawyers and it still makes me roll my eyes.
I hate you two. Secretion and Moist, I hate you two so very much right now. Also, this is a little too Twilight for me. And I still hate you two.
Moist… 😉

Sarah Quanli by Jackson Keene


Umm. First basketball is ONE word, not two. Secondly, why is he holding a rugby ball? Thirdly, Love has a period at the end when it should be another comma. And what in the hell is with the chinese temple in the background? There’s just way too much going on here, I feel like I am playing a hidden object game.
This is a Photoshop nightmare. Just because you can add all the layers doesn’t mean you should. Granted this cover is less bizarre than the author’s other cover on Goodreads. And I’m not sure I’m loving the order of things in the tagline: first betrayal, then death, then love and basketball? Is it a zombie basketball story? Go team zombie! And I’m going to take it that back in the day it was “basket ball” and not “basketball.” Like you, the modern-looking models, tank and bible counteract the stitching on the pants and the old ball.
I am so confused here…there are so many things going on not to mention the bad ‘shop techniques and the mind-numbing grammar/spelling. It is so hard to master a good clipping path, I can’t fault novice designers for screwing it up – but don’t blame us when we snark all over it. The imagery is just so confusing. The main being, what missionary walks around in a muscle shirt in 1904…?? Like the detail on the stitches on the pants – but you know the Modern bible sort of defeats that… and the hair gel. I was assuming that was like a vintage “Basket Ball” — but I’ll taked the Pixie’s word for it…lmao Rudgy.

Stock Wars

In which we find a stock image and then find all the book covers that used that stock image. Which one did the best with the $12 image? No fault to any of them, stock images are a great resource — I’ve even used this image. But, it will teach me in the future to do a quick search….

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whisperingglass 17186011
Even Foreign Editions
Delicate brunette posing - bw version 14083

My favorite cover is Raw Burn. I like the black and white and I think the color for the title works best against the backdrop. Plus the font and placement make it look the most professional. The title, of course, evokes images of a trip to the lady doctor and makes me worried about the repercussions for those first 6 ladies/dudes who were “touched by you.” But still a pretty cover.

Pursued doesn’t do anything but crop the stock and add in a title and author byline with just the one font. The Whispering Glass has too harsh a tint, too much yellow. Doesn’t whisper. It shouts. The blurring for Beauty & the Baritone is a whoops as it disfigures her right arm and am so confused as to what exactly the “baritone” is doing above her. The red and yellow too obviously evoke the colors of the USSR’s flag. Is it a poltical thriller? The font isn’t bold enough in the Asian cover. Liz Carlyle’s cover is my second fave, the font is pretty but again doesn’t do enough with the image to take it from stock to pro.

Yep, Raw Burn does it for me too.
I am always a sucker for the Overlay effect, so I’m going for The Whispering Glass. Even though the reflection of Glass makes it too busy. Beauty and the Baritone cracks me up BTW. And I didn’t think you could ruin such a beautiful image — but that Russian (is that Russian?) version is just cringe worthy.

Seen an cringe worthy covers lately?

I would love to see them, leave the link in comments. Or if you want to be anon – email me.