Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic
Bots and Spammers are routinely purged.
When I sold my first historical romance in 1984, I had no input on the cover art. What I got wasn't terrible -- I had seen worse -- but it wasn't great. The people weren't right, Alexandra never wore either an orange or a purple dress, and there was an embarrassing typo in the back blurb. But the illustration of the Kremlin interior was right, and the title was in big gold letters on a bright, eye-catching background, so I couldn't complain.
Complaining wouldn't have done any good anyway.
In 2013 when I was all excited about republishing Legacy of Honor as a digital edition, I was delighted to be able to select the cover art myself. I spent a lot of time on it, since I didn't have a lot of money to spend. Other covers had cost me more, and there wasn't always a decent return on that investment. So when I found there were affordable pre-made covers on Jimmy Thomas's cover art site -- no, I won't provide a link -- I dared to hope I could find something I liked.
Thomas had never been one of my favorite cover models, but I'd been stuck with Fabio once, so again, I wasn't going to be too picky. Anyway, I couldn't afford to be picky. I found one of the stock photos I liked, but it wasn't available as a pre-made. Then I found a pre-made that was close.
I think these covers cost around $50, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. All you got to do was sort of fill in the blank with your name and the book's title, but the end product was reasonably professional looking.
And I happened to like it. Oh, I would probably have preferred different lettering, and maybe to have my name more prominent, but I didn't have a fat budget for this one.
I was content.
Not that the book sold very well. It was one of those big, fat, "bodice-ripper" type historicals, classic 1980s fare. And it was set partly in Russia, with a Russian (or at least half-Russian) hero. Okay, fine, it didn't sell. But it was still there and I was happy.
Well, now it's come out that Jimmy Thomas is a fat-shaming asshole. He put something to that effect on Facebook -- I can't link because I don't have any idea where it is anyway -- and now all of Romancelandia is up in arms.
They want everyone to ditch their Jimmy Thomas covers and get new ones.
For me, to quote the 1963 Essex, that's easier said than done.
I don't have the funds for new cover art. I'm not sure my 2013 files on another computer are exactly compatible to effect a change in cover and re-upload to Kindle.
But when I put up a brief little tweet to the effect that hey, I happen to like this cover and no one buys the book anyway, I got replies from total strangers that hey, there are people offering to do free covers to replace Thomas. "Just do a search."
Oh, really? How nice! But I like my cover. I didn't pick Jimmy Thomas because he was a jerk. And I don't know any of these freebie artists. (I know I don't because I don't know ANY artists.)
I don't want to feel pressured to take art I don't like. I want a cover I like. And I like the cover I have.
But I felt pressured, and unsupported, and so I just unpublished the book. I took it down completely.
Because I was art-shamed into it.
I don't share certain things online. I tend not to share grief online. I had a couple of family losses just before the holidays, and it was rough. So when this came up today, I didn't really want to share it.
And it really wouldn't be that big a deal, because I mean it's not like I was selling any real copies of this book or even getting page reads on Kindle Unlimited.
But I was thinking about putting the old historicals -- Legacy of Honor, Firefly, Secrets to Surrender, and Shadows by Starlight -- on a special sale price for Valentine's Day. Maybe it would bring in a few bucks, and maybe share some fun.
Now that's out of the question. The joy is gone.
I had seven crappy covers for my seven traditionally published books. Now, when I had one I liked, I had to take it down. This isn't like a bad review of my writing, which I would never see anyway because I don't read my reviews. This was a shaming of something I had no control over.