Wednesday, June 7, 2017

When I Find Myself In Time of Trouble

Review: Tumblr Site WTFBadRomanceCovers

I have an editor's eye for printed language, but can be blind-sided by making a poor image choice for a book cover like any other graphic-design amateur. With so many novices self-publishing, it seems there are plenty of bad examples of cover designs to choose from.

Certainly the editors of this Tumblr site find them in abundance. They've been doing this for over five years, without encountering a shortage yet.

They don't just catch the bad covers, they skewer them neatly with an appropriate WTF?! line or two, and thereby make the gaffes obvious to the meanest intelligence. By which I mean, they even become obvious to me.

Ed: This one holds a butt!
Serving the editors in this endeavor are a slew of tags, characters who appear in too many covers (with nicknames like "Sleepy Hollow guy", "creepy Poser" and "Chuck Tingle"1), and regular callouts for the too-frequent (though not necessarily bad) cover themes: Objectified Scotsmen, objectified Vikings, even objectified Santas!

Throw in photobombing dogs, butt-sky vistas, and headless torsos, as well as the bad Photoshopping of clip art and Sims Posers, that abound on romance novel covers, and the site has a never-ending target source for snarky observations.

It can also provide solid examples to the NaNoWriMo participant of what not to put on the cover of your book.

The choice of a cover image for your NaNovel can help to guide visualization and support your writing, but once the book is ready to be published, the cover should serve as a sales tool. It should invite the reader to dive into your story, not provoke giggles or guffaws. The site's moderator notadocmartin (formerly pronouncedlab-eth, but still the same person) has a solid grasp on this concept, and isn't afraid to point out the not-so-rare examples of images that fail in hilarious ways.

On the other hand, if all you need is a Monday morning belly laugh, you're guaranteed to find one here!


  1. Chuck Tingle is an author who specializes in bad covers and worse book titles. I just couldn't resist the shot.
  2. Site is not politically correct, and is frequently NSFW. Take care where you read it.