Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seriously? Seriously?

I hope that I'm not incurring some kind of bad publishing karma by slagging off a publisher, but poor Justine Larbalestier, an Australian young adult author. Her novel Liar, which is about a black girl with short hair, is set to be released in the US in September by Bloomsbury.

Except, the cover for the book features a white girl with longer hair.

Larbalestier blogs about it, in a far more eloquent way than I would have if it was my book and my main character's racial identity in question. Because for me, it's a disturbing prospect and points to one of two reasons: either Bloomsbury didn't actually read the book (unlikely) or they think that a cover featuring a picture of a black girl won't sell as well. It suggests that they think it places the book into some kind of racial niche, because clearly, only black teenage girls would read a book about black teenage girls, just as Latina teenage girls would only read a book about Latina teenage girls (but everyone reads books about white girls). While I don't know that this was Bloomsbury's reasoning, I can't really see any other logic behind changing the main character's race for a front cover, other than it would affect sales, which if that's true, has a whole mess of unpleasant implications attached to it.

Covers are important. I always judge books by their covers. And so do you.

My Glaswegian flat hunt continues today. It's looking more and more likely that come August/September, I'll be a resident of either Maryhill, Kelvinside, or Partick. And I'm 100% okay with this. I'm a bit done with living in Finnieston.


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