Covering the cover

So! My book is officially coming out tomorrow, and before it does so, I have a very important public service announcement.

You see, I have had very mixed reactions to the cover for Proof by Seduction. People either love it, or they are completely embarrassed by it. On the one hand, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that it is gorgeous, elegant, beautiful, sexy, and classy. And it is! See? Love that corset. On the other hand, I’ve had a handful of people e-mail me to say, “Wow, Courtney, I am interested in reading your book… but that cover! It is far too sexy for my bus ride. All the other people on my commute are going to look at that cover and then they will leer at me. Also, I can’t read it at lunch, because my mostly male colleagues will rib me over it.”

Hmph. Personally, I fail to see how a mostly-unclothed woman, lying on a divan in a provocative pose, could indicate anything except the highest of high-minded high-mindedness, and I think all those people who judge books by covers should be frowned upon. But, to be slightly serious for the only time in this entire blog post, back when I first started reading romance, I would take my books up to the cash register very carefully–sometimes even buying High Minded Looking books with sepia-toned factories belching smoke on the front to hide the clinch romance books I actually wanted to read as I walked up to the cash register. Even now, I won’t whip out truly scandalous clinch covers in front of some of my older, male colleagues–their hearts just can’t take the rise in blood pressure. So I totally understand how someone could look at this cover, imagine herself taking it out at lunch in front of a bunch of unsympathetic co-workers, and wincing.

Plus, one reader said that she teaches small children, and if she took a book like this out, they might start to get the Wrong Idea, and parents somewhere would complain. How could she possibly read my book? This was an excellent point, and it got to me to thinking about something I could do to help out with that problem, especially since there are children involved. (If you have not noticed, one of the things we take seriously here at courtneymilan.com is this: lying to small children.)

Here, for the first time, for your covering-up pleasure, is a downloadable book cover. Like all High Minded books, this is a cover done in sepia (although if your printer is black and white, it will print just fine in grayscale, and it will look appropriately bleak!). This is the book you have always wanted to carry on the subway: It declares that you are so smart that you’re reading not for pleasure or enjoyment, but for the sheer thrill of scraping your fingernails across the chalkboard of literature. It can be read without hesitation in accounting firms or in kindergartens. Feel free to whip it out during dull moments at the New York Stock Exchange.

Here’s what it looks like:

This Book is a Completely Serious Compendium of Utterly Dire Events

And here’s how you use it:

What you need:

One printer; one internet connection; one piece of paper; four pieces of tape (optional); and one copy of Proof by Seduction (available here: B & N | Amazon | Indiebound | Borders | Powellโ€™s) (other books can be substituted, but really, why would you want to do that?)

  1. Download the full graphic (warning: it’s huge at around 4 MB) here. Print it out.
  2. Fold on the white lines along the top side and the bottom side; then fold along the white lines on the right and left sides. This should form little pockets on the right and left side of the cover.
  3. Jimmy the right pocket over the front cover of Proof by Seduction; wrap the cover around the book, and then jimmy the left cover over the back cover of Proof by Seduction.
  4. For those who are extra-conscious of security, four pieces of tape can be used to make sure that the book cover does not come off.

The result:

Protective Coloration!
One of these books is read by smart people! The other is only read by people who are intelligent. Can you guess which one is which?

So, what do you think? Let me know–one random commenter will win a copy of A Completely Serious Compendium of Utterly Dire Events, as created using above method.

43 thoughts on “Covering the cover

  1. That is completely winful! I’m addicted to books like yours (I blame my mother) but it’s hard to take them out in public when you’re my age (17). Plus that makes me giggle. :)

  2. Absolute genius!!!! This had me laughing with so much delight. I’ll keep the cover as is, but I’ll have to print out the sepia tone as a keepsake.

    Here’s to a smashingly successful release!

  3. This is totally awesome, Courtney. Bravo for thinking ahead to you the needs of the romance reader.

    I used to cover my romances, totally embarrassed by the covers. Then, one day, I realized EVERYONE at my work KNEW what I was hiding and they would pick them up and read them at random bookmark points. I stopped caring somewhere along that path, not sure where, but no more embarrassment. Not even when I started a new job and had to work with all new people. I’m a proud romance reader, and I’m glad I don’t need to hide my covers (I feel for the women working with children).

    PS I LOVE your cover.

  4. Bwahaha. Trust you to come up with a tongue-in-cheek solution to an oft-voiced problem: “But HOW can I be seen with THIS in public?”

    A debut release on the first day of the decade…What an awesome beginning!

  5. A good idea! Some of the best books have the most embarrassing covers. Up until a few years ago my local RWA chapter had cloth book covers (with cute ribbon page markers) for sale, and so I have a few of those around the house somewhere, along with a faux leather one I bought at some bookstore back in the far past. But now that I get about half my new books on Kindle, I don’t have to worry about these kind of things 50% of the time. // Great luck with your release!

  6. Just printed out the “cover”. Love it!

    I confess that I’ve previously used giftwrap to cover a book to read on a plane–but this is sheer genius. I don’t think I’ll be using the cover for Proof, though–hope to get my copy in the next couple of days so it will get read while I’m still at home for the New Year holiday (in between watching college football!)

    Congratulations on a successful debut! Looking forward to many, many more books! I’ve started a Courtney Milan shelf on my bookstand!

  7. Hahahaha! I’m at work so I can’t download it right now but the jacket amuses me immensely. I’ll definitely have to print a copy or two or three for my ‘shocking’ book covers!

  8. LOL! I love it! I may have to print out the sepia toned cover just because I like it, but I’ll probably read the book in its unaltered state. I’m developing a newfound appreciation for tweaking the sensibilities of people at my gym.

  9. This sure would have come in handy in high school! I can still clearly remember trying to hide the front covers of my books with textbooks, sitting as far away as possible from the “cool people” who didn’t read anything, much less romance novels!

    Now, I work at a church! This cover will be put to good use.

  10. Rofl… I like it. Properly dire and the sepia tones are a stroke of genius. Can’t say I’m much bothered by what others think of my reading choices, but I have to admit I get a tad uncomfy when folks on the plane try to read with me on my 505… I find that just plain rude.

  11. Brilliant!

    I’ve solved the problem though. I’ve ordered your book for my iPhone via Amazon for Kindle. Problem solved. People will think I’m playing that high minded Scrabble game. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. What an amazingly creative and makes-me-smile idea! I don’t like people staring at my covers anyway. It makes me feel naked…or something. DON’T STARE AT MY COVERS YOU STRANGE OUTSIDE PEOPLE WHO MOSTLY DON’T READ ANYWAY! Tee. Just kidding…mostly.

  13. Too, too funny! And awesomely clever! You must be a whiz at photoshop.

    I thought I’d gotten over worrying about what strangers thought of romance covers back in my category writing days, but have to admit that I’m happy my publisher is going back to scenic covers from the hottie bare chested Spec Ops guys because I’d get the same response as you. Some people loved the covers, others thought they’d be embarrassed to read them in public. I’ve never understood how a gruesome dead body’s okay, but anything reflecting romance or sex can be looked down on. Jayne Ann Krentz once said that it took a brave woman to read a romance on a plane.

    Like Jaci, I’ve solved any cover concerns with my kindle. Though I do sort of miss being able to “advertise” friends’ books when reading in public. Oh, nearly forgot to say — yours is a beautiful cover!

  14. I admit I’m nervous when I hold a clinch-cover in public. I love your solution, but I use a 1911 in a shoulder harness under my jacket to scare away offending eye-rolling. Works every time!

  15. You, dear author, are an absolute doll. Thank you for thinking of your readers and their poor reputations. ;D Also, nice use of Scriptina. ๐Ÿ˜€

  16. I love it! Now if I can only get around to actually getting my new computer hooked up to my printer I can maybe print it out. Though I’ve never felt the need to cover any of my books, and I think the cover of your book is gorgeous.

  17. I must be utterly shameless as the only time I’ve ever covered my book covers was when I wanted to protect them from abuse. I tend to keep my books a loooooong time.

    For those who do have issues, though, this is a wonderful solution!

  18. So clever! Love the critical acclaim: “strung together with the wizardry and prowess you might expect from an Excel Spreadsheet”. LOL Am I wrong to suspect that one came from Mr. Milan? Ha. Congratulations on your release day tomorrow, and wonderful your dear friends and fellow authors will be there with you!

  19. I had set this post to go live early in the morning, and I wake up and there are a bazillion comments on it already! Yay! Happy New Year’s Eve, blogland!

    Ahem.

    GrowlyCub, I absolutely hate people who think that what I read on the plane is their business. HELLO.

    Tammy, that line is ninety-nine percent Courtney. Mr. Milan did provide constructive criticism; he advised me to delete the word “Microsoft.”

    For everyone, I have gotten over my one-time embarrassment with sexy covers, but I remember it well, and I figured, why not have fun with it? :) Thanks so much; glad you enjoyed it.

  20. Oh, this made me laugh! I just recently started reading romance and have had some uncomfortable moments in bookstores sidling over to the romance section. Sometimes I can’t being myself buy the ones with the extra-lusty covers.

    I made my own version of your book cover with an old Elizabeth George paperback and an exacto knife plus two paper clips. And why is it that paperback murder mysteries are acceptable but love stories are not–anyone? I’m excited to print out your cover and use it until I get the courage to carry my books in public naked–or finally spring for the Kindle ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. I like to quilt (with a sewing machine) and took a class on making quilted bookcovers as a gift idea. The bookcovers look great and have built-in ribbon bookmarks. Problem solved!

    I don’t have a problem with people seeing what I read (I love the cover of PbS!) and never actually use the bookcovers (as I said, they’re intended for gifts), but can understand how it could be awkward in certain environments. . .which brings to mind my favorite book cover ever (the one I hid from my dad as a teen)–Johanna Lindsey’s Tender is the Storm. It had a naked hero on the cover, with his relevant bits hidden by the heroine’s clothed bosom. The book remains one of my favorites (not just for the cover!), as it had a twist I never suspected at the end and a hero I loved.

  22. This is funny.. thanks for the cover download, will have to give some copies to friends since I won’t need it.
    I think the cover is beautiful, and she has more clothing than a lot of the covers I’ve seen. It doesn’t matter to me though. I don’t hide the covers. Figure my desktop pictures are usually pretty close to nude men if they aren’t completely nude, and I don’t hide them. Plus if my older brother can read Janet Evanovich’s older romance books in the Dr. office w/out hiding the covers I should be able to do the same with my books…
    Congrats on the new release, and the beautiful cover.. The cover Gods have obviously smiled on you.

  23. I have 2 words: my Kindle.

    I personally love your cover.

    I’ve never been embarassed by people seeing the cover of what I’m reading, romance or no. Not since I was in high school and my biology textbook had a somewhat (for the time) racy cover.

  24. Perfect! Except you need to change your name to “Court Milan” so onlookers will be assured that this book is truly serious and not one of those fake-serious books written by women.

  25. Hee

    In the leering department, I was on the bus reading an excellent romantic suspense by the name of ‘Naked Once More’ with a clothed woman sitting at a desk working on a computer on the cover. A twenty-something man across the aisle asked me about it – and yes, he did leer. And seemed disappointed when I explained the title referred to a another book title in the story, not nudity among the characters.

    P.S. I no longer commute, so I wouldn’t need the services of the Compendium cover. Though I agree it is suitably sepia and smoke-belcherating as to inspire respect. :)

  26. Hilarious!

    Loved the book, by the way. I read it yesterday in one highly satisfying go. Now get me a new book stat so I can buy it.

  27. This is awesome!
    I have never really been embarrassed by covers, mostly because I never really cared what people thought of what I read – it is none of their business. But I think that “A Completely Serious Compendium of Utterly Dire Events” sounds like a frightfully interesting book and would love to have a copy. =)

  28. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome-Sauce!

    I think it’s funny how all these discriminators say, “At least my kid is reading (Harry Potter, Twilight, etc.)” Then they turn around and glare at romance like it’s filth. Hello, at least I’m reading, they’re probably getting fat watching 10 hours of CNN a day (Apologizes to stock brokers, TV engineers, and others who watch TV for work).

  29. This is wonderful! The comments on the fake cover are very funny. I’m in a very technical field and most of my colleagues are male, so I usually have second thoughts about bringing my books to read for lunch break. I wouldn’t want them ogling at the cover. ๐Ÿ˜€ This is helpful!

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