Monday, November 21, 2005

SB Day: "Maybe he's compensating for something?" and Ellora's Cave

(Warning: This entry may not be appropriate for at work viewing)

It’s Smart Bitches Day and I’ve been knitting, a futile exercise to be sure. I’m trying to learn to do a drop stitch using microfiber and new needles.

Ask me how many times I’ve had to rip this scarf out. Go on, ask me. I dare you.

And then I dare me to remember because I lost count after the fifth time.

Argh! Why am I too stubborn to learn on normal yarn? Why must I be attracted to the pretty and the difficult?

Why must this translate into other areas of my life?

Er, anyway, enough about me, let’s get to some bitchery. Specifically Ellora’s Cave bitchery, because Jaid—may I call you Jaid?—we’ve got to talk about your company’s covers. ‘Cause their current state?

I. Can’t. Sell.

I can’t. Sure the copies aren’t collecting dust on my shelves—they’re very well thumbed through—but they sure as hell aren’t walking out my doors (after a legal purchase). Instead they are taking up much needed space that I could be using for something that does sell.

Something with a cover that is a wee bit less explicit (and seriously, get that man to a hospital because it looks like he had a run in with a woman named Lorena).

And I’m not being Miss Censorship, all hail Big Brother, over here. I’m being a business woman who knows my clients, and they aren’t buying. This is pure book whore speaking.

At my old store, the one in the ‘burbs, your company is doing great. Fantastic. You’ve got two whole bays devoted to your books, face-outs galore. In the Midwest stores I hear that they’ve practically built an alter in your name. I know that my local suburban store has woman pounding on the doors for the Tuesday new releases. Those are the people who take home multiply copies in their opaque white bags, so they can read each page at home at their leisure.

My store? Nary a demand from the customers. Why?

I’ve explained. It’s the covers.

My store is in an urban area, boxed in by the transit station. I’ve got trains running East and West and buses running North and South. I’ve got the courthouse three blocks away. I’m surrounded by office buildings. I sell books to people who need something for their lunch break, the train, the bus, or the jury pool. The book is there to help them get home, not as something that necessitates privacy.

This is not something a woman wants to be waving around our in public.

The first time one of your books shocked even me it was due to the unexpected. It came in a box marked inter-company transfer from another store. It was early in the morning, and I was still half asleep when I opened the box to find this.

I screamed just a little, followed it with a quick “Oh-my-God-what-the-fuck?”, and dropped the book back in the box. While I considered the fact that I might have to file a sexual harassment suit against the male manager that had sent them over, my boss came running up to see what was wrong.

“Did you cut yourself?”

“No. Look!” I pointed to the box. Silly woman reached right in and pulled the book out completely.

“Oh my God!” She dropped it too. “You just don’t expect to see that first thing in the morning.”

“Not unless you went to sleep with it the night before.”

Another coworker arrived, male, and wanted to know what we were staring at. We told him that it might constitute sexual harassment if we showed him. He waved all legal claims.

His thoughts upon viewing?

“Where’s the hair? There’s absolutely no hair? Was he born that way or does he shave his balls with that sword? Talk about hard to maneuver.”

“I think that the sword it supposed to signify something,” I told him.

“What? That he’s compensating for something?”

His guess was as good as any, only the cover artist knows for sure, and they’ll never tell.

Whatever the reason for the big sword or the cover at all, Jaid, I currently can’t get your product to move. Maybe that will change. Maybe people will loosen up when it comes to the covers of their reading material. Maybe this new audio book deal you’ve got going will work out well, so people can listen to their reading choices without the advertisement of the cover. Of course, having someone overhear what you’re listening to on the bus could bring about a whole new set of problems, but after the books leave my store they’re not my problem.

Just refrain from putting this on your audio book cover and we’ll all be fine (and perhaps more profitable). *

*Apologies if this does not live up to former entries, this knitting project will be the death of me.


Candy said...


I just squeal-laughed and scared the shit out of my cats and probably my neighbors. Shit, it scared me. The sound went something me "Meeeee-heeeheeeheheee!"

Manaconda. Aieeee.

Kate R said...

re: manaconda.
Did you know that snakes have hemipenes? as in two penises? Kind of like their tongues. I wonder if that's why there's a sudden surge in snakey men stories. And snakes also have spikes on their penes, which goes nicely with the popular BDSM trend.

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. It does things to the brain.

Bookwormom said...

Thanks, ladies for the snake anatomy lesson. Not that I really wanted to know.

As to EC- I refuse to buy them because the covers suck. Some of the worst graphics known to womankind. I won't call them art because they aren't. AT. ALL.

You know, it's sad really. EC is missing quite a bit of $$$. I know quite a few high dollar book-a-holics who won't buy EC books for the same reason. The covers.

Bookseller Chick said...

Candy--I squeed to when I saw it. I couldn't help it. I was all: Must. Use. Somehow!!!

Kate--you are not supposed to inhale your cleaning supplies while watching animal planet, apparently it's bad for you. Thanks for the information now, I may have to rethink my love of snakes. Two penes, can blood be diverted in that many directions at once?

Amanda--If you want to read them, buy them electronically. Not only are they cheaper, but then you can avoid looking at the cover for any length of time. There are some good stories out there, and because they aren't as bound by traditionality, you've got some really intriguing plots. But yeah, the covers have got to go. I have nothihng against sexually explicit art, but posers? Are evil. And wrong. And should not be used by just anyone with a computer and photoshop.

Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side. At least it wasn't a set of bagpipes. (Of course, that might very well be appropriate on a science fiction novel. Those guys on Proxima Centari are SOMETHIN')

Kate R said...

yeah, they do let you get a little odder than other pubs. I have an EC coming out that was inspired by a mrs. giggles rant. I based my first one on a late night commercial.

Bookseller Chick said...

Ooh, Kate, what commercial? And what rant? If I remember correctly your first EC's cover wasn't half-bad, but if this second found its muse in something from Mrs. Giggles, I fully expect some young stud in a speedo to grace the cover ;)

Jason--Don't give me ideas. No. Don't. I can't...oh shit, my mind just went there. Do you know if you can listerine your brain?