Anyway, I mentioned on this blog right here when I was talking about designing covers how I'd seen where one person used the exact same cover as a book already published (by a real I-don't-think-small-time publisher) and when I alerted the "indie" author she just decried my "negativity" and also tried to say hers was different. Well, yes, SLIGHTLY different. Since you probably don't remember, here's the images side-by-side.
If there's one thing you should know about Grumpy Bulldogs, it's that they do not let a bone go easily. So now that this "indie" author is going around rolling out her new book with her copycat cover, I can't help but complain about it. When my comment got pulled on someone's blog (incidentally someone whose book I plugged yesterday...) I decided to air my grievance on Goodreads with a one-star review.
|Go ahead, try to take this bone from me!|
And so let the whining begin! The gist of it is the six-year-old's defense of "everyone else is doing it!" To which what did your mom or dad always say: If everyone else jumped off [whatever bridge or tall building] would you?" That is not a valid excuse.
And she says "I didn't know in advance!" Well no, but you DID know over two months ago when I first saw the thing on Twitter or a blog and complained about it then. So, you've had since late January or early February to make the change. "But that's too hard!" Child, please. You know how many covers I've made? Dozens. The hardest part is finding another image but after that it's just cropping it, resizing it, and putting text on it. It only takes an hour or two and costs about $10. We're not talking brain surgery.
I expect a lot of people though would side with her and say, "Well, what's the harm?" The harm to me is that someone else was already using that image to promote her book. It's already all over Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc. It's in stores. When she does a book signing that would be on any promotional materials like posters and such. So that's the face she's presenting to the world and you're usurping it. You might as well copy what's inside the book while you're at it.
It's one of those issues where I suppose LEGALLY there's probably not an issue. I mean if the photographer puts it on a stock photo site then there's probably nothing the publisher of the first book can do. Especially when you darken it and crop it differently so you can say it's not EXACTLY the same. Maybe Briane Pagel can provide some insight into that. The point is just because it's probably LEGAL, doesn't mean it's ETHICAL. If you really respect other authors then you don't copy their books--the text or the cover.
That's my issue about the whole thing: it's disrespectful to the first author to mimic their cover and claim it as your own. As I said, you wouldn't copy their text, so why do you think it's OK to copy their cover?
Now then, you probably still don't believe me, so I took the liberty to usurp YOUR covers with MY book. Let's see how you like it now!
|Formerly "Dead Links" by Nigel Mitchell|
|Formerly "A Dead God's Wrath" by Rusty Webb|
|Formerly "The After" by Briane Pagel|
|Formerly "Monorama" by Tony Laplume|
|Formerly "Cassafire" by Alex Cavanaugh|
|Formerly "The House on the Corner" by Andrew Leon|
|Formerly "New Pride" by Laura Diamond|
|Formerly "Slipstream" by Michael Offutt|
Last and certainly least:
Yes, someone released a book a couple weeks ago with a hero called The Scarlet Knight. But I can't be too annoyed since it's not really that unique of a name. I mean Rutgers uses that name for their teams, so he/she could claim that's where it came from. Still, it creates a total "Ghostbusters" cartoon series thing where back in the 80s there was a Ghostbusters series based on the movies and then some crappy series that also called itself "Ghostbusters" and so the movie-based one changed its name to "The REAL Ghostbusters" and remained that way long after the other was off the air. So maybe I should alter my cover to "Tales of the REAL Scarlet Knight."
Anyway, if you want to respect other authors in this great fraternity of writers and if you don't want to look like a jackass, then don't copy another cover. And if you do find out that someone beat you to it, then be big enough to change yours. If you're an "indie" author it's not that freaking difficult.
BTW, go look at my covers on Planet 99 Publishing and if you can find where someone else used an image on their book that came out before mine, I will be happy to change it.
Tomorrow, witness the birth of the REAL Scarlet Knight action figure!