As reported in Publishers Weekly, Bloomsbury has replaced the controversial cover for Liar, even going through the trouble and expense of a new photo shoot. Victory is ours!
I’d like to thank the academy...
No, but really I would like to give a tip of the hat to many participants in this campaign.
First of all, us. Bloggers brought the issue out to the forefront with posts like that of Editorial Anonymous. As the controversy became known, bloggers wrote about the problem with support for the author’s honesty and distaste for publisher’s decision. Chasing Ray collected a long list of excerpts from blog posts to make it absolutely clear that this was, indeed, a Big Deal. Now, we’ve proven that bloggers matter and quite a lot.
Justine Larbalestier wrote an amazingly honest and brave post about the cover, saying that she argued for a different representation but ultimately had no say in the decision. I was awed by her courage in speaking out, and appreciated her dilemma in challenging her own title and publisher. With the support she’s received, I know that she will enjoy a best-selling book that is true to her vision. I also suspect that she’ll be branded with a lifelong reputation for the greatest integrity.
Authors win a second look from publishers as a voice on book covers. I don’t expect a final say to be on the table for writers. Not at all. But I do think that publishers may listen a little bit harder when authors speak out about their covers, especially when it involves the color of the character’s skin, or say, a cover that by its very being affects the interpretation of the book to the point where it tears the narrative to shreds. Or something like that.
The victory also goes to authors and illustrators of color who have been fighting against racial bias in cover art for far too long. This particular battle was fought by many amazing book bloggers who focus on books with diversity, but I’m giving the win to Color Online. Through it all her voice was ever present and ever engaging, challenging us to write more, fight harder, and change sooner.
Many, many authors, illustrators, bloggers, and readers contributed their messages, opinions, and support. It made a difference, and hopefully one that will reach even farther than this one book.