Saturday, August 18, 2007

Double Take!

While browsing the Internet the other day I came across an interesting book cover. The title is The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison and a fine cover it is too. I did a double take though because I've seen an incarnation of this cover before. It was one of the prototypes - sans dog - for The Scarlet Lion. I rejected it because the heroine of The Scarlet Lion begins the novel as a 27 year old mother of four and is a powerful, confident woman, whereas the cover they had given me was of a much younger, less assured person in a dress that looks too big for her round the lower half.
Further investigation of The Princess and the Hound, shows a background 'wallpaper' of little 'balled crosses'. This was the original background for my novel The Champion, but I said it looked exactly like the wallpaper in my study. I even took a digicam photo of the latter and sent it to my publishers to prove the point. The 'wallpaper' was duly airbrushed out. The diamond-pane window is also featured in various incarnations in both The Greatest Knight and The Scarlet Lion. All the images are by renowned cover artist Larry Rostant and what a publisher doesn't buy is open for recycling. I think it's very interesting the way the components have been remodeled. Waste not, want not!

For The Scarlet Lion as it is now, see the sidebar.


Kemberlee said...

I've seen several books where the whole cover is copied, not just bits and pieces. I find that very balsy, as they were done through the same publisher with only a year or so separating the releases. One year I was visiting a bookstore back in the US which had a section for all new romance releases for that month. No fewer than five covers had a castle on the cover...the same castle...Eilan Donan. They used different angles, but it was the same castle. Worse, two of the books were Irish set romances and Eilan Donan is a Scottish castle. Poor research I'd say...probably in both instances. I love your covers though. They're unique and beautiful.

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Hi Kemberlee,
Ages since I've talked to you - I need more time!
Yes, I know Mills & Boon recycle their covers on a regular basis. Were the five castle covers from the same publisher? Or perhaps the publishers used the same photographer, or public domain images. I had a Scottish castle on my first ever paperback for The Wild Hunt. On the American version of the same it was a fantasy castle and the hero was in plate armour! I suppose some readers like yourself would notice but most would probably think 'Oh a castle - pretty!' and not care where it was.
I'm fortunate that I have a consultation say in my novels, but I still don't have the final word - that's down to my publishers and I have to hope that they know what they're doing! Somehow with this one on the first draft, the info hadn't got through that the heroine wasn't a teenager!

Anne Gilbert said...

I rather liked that first cover you rejected, even if the heroine seemed a bit too young and not self-assured enough. But you have to expect "recycled" cover art, I think. I mean, nowadays, if they can't do anything else, they can use Photoshop. . . .
Anne G

Kemberlee said...

Hi there,

I had a whole reply done and Blogger deleted it on send. [grumble]

Basically, it was a long, long time ago so I can't remember the publisher of the books with Eilan Donan on the covers, but Berkely/Jove was really popular back then and seemed to dominate the romance shelves, so it could have been there coves. The photos didn't seem to be the same photographer. They didn't have the same look. Back then they didn't manipulate images as much as they do now. It was just the same castle from different angles in different lighting.
Speaking of castles, we're heading back to Wales for a little more than two weeks next month...a week in the north and a week in Hay, and a few days on each end. We SO can't wait =-) Are you doing any research, lectures or playing in Wales at that time?

Anita Davison said...

Just caught up on your blog: I notice when the cover of the girl in the green dress you rejected was used again, they took on board your comments about the dress being too baggy and manipulated it to remove the girl's arm and slim down the skirt. And you were right, it looks much better in its second incarnation. They are beautiful pictures though and if I can earn my publisher some loot, they might employ this artist on my next book.

Anonymous said...

This book was recently released in my country, Portugal:

It's by a Portuguese author and I was surprised to see the image used is the same as in The Greates Knight.

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Ana, many thanks for this. I was shocked and surprised and I've forwarded the url to my publishers who are now investigating the issue and considering their response. I'll report back on what happens, but they are not happy.

Anonymous said...

When I first caught sight of this book in Portuguese bookstores I thought your book had been translated but then I noticed it was a different title and thought I'd confused both images.
The other day I borrowed Afonso, o Conquistador from a friend and today I received The Greatest Knight in the mail so I could see the image was indeed the same minus the symbol.
A friend mentioned your blog and I thought you'd like to know about it!

Elizabeth Chadwick said...

I am so glad you did alert me to this and so are my publishers. I have been told that if the agency in charge of the design has sold it on to another publisher, they are not supposed to do so. If the image has been stolen, then there's a royalty issue at stake to Larry Rostant the designer. Whatever happens it's hot water for someone!
It has implications for me if The Greatest Knight is bought for Portuguese publication which is not unlikely. Italy has used quite legitimately, the UK cover for The Greatest Knight - except they've changed the title to The Scarlet Lion! But to have a different book by a different author and only one change to the cover re the blazon is a bit naughty. Even if it turns out not be illegal, it's certainly unethical!
Thank you again!

Anonymous said...

Thats appaling that someone has copied a cover form your book Elizabeth.How dare they dp such a thing to the greatest author of historical fiction.prehaps i should visit him and slap him and the guy who let him copy it heehee.Oh sorry for the long Email i've just sent