By now, most everyone in the writing blogosphere (or more specifically, the children's writing blogosphere) has read/heard about the flack over the cover of Justine Larbalestier's newest title, LIAR. I haven't read her book yet, but I'm gonna throw in my 2 cents anyway. Also, there is a wide barrage of comments at Editorial Anonymous, the blog where I first read about this.
Apparently, the protagonist of the story is a black female who wears her hair in a short natural (sort of like a low-cut afro, I'm assuming, but correct me if I'm wrong) style. Okay. I get that. But that is not what's portrayed on the cover. So what I want to know is: how can the publisher be so misleading to such an impressionable audience as to which this book is marketed? I, for one, am baffled. I mean, I know most authors don't have much say as to what's portrayed on the cover. But did the Bloomsbury marketing department, like, not read any of the book, or what? Hmmmm . . .
Thankfully, the author has spoken out on this terrible occurrence. Here are her thoughts. And I applaud her for her fantastically brave post.
One more thing. Now, I don't mean to go on and on about this, but when Justine said in her post, "Every year at every publishing house, intentionally and unintentionally, there are white-washed covers," I found that kind of scary. And then I thought, well, if it can happen to her, it could happen to any one of us children's writers, but maybe--okay, probably--to me moreso as an African American writer. I mean, I have an idea for a contemporary YA novel with a multicultural cast of characters and I'm wondering now how that cover would be portrayed if the protagonist were a person of color. Then, as I read more of what Justine heard from editors & sales reps, I wondered if I should even bother querying agents or even continue writing. But . . . I quickly dismissed those thoughts, because, you know what? I like a challenge (for what it's worth, I went to both a very competitive high school & college, so I guess it's ingrained in me now). But even more than that . . . I LOVE to write! So come what may . . . I'm still in the game!
Okay . . . I hope I haven't been too outspoken here . . .