Is your book cover too gender specific? Try Mauren Johnson’s coverflip challenge

Yesterday author Maureen Johnson had this to say on Twitter:

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This prompted her to suggest to her followers a “coverflip” challenge: taking the cover of a book and reversing its gender — in the way that books are traditionally marketed towards one gender or another.

Her 77,000 followers rose the challenge and came up with some amazing cover juxtapositions that highlight exactly what’s wrong with the way that book covers are designed and marketed towards women. Here’s an example:Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 2.57.41 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 2.57.35 PM

On the right is the original cover of Heist Society by Ally Carter. On the left is the coverflip as imagined by Rosianna. Note that not only was the cover changed, but so was the name of the author — from one that’s traditionally female to a similar one that reads as more male.

Johnson went to the Huffington Post to speak more about this impromptu campaign. Check out the article there, which contains more examples of coverflipping to sift through.

Obviously as a self-publisher, you’re not going to be able to break ground in the same way that an author with a lot of financial support can. You may decide that a very gendered cover might be the way to go to attract your target audience. However, play around with the cover a little bit and see what removing those traditionally female markers might do, or vice versa if your cover is more neutral — it might surprise you how differently your book is treated!

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