Art Critic for a Day – Part 2

Last week a publisher asked me to post a proposed cover for A Twist of Grimm, a collection of gay fairy tales, to get your opinion on whether you would buy a book with that cover. Many of you who commented on the post, linked here, hated it.

The publisher listened to your critiques and came up with an alternative cover that is on the left. I would appreciate it if the same critics who commented on the previous version would take a look at this cover and give their thumbs up or thumbs down. Others can comment if they wish – the more the merrier.

As mentioned before, the publisher will award a free a copy of the book to a reader who left a comment, when A Twist of Grimm is published in the summer.

Thanks everyone.


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • Guys

    I think Steve has a lot to work with now that you have given him your opinions. Based on your comments this definitely seems to be a better cover than the last one, and if he wants to make a few minor modifications then it’s up to him.

    Thanks for commenting everyone. Your input and time are appreciated.

  • I saw the original cover, and thought it looked like some kindergarten group project. This one is much, much better!
    In contrast to many others who wrote in this post, I don’t mind the naked torsos. This is about “gay-twisted” fairytales, isn’t it? The nudies look a bit fairytale-like to me.
    I like the wicked eye of this leather-clad guy. Mischievous, like many of the original Grimm heroes. Granted, although I don’t like adapted fairytales (not even if they’re adapted to be gay erotica), if I came across this book, I’d pick it and have a closer look for the cover alone.
    Note/ Niggle: the subtitle. Why don’t they simply put it “Erotic Fairy Tales OF gay men”? All offense for the (straight) female readership remedied, and very similar meaning.

  • Much better! I agree with the above that the tagline should be changed to Gay Erotic Fairytales. Also, get rid of the naked male torsoes in the upper right. The number of books I’ve passed over because of the steriotypical male torso is staggering.

    Perhaps the castle can be made more prominant to further evoke the fairytale theme. The previous cover was a bunch of elements of the classic fairytales, perhaps an element needs to be borrowed. A raven, owl, spinning wheel with whisps of magic being spun out of it and entangling either the castle or something else. Either way, remember, you can’t please everyone. And I am looking foward to this book! ^-^

    • According to Bert of ASP Wholesale, any gay erotica cover that lacks a naked torso fails to sell to gay bookstores.

      • According to this site,any gay erotica cover that shows a naked torso fails to sell to women.We`re the majority.:)
        ( We´re speaking about selling)

        • You’re not the majority of Lethe Press readers:

          a) Lethe Press does a lot of business with gay bookstores. Straight women do not buy books there.

          b) ISO book club told me that they rarely buy gay male-oriented books written by women because their male members don’t like them.

          c) at conferences like Saints & Sinners, the number of women who attend vs. gay men is a tiny fraction,

          d) we have several books on the bestsellers list of TLA; I doubt many are bought by women.

          Why would a gay-owned and operated press want to change their target readership away from gay men?

          Sorry. If women buy our books, great, but I’m aiming to win the hearts and cockles of gay men first and foremost. And some Lammies.

  • After seeing the original cover design and comparing it to this one, the new cover gives the impression that the publisher is taking this compilation of stories seriously and putting their best effort out to stand behind the product. I would feel confident in assuming that this book is being professionally produced and that I’m not going to be slogging through spelling and grammar mistakes when I read it.

    I really like the steampunk feel to this cover, and the old west flavour from the font on the book title. Those things combined with the more sophisticated imagery and colour choices, and the clever title, give me the impression that the stories will be darker, more sensual and that they’ll take the fairy tale genre down new and interesting paths.

    I’ll mention that I don’t usually buy erotica, but I’d make an exception for this book. The cover indicates that the erotica will engage my brain and imagination, instead of just going for cheap thrills.

    I haven’t gotten on the e-book bandwagon, but if this book is coming out in print, I’ll absolutely be buying it.

  • I was one of the ones who didn’t like the first cover. This one is much better. The goggles give it a steampunk look, but that’s okay. I’m always going to like a photo-realistic cover better than a stylized drawing, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. 😉

  • Still pretty busy. Give a cute guy in a medieval tunic a beanstalk to hold with both hands and lean against, and maybe a raven giving him the beady eye from the upper right. You can get the gay, fairytale, and erotic message across with a lot less than this. And please don’t use the title to tell me I’m only welcome to buy the book if I pretend a y chromosome — I buy a lot of books.

  • I disliked the first cover and this one is not much better. The cover is much to dark and depressing. Just putting two naked men in the back does not make an erotic cover. Finally the boy/man on the cover is more a face from a member of the pop group Tokyo Hotel than a hero from an erotic novel. Quite frankly I do not understand what the publisher is trying to achieve. Ok, he wants to sell a story that he believes in (I hope so) but…please do your home work and do some research into straight and gay covers of historical novels, paranormal novels,… which are strong and modern with hot men and not some stock photo from a photo library.

    • Mirko, considering how many titles Lethe has published, I think I’ve done a bit of “homework” with gay titles. It’s very tough to find an apt cover for a book that is both fantastical and erotic. If you think you can do better…


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