Guest Post by Heath Jacks: Heads Are Gonna Roll! The Trend of Headless Women Book Covers

      Today's guest writer is Heath Jacks, whom I am proud to say is my father. He is an amateur comedian, and always makes me laugh. We were talking about historical book covers earlier, and he asked if he could write a guest article. I hope you enjoy my dad and his humor!




     Greetings, readers of History From A Woman's Perspective. I am the father of the lovely young woman who writes this blog. I have my own blog, Cancer - The Lighter Side, which takes a lighter, more humorous look at my battle with colon cancer and the ensuing chemotherapy, which I am happy to report is over and all is well. I have written some short stories, and am attempting a longer work called "Walking Dumb". I know you're breathless already in anticipation. Look for it to be self-published posthumously. I am also a former stand-up comic.

     I am writing this guest post after noticing the number of historical fiction novels with covers where the model's head is cut off.  It shows them from the neck down. This topic was asked about in the excellent and informative interview my daughter had with C.W. Gortner (if you missed it, it is still on this site). He basically said that the publishing companies do that for many historical novels, and not just his. I hadn't noticed until after that, but...he was right! There are several covers where the model is depicted with a beautiful dress, arms, neck, and no head! Were they all Marie Antoinette wanna-bes?



     According to Mr. Gortner, the reasoning behind the publishing company's thinking is that they want to show the gown and so forth to give the impression that it is a historical novel, but do not show the face because if it is unpleasant to the potential buyer, they will bypass the book. This struck me as extremely odd. After all, these are models! They are all supposed to be gorgeous, otherwise they would be in a different profession. So why not show their face? Besides, I buy several books myself. I have never once looked at some dude in a business suit on the cover and said to myself, "I don't like his haircut. I think I'll look further."

     The cover models are the ones who get the raw deal here. For one thing, what is the audition process like for the job? 

     "Welcome, Miss Johnson, please change into your shoes and gown. Don't worry about fixing your hair and make-up. Don't forget to put on the grocery bag we'll be placing over your head."

     Another thing, how can the poor model brag to her friends about making the cover of the book?

     "Look, that really IS me! See those arms? Those are MY arms! I can prove it. Look at that freckle, it is in the exact same place as mine!"

     I urge the publishing companies to loosen up, to not be so overly-uptight, and show the entire cover model. Besides, I always had nightmares about people with their heads chopped off by a guillotine and the Headless Horseman. I don't need to see the Headless Model. I do not care how pleasant or unpleasant her face may look, at least she has a face, and I can avoid the nightmares. And, the ultimate point is, let the story be what sells the book, and not the picture on the front. After all, you know what they say..."Never judge a book by its decapitated cover!" 


Comments

  1. Lauralee, I LOVED your father's guest post. Thank you both very much. I had not thought about the headless historical ladies prior to this post, but Heath is perfectly correct, and, as he intimated, it is a little sad. I shall, however, take on board his advice, and I will try not to "...judge a book by its decapitated cover."

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  2. My dad saids he thanks you very much, and is glad that you enjoyed the article.

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  3. This made me laugh! Thanks:)Sandra

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