Vaughn Hardacker here. Last month my publisher, Skyhorse Publishing, forwarded me the proposed cover for my novel THE BLACK ORCHID, slated for release on March 1, 2016. My first impression was: “Wow, what a great cover!” Then I wondered if the story included enough sex to warrant the cover. Nevertheless, I rushed out to post the cover for the world to see on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. In no time the comments came rolling in–every one positive. My agent thought it was quite risqué and possibly it indicated more sexual content than was in the novel (see my reservation above), but it was reminiscent of the noir covers popular in the 1950s and 1960s. We both agreed that if nothing else it would be eye-catching.
Then I got a comment from our own Kate Flora: “Nice cover…I think I’ve seen those legs before.” I assumed Kate was making a joke and didn’t think about it again. Then I got an email from Kate saying “…check out the following link” followed by a link to amazon.com. I followed the link and here’s what I saw!
I immediately spoke with my agency (Talcott Notch Literary Services) and Gina Panetteiri, President and founder, explained that publishers often purchase the rights to artwork from agencies, they then obtain the right to change it to suit their needs. She went on to say that it is not uncommon for this situation to arise.
I then contacted the publisher and sent them a copy of the link and they informed me that they would redo the cover. The irony of this situation is that Kate and I are represented by the same agent and she recently signed a publication contract with the very same publisher for her book, A Good Man with a Dog. While similar covers may not be a major issue, I wondered what the effect might be if the two authors were with the same publishing house (although the books are with different houses and Kate’s book was released in 2011 as the fifth of her Thea Kozak series).
I think this must be one of those psychic events we often hear about. If Kate and I were not personal friends (both in life and online) and if we were not colleagues this might have gone unnoticed. But what is the probability that two authors in the same publishing house and represented by the same agent would have books utilizing the same cover artwork!
So, now I’m waiting for the publisher to redo the cover so I can send out a correction post along with the new cover.
You will never guess what’s on Amazon though–yup the duplicated cover!