I’ve been working with a collaborator on a cover for Pilgrimage. It’s coming along nicely. And what’s more, it’s original – as in, it is being created just for the book. Apparently, that is not always the case.
Okay, so let’s back up.
I’m not big on fan fiction, except as a diversion. Sometimes it is fun to do just as an exercise but I don’t take it a serious literary output. This is different that doing an homage, where you pay tribute to the awesomeness of another writer but populate your work with, you know, you’re own work, not theirs. I guess there is also a sub-genre of fan-fiction featuring real-life people (mostly celebrities) in, uhm, erotica. Again, I should not surprised.
Enter A Gronking to Remember, by Lacey Noonan, which is a 68-page tale about a woman with a sexual obsession with New England Patriots tight end Ron Gronkowski. Now the title makes sense, doesn’t it?
(Muse: It makes something, all right.)
Yeah. Anyway, so based on what I have said, you might have already pre-formed an idea of the quality of subject matter before you read the first page. I did and sadly, expectation matched reality. (As an aside, here is a clip of Ron Gronkowski reading an excerpt on Jimmy Kimmel Live. It’s mildly amusing.)
But this is where it gets interesting. Evidently, the couple originally featured on the cover of the book was unaware that is was used so and ended up suing Noonan, Amazon, and other e-book distributors for unlawful use of their image. (The legal aspects are covered here.) The image has since been replaced on Amazon, at least, with another photo.
This all got me rubbing my chin when thinking about my own cover. This becomes another stumbling block on the road to self-publishing. What if your cover designer gets you in hot water over a photo? Or lifts the artwork from someone else? Big publishing houses have the machinery to protect against these issues but an author on their own may not – and may not even know where to turn.
Fortunately, I have total trust in my cover designer (my sister) that I won’t run afoul of this trap. But it was a sobering moment, for sure.
I mean, if campy erotica isn’t safe, are any of us?