Friday, June 9, 2017

Confusing Front Matter Verbiage

Recently, I opened a new book - newly published, I should say, since I've been reading a lot of old books recently - and in the front matter there was a weird disclaimer that went something like 'images of people on the cover are not meant to represent the characters in this book'.  Or something.  I don't remember the exact verbiage.  It just struck me as weird.  For more reasons than one.

First off, from what I recalled, there were no images of people on this cover. So I scrolled back to look at the cover again and sure enough, there were no pictures of people on the cover - just objects in a room.  Which made the verbiage even weirder.

Then I thought about the disclaimer again.  People pictured on the cover of a book but not meant to be images of the characters?  Wha? 

Who the hell are the images meant to represent then?  It's a head-scratcher, lemme tell ya.

This was from an imprint of one of the BIG FIVE publishers, mind you.  Which makes me wonder if there was some kind of litigious activity beforehand on one of their other covers that made them feel like they needed to put that verbiage in all of their novels henceforth.

I mean, I can see sorta some kind of verbiage that says something about the images on the cover aren't meant to represent real persons, living or dead, yada yada yada.  People will sue over any perceived slight these days.  But for them to say the images aren't meant to represent the fictitious characters in a book you're about to read?  Nope, still can't wrap my brain around that one.

I have heard of authors getting screwed by big publishers when the people on the cover don't look anything like the characters they're meant to represent, but I would assume that would be something between the writer and the publisher, and wouldn't require a disclaimer.  Unless the author insisted the publisher put one in so the readers know the difference between the description and the art are not the author's fault.  But this was a book without people on the cover.  Derp.

So confusing.

Maybe someone used boilerplate text without reading it first.  Which would be a damn shame because one would hope people would be more conscientious about their jobs than that.  (Not that I haven't almost kinda sorta done the copy-paste-oops thing.  I caught it before I uploaded it, though.)

I dunno.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, readers are really funny when the person/couple/people on a cover don't match either the description given by the author or by the conceived description in the reader's own imagination. People sue at the drop of a _________. (fill in the blank with object being sued over). And the Big Boys aren't immune to dumb mistakes. I have one on the teaser snippet page of my July book. The wrong title is listed. Ah well. They can fix it in the ebook but not the print version. Hopefully, people will skip that page.