I had this little idea on Twitter today. I have lots of little ideas on Twitter. And I have no doubt that this idea has been had before, because it’s that kind of idea. But it’s also the kind of idea worth repeating.

It started like this. I made a comment along the lines of, “Okay, Publishing. I get it. You want me to be a dude. That’s the message you’ve been sending me.” Why would I say something like this? Oh, for a MYRIAD of reasons. I got reasons out the wazoo.

I also know the grass is always greener, etc., and lots of guy writers are thinking, ‘Things are not so great for us, you know.’ This is because things are usually easy or constantly fantastic for most writers. Most of you reading this like books, but lots of people don’t read much. Sometimes, trying to sell a book is about as easy as trying to sell a dead snake. So the casual reader goes by the package, the overall PRESENTATION of the thing. What’s the cover like? Where is it in the store? Is this book supposed to be for me? What’s a book? Do I eat it? 


We could (and have) discussed many issues in this male/female book issue, but today, let’s just think about covers. And let’s have a CONTEST! It’s called COVERFLIP. It works like this.

1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.)

2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. Or a genderqueer author. Imagine all the things you think of when you think GIRL book or BOY book or GENDERLESS book (do they EXIST?). And I’m not saying that these categorizations are RIGHT—but make no mistake, they’re there.

I’ll put up one of my own covers as an example (because it doesn’t feel right to use someone else’s, in case they want no part of this discussion).* This is The Key to the Golden Firebird. It’s about three sisters who are dealing with the sudden death of their father. May, the middle sister, is trying to hold her family together and learn how to drive. This is the cover.


Now, as a mental exercise, imagine I’m Maurice Johnson. The book has the same exact topic. Does the cover look like this?

You get the point, I think.

3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip.

4. I’ll be looking at them all, along with Huffington Post Books. They will put up a GALLERY of the best ones, and I’ll pick one winner to get a PRIZE PACK of signed books by me, along with whatever else I find in my house and shove in the envelope.


Remember to POST with #coverflip. That’s how we’ll find it.

* CRITICAL NOTE: 98% of authors don’t make or choose their covers. (Self-publishing, I know you do. I mean published with publishers.)