I have a stitch in my side after researching this post.

I am obsessed with covers, possibly because I have had so many bad ones foisted on me by publishers through my life. Luckily now that I have Jen Talty at CoolGus producing such brilliant designs for my backlist I can see the funny side these days – well, almost.

But none of my bad covers in the past matched these.

In some cases it’s the misguided concept for the cover or title. In others it’s the idea for the entire book that’s off. I don’t think any of these covers (except the weird one) were meant to be funny. But I just loved them. I hope you do, too.

Oh, and they’re all real books (because there are some kidders out there.)

If you want, click on the picture and it will take you to Amazon or whatever selling point they use. So if you want one for your library, knock yourself out:


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books

I could never understand why this was not a huge bestseller


funny, book covers, books

but were too terrified to ask


funny, book covers, books



funny, book covers, books

I wonder which staff member put their name to the pick of the month?


funny, book covers, books

they discreetly moved the author’s name higher in subsequent reprints but this remains the collector’s edition


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books

this is just so wrong on so many levels …


funny, book covers, books

just as Robert Louis Stevenson imagined it. A pirate with a wooden leg riding a bike across the high seas


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books

a Jekyl and Hyde cover. In the eBook there are new assets


funny, book covers, books

from a more innocent time


funny, book covers, books


funny, book covers, books

taking off from their airbase on the Great Wall of China


funny, book covers, books


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Warbaby, Colin Falconer

And here’s the cover for my latest release, WARBABY.

I’m pretty sure with CoolGus designing the covers I won’t end up on any list like this.

Read about WARBABY here or find it on Amazon, Kobo or Nook.


About colinfalconer

author of bestselling historical novels like Anastasia, When We Were Gods, Aztec and Harem. My books have been published in the UK, US and ANZ and translated into seventeen languages.
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  1. filbio says:

    OMG – some of these are hysterical! What were they thinking? Thanks for the good laugh!


  2. LOL…the stepmother one is REALLY creepy. The rest would fall under both categories though…funny and weird. Love the Treasure Island one the most. Bikes. And it sure looks like they’re wearing helmets. Not really things you’d associate with the story. 🙂

    • Isn’t it? They changed it later and moved the author’s name to try and class it up a bit but once a cover’s on the net it never goes away. And the guys who did Treasure Island also did the Chinatown cover. They’re responsible for a whole series of truly terrible covers. What this company does is get classics that are out of copyright and slap any old cover on. With predictably hilarious results, God bless em.

  3. Kiru Taye says:

    I laughed through this but the best has got to be ‘Raising Smart Kids for Dummies’. LOL

  4. Nicky Wells says:

    Belly laughs galore! Agree with Kiru on the title, but my favourite cover is the Chinatown one. Like your new cover though, good job! XX

  5. My sides hurt now! These are hilarious!!

  6. LOL! I’ve seen #1 before, in a Bad Covers contest! I sure hope #3 is also from a more innocent time. 🙂 #20 – I’ve heard that sweaters made with dog hair, when washed, smell like wet dog… I think I’ll skip it. I’m surprised you missed one of my all-time faves, featured on Coleen Patrick’s blog last year: a kids’ cookbook called Cooking with Pooh. Not making that up! Thanks for the LOLs!

    • I missed Coleen’s post on that, Jennette, but I had Cooking with Pooh in a previous bad cover post I did a while ago. (I loved doing the post so much I decided to do another one!) I’d never seen #1 before. Couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s either really bad or a work of sheer genius, I can’t decide.

  7. Wonderful! Thanks for laughs and a couple of cringes today. I definitely needed some funny. 🙂

  8. violafury says:

    I actually remember seeing the knitting with dog hair one and just losing it in the book store. My god, what’s next? People knitting tea cosies with crotch hair?

  9. violafury says:

    These are bonzer! We were just talking about these:

    #20, knitting with dog hair last week. I wonder if cat hair would work?
    # 19 Are Women Human? (an International Dialogue) Let’s make it an Interplanetary Dialogue. More participants that way.
    #18. Eat the Document. Is this suggested as a way to lose weight and get more fibre, or are we evading the FBI?
    #17 The Big Coloring Book of Vaginas. Color me No.
    #16 Who Cares About Elderly People? You’d better care about this one. I’m batshit insane, legally blind, carry a blind cane and I pack a wallop.
    #15 Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover. No, but I hear he played a mean harmonica.
    #14 Everything You Need to Know About Family Violence. It was called “Play Time*” at my house. (*No disrespect meant at all. As an only child and a Wallace, I was taught to fight defensively, by my father.)
    #13 How to Date a White Woman. When I decide to switch-hit, I’ll be sure and check out this little gem.
    #12 Images You Should Not Masturbate To. That’s just wrong! Everyone knows the tile should read “Images To Which You Should Not Masturbate.” Let’s get some goddamned grammar around here. Fire that lazy bastard, Staff-pick-of-the-month!
    #11 In Praise of the Step-mother. Because what step-son doesn’t like a little strange now and then?
    #10 Raising Smart Kids for Dummies. O! The humanity. When will this end? We’ve had over 20 years of _________ for Dummies. I’m waiting for Dummies for Dummies. Hopefully, like a black hole, it will all collapse in on itself and die, never to be seen again. We’ll just have to avoid thee event horizon, now known as Florida, where everyone dum-dum lives, including me.
    #9 Tales of Chinatown. As seen by Tinkerbell.
    #8 Strip-Searched, Gang-Banged and Bred. You wish.
    #7 Treasure Island. 2 questions. How do you pedal with that wooden leg? Does the parrot act as a kind of klaxon, perched upon the handlebars; a butt-squeeze from a pirate prompting him to squawk as a warning to other bike-riders on the open seas?
    #6 The Librarian’s Secret Wish. How about mini-perv-under-the-desk’s secret wish? I’m sure that’s a hoot.
    #5 Mr. Hyde’s Assets. I’m glad there are new assets in the e-book. Call me a perv (see above) but from where I’m sitting, I see London, I see France, I see basically what a Ken doll has and that’s pretty much nothin’. Maybe the book should be called “Mr. Hyde’s Deficits.”
    #4 Pooh Gets Stuck. I do remember this book. My aunt Mary was a librarian in Detroit and I had the original copy of all of the Christopher Robin and Pooh stories. But, yeah, a better title could be found. I do not remember if there was a story with this actual title.
    #3 Scouts in Bondage. I wonder if they get S&M or B&D badges for this?
    #2 Royal Australian Air Force. The Great Wall of China is famous for its landing strips and take-offs. Unfortunately, survival rates are low. This is why we don’t hear very much about the Aussie Air Force. (My father was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and flew B-29s. I heard all the hair-raising tales of landing in and on weird stuff.) Hats off to the Aussie Air Force!
    #1 Moment of Truth. “Nigel, is that a pencil in your pocket?”

    I didn’t originally start out to talk about each title, but as I went on, I had more and more fun with it. I hope you, Colin and your readers enjoy! Thanks for your very splendid website!

  10. violafury says:

    I always hate replying to myself and it’s been a while, since last May or earlier today, actually. No PD, but essential tremor, which makes me and E.T., appropriately enough, I ran across one of my bouts of playfulness I had with the “19 Most Hideous Titles ever,” and thought someone, other than myself might think it was shriekingly hilarious. Or not. Thanks Coliin! I appreciate your patience. This is actually the best kind of writing I do, whatever it is.

  11. Joanna says:

    I’m laughing but also terrified!!! I kept thinking ‘oh yes, *that’s* the weird one’. Brilliant post!

  12. E says:

    I needed this today. LOL

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