So we recently sold the rights to HIAV to a UK publisher … their plan was to change the measurements to UK measurements so the book would be more appealing to a wider European audience – thus sell more etc etc. Sounded like a good idea.

Well I recently got a letter from a buddy asking why the cover was different in the UK. I went to to look and check out the cover they’ve decided to use people!! How freaking horrible is this?? My 12 year old niece could do something more creative with MS Paint! So pissed … so I e-mailed my publisher (bless his heart) and he check with the Grub Street Publishing to see what was up. This was their response:

“Yes, it is our final cover. Sorry to hear Sarah doesn’t like it, we’ve had very positive reactions here from the trade and key accounts and no one has said they don’t like it. We obviously did not feel we could go with your design since the authors are not known here and no one puts photos of authors on the front covers of cookbooks unless they are TV chefs.”

Huh? How does that make any sense? Why mess with success?

I can’t believe that I’ve been working this hard for 10+ years to end up with a shitty cover like this. I feel sick to my stomach. It looks like it should be sold at the dollar bin in Costco.

The only thing that makes me feel better about this cluster-f*ck of events is that at least I’m not alone. Look what Grubb street did to Isa’s amazing book. 🙁

If I had known they could change the flavour of HIAV … I would have said no. I’m so heartbroken.

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0 Responses to WTF?

  1. leigh says:

    oh no! those covers are TERRIBLE!! don’t worry, i’m sure that people who have heard of you in the UK know what your books look like from your website!

    Also, have you seen your wikipedia entry: i think you should spruce it up!

  2. Isa says:

    Don’t let it upset you too much! I find that people in the UK order the American version anyway. But this serves you right for making fun of my cover. I’ll see you in a pile of pudding in a few weeks.

  3. Laura says:

    I had wondered why Vegan with a Vengeance had such a yuck cover (we obviously got the British copy down here in NZ). When we lived in the UK I was constantly amazed by the ugliness of their publishing.
    It feels bad to be misrepresented but people are smart. They won’t be fooled by some lameass in marketing with no sense of design or fun or beauty.

  4. skinartia says:

    Those covers are horrific. VWAV looks like a burlap sack with marijuana stitched on it. HIAV looks like a ’70s turtle on drugs. :-S

  5. Joel says:

    wow that’s a horrible response from a publishing company, after all they are making money from your creation are they not? Don’t feel too bad though, hopefully people in the UK were taught not to judge a book by it’s cover, because despite the less than fantastic cover design, the crazy awesome recipes are still tucked inside 😉

  6. Atomboy says:

    Oh God, those covers suck rancid canal water through a straw! No wonder you’re upset.

    Maybe we in the UK are just not ready for punk ass glamour? I love the aesthetics of both Sarah and Isa’s books and I *know* that people would be more interested in their contents if the original covers/artwork were kept. It’s what made me pick up the books in the first place and plunge into the world of vegan cooking.

    I mean what would you prefer? Worthy, bland graphics or a peek into a world filled with tattoos, rebellion, good food, cool music, dressing up and sock puppets? It’s a no brainer.

    Can I just apologise on behalf of the UK?

  7. Anonymous says:

    WOW those are awful! It looks like it took about 5 minutes to design. Even the font looks like something from MS Paint! The publisher’s response doesn’t make any sense either: “We obviously did not feel we could go with your design since the authors are not known here”….You guys weren’t well known here in North America either when HIAV came out!

    Not to mention the fact that you ARE known in the UK. I’m a member of the Vegan Forum ( and there are hundreds of members from the UK and they’ve all heard of your books!

    I’m sure most people there will be smart enough not to judge your book by its cover.

  8. E.K. Wimmer says:

    I don’t know what all this fuss is about, I like the cover…

    Okay, that’s a lie.

  9. Ashley says:

    It looks like the cover of a book that would be called “How to throw a frat party”…”in your parents bad 70’s basement”

    and you’ve been on T.V so in a way you could be called a T.V chef 🙂

  10. cherry girl says:

    I live in the UK, my sister has HIAV with the original cover, I have GOV and LDV, all with the original gorgeous art work, we got our copies from Waterstones so I wouldn’t worry about it either, perhaps they thought because there was a lot of green in the HIAV it would be ok to use alot in a new cover. I can seen what you mean about all your hard work and not having any control over the artwork they put on the cover in the UK though.

  11. Paisley says:

    If you judged Isa’s book by the cover you might expect to find a recipe for pot brownies.

  12. Urban Vegan says:

    Those are butt-ugly. What a shame.

    Neither have anything to do with the spirit of your book or Isa’s.

    The irony is that the UK is famous for its clean, visionary graphic design. Guess they got some first-year art interns to do these covers.

    Here’s to the second editions.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Bloody hell-I’m in the UK and I bought your books specifically because of the front cover!! Idiots-I’ll stick with the fabulous over-the-pond copies ta v much 🙂

  14. Anonymous says:

    Wow – are those pot leaf’s on Isa’s book? In a burlap bag nonetheless? Maybe they could put my unshaved armpits on the back and really complete the look.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I'm a bookseller from the UK & we sell the the US / Canadian version of your book in our store all the time. I've also seen it in stores all over London & other cities. I think you already have a high profile among vegans in the UK. I reckon booksellers are already familiar with the original version & cover & will just keep on ordering that one.

  16. jAe says:

    oh, i don`t know anything about struggles with cookbook covers…. ha ha ha!

    i dunno if you saw the first pic that APP wanted to use for the cover of Get It Ripe, but while the background was a beautiful farmer`s field (and i`ll admit, possibly better than the current cover`s background), i was wearing a halter dress and looking over my shoulder at the camera and it kinda looked like i was naked with a bow around my neck… but naked in a bad lumpy way, not a hot way.

    i certainly know that barfy feeling of dread, like it`s out of your control and it damn well shouldn`t be because it`s your book that you slaved over!

    sigh…. at least the copies with the cover you love outweigh these UK covers exponentially. (and personally, i don`t think the French cover`s all that bad – not as good as what you had, but kinda in keeping with your interior design.)

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