10 Satirical Covers for the Terrible Books You Can’t Get Away From

Imaginary cover designs for the worst clichés in publishing

Designer Matthew Revert’s playful, witty mock book covers poke loving fun at the tropes of book design, a Zen activity that he says helps him relax for a few minutes between serious design work. But they also cut uncomfortably close to the bone about the occasionally stultifying predictability of publishing. I’ve paired them with parody book summaries based on the imaginary plots of some popular, but mostly overrated novels. You win the right to feel smug if you guess which books I’m satirizing for each—but most of these covers could go with like a hundred books, which is the whole point.

"Highly Embellished Anecdotes About Using Drugs a Few Times in My Early Twenties," a novel by Very Edgy Author #210098987. The illustration is a passed-out woman.
Artwork by Matthew Revert

A Billion Tiny Bits: A Memoir by Jonathan Xanax

At the age of 17, Jonathan Xanax woke up in a potato field in Idaho with all his teeth missing. The last thing he remembered was attending a black-tie gala in New York for billionaires three weeks ago. A hardcore substance abuser (weed, cocaine, Tide Pods) from the age of three, he made the hard decision to enter rehab when he was told he must quit using or die before he can legally enter a strip club. A true story of Jonathan’s three days in rehab.

"The Unexpected High-Profile Blurb," a novel by Fairly Chuffed Author, features the quote "Quite a good book" by Stephen Kang larger than the title or author
Artwork by Matthew Revert

Always and Sometimes by Herbert Marshall-Harris

Always and Sometimes, New York Times best-selling author Stephen Kang raves, is “quite a good book for an airplane read that I happened to pick next to the recycling bin.” What more do you need to know?

"Novel About the Sexual Awakening of a Young Woman" by Man Who Once Read a Jezebel Article About Sex Positivity features art of a woman lying on the floor in a revealing swimsuit.
Artwork by Matthew Revert

Lola by Chaz Dickler

The novel unfolds on a hallowed New England college campus where beautiful, delicate Lola is a sheltered freshman from the cornfields of South Carolina eager to start her intellectual endeavors. The naive country rose soon discovers, to her increasing trepidation, that for these cool coeds, sex, partying, and alcohol matter more than grades. Sweet Lola is seduced by the intoxicating allure of fitting in, losing her virginity and taking advantage of the exotic appeal her innocence has on the men around her. Dickler, a middle aged male writer, manages to capture the authentic female voice, giving his young blossoming protagonist plenty of character (like her coy gap-toothed smile), power (she’s hot in a farm girl way), and depth (she’s into obscure literature).

"20-Something Man from New York Writing About His Isolation," a novel by Some Random Guy. The cover art is a male figure silhouetted on an abstract painting.
Artwork by Matthew Revert

The Capturer in the Corn by B.K. Hollinger

Hayden Cauliflower moved to New York City with dreams of finding fame and success as the founder of a start up selling organic pet rocks as an affordable alternative to companionship. But his dreams are shattered after a disastrous appearance on the popular reality show Whale Pond. Hayden takes to wandering Central Park for days, eventually losing his mind and committing himself in an asylum for failed start up founders. An intimate portrait of a profoundly lonely man surrounded by unkind strangers in an urban jungle.

"Literature book with minimal, abstract cover sort of symbolizing something maybe" by Author name in classy serif font. The cover is mostly white with a few scribbles. At the top it says "Winner of an award that sounds terribly important"
Artwork by Matthew Revert

The Ripe Persimmon by Solomon Octavius XIV

The story begins with a used car salesman, Greg Sams, waking to find himself mutated into a grotesque rat with a radioactive tail. Instead of worrying about his sudden metamorphosis, Greg frets about meeting his company’s quota for the day. A gripping, hard-to-understand novella with obscure symbolism and high-brow metaphor, The Ripe Persimmon is one of the most seminal works of the 20th century. The perfect read for pretentious blue-bloods with refined literary taste who want to impress their equally obnoxious dates.

"Generic Conservative Rhetoric Written with Condescending Aggression," a rant by Author Who Is Definitely Not a Cuck. The cover art is an angry-looking red, white, and blue eagle, and the font is meme font. The blurb says "It's like a long YouTube user comment."
Artwork by Matthew Revert

WHITE PEOPLE ARE GOING EXTINCT by ANGRY WHITE MAN

NOT THAT I BELIEVE IN EXTINCTION, EVOLUTION IS A LIE AND NOT BIBLICAL, SCIENCE IS ANTI-CHRISTIAN PROPAGANDA CREATED BY NASTY-SMELLING FOREIGNERS TO TRICK US INTO SUBMISSION, WE MUST ARMS OURSELVES WITH AK-47S, IT IS OUR DUTY TO DEFEND AMERICA FROM ALIEN INVADERS TRYING TO ROB US OF OUR GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO FLATSCREEN TVS, HOW DARE THESE MEXICANS COME TO THE LAND OF OUR ANCESTORS AND BREATHE OUR INHERITED AIR.

In white text on black background: "Book written by precocious teen who read a bit of a Laszlo Krasznahorkai novel then decided to write a novel of his own consisting of a single sentence regarding the topic of being misunderstood by those around him and the many ways such a context breeds isolation, which perfectly feeds into the exploration of his art"—it goes on in this vein for several hundred words that are not worth listening to. By Author who has added spurious diacritics to his very normal name.
Artwork by Matthew Revert

The First Dog by J̌öĥñ Šᵯíŧĥ

THE BOOK PUBLISHERS WERE TOO SCARED TO LET YOU READ by talented precocious teen, J̌öĥñ Šᵯíŧĥ. The First Dog features a woman assigned (by a quirk of fate) to tell the myth of the lonely first dog of Carabandora, a wasteland in Portugal, she narrates―entirely in a single sentence―this sad endless story, a bark, in a depressing New York diner to a disinterested waitress who just wants to get on with her shift, the story-teller locked in her own existence, traps the reader in the same snare even after the end of the only full-stop period of the book.

"Middle Class Crime Writer Fetishizing the Lower Class" by Guy Who Lives on a Farm. The art is a blonde woman huddling under a sheet in a blood-spattered room. Blurb: "A searing account of a lifestyle I can only assume is represented accurately."
Artwork by Matthew Revert

The Hunted: A Crime Novel by Carver Tree

A janitor drinking PBRs in the park is violently stabbed with an ice pick. A middle-school teacher waits for her husband who never returns. As the bodies pile up, Detective Wayne Watson is on the hunt to chase down Chicago’s third most dangerous man who’d go to any lengths to satiate his bloodlust. This is a city on the brink. This is The Hunted. Brimming with tension, secrets, and betrayal, The Hunted proves that Carver Tree is a master of crime thrillers.

"Indie Book with Long, Vaguely Sad Title" by probably a lowercase pseudonym. The art is a woman slumped against a wall with her hair covering her face, all done in millennial pink.
Artwork by Matthew Revert

The Eternal Song of Dying Crickets in a Field by indigo del carmello

Sandra, a woman of quirky habits, lives a solitary life and believes her therapist is the one (he just doesn’t know it yet) and that her neighbor’s chihuahuas are trying to commune with her (they aren’t, she just smells weird). An unwanted visitor shows up on her doorstep and mayhem ensues. Managing to be funny, sad, angry, happy, and surprising all at once, this novel will have you feeling all of the feelings.

"My Son is a Great Illustrator," book five of the "Neverread" series, written by Proud Parent. The art is a really dreadful drawing of a D&D type character, probably a half-orc, in a Renaissance Faire shirt.
Artwork by Matthew Revert

The NeverReading Tale: Book Five by Chuck Branson

In the magical realm of Suburbtopia, Sir Brad the All-Knowing Tax Auditor and his most trusted sidekick Loyal Bob the Builder of Castles embark on a dangerous quest to retrieve the stolen soccer orb before the magical artifact falls into nefarious hands of Evil Soccer Mom and all is lost. Suitable for kids age 5 and up, this fantasy novel is a wholesome read for the entire family.

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