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Passion pleasure prejudice & pain.

The author says:

A guide to Chinese ladies, marriage, sex, culture, love, dating and living in China. The book reflects the opinions of the author and has been influenced by the opinions of some of his friends and trusted acquaintances. It is a genuine attempt to inform and help those people preparing for a serious relationship with a Chinese lady. Generalization has been necessary as no one example fits all. There are many underlying messages herein and the purpose of the book is to educate or inform as many people as possible.

Nathan says:

Um… Okay.

First up, whenever you put the words “pleasure” and “pain” in proximity, the inference drawn is overwhelmingly one of masochism.

Second, the dissociated facial features seems an awful lot like objectification — which is a bad thing.

Third, when you’re giving advice to men about saving money with foreign women… that sounds like prostitution.

Fourth, the way you’ve got the title fit in and around the photos makes it seem like an afterthought.

Fifth, having “Passion pleasure” right beside each other without any punctuation is just plain wrong.

Sixth, the two fonts chosen seem to have been whatever was on your computer at the time.

Seventh, half of the facial feature photos are of visibly poor resolution, and one (the nose) also has been stretched out of proportion.

I’m sorry, but there’s no part of this cover that doesn’t fail, and fail hard.  You would be much better off turning this over to a for-real cover designer.


  1. Yeah, everything about this is fundamentally mistaken, beginning with the title. If you don’t know a basic rule like “titles don’t end with periods,” you’re just not ready to be in the book market.

  2. Well, yes, this is rather far off the mark for what you’re selling; my first impression from seeing the thumbnail was that this was going to be a textbook for some kind of niche psychology class. While there likely is some niche market for a guide to dating Chinese gals (presumably in California and Hong Kong in particular), I doubt very much of your target audience is going to find its way to this book with a cover like this. Our host’s third objection is particularly important; prostitution is legal in Hong Kong (and possibly other parts of China, if stories I’ve read in certain investors’ guides are any indication) and guides to pricing the local “rent-a-birds” are already available at virtually any hotel there that caters to foreigners.

    For a serious dating and relationship guide like this one, you really ought to go with a more minimalist approach the way other authors in this genre do: some vector art of a guy and gal (Western guy and Chinese gal in your case), maybe something symbolic like a picture of a heart (and maybe with a yin-yang symbol stamped on it in your case), or maybe just all the text in a fancy font with no imagery at all. In your case, putting the title and taglines and byline all in some artsy Chinese hanzi with the English translations imposed over them in some plainer (yet still “romantic”) font that provides a stark enough contrast with the Chinese characters to ensure readability would probably be sufficient. That way, your prospective reader’s first impression just from looking at the text is that you’re offering to “decode” Chinese women for him the same way you’ve decoded the text.

    Of course, before you do any of that, I do recommend a title change as well; the easily misinterpreted title, which is the aspect to which our host made his very first objection, is a terrible enough error by itself to chase away just about the entire target audience. For a non-fiction dating guide, concrete and directly-to-the-point titles are best. If I were the one titling this, these are a few of the titles I would probably consider:
    But Do You Know Chinese Women?
    Not Your Doll: What Chinese Women Are Really Like
    Chinese Gals: Everything You Need To Know
    Chinese Relationships & Nuptials: Tips & Tricks For Western Men
    Love & Marriage On The Silk Road: A Western Man’s Dating Guide

    Once you’ve made the point in the title that this is a guide to dating (and possibly marrying) Chinese women, you can trim down or even eliminate the taglines altogether, as the intriguing title and exotic font should speak clearly enough for the entire book.

  3. To the host and to those that commented, thank you very much.
    The book is certainly a serious attempt to help western men thinking about dating and marrying in China. It in no way degrades Chinese women and it certainly does not give any guide to sex tourism or any such thing.
    Your comments that the cover could imply otherwise have been appreciated. I shall accept the advice and forward the cover to a professional for consideration.

    RK I appreciated your comments very much. I will however advise you that prostitution is totally illegal in China. Of course it exists but it is very discreet. China should not be considered as an Asian hotspot such as other infamous places most people know about.

    Kind regards, James

  4. What RK says. Of his five titles, I’d avoid number 3 – it is a bit unclear (it could be a non-marriage dating guide….) the other four are great titles.
    Nathan has already mentioned the fonts. I’d just add the detail that when the cover is at thumbnail, your thin “handwriting” sort of font on your name, done in blue, disappears into the background. You need a clearer font, larger, and to lay out the cover so there is contrast between the text and the background. So with your name, if the black curve was a bit higher up on the left, you’d have black all the way across and could put your name in white.

  5. On further thought – title suggestion number 4 – I’d loose the word “tricks”. It has unfortunate associations with prostitution and also could suggest tricking the women. I’d make it just “Tips for Western Men”

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