My second novel, To the Resurrection Station, is a science fiction gothic romance. It was written circa 1974 and finally came out in the mid 80s. Originally, it was supposed to come out from Baen Books. Betsy Mitchell was there at the time and commissioned the perfect cover. In the foreground was a woman in a windswept ballgown. Behind her and leaning gently toward her was a male figure. In the background was a house with a single lit window. The male figure was a robot, and part of the house was a spaceship, which was taking off. Everything on the cover, including the scrolling romance fiction font, was true to the novel's plot and tone. I loved it.
A week or two before the book was due to come out, Betsy called me and said it had been pulled from production.
Why? I screamed.
The buyers from Walden Books and Dalton's hated the cover. It looked like a romance novel. It would confuse the readers.
But it will be shelved in science fiction, spine out, with the word "science fiction" on the spine, I said.
We can't publish the book, if Waldenbooks and Dalton's won't buy it, Betsy said. We will have to come up with a new cover.
Well, as it turned out, I ran into trouble with Jim Baen over my next novel. He read it and spotted all the places where my politics surfaced, and wanted each political reference changed from left to right.
So my agent pulled both novels from Baen, and Avon published both of them with terrible covers, which say very clearly, "This is SF."