1. Flowers. Just a shit ton of flowers. Preferably exotic-looking ones like orchids, not pedestrian flowers like daisies—that would be confusing.
2. Chopsticks displayed in an artful (and respectful) way. Rice isn’t necessary, but it doesn’t hurt. Mind you, this works even when the book has absolutely nothing to do with food. Like, food doesn’t appear once in the book.
3. Tigers. Ditto the above—tigers don’t actually need to be referenced in the book. There’s just something about tigers that screams “East Asian,” you know? Depending on the book’s content, you can substitute tigers with cranes and/or koi fish.
4. Landscape of a rice paddy field or a tea estate. This works well for historical fiction—it recalls a nostalgic “colonial” mood that our readers enjoy. Obviously, the only appropriate font for this kind of cover is Papyrus.
5. Fan—but not a ceiling fan or a box window fan. Those types of fans do not feel inherently East Asian, and again, it’s imperative we do not confuse our readers. We mean one of those paper fans you can buy from gift shops in Chinatown as proof that you once visited a gift shop in Chinatown.
6. Did we mention flowers? When in doubt: a shit ton of flowers.
7. A silhouette of a pale woman with long black hair looking off to the side. Variation: we’re looking at her from the back. Variation: we’re looking at her from the front. Honestly, we just want to see the suggestion of an East Asian woman, and we don’t think that’s too much to ask. If not, how else will anyone know that an East Asian woman wrote this book?