So yesterday on the phenomenal review of Red over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (see, I’m so excited I had to slip that in and share it with you again, in case you missed it), someone made a comment about my cover being “just like” the cover of Under Her Skin. This had been pointed out to me sometime after I released the cover for Red. In fact, it is not “just like” it, but it does employ the same girl as the heroine because, as Sarah Wendell pointed out, “there’s a definite lack in stock photography sources for troubled looking young women with imperfect hair, and shirtless men WITHOUT chest stubble. The same images, because they are so good, get used repeatedly!”
And it’s so true. If you don’t want your book cover to look like erotica, it’s really hard to find non-sexy looking, non-partially bared images of men and women that aren’t completely dorky and cheesy looking. I think that this is because photographers don’t realize what big potential business stock photography is in the book world.
Well let me tell you, photographers, everybody from self-published authors to big houses in New York are using stock photography in designing their book covers. And if you’re smart, you’ll start catering to us. Because we are legion and we need images for book covers.
Here’s what we need:
- Images of heroines who do NOT look perfect
- Images of heroines who are not trying to look sexy
- Images of heroines who look worried or scared (because in most books, they’re facing some kind of stressful problem) and sometimes tough (actually, give us pretty much the whole range of emotions outside trying to be sexy or happy)
- Images of heroes who aren’t showing their underwear and might actually even be fully dressed
- Images of heroes who aren’t trying to look all studly and masculine
- Images of heroes who look fierce and protective
- Images of BOTH on white or black backgrounds that enable nice easy Photoshop merging with other stuff
- Clear tags of the characteristics of the models so that we have a prayer of digging them out on stock photo sites
Authors, feel free to add to the list in comments. If you know a photographer, pass this on and ask them to pass it on to their colleagues. Maybe we can start a trend.