This has been bugging me for awhile now, and so I thought I’d share. What is up with this look? I’m not sure who these book covers are supposed to appeal to. The subject matter is all paranormal fantasy, and judging by the authors, I thought the target audience was 20-30-ish women. But judging by the outfits and poses of the women on the covers, they look more like they’re aimed at adolescent boys. Do women really gravitate to pictures of women dressed like hookers?
And more to the point, publishing needs to get over this look. Really, if you were fighting demons or whatever it is these characters are fighting (and I assume they’re fighting something since they all seem to be packing some kind of weapon) would you dress like this? Who can kick ass in skin tight leather and a midriff top that’s liable to come off with the first roundhouse? And wouldn’t you think they’d at least get cold running around at night half-dressed?
I’m not picking on the subject matter, or any of the authors or their books. I’ve never read any of them. And now you see why. And this is just a small sample of these book covers, there were tons more. I found all these in a quick two-minute search on Google. The most common pose I saw was a backside view showing the the ass, exposing the back to showoff the tramp-stamp tattoo. Is this to allow the reader to envision themselves dressed like this, taking on the persona of their favorite character? Even John Scalzi talked about this on his blog awhile back, referring to them as ‘strippers with swords.’
By contrast, the vast majority of males depicted on paranormal book covers were all fully clothed (with one or two shirtless exceptions), and looking more like they were ready to do battle. If it were one or two, I’d probably never have given them a second glance. But it’s the SAMENESS of them all, and the fact that there are just so many that look like this that really amazes me. There’s been so much attention paid of late to some very attractive book covers that I really have to wonder why these are so formulaic. No doubt someone in marketing at the publishing companies looked around and decided, for whatever reason, that there weren’t enough of these dominatrixes gracing the covers of paranormal romance books. At least I think that’s what these books are. I take no issue with the subject matter, read whatever you like, but if all the plots and characters are as much alike as their covers seem to imply, why would you read more than one? Personally, I’d be pretty torqued if I had a book published and they slapped one of these covers on it. How on earth can your book stand out from the crowd when it’s dressed like all the others? It’s like catching two actresses wearing the same dress.