I write erotic romance. In my readings in that genre, as well as my participation in relevant discussion groups and online forums, there seemsto be certain elements that appear in most covers. Back in the day of the paperback "bodice rippers", the formula was simple: Pale woman with long, flowing hair and a low-cut dress clutches at or is clutched by a tanned, shirtless muscular man (also with long, flowing hair?) who is either brandishing a weapon, standing on a rock as waves crash behind him, or steering a boat. (Possibly all three of these.) It was so formulaic, my college friends and I even took the time to mock it on film back in the day.
|Identities obscured to protect the overly silly.|
Today, things are a little different. I know the "bodice rippers" still exist, and the covers haven't changed all that much. These days, actual erotica is a bit more mainstream, and those covers reflect that. Instead of the low-cut corseted dress, the heroine wears maybe just the corset and a thong on the cover. Instead of being on a ship being rocked by the turbulent seas, maybe they're on a bed with satin sheets. Either way, the end result is the same - when you pick up that book, you have a pretty good idea of what's going to be inside.
That brings me to the topic of my covers. Now, I had zero input with cover design (as is the case with most publishers, I believe), and there were some sleepless nights where I worried that I was going to hate them. My friends will tell you that my nightly mantra before the Searching the Skies release was "Please let her boobs look real, please let her boobs look real...." Let's take a closer look:
|Fierce! (And real!)|
Next up is The Edge of the Sphere. Again, I had no idea what the cover art for this book was going to be, and as I admitted on the day of the release, I was initially a little surprised:
|What's inside the house in the woods? I'll never tell!|
With both of these covers, there's nothing about them that screams "THIS BOOK IS FILLED WITH DIRTY SMUT", for better or worse. Me personally, I sort of like that there aren't any scantily-clad lovers with their pouty lips parted as they delight in their passion on there. (Also, friends have told me that they like being able to read the paperbacks on public transportation without getting any odd looks.) However, it could be argued that readers looking for a certain kind of book might pass these over if they feel the covers don't reflect what they're looking for. Would I sell more books if the covers followed the trends? Who knows. But I'm happy that my characters are sealed inside covers that convey their depth.
(Can't post this without acknowledging the awesome team at Double Dragon Publishing! All the covers are amazing there, not just mine!)