I can’t decide if I’m…

I can't decide if I'm overthinking this. So here's the issue. Every erotica book out there basically has naked bodies on the cover. Okay, not every one, but the vast, vast majority of them. And I am so tired of it, but at the same time, you want to signal 'this book has sex in it' to the reader. Both to draw in the readers looking for that, and to warn off the readers who would rather not partake, thank you. Which the naked bodies does, pretty effectively. But as a book cover trope, SO boring.

And then problem number two, and perhaps the larger issue, is the question of which naked bodies to put on the cover. Because again, overwhelmingly, the bodies are almost always female. Or you might get a heterosexual couple. And maybe you want to counter that trend because a) you are very tired of it, and b) why must women's bodies always always always be the ones we stare at, and c) the book is pansexual and has at least one or two queer stories in it, along with the straighter ones.

But if you just put a male body on the cover, I think it reads as romance to the casual book cover viewer? And if you put a gay couple on the cover, then readers will likely expect it is an exclusively gay book, which again, is going to mislead readers, which I wouldn't care about so much except that a) a bunch of straight readers will not pick it up because they assume it's not for them, and b) a bunch of gay readers will pick it up and then be annoyed that the content is mostly straight.

And the problem might be solved by adding more bodies, but then a) readers might expect a lot of orgies in the book, and be sad when there aren't any, in fact, and b) it will likely start making for a very cluttered cover, which is aesthetically troubling, and c) it will leave no room for your name and the title, which kind of defeats the entire purpose of the book cover. Especially when the cover is seen as a tiny thumbnail image in an online bookstore.

I could go the 50 Shades route and just put an iconic item on the cover, like the handcuffs, etc., which is at least visually clean, but a) I'm tired of that trend too, and b) it's not an S&M book, and I don't know what would be an iconic image for a book about, y'know, people. In relationships, or not. Talking to each other, or not. And having sex.

5 thoughts on “I can’t decide if I’m…”

  1. No orgies???? No fair!
    I think maybe an image is the way to go, but not handcuffs. What else is sexy? Lips? Smoke? Perfume bottles? Is there one image in the book that unites the stories? How about just a neck? Or is that too vampiric?

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