Never Let Them See You Sweat: Hot Chicks in Leather

By J.A. (Julie) Kazimer

According to The Wall Street Journal (my go to for all bookie news. No, really. I only look at the pictures), “On the average, a book store browser spends eight seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds looking at the back cover.”

What does that mean for an author?  Well, chances are if you are an urban fantasy or paranormal romance writer, your book cover will feature a chick dressed in black leather, even if your story takes place in the middle of the desert.

Don’t get me wrong. Like any girl I love tight black leather and heels. I often spend my nights dressed in the form fitting stuff and carrying extremely heavy weapons halfway tucked in my pants.

What girl doesn’t?

And we're not even discussing how one washes black leather catsuits. A secret only a dry cleaner knows.

But I digress (something I seem to do a lot around you people), my point is do these dark, sexy covers do more harm than good for authors and readers alike.

As a reader have you ever hid the cover of the book you were currently enjoying?

Ever felt ashamed of a book because of the hot chick in leather on the cover or the muscle bound hunk smeared in oil (baby not olive, I assume)?

Or have you ever picked up a book strictly because of the hot chick on the cover? Did the tale live up to the artwork?

Authors complain a lot about their covers, from little things like my main character has red hair and the woman on the cover is a blonde, to a publisher actually changing the race of the character on a cover in order to sell books to a wider demographic, a disgusting practice, but one done more often than we know.

So my question to you, my writer/readers is, do hot chicks in leather sell books? And what are some of your cover art experiences, both good and bad?

 

Want a free ebook? Visit me at jakazimer.com. Want to send me graphic pics and talk trash on social media? Friend me on Facebook or tweet me on twitter.  Please. Pretty please.

J.A. (Julie) Kazimer
J.A. (Julie) Kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO. Books include The Junkie Tales, The Body Dwellers, CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope. Sick. Love. SHANK, Froggy Style, The Assassin's Heart, The Fairyland Murders & The Lady in Pink - Deadly Ever After Mysteries.

4 thoughts on “Never Let Them See You Sweat: Hot Chicks in Leather

  1. My book, An Unsinkable Love’s first cover looked like a gangster and a prostitute instead of the Irish lass and the aristocrat – and it was in sepia tone. Trust me, not a good look when you saw it on Amazon! But I preferred it to what they could have come up with on the shirtless man and woman with her skirt hiked to her hip. I want a good back cover blurb – not a stock sex photo to find my romance, thank you very much.

  2. By writing crime fiction, I have a whole other problem, and that’s making the cover interesting without using pictures of people. I don’t really like bodies in my cover art, and I don’t want to picture my main characters, so what’s left? So far, I’ve leaned toward a suggestion of the book’s setting or, in the case of Dead Wrong, a car driving through a snowstorm to suggest one of the book’s scary scenes. Covers are difficult, and even though I get lots of input with my publisher, and they do wonderful cover art, I have a hard time even coming up with the suggestions we get to offer.

    Now as for other authors’ covers, I love the strong females on the cover of thrillers because that’s the type of read I’ve been into lately. Jeanne C. Stein’s Anna Strong rocks and it was the cover of Haunted that first drew me to read that book. The silhouette gal with the gun and heels on the cover of your The Assassin’s Heart is an excellent cover hook. As a reader, however, I don’t buy books because of the hot chicks and hunky guys on the cover, and I become quite annoyed if the cover has nothing to do with the story.

  3. When I went looking for a cover artist for my sci-fi, I found a serious lack of variety. “sci-fi” covers I found were often that tired old formula of a man and a woman on the cover, looking at each other in a suggestive way, but you knew it was sci-fi because one or both of them had a raygun.

    I wound up using GIMP to make my own covers, but would have gladly paid an artist had I been able to find one that didn’t treat every book as a romance. Maybe those artists are on page 63 of the Google searches, but I wasn’t going to look forever.

    So my answer is no, I don’t think a gratuitous hot chick sells books. I like hot chicks, but I also like my covers and the covers of the books I read to reflect actual content.

    I wound up sinking the cover money into ads instead. Not sure I shouldn’t have pocketed it. 🙂 Marketing is, to me, the hardest part of writing a book.

  4. @DamonAlan, I know an amazing, award-winning cover designer. Feel free to email if you want his deets.

    As for covers, well, I do write Urban Fantasy, and I *hate* the girl in leather looking over her shoulder. It was the last thing I wanted. I got very clean, modern, graphic-designy covers that I absolutely LOVE – and that, I think, are not doing my sales any favors. 🙁 Which I admit I don’t get, because they’re exactly the sort of thing that would catch my eye and make me consider the books over the 25,000 other ones with a chick in leather.

    People want to see people, I guess.

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