Wednesday, December 4, 2013

To Have a Black Woman on the Cover or Not. . .

(reposted from another blog)

When I first published Fire Baptized three years ago, I contemplated whether I should have a black woman on the book cover or not.

Such a sad thing to consider when I myself am a black woman.

The first Fire Baptized Book Cover was this:

Notice two important things:

One, I wasn't sure if I would write under a pen name Elle Taylor or just embrace my real name. I was nervous about what my family would say to a book that was filled with cursing, sex, and tons of drug use. 

Two, this is not a cover that MOST of you have ever seen.

Well, I sent this cover out to many bloggers for book review request and a few just out and out told me. . ."This just looks too ghetto for me. Not interested."

I went with a new artist and asked her to give me a beautiful black woman that is not ghetto-looking and appears magical!

This is what I got!

For me, this really didn't capture Lanore. And by this time many black authors were simply emailing me and saying, "Take the black girl off the cover and you'll get a bigger audience."

So I did.

Sales were nice and steady. Many bloggers jumped on my tours and even sought me out to review it.

This is what many publishers and authors wonder when their heroine is ethnic. They battle with if readers are really going to purchase a cover with a black woman on it or not. 

I kept this cover for probably eight months, never really getting rid of the unease in the back of my head.

It whispered to me and said things like, "Sell out!"

So I went to a new artist and just said FUCK IT! Lanore is black and I'm going to embrace it! 

What happened when I put out this new cover? Sales rose! New fans of ALL RACES came out blasting this cover to everyone and snatching the book up.

What did I learn?

I, publishers, and authors really don't know what readers want! Write the damn story. Market it for the story inside and not on the basis of your own preconceived stereotypical reasons.

What's funny is that for The Burning Bush. The biggest battle was getting a freaking black stock model in a gown. My poor artist had to color one in. . .

People were not buying the color-in! They wanted their Black woman!

So I went to another artist and boom. . .

Again, not only did people rave about the book they absolutely drooled over the cover.

There's nothing wrong with putting a black woman on the cover. The point is that the damn cover needs to look captivating regardless of a stupid thing as skin color.

Sadly, there are many of my books released by publishers with black heroines that aren't on my covers. . .

The reasoning could deal with other things of course.

But I'm just saying though. . . don't be scared. . .


  1. HaHaHaHaHa! "Too ghetto"?! I will admit the first one looks like a maxim boob shot but not ghetto. Where were these bloggers, Pleasantville? The second one sort of looks like the 90's version of Toni Braxton. I like the chick on fire for Fire Baptized BUT Burning Brush (the one out now) was what snagged my attention to the series as a whole. That's a GORGEOUS cover. Screw what people say. I'm so friggen tired of white chicks in gowns covering all the books. And this is coming from a white chick. :P

    1. The maxim boob may be a tad bit ghetto. lol! I absolutly love Burning Bush's cover!

  2. Oh, God really! I can't believe they told you your cover was ghetto. I put a biracial woman on my cover and have black women on my future covers. As long as the cover is appealing you're right, the race doesn't matter! Glad you stuck with your gut :)

    1. I agree! You know more and more we are seeing people go indie and put that black woman on there and because of that I think publishers are doing it more too. Not that they didn't before, but I think they are leaning more to it these days because of authors like us!