Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Word Witch Wednesday - the same images again and again


Earlier this year, I spent a lot of time looking at images for book covers. When I say a lot, I mean dozens upon dozens of hours. I went to bed those nights with achy eyes.

Being well acquainted with the pictures on a huge stock image site, I have seen them all over. It seems what draws my eyes does the same for the majority of people. Unless it is an original piece of artwork created for a book, most covers I see use the same images.

It stunned me at first. Then it made me panic. The models I picked have been on hundreds of other books! Maybe even thousands. Some have been poorly photoshopped and others have been beautifully done, but it's still the same models. Sometimes it's the same pose too.

I see this particularly in the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres. (They are the ones I focus on, after all!) There is a little more variety with the female models, but the male models are much fewer and thus seen more frequently on covers. The same beefcakes over and over again. I'm rather tired of them.

Seeing the same male models used so often has made me reconsider what I want to do with the covers of books #4, #5, and #6 in the Totem series. I was going to put the heroes on the covers, but the models I chose are extremely popular. Yes, my covers as a whole are different from everyone else's but not those male models.

I had already been considering keeping the women on the covers before this started to bother me. Now I'm leaning even further in that direction.

I'm curious to know whether you notice the same models on different book covers. Does it bother you to see the same ones used over and over?

16 comments:

  1. Hi Christine - I can see your challenge ... I do like to be individual with different ideas - I hope you can reconcile your choices once made: good luck - cheers Hilary

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  2. I've noticed models being reused for book covers, too. I'm pretty forgiving of that for indie work, but it's always jarring to see it happen with the traditionally published kind. (You'd think big-name publishers would have the funds to create something more unique!) So much sameness makes it harder to develop brand recognition, I think. Best of luck figuring out what to do for books #4-6 of your series!

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  3. I admit I've noticed. I've even seen the same image with little alteration on three different books, and one of those was from a traditional publisher. I'm grateful my covers are all original.

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  4. of course!

    The last thing you want is a duplicate look, huh.

    I spend many hours every week looking for photographers with the style I look for in my covers--mostly in flickr. Except for street photography (no model release) almost all the photos are available, and will be unique...free from amateurs like me...a lot of shots in the hundreds of dollars...

    It is good I enjoy browsing photos

    haha have a great day

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  5. Yeah, this is one of the things that worries me about creating book covers. Having an originally commissioned image would be great, but I guess that's a different ballgame in terms of cost! I'm not sure what the answer is at the moment, but all your covers have looked great in any case. Hopefully the author brand name wins out!

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  6. When I'm skimming books over on Goodreads etc., and I see a similar/familiar cover, it makes me stop and wonder if I've read the book before, where did I see it, etc. I end up not so much paying attention to the story blurb as to the cover.

    You'll figure it out, Christine, and it will be amazing. :)

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  7. It bothers me too. I've looked through many of those archives and am familiar with the "big league" models too. I throw potentials at my cover designer, and he always tells me no, or if I find something he likes, he takes an angle that makes it impossible (or SUPER difficult) to tell it from the original image. I wish more cover designers did this. They just need a little more creativity.

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  8. That's a tough decision. Wouldn't it be great if stock photographer rotated models in and out?

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  9. Honestly, I don't notice this much unless it's the same pose. The same model often looks vastly different based on how the cover has been created that I don't really think "oh, that's the same woman as ___ cover's!" Your photoshop skills make it look so amazing that I doubt I'd really notice :)

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  10. It's sort of like the 80's when every romance cover was Fabio. It's just one more headache in the wonderful world of writing!

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  11. I notice that many covers look alike, and have occasionally noticed the same models, but you're probably going to notice more than most other people. This is due to a psychological effect (I minored in psychology). You're primed to notice the models from your covers; in fact, your subconscious seeks them out. In the same way when you buy a new car you suddenly feel like everyone has a car like yours--same make, same color, whatever. It's not any more true than it was before you bought the car, but some people WILL have a car like yours. Those people probably have at least something in common with you that drew them to the same car. The people using the same models on their books may write similar books or read books like yours.

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  12. It's funny, because as much as I like a good cover, I also love the plain hardbound copies that are just a simple color. But maybe I'm weird like that:)

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  13. Thanks to everyone for commenting! I try my best to make my covers unique, but it's tough, especially when I want to market to genre.

    Elizabeth, Fabio! Ha! I remember those days.

    M, you do make a good point. I notice a ton of cars just like our own, but didn't think I'd ever seen one when we bought it.

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  14. The model on my book, Being Human is on quite a few cover and even on an old writing buddy's cover. We laughed over it. What's really funny though, is my novella Zadekiel, that model I saw on my bank's website!

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  15. I notice it sometimes when I'm skimming books because I will stop when I see a new release, certain that I've already read the book. I agree with the other commenters, that you probably notice it far more intensely than the readers do. I don't know the answer. Sorry. I'm just as moved and motivated to purchase a book that doesn't have a model on the cover, if the cover still grabs my attention.

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  16. I've been taken aback when I've discovered images from online writer friends' covers on strangers' covers, either exactly the same or just the cover models. I wonder if they know their images were reused. I particularly hate seeing the headless, hairless bare chest being used over and over again. Even if it's not the same chest, it might as well be, since these covers all run together. I automatically write off books with that thoughtless, overdone cover as derivative, less than stellar writing.

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