So you can read my books

Friday, March 7, 2014


I swear, if I see another bare torso eBook cover, I will swear!

SFUMATO!  Yes, I did spot another such cover.

The author's prose is fun, thrilling, and filled with danger.  Let's call the book THE EVIL PIE MAKER.

It is a supernatural thriller/romance not erotica.

Does the cover show an evil pie?  No.  A woman?  No.  A hint of danger?  No.

Just a good looking guy with a better looking chest, no eye contact even.


If the story is just sex that's erotica not romance. 

I am drawn to romances where lonely kindred spirits meet (no, it doesn't hurt if each party is attractive)

But shallow "tustles in the bustle" do not appeal to me. 

I want a love that lasts, that warms the soul though both are parted from one another.  Miles do not matter when two hearts are one.

Of course, I am probably in the minority ...

but all these bare torso eBook covers are beginning to look the same to me.

Shah Wharton:

wrote a great post:


She says it is because WE SELF-PROMOTE not BOOK PROMOTE.

And some important WHY'S need to be addressed:

WHY did you become a writer? 



We need to draw to us a group of like-minded individuals who get caught up in the answers to those questions ... who have those answers murmuring in their hearts.


If not, that is why your book marketing is failing.

Does the WHY of your desire to be an author

and the WHY A READER WOULD FEEL COMPELLED TO READ YOUR BOOK draw a number of like-hearted people?

A bare chest tells me nothing special about your book or you.

  "Oh, another 'Passion's in Fashion' book" I just say.

Stephan King ages ago said: “It seems to me that every book – at least the ones worth reading – is about something.”

Can you hear a Hans Zimmer theme playing in the background as you read your climatic end chapters where mad gods dance in the night sky ...

your bruised heroes stand their ground, knowing they are going to die but it does not matter ...

for they will die together, taking the Dark Ones down with them,

And something greater than they will survive?

Is all the self-promotion, the generic tease covers nothing but digital Spam?
What is the WHY of your desire to be an author?
What do you think of bare torso covers?


  1. The image on a book cover has NEVER inspired me to buy a book, though some have cemented the opposite impulse.
    It is words that suck me in. So the blurb is of paramount importance to me. The images I will create for myself (with the help of the writers phrasing. Which is one reason I cannot watch a movie of a book I love. Its pictures are not mine.

  2. Elephant's Child:
    When I was very, very young, the Frank Frazetta painting for the cover of CONAN THE ADVENTURER had me counting my pennies to get it.'

    But I was very young -- and it was Frank Frazetta! :-)

    Like you, it was the magic, lyrical prose of Robert E. Howard in that book that had me buy the other titles in that series.

    Roger Zelazny had the very worst covers imaginable but the evocative poetry of his science fantasy prose had me buying each of his novels when they came out.

    I usually read the book AFTER the movie -- that way I imagine the actors' faces when I read.

    The same is true for SPENSER FOR HIRE. I see those actors faces when I read those books. The dialogue and character chemistry in those books kept me reading them!

    Thanks for always visiting. It means a lot. :-)

  3. I don't usually pick up a book with a cover like that. I'd probably pick up one of a guy sitting at a outdoor café table looking moody. . .

    Covers can be a real turnoff, but it does depend on what you're looking for. .

  4. Covers can catch my eye,but if the blurb doesn't grab me then I put the book back on the shelf. As for naked chests -- they've been on romance novels forever, but usually there's a woman leaning against it. Or being clutched against her will to it. Or clinging lustfully to it. So they all look alike to me and I never pick them up.

  5. I can't say I mind seeing a nice looking torso on book covers. I do wonder if it's the same guy who poses for all torso donning book covers. As for tustles in the bustle (I'm giggling, great phrase, Roland), I prefer to say away.

    Actually, I don't read erotica, semi-erotica, or romance, unless it's written by a blog friend.

    Thinking of you, Roland.
    Keep, or lift, your spirits.

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  7. Those covers totally bore me. They're all over romance novels, but when the story is not exclusively romance, the other side of the genre should be depicted. Like the suspense, the history, the paranormal, the thrill or horror - anything but the chest! Also, I read that Amazon gives less promotion to a cover depending on the amount of the flesh colour on the cover. No idea if that's true or not, but it's certainly a good reason to stop using flesh to sell. IMHO

    And hey, thanks so much for mentioning my post! :) X

  8. Those covers are a dime a dozen. And I don't read erotica or bodice rippers(and those types of covers look like erotica to me).

  9. The cover art is important to me. And I do prefer it be artwork. (Like our books.)
    Shah's post made me think about that. Not sure of the why.
    We do need to sell ourselves, though. My publisher told me that in the very beginning.

  10. D,G.:
    I'd probably pick up the same novel since the character's setting seems evocative of mystery and danger.

    MOON-CALLED by Patricia Briggs -- I picked it up because of the cover: a Native American woman with a paw print tattoo beneath her belly button, standing in front of an iron-laced gate, topped with two howling wolves as a full moon burned in the night sky.

    I bought it because of the great inside blurb -- I've stayed with the Mercy Thompson series because of the supernatural world it portrays and the fascinating characters who people it.

    So someone else thinks they are all beginning to look alike? I don't feel quite so alone anymore! :-)

    I couldn't resist making up that phrase -- it seemed fitting for a historical erotica. :-)

    As I said with MOON-CALLED, it was the attractive Native American woman that drew my eye to the cover in the book store -- but my eyes stayed because of the unique painting she was in.

    Thanks again for the book of your poetry. It meant and means a lot to me.

    I so enjoyed your post that I had to point it out to my friends.

    Yes, those covers make me sigh and pass my eyes right over them to something else with more imagination and flair.

    In fact the cover to the 2nd book of the Mercy Thompson series, BLOOD BOUND, almost made me pass, but by then I so liked Mercy, I bought the book DESPITE the cover. The other covers have all been lovely and imaginative.

    I have heard the same thing about Amazon and the amount of flesh exposed -- which means never make a cover a whole baby's face!

    Since what they did with ACX, I do not believe Amazon places much thought at all to struggling independent authors anymore. I feel they needed us at the beginning, but now that they have market dominance, they are looking to the Large Names. Sigh.

    Romance, in whatever genre, means more than lust to me. There must be a completed circuit feeling in the hearts of both lovers.

    And those covers, all looking alike, just seem unimaginative: better an evocative landscape that catches the mind and spirit.

    Yes, Shah's post made me think of those bare torso covers when I read it -- so when I began writing this post, hers sprang to mind.

    I think what Shah meant in part of her post was that readers want to know WHY we write more than WHO we are. When we reach JK Rowling status, then they want to know who we are!

    As you can see from my covers, I, like you, prefer artwork. :-)

  11. So funny and I agree about the bare torso stuff. Sex sells and I guess there is a hungry audience out there for desirable males images and romance. They judge their books by their covers.

    As far as selling oneself, that should be reserved for the agents or publishers. The reading audience doesn't care a whit for the most part about who the author is unless that author has achieved celebritydom. Readers want to read a good story and that what marketing a book needs to focus on.

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  12. Arlee:
    Glad you found a few laughs here. I intended for this post to be fun.

    I simply groan when I see a blur of bare torso's when I go down the book store aisle. I see a blur not a single cover individually.

    I agree about selling the book not the author. It is all about the story and why you, as a reader, should be excited about it, right?

  13. After all these years of seeing busty, barely clothed women, mostly long-haired blondes or redheads on book covers for years and years,(think Sam Spade, etc) it's kind of nice to see six-packs and broad shoulders :) I kind of like this new trend :)

  14. Catherine:
    I can understand where you are coming from. Still those busty and bare torso's covers just blur together for me -- and to me they diminish the quality of the book within to the minds of the onlookers.

    As I said, I am probably in the minority. The ghost of Mark Twain just slapped me hard on the shoulder, telling me that was a good place to be. It was when I found myself in the majority that I had to start worrying! :-)

  15. I don't like those covers either. I'd never buy one it print - ever.

  16. I'm with Holly. Absolutely DETEST these covers. They remind me of Sears catalog underwear ads, and there is nothing remotely sexy. Objectifying human beings is neither erotic nor sexy. It's boring, superficial, and demeaning. Have we learned nothing?

    VR Barkowski

  17. SouthPaw:
    Those covers depress me for some reason.

    I think you pinned down why these covers depress me: they make human bodies into objects -- sometimes so far as to cut off the heads.

    But many of the sexual affairs I've noticed going on around me are superficial, unimaginative, and demeaning.

    I want to dive into a relationship not snorkle!