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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stock Photography Hell

Enemy Embrace was exclusive to the Crave the Night anthology for six months, but now that time is up and I went in search of royalty-free photos for a cover. I've lamented before about trying to find cover images and it hasn't gotten any better. Most of the pictures out there simply won't work.

  • Smiling people? No. Not for the kinds of stories I write.
  • Scrawny men. A lot of the men in these pictures are either scrawny or unattractive or both. Why can't stock photographers grasp that both the man and the woman need to be good looking?
  • Poses too staid or poses too explicit. Some of these pictures look like portraits that people would put up on their fireplace. Conversely, there are pictures out there with all kinds of skin showing. I don't write Erotic Romance, but even if I did, the book sellers aren't going to show a cover that might offend customers.
These issues leave a handful of photos out there and authors are using and reusing them, which gets kind of old. The problem is there's nothing better and there's little choice.

But me? I have an extra layer of difficulty. You see, I frequently write multicultural characters and Enemy Embrace has one of them. My heroine is Latina.

I find it oddly ironic that just last week someone blogged at Heroes and Heartbreakers about how white romance is. It left me sputtering because of the 14 stories I've had published, 6 of them have had a hero or heroine who has a multicultural background. A quick use of a calculator says that's 43% of my published work.

Anyway, considering the hell I've had to go through to find stock images for these couples, I'm exceedingly aware that photographers who shoot photos I can use are few and far between. After hours of searching, I found 3 pictures that might, possibly work for this story, but none of them are optimal. It's frustrating.

For those curious about my multicultural characters:

The Power of Two - Cai is 1/4 Vietnamese
Through a Crimson Veil - Mika is 1/2 Japanese
Dark Awakening - Kimi is all Japanese-American
The Troll Bridge - Troll is part Filipino and part African-Caribbean and part Hawaiian
Demon Kissed - Bree is part Latina
Enemy Embrace - Nicole is part Latina