Razor Sharp Editing

I Cut Because I Care

Freelance editing for genre fiction with a romantic plot or subplot

Don't I Know You From Somewhere?: Four Overused Romance Covers That Need to Go Now

Stock photos are a time-honored tradition in Romancelandia. It’s not just self-pub authors—the biggest publishing houses in genre fiction rely on the same collections of perfect abs, happy couples, and moonlight-silhouetted wolves the rest of us do. A great cover artist can turn a ho-hum image into an arresting advertisement for the goodies behind your cover, but no amount of artistry will make your book stand out if it uses one of these four overworked MVPs:

1) Does someone need some Alka-Seltzer?

Photoshop in some tiger stripes, and you’ve got a sexy PNR. Or put it in black and white for an angsty con-rom. Got a badass MC hero? Add a tattoo and some sepia tones. It’s no wonder this veiny, genre-crossing, headless beauty has attracted so many authors and cover artists over the years, but even alphas need their rest.

2) Damn kids and their rock music these days!

Ever since Samantha Towle stormed Amazon’s top romance list in 2012, this tall drink of water has been typecast as the go-to rock god (and occasional vampire). But after so many gigs, those hands might be the only thing holding this bad boy up. It’s time for this photo to take its final bow.

3) Can’t you see we’re trying to sleep here?

These crazy kids get around. Their caught-in-a-clinch moment could sell sand in the Sahara, so it’s no wonder their sizzle has graced the covers of everything from sci-fi YA to billionaire erotica. Even cropped into headless obscurity, this image packs a punch…that has been totally eroded from overuse. Say goodnight, Gracie.

4) Psst…do I need a breath mint?

Oh over-the-shoulder-stranger, you are the fodder of all our angstiest dreams, but we’re getting a crick in our neck after so long re-breathing your air. Samantha Young cemented this image as the pinnacle of new-adult drama on the cover of her best-selling On Dublin Street. She may not have been the first to use this image, but hers is the first readers will think of if they see this cover on your book.

Trend-watch: 2016

So what cover images are most likely to take 2016 by storm? I’ve got one word for you: beards. Broody, badass hipsters are in this year, folks, and have already set our vegan hearts afire. The necessity for tats goes without saying.

What other stock photos are beyond their sell-by date? And who do you want adorning your next great read? Chime in below!