Where My Sexy Folks At?

Part of the job of an Indie author is to promote your work or hire a personal assistant to help you promote your work or put together a street team to help you and your personal assistant promote your work.

Or all three.

It’s exhausting but it must be done. There is no way around it.

As an Indie, you must self-promote.

And part of promoting is putting together teasers of your book, sexy little snippets that catch the eye and entice the reader.

WyattBookI

I’m very particular about my teasers, their look, their feel. The photo, the lighting, the tint, the font, the placement of words. I analyze them all, play around with them, sit back and stare at them, then send them to Kayti and make her stare at them.

Mostly because I’m an annoying bitch like that.

         eye-crying-1

DarbyJeddaBookIII

This is all to say, when it comes to a teaser, I do not play. My teasers are gorgeous. I love them. Madly.

WyattDev

WyattDevBookI

JoolsBookIII

And there would be a hell of a lot more of them if I could find some sophisticated, sexy, glamorous shots of men and women of color. Of interracial couples. Of folks resembling my cast of characters in The Sanctum Trilogy.

Do you know how difficult it is to find a glamorous shot of a woman of color? Something sophisticated and subtle and sensual without being cheesy or degrading or just plain junk? It’s taken me days and often, what I’ve found is not at all reflective of my character, especially Dev, with her dark skin and wild, curly hair, so I settle for whatever I can find, I make do, I go for the lighter-skinned girl because, shit, at least she’s kinda brown.

DevBookI

Then just to make things more exciting for myself, I went and made Dev’s lover, Wyatt, white…have you ever tried looking for shots of interracial couples?

Barf.

Talk about cheesy. Ninety percent of the stuff out there is barely worth the eye-roll I give it as I’m scrolling down the page of search results. So again, I make do and hope it’s okay. I take the back shot – you know the pose, the girl’s back and the guy’s arms around her – because that girl in that shot is brown and you can tell she’s brown and she’s not looking corny, but is shot in perfect light and the mood is just what I’m looking for even though I hate her hair and the fact that I can’t see her eyes irks me.

WyattDevBookIIIPromoFINAL

WyattDevBookIII2

This is how it goes for all of us out here with our diverse characters and diverse narratives and diverse book covers and diverse promo pieces. We struggle, we spend endless hours scrolling through shit, wondering why all the white couples get all the cool shots, furious our stories and faces and kisses and lips-parted-in-desire aren’t captured as often and with the same tender, subtle, sophisticated gaze.

And we settle.

And hope next time we have to go searching, there’ll be better pickings out there.

Well, you know what I say? Fuck that noise.

While we’re so busy calling for diverse book shelves, how about we do the same for the fucking book covers and the damn photos that go onto those book covers?? How about calling for a #WeNeedDiversePhotography movement?

Something.

Anything.

Because that sexy as shit shot up there, with the white guy and brown girl and their hands holding onto each other with such intensity you can just feel their love and lust and need for each other…

god, what I wouldn’t give to see their faces.

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10 thoughts on “Where My Sexy Folks At?

  1. OMG! I’ve been struggling with this as well. Trying to find some stock photos to go along with my characters has been a (expensive!!) bear. It’s opened my eyes to how behind he curve we really are and how much opportunity there is to service OUR market. Great post!

    • Thanks Lori. The dearth of decent images of men and women of color just stuns. Then I get annoyed and pissed off and write a post like this one to make myself calm down a bit. Of course, the next time I have to make a teaser, I’ll get pissed off all over again. #DiversePeopleProblems

  2. I think people have a hard time seeing interracial couples as “normal” or rather standard. For someone who’s dated interracially, sometimes i question why i feel the need to put interracial in front of the word relationship, which for the most part people do. When you do see couples of different races in stock art, it’s kind of…fetish-y. Ya know because no one can like an east asian girl or a black girl without it being a some kind of trend. we definitely need some kind of movement for diverse photography. An author I know hires a photographer for her books. She picks out the model that fits the look and voila! a Beautiful sista that fits her vision!

    • Yeah, it figures – to get the shots you want and need, it’s going to cost a pretty penny. I’ve always been in “mixed” relationships, so have never really thought anything of it until I tried finding some decent shots to depict Wyatt and Dev and was just hitting brick walls every which way. And trying for a Jools/Ryker shot is even worse. They’re. Just. So. Gross.

  3. HELL YES, FUCK THAT NOISE!

    I’ve been having the same problem! A lot of my upcoming characters are either interracial or gay. Find me a gay “couples” shot that isn’t super-shmultzy or doesn’t have early-nineties-gay-man-hair, and I will buy you a literal unicorn.

    • Girl, I was thinking the same thing for my lesbian couple – the shots are deplorable, fetishy, and just leave me feeling really icky. Then throw in the fact that one girl is white and the other is Indian and this homegirl just throws her hands up in the air and calls it a day. Don’t see either of us getting a unicorn in the mail any time soon.

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