Characters of Color and Book Cover Images


As an African American author, who writes romance novels with African American heroines and heroes, there’s much truth to the points expressed in the video. Since becoming an independent author responsible for hiring graphic designers to create my book covers, I’ve discovered a lack of stock images of African Americans, particularly African American couples. But the dearth of diverse images goes beyond the mere number of pictures of African Americans and other people of color. There is also a lack of diversity in the type of images available, such as paranormal, fantasy, and horror with characters of color. As a paranormal and fantasy romance author, I would love to find images of African Americans in these genres.

Thus, what occurs, due to the lack of images from which to choose, the same models of color invariably appear on book covers by a multitude of authors. For the most part, we all use the same stock photo companies, as do publishers, graphic designers, and bloggers. In the end, there are only so many attractive African American men and women on these sites from which to choose. I’m not being mean or judgmental when I use the word “attractive.” Most readers, particularly readers of romance novels, tend to gravitate to covers with handsome men and beautiful women.

So, when I saw the video, it resonated with me. It’s an unfortunate truth. But one that can be addressed. I love what Porsha Antalan and Mahogany Brown have done with the founding of BRWN Stock Imaging. There is a need out there for more and diverse stock images of African Americans. Maybe you were already aware of this issue. Or perhaps it never crossed your mind. But now that you’ve read this post and watched the video, what are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

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