Saturday, September 7, 2013

Torso Fatigue

I’m just going to come out and say it. I have a bone to pick with paranormals: I’m tired of the torso cover. And I say this as someone whose book in the margin of this blog sports a prominent naked torso.

To be fair, there are some very nice ones out there. I don’t hate a hot torso. (Chris Hemsworth taking it off in Thor? Thank you.)

And you're welcome. ;)

But there are so many these days—shared by paranormal, contemporary, historical, male/male, and erotica genres, to name a few—that they’re all starting to look alike. And there are only so many torso models out there in the royalty-free stock photo world.

I’ve noticed one model in particular whose torso now graces dozens of book covers and even more blogs. There’s even a shot of him (not mine) in the margin below, but I won’t say which. (Let me know in the comments if you think you can spot him.) He’s got a pretty versatile look, so at first glance, I didn’t even realize I was seeing the same guy repeatedly, but once I’d noticed it, I couldn’t stop seeing him. I sure hope he’s making good money off these photos, but seeing as they’re royalty free, well…I just hope he got paid something nice up front. ;)

I’ve also seen the model on my cover on a fair few. That same shot, even—he’s been a shifter, a demon, a Viking—a detail changed here and there, different hair drawn on him, but in that same noticeable pose.

In the case of these often-used models, I suppose the floating cropped torso that’s become so popular is actually preferable (and there's a very nice example of that just to the right), because then at least you can imagine the face for yourself and you may not realize you’re seeing the same guy again and again. But I’d really love it if we could break out of this naked torso mold altogether.

And yes, there are even torsos in the banner of this blog. Don’t get me wrong; I think they’re quite lovely. They’re just…everywhere. I’d love to see some visual variety. Even some tush would be refreshing. Maybe give the poor guy a hat or a tie, for pity’s sake. Something. (Or maybe it’s just that I secretly want to see “below the fold.”)

Am I alone in this torso weariness? And am I crazy to complain about ubiquitous hotness? I feel like my gay demon Belphagor after he’s been forced to spend time at a brothel full of women: He wasn’t sure how much more tit he could take.


Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

I am not tired of the torso covers but then again I still like the throwback covers from the 80s when I started reading romance.

However, if you are talking about duplicate covers (which is not only a problem in the torso world but also across the board as more people self-publish) then yes I am a little tired of that. I don't like not being able to tell a book by its cover. However, it isn't just self-pubs doing it either now that I think about it. Some publishers do too.

One trend I don't like is the fruit, cufflinks, and item covers. It makes erotica look like YA and just doesn't do anything for me.

I guess I am just old school. I want people on my covers :)

Jane Kindred said...

I guess if a torso cover is done well, I don't have a problem with them. But so many are not done well, with just floating, random torsos. (Particularly in m/m, when they stick two unrelated guys together in a badly done, meaningless composite.) I want to see more artfully done covers that give an idea of what the story is about. And pubs definitely use the same images on different books, often without knowing, since they're not buying exclusive licenses on the images. One pub recently put the same guy (in the same shot) on two books within a few months of each other.

Anonymous said...

Hot torso cover is nice but I'm more interested in what's between the covers. Hopefully my cover won't be one I can't stand to look at. LOL.

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