Monday, April 6, 2015

Naked Men on Shelves

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the blog!
The other day, while perusing Amazon, I couldn't help but notice the preponderance of fantasy/sci-fi book covers featuring naked guys. 
Not full frontal nudity, obviously, but near nudity. Naked torsos with no heads or faces, but lots of bulging pecs and ripped abs.
And I wondered: do any of these cover images have anything to do with the actual story? Are they reflective of a scene?  Or is the author just sticking a hot, naked guy on the cover to get sales?
Sex does sell, ladies and gents.  But should it?
This is the cover to my sci-fi book, Dawnwind: Last Man Standing:

I made it myself, as you can probably tell, using Photoshop.  When I was considering the book cover, I gave it some thought.  I wanted to use primary colors because of their significance in the book's dominant alien culture.  The design was inspired by sci-fi covers from the 1960s.
I didn't just want to stick a generic alien spaceship against a generic celestial background on the cover. Everyone was, and is, doing that.  I wanted something that would stand out from the other books in its simplicity. 
All in all, I'm really rather pleased with the way it came out.
However, I'm also honest enough to realize that this cover, on it's own, probably doesn't invite a lot of curiosity.  Books with images of the protagonist on the cover generally sell better because people linger over them.  If that protagonist happens to be an attractive, nearly naked person then the odds are probably better that more people will look at your book.  How much of a bump it gives sales, I don't know, but I don't think it's a lot.
To put it bluntly, you can look sexy as hell, but still be as dull as dishwater. 
It doesn't help that a lot of indie authors out there get their cover images from the same photo web sites.  I've seen the same guy appearing on multiple covers for very different books. 
I guess, for me, plopping a naked guy on a book cover, when it has nothing to do with the book, is more than just laziness.  It seems dishonest.
All that said, I have to admit to some curiosity. If I had done a cover like the one below for Dawnwind. . . .

Would more of you have bought it?
Just curious.

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