I did a thing. A pretty terrifying, insane, wild thing.
I solved my own problem.
I put myself on my own damn covers. 😱
Yes. I know. Even writing this to tell you about it, my stomach is in knots.
Look: it’s one thing to put on a dress, hug a hot model and smile prettily for a photographer friend for someone else’s cover. I’ve done that lots of times! It’s easy, because it’s a thing I can emotionally separate from. Heck sometimes I don’t even see the covers my photos are on. (But if I do see one in the wild, I share them everywhere because representation matters! But…somehow I can pretend that’s not me.)
I’ve never…ever…ever put one of my images on MY books!!! …for all the very terrifying reasons. What will people say? What will they think? What if no one buys the book? That will hurt my feelings. What if the hateraid comments come in?
But then there’s the most terrifying reason of all: what if the world is not ready for women of color (WOC) on covers?
Years ago, I put Black girls on my covers all the time. I HUNTED the stock photo sites, desperate to find new WOC models who weren’t already being used a million times, because there was such a limited quantity of romance-ready stock photos with Black models. Then…I noticed my books without a WOC performed better. They got more clicks, and they got more sales. It broke my heart that books with beautiful Black women on the cover sold less than ones without, regardless of the story inside. At my core I’m a business woman so I did what I thought I had to.