OPINIONS | Beauty Is Only Skin Deep in Romancelandia


“Gurl, did you see that book cover! What was she thinking?”

That’s how the group text started. And that statement from black woman regarding white authors and their attempts to integrate diversity into their romance is very common. So it got me thinking. White woman do not know what black woman swoon over when it comes to men of color and cover models – well let me just say it like it is: Black Men

Of course, we all have our go to black men we consider sexy. There is Shamar Moore and Idris Elba after all. But there are so many others on the spectrum. We need to help others expand their horizons when considering sexy black men as romance cover models.

With the demands of more diverse reads some authors have succeeded and some authors have stumbled. And the argument is always the same regarding the lack of diverse reads: diversity doesn’t equal book sales. Well if you select a horrible cover model or stock photo for the cover, of course not. We are not going to accept just anyone as eye candy.



Book Sales in romance is tied to eye candy. Eye candy makes a reader one click even if they have never heard a word about the author or the story. So book marketing is a heavy component in creating book sales. Diversity and low book sales becomes real and tangible when you start with a horrible book cover. You can’t just stick a big black bald muscle man on a cover and voila – diversity achieved!

If doesn’t work that way for women of color. We all have various degrees of eye candy worthiness. On the other hand, black authors get it right on their selections of cover models. I have found so many new authors of color because of the cover models on their book covers. Its just a shame it doesn’t create buzz for the stories themselves.   And yes I purchase those books! But can I get my “dear white people” to purchase more books from black authors. I mean we all love Beverly Jenkins.  But there are so many more worthy authors who deserve our attention and want others to swoon over their book covers.  That’s the challenge.


I had a book bestie tell me she doesn’t find black men attractive and that’s why she don’t read diverse books. This broke my heart on the inside. Here we are sitting in a café sipping coffee talking about the sexy white guy on the latest new book release. What does that say for the need of diverse books?

Until white authors figure out to select black men for their “diversity romance” – diversity will always equal no sales. To create book sales and add to #weneeddiversebooks movement, we can prove how diversity CAN create and increase book sales. Just don’t create a hinderance out of the gate with a horrible book cover.


The motto “don’t judge a book by its cover” does not apply to romancelandia. A cover reveal can make or break a new book release. Its a proven fact when you see current books get cover makeovers. A  book cover creates buzz. A cover reveal equates to preorder sales. And I for one am not going to buzz about a book I have no intent on reading because I don’t like the book cover.

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