The above cover is for Whatever You Like by Maureen Smith (2010). Interesting cover, eye-catching, good choice for a romance novel with very frequent, very graphic sex scenes.
Should be a good fit for the story then, right?
Let me ask you something. How would you describe the race/ethnicity of the characters displayed on this cover? Would you say the man looks like an even "finer" twin of Idris Elba?
[This is Idris Elba, for those of you who may not have heard of the actor before.]
No, I didn't think so. This book is a love story between two African-Americans living in Chicago, not two white Americans living in Chicago.
File this under--1) Isn't this 2010 and way beyond a time where you need to, literally, white-wash characters to attract readers? 2) Shouldn't authors have the authority to at least veto, if not choose, the covers for their books instead of that falling into the hands of the publishers in the case of all but the most successful (meaning, well-selling) of authors?
And, for an example of true irony, Whatever You Like is from Harlequin's new Kimani Press division. As in, directly marketed to an African-American readership. Um, hullo??
What do you think?