Cover Art Trend?

Randi pointed this out to me after sending me a snapshot from her local bookstore – instead of the lower back and midriff pose with bonus trampstamp, we seem to have a newer cover art trend: Crouching Heroine, Hidden Midriff.

You can only kick ass when there’s a 40% chance of plumbers crack! Get down, kickass heroine, get downnnn.

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Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

Any minute now, she’s going to jump up and crack open a biiiiig can of whoopass. Get ready.

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  1. 1
    Heather says:

    First let me just say thanks for getting that song w/altered words stuck in my head! LOL

    It does seem to be a trend but one of many going around right now depending on genre. Also I just figured the crouching pose was just a good starting point for a round-house drop kick or swift kick in the nuts…but maybe that’s just me? Or maybe that’s what the want us to think of and I am just proving the demographic which is a bit scary now that I think of it! :o)

  2. 2
    Anida Adler says:

    Maybe they’ve cottoned on that really, we want it to be possible for that kick-ass heroine on the cover to be us, and in the crouching pose the inconvenient and exercise-immune three-kids-tummy is invisible.

    Or maybe I’m just a little obsessed.

  3. 3

    Well in my case (NIGHT’S COLD KISS) I was asked what I thought would make a good cover and I told them the opening scene to my book – where she is crouching on the window with the broken glass surrounding her. So you can totally blame that one on me.

    AND – loved the plumbers crack reference. Nearly laughed my ass off (or arse off as we say downunder). Plus I have a two kid midriff that I have to hide.

  4. 4
    Lori says:

    Cover trends sort of make my head hurt because I hate the idea that all books in a genre have to look the same or readers won’t be able to figure out what they are. However, given my utter hatred for the term “tramp stamp” I’m happy to move on from the last one.

  5. 5
    Fairlight says:

    I forgot about the last one but when I read it before I kept thinking “oh, so that’s what they mean about bringing sexy back, because I didn’t think it ever left.”  IDK.

    I actually have a tramp stamp. But I’m a guy, and I was for sure a bit of a tramp when I got it.  Can most women with an exercise-immune three-kids-tummy even get into that position?  I’m not sure I could.

    Also, LOLspamword—“came 43”.  That’d be awesome, 43 times?

  6. 6

    Good eye! They are all very similar! :)

  7. 7
    Lyssa says:

    I know why they are all crouching. It’s to prove that they can fight in those tight leather jeans. Or that they are ‘creeping around’…though the plumber crack on women is now called “bum cleavage” I am informed.

    Spamword perform26, Performing 26 Katas in tight jeans is bad for the health.

  8. 8
    DaviMack says:

    The problem with kicking, when you’re crouched down like that, is that you tend to lose your balance and fall over.  It’s … just not a good position, that way, plus you don’t get to throw your body mass behind it, so you’d end up giving your opponent a rather weak tap, if anything.

    Alternate term for “tramp stamp” … “cum catcher.”

    spamword green79: the alternative position to “global warming 69”

  9. 9
    Lexie says:

    @DaviMack—One of my sgts referred to it as a 10 ring on a target, regarding tramp stamps

  10. 10
    JinaP says:

    Captcha: Larger44 – if these women were wearing a larger pair of trousers, they wouldn’t have to worry about plumber’s crack.

    That is all.

  11. 11
    megalith says:

    Me? I blame Eartha Kitt. That pose totally reminds me of catwoman, but then I’m feeling older than dirt these days. Maybe it’s a reference to Sidney Bristow.

    Captcha: made46   Yep! Back in May. Now I’m hoping to get a job before I make 47.

  12. 12
    Leslie H says:

    I dunno, I think of it as the Kegel Pose.

    Yes, she can carry a beer without using her hands.

  13. 13
    Quill says:

    The one in At Grave’s End bugs me.  Is that position really possible?  Her leg looks…off.

  14. 14
    Gwynnyd says:

    Squatting on one knee with one leg open sideways 90 degrees from my hip and wearing 8 inch stiletto heels?  I’d say “possible, but really, really uncomfortable!”

  15. 15
    Suze says:

    Squatting on one knee with one leg open sideways 90 degrees from my hip and wearing 8 inch stiletto heels?  I’d say “possible, but really, really uncomfortable!”

    And this would be why they’re not photographs.  Ouch.  That crouching position with a no-kids-but-way-too-many-doughnuts tummy cuts off my air.  My sexy pose would be all ruined by my bright red face.  (Exercise-proof?  Um, I don’t know.  What is this x-er-size you speak of?)

  16. 16
    Casey says:

    The one in At Grave’s End bugs me.  Is that position really possible?  Her leg looks…off.

    It looks like she fell on the ice…the first time I saw that cover I thought “This is why stiletto heels and icy sidewalks are a BAD COMBINATION.”  The model looks like she’s about to start cursing a blue streak at the guy who was supposed to salt the walk.

  17. 17
    Ashley Ladd says:

    I loved your snarky article so much I gave it a plug on Twitter tonight. Love the comment about plumber’s crack.

    I KNOW this old body can’t do that pose at the moment. If ever again, it’s gonna take a whole lot of exercise. It’s painful even to look at.

  18. 18

    I love these micro-trends. Now that you pointed it out a couple of additional covers come to mind such as Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Kiss and Jennifer Rardin’s Bite Marks. Thanks Sara for linking to my Tramp Stamp video. I think I am going to have to do an update soon.

  19. 19
    LG says:

    I’d noticed that all the books seem to blend together, but I hadn’t noticed that the trend was “crouching women”, lol.  The cover for At Grave’s End stuck with me, because it bothered me.  Is that pose even possible?  Wouldn’t she strain something?  And how could she manage to get up gracefully?  After trying that hard to look cool, she so wouldn’t want to wobble.

  20. 20
    April says:

    Okay, the pose on At Grave’s End is actually a lot easier than it looks.  I dug my heels out from under the luggage (only 4 inches, best I got) and gave it a try.  It was a lot less sexy with me doing it but it worked!

    Getting up gracefully was, however, completely impossible…

  21. 21
    Gary says:

    Me? I blame Eartha Kitt. That pose totally reminds me of catwoman, but then I’m feeling older than dirt these days. Maybe it’s a reference to Sidney Bristow.

    I checked with my current favorite CatWoman author, Rachel Vincent.
    http://rachelvincent.com/shifters.htm
    Five covers, no crouching. Okay, so it isn’t romance. But still…

  22. 22

    I’m not sure but I think I prefer crouching heroine to swooning heroine. I’m just saying, slightly stronger, less vulnerable: kick ass in funny poses all day long!!

  23. 23
    beggar1015 says:

    Okay, the pose on At Grave’s End is actually a lot easier than it looks.  I dug my heels out from under the luggage (only 4 inches, best I got) and gave it a try.  It was a lot less sexy with me doing it but it worked!

    And of course you took a picture of yourself in this pose and you are going to put it up for all of us to see it.

    Of course.

  24. 24
    heather24 says:

    I like the crouching heroine pose. I also the majority of those books in my TBR mountian.

    Heather

  25. 25
    Marja says:

    Several of them look like as if they are trying to look under the car/the bed/the dresser while thinking something like ‘What was that sound? Did the muffler just drop?’/‘so that’s where the book ended up’/‘can I reach that shoe in there while wearing these trousers – and how did it end up back there anyway?’

    And the one in ‘Wanderlust’ is trying to impress the mechanic with her knowledge of her transport thingie in hopes that he wont try to overcharge her.

  26. 26
    phadem says:

    Actually, Jax isn’t really crouching on the cover of Wanderlust. She’s standing up with one leg hiked up on her vehicle. I think her cropped off left leg and way vehicle is cropped makes it look as though she’s crouching. Now, the cover for Grimspace – yes, more similar to the other examples.

    http://www.amazon.com/Grimspace-Sirantha-Jax-Book-1/dp/0441015999/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254924047&sr=1-1

    Dunno why I’m so picky about that one…. *shrug*

    Are these really trends? Isn’t there just really only so many ways to pose a person? We could find examples, tons of each kind of pose. Holding weapons and ready to strike, back shots, back shots w/person looking over shoulder, and so on…The tramp stamps and leather outfits seem more like trends. Still, it is somewhat amusing to see so many examples of one pose on the same page.

  27. 27
    phadem says:

    One other thing, it really is the elements that make up a cover that make me wonder if they are a trend, like the tramp stamps etc. Looking back at the examples in this post, I’m more inclined to wonder at the circular objects that appear in them – the moon for one (which is more obvious in some than in others; Vaughn’s series is werewolves after all), and in Galenorn’s and Pettersson’s covers we have decorative round details in the backgrounds. All of Galenorn’s Sisters of the Moon and Otherworld series have these circular elements.

    Pettersson’s book shown above is the first of her Sign of the Zodiac series to deviate to this same kind of cover, which leads me to believe more that it is following a trend, whether on purpose or not.

  28. 28
    Librariahn says:

    I blame Sigourney Weaver in the last “Alien” movie…she was so fem-macho and awesome with her fierce pouncing and stuff. Put all together, those ladies look like they’re ready to launch like a ninja rainstorm…although I do notice that despite the obvious opportunity for cleavage shots, most of these gals are dressed pretty conservatively. In a skintight leather catsuit kind of way.

    Spamword: theory96…in theory, there are 96 different variations on “crouching heroine, hidden midriff” positions.

  29. 29
    Kris says:

    The first time I saw the cover for Demon Mistress, my thought was that Menolly (the character) looks like she dropped someone with a kick to the nuts, and crouched down to ask if he’s liked it and if he would like some more.  Very cocky pose, and I liked it.  Some of the others are a bit odd, but again, better than some of the others lately.  I am a huge Bertrice Small fan, but I hate the “heroine looking up into the bleachers with a blank Wonder Woman stare” covers that she has had the last few years.

  30. 30
    Dan Gambiera says:

    I’ve noticed – and been increasingly annoyed by – it in recent years. It seems to be connected to a few things…

    Reading books in general and fantasy in particular is becoming more of a female thing. Books that appeal to women will tend to feature them as powerful, attractive leads capable of romantic agency and expression. The large and growing crossover between romance and fantasy authors can’t be overestimated. That means cover art which advertises them that way.

    How does the illustrator accomplish this?

    The Girl can be toting around a Power Object. We see lots of swords, guns, magic wands, dangerous-looking mystic gestures. That takes care of the power part.

    What about the sexually-confident bit? You don’t want her dressing like she’s about to take her clothes off. Wrong message. It means she’s still woman-as-door-prize. You don’t want overly modest or buttoned down. A corporate Power Suit isn’t adventurous. It isn’t escapist.

    You want something that shows her off, allows her to look a little wild, self-assured, going about her own business, able to slay dragons but still turn heads. That means tight pants which show off the legs and hips without showing them off. It also means a t-shirt or tank-top – active and attractive without looking to attract. The bare belly and moderate cleavage say “sexy, but not on display”. The open jacket adds “I was doing something else important that was so active I had to unzip the coat.”

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