If you've seen books on a shelf in a store anywhere, like the newsstand at the airport or a kiosk at the grocery store, you've noticed that the success of 50 Shades of Grey has had quite an effect on cover art for contemporary erotic romances. It's shades of grey everywhere!
Here's the original three covers, in case you've been living in a van down the river and haven't seen these books anywhere:
Margot Sage-El, the owner of my local independent bookstore, Watchung Booksellers, said to me a few months back that she thought one factor in the success of the book was that it didn't look like a romance novel. It sure doesn't. But get ready, because now many books look like 50 Shades. I hope the book buying public likes grey.
First, there are all the parodies, which made any photographer of black and white stock images VERY happy. I mean, really, of anyone who is riding the gravy train of this book, the stock photo agencies are probably the most joyful. Have a look at the complete parodypalooza of wtfery unleashed upon the world:
And this image, minus the extra nosy part, was the original cover image for “Bared to You:”
And of course there had to be political parodies!
England and Ireland, you're not off the hook either. This book is described as “Belfast craic,” and has one enthusiastic review. Nevertheless, I feel like I need to apologize on its behalf, even though I had nothing to do with it:
The description of this one is just majestic in the amount of instant WHAT? I felt upon reading it:
“Maggie Muff meets Mr Red, White and Blue when she goes for a 'back to work' interview at the Bru in place of her best chum, big Sally-Ann, who's down with a dose of the clap that she got of Tommy Dick-fingers. ”
And this cover, which isn't so much a parody as it is everything plus the kitchen sink, the fridge, and the junk drawer:
We can't forget the reference books which have arrived to help all the curious folks who want to do some of that in their own bedrooms (more power to them, I say):
CHERRIES?! What could THAT mean?!
And then there are the erotic romances and erotic novels being released with two-color photography covers instead of full color man-chest covers. The Crossfire series covers are 50 Shades-esque:
I saw this one and said, out loud, “Oh, come ON now.”
All of the covers for Beth Kery's serial novel have close up images on a single color background, quite 50-Shades-esque:
And then there's this magical piece of magic, sent to me by Allie:
Allie says, “either the author has a mushroom fetish or a lively sense of humor (the reviews seem to suggest the latter!)”
And this has nothing to do with book covers but I couldn't NOT share this: FIFTY SHADES OF GRU!
The pressing question from my perspective is, if we're going to have 50 Shades-esque cover images of Dude Stuff in black and white, let's get real here, shall we? The first 50 Shades cover was a picture of a tie, and has become pretty iconic. It focused on the dude, not the heroine, and there was nary a nipple in sight. Just a close up of some Dude Stuff. Keeping with that theme, here are some ideas that I think would make GREAT covers:
This is a POSTER, y'all. Don't tell me there's no demand for images of sock garters!
Nosehair trimmers! Because you can tell a lot from the size — and grooming — of a man's nose
Bond. GOLD Bond.
Have you noticed any absurd 50 Shades esque cover imagery? What do you think of the still-life photograph vs man-chest cover imagery? Which do you prefer?