[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Nana Malone to the site today. She did something incredible: she put HERSELF on her covers! Take it away, Nana.]
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.
But if there was ever a time to grab a bull by the balls (yes I know it’s horns, but go with me) it’s now.
The sad thing was that I couldn’t find a single photo with a Black woman in a beautiful gown that matched my story. Not one.
So I called in a few favors…and solved my own problem.
Am I scared? Yes, but I’m doing it anyway.
Do I think this is a bad idea? Maybe, but I’m doing it anyway.
Do I think the world is ready for this jelly? Probably not, but…you guessed it, I’m doing it anyway.
Why? Because representation matters. (Also Wander Aguiar couldn’t take a bad photo if he tried. So there’s that.)
The point is, for all the other little girls who looked like me and loved romance and were desperate to SEE themselves, I got you!
And for every one of you who don’t look like me: I’ve got you, too. Because my stories—many of which star an amazing, feisty, smart Black girls who get their HEA—are here for all readers, not just readers who look like the cover.
So here you have it: London Royals. A whole new look. Same great books!
About the Author:
Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling author, Nana Malone writes Sexy Feel-Good Romance and loves all things romance and adventure.
That love started with a tattered romantic suspense she “”borrowed”” from her cousin. It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.
Connect with Nana:
East Bound by Nana Malone, out now!
Some say I can be ruthless.
Nyla Kincaid is about to find out. I allowed her to get too close and in the end, she burned me.
To keep the secrets of the Elite, I seduced her.
The distraction worked, but like a moth to a flame, I singed my wings.
She will pay for my mistake. And I will never repeat it.
Meting out my revenge will be so sweet.
And this time, I will not take care with her heart.