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Monica Jackson’s most recent blog, where she bitches about the latest cover for one of her books got me thinking.

How does it happen, that an author can write a romance featuring a black hero/heroine, but once the cover is unveiled, it depicts a completely different looking person. More often than is comfortable, the colour changes to a whiter shade of pale.

I was once told that this is because romance books with covers of African American/or any other black contingent, do not sell as well as book covers with pictures of Caucasian heroes/heroines.

Huh? *Cue mouth falling open in amazement*. Wow…. Who knew?

Then I thought about it some more, and I decided that this person was right, book covers with heroes/heroines of colour probably don’t sell as well, but why?

Well after having mulled this over for oh…several seconds, I decided that publishers were to blame for this sad state of affairs.

The fact that some of them still feel that the best way to market a romance book is to have white heroes and heroines on the front cover, regardless of whether or not the actual characters in the book are white, tells me all I need to know about how far we’ve come in the whole equal opportunities debate.

Surely if we saw more romance cover books showing actual black heroes/heroines, the status quo regarding sales would change.

People hate the unknown, and subconsciously, publishers out there who practice this kind of marketing, help perpetuate the notion that black people falling in love is a rare and uncomfortable occurrence, and thus one that must be avoided at all costs.

The first time I saw the word ‘cock’ in a book, I nearly fainted in dismay (you can imagine my initial reaction to discovering that people actually indulged in anal sex) , in fact I actually gasped out aloud, I was so shocked. The obvious reason for my surprise, was because prior to this occasion, I’d never seen the word used anywhere else. His ‘hardness’, his ‘manhood’, and other equally politically correct descriptions, but never “cock”, I mean shit, that was like a dirty word!

Now of course things have changed, I gasp out loud if I don’t see the word cock in my romance books. Now I revel in its liberal use. The more cocks, the merrier as far as I’m concerned.

I think the same can be said for romance books featuring people of colour on the front cover. If those out there, who happen to be less enlightened than us, don’t see such covers often, how are they ever going to be given the opportunity to get used to it, and eventually stop gasping at pictures of black people on romance covers?