[Think Aloud] – #28 – Why Your Book Boyfriend Is A Cheater

Think Aloud explores book-related discussions encompassing reading, writing, blogging, and perhaps newsworthy content. The focus is to push the boundaries, stretch the mind, and encourage dialogue within this community. Let’s all think out loud. 


Table Topic:
Why Your Book Boyfriend Is A Cheater


Cover models who appear on multiple covers are basically cheaters.


Let me preface this by saying that I haven’t read much New Adult/Adult/Erotic contemporary romance. However, being part of the community, I feel as though I’ve seen enough book covers to speak on the issue as a neutral third party.

Call me Switzerland if you will.

Two words permeate the reading community: relation-“ship” and book significant other (e.g. book boyfriend). Though not mutually exclusive, there are surely readers who gravitate towards Sir Hunkadory–with their smoulder and misunderstood-ness and broodiness and piercing stares–as being their ride & die; that readers can and will ship themselves with said fictional Adonis.

And that’s fine–be with whichever leading lad you want.

I’m no mental wizard to refute the imagination of the 20-pack-of-abdominal-shredding that’s on the cover but with the visibility of “stock” images being seen over and over againparticularly with self-published works–this offers a concern that these “depictions” can have imaginative crossover appeal without intending so.

Meaning: the same cover model appearing on multiple books by different authors could be red-flagged for being a [potential] cheater.

Here are some examples to demonstrate my point:


Stripped Bare by Susan Mac Nicol (Adult M/M Romance)
The Last Boyfriend – J. S. Cooper (NA Romance)


Losing It by Cora Carmack (NA Romance)
Pricks and Pragmatism by J. L. Merrow (Adult M/M Romance)


Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher (Dark NA Romance)
Bound for Hell by Kendra Leigh (Erotic Romance)


Easy by Tammara Webber (NA Romance) 
Devoured by Emily Snow (Erotic Romance BDSM)
Playing Games by Jessica Clare (NA Romance)

While this post mainly targets “book boyfriends”, I’m not disregarding the possibility of book girlfriends etc. from existing. With the prevalence of romance fiction readers being mostly female, that seems to be the forum where this term gains its traction. But the onus isn’t on readers self-identifying their romantic inclinations to a certain fictional character. Nor is it that readers are tired of (or get a good laugh at) seeing these stock models over-and-over again to the point of deja vu. 

Instead, it’s that a simple name/identification change (+ a new setting) could easily move the romantic lead from one book to another as they can and are imagined in similar ways–that these characters could be leading a double life full of infidelity.

It’s already bad enough that you, the reader, have to compete with the ship in the book…now it shifts from an unreciprocated Love-V (love triangle) to some polygonal mess that only grows with each cover these models appear on.

If there’s one tip I’ll add to this dialogue: is it too much to ask if they’re healthy and clean?

Afterthought Prompts:

Yeah…so uh, I don’t know what questions I can prompt you with LOL. But I’ll try:

What are your thoughts on cover models (e.g. whole body? face only? side profile? ‘people’ in general on covers?)

Which popular fiction books have you come across seeing the same cover models for? 

As always, think aloud. 


connect: afterthoughtAn // twitter  |  anotherafterthought // goodreads


Post Inspiration:

I’m all about disappointment these days and what better way than to roast all of your fictional relationships! Thanks to Brett for beta reading the direction of this post.

This is Day 3 of of my week long 2016 Valentines Themed Week!

Day 1: “Books, Be Mine: Valentines Day Event Introduction”
Day 2: Top Ten Tuesday – “Inseparable Fictional Pairs”



48 thoughts on “[Think Aloud] – #28 – Why Your Book Boyfriend Is A Cheater”

  1. A) Hysterical. B) I can’t stand cover models. They scream cheese and laziness. Show some imagination!! I want a gorgeous cover that evokes the plot, and while I realize that in some cases, th cover models do, I need more. Great post!


    1. It’s alright to judge books by their covers. It’s part of the overall packaging, yeah? Think about it: the $$$ you pay for the book surely in some cosmic way funds the cover design and/or models on them. It’s like “here bud, here’s $0.05 cents for your work out efforts…”


  2. LOLOL, this is great. The guy on the cover of Easy gets around. I’ve seen him a LOT. I personally don’t like faces or people on covers of books. If there are people, I prefer no faces seen. It just screams cheesy to me. I especially don’t like shirtless men on covers. That is the all time cheese.

    You make my day with these types of posts.


  3. Love this post!! I complained one time to a PR rep that I liked the author’s story but because the book used the same stock photo as another book, it made me like the book less.
    In answer to your question, I prefer when the covers don’t show a face. I like to conjure those images in my own head. I don’t find anything cheesy about male body art – bring on the ripped abs!
    My biggest pet peeve is when the author goes to great lengths to describe a character and then the model on the cover doesn’t match the description. For example, the character has red hair but then the cover model is a blonde.


    1. Well at least you’re upfront about wanting the muscles but less-so of the face! That’s interesting that you let PR know you didn’t enjoy the stock photo — did they reply back to your message?

      Hah. I can’t say I’ve seen misrepresented characters on covers in NA/Contemp. centric books but that just seems like neglect on some party to not have the book read before cover design begins…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve only come across most of the cover models in passing of seeing other people’s TBR lists etc. but it makes me wonder the appeal of using these stock images aside from the assumed costs of actually going about finding your own models and taking pictures etc. — but that begs the question of why these covers are so marketable for NA/A/Erotic fiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Before finishing: I smiled when you said book significant other. I grinned at this, it felt as if you were writing it right to me (although this is probably not the intention) Love this- I’m not disregarding the possibility of book girlfriends etc. from existing.


  5. This post was wonderful. I loved it. It was interesting, funny, and OT was INCLUSIVE. Yaaay. That made me so happy. I also loved the post inspiration section, so snarky.

    Other Favorite Parts: Love-V
    (I loved this essay, and I might reread it for Valentine’s if I remember because I thought this was beautiful. It was one of the first essays of yours I read)

    Is it too much to ask if they’re healthy and clean? (OMG. Italicizing this made this better!!!)

    1. If it were a woman, Kendra Leigh.
    Man, profile.
    I hate to be exclusive, so nonbinary would be both if that were the case but that’s not usually the case.
    2. I haven’t, until now so I’ll tell you my favorite from this post. Kendra Leigh!!!


    1. It definitely wouldn’t be my kind of post if I wasn’t smiling while [kindly] bashing on a topic! In retrospect, this sounds odd if you were to imagine this happening in real life.

      I’m glad you read this, hopefully, on my blog link and not through reader (I’m not even sure if italics show up in WP reader) and I’m glad you think this is an essay of sorts (even if that was never my intent LOL).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OMG, I could’ve said discussion post, but IDK it’s essay in a good way!!! And it does! I did read this through reader, I believe. Reader does suck but I do use it sometimes. I switch between the two (blog, reader)


  6. So, what you’re saying is that Garrett Graham is cheating on me? I’m devastated. 😦 Lol. His abs on the cover have to be on another cover somewhere.
    I kind of like seeing cover models (real people) on books. The only time it bugs me is when they don’t look like described in the book. I can forgive them for being on another cover, but it’s probably because I read mostly on my Kindle, so I’m not seeing the cover all of the time.
    Great post!


      1. No, I haven’t. I kind of think he’s on ALL of the Off-campus books. But I’m sure he is on others with abs like that. 😉
        My husband has no clue about Garrett. Lol. He would make fun of me so hard. He already gives me so much crap about the book suggestions that pop up in our Amazon website.
        I did lend my sister The Deal. She read a part of it out loud to my brother-in-law. He said, “Deanna reads some dirty books!” Not sure I’m going to live that one down.


  7. I hate people on covers!! Like, NOPE! I like to use the authors descriptions to imagine my own characters but when there’s someone on the cover I keep imagining them! The couple on the front the Lux novels were literally on like EVERYTHING for a whiles there! Off the top of my head I know they’re on the Significant books and the How to Ruin books. Lol 14 year old Any definitely had a certain taste in books Hahahaha!!


  8. Hilarious post, Joey! 😂
    I have more tolerance of body parts like hands and feet rather than the whole body or face on covers. I just dislike the idea of reading a book and the publisher/author shoving up the cover models like, “Hey this person is hot and perfect, this is the MC. Remember it.” I mean, where’s the freedom of imagination in that?
    Still, I usually read on my e-Reader so I don’t really have to mind the cover the entire time.


    1. I feel like a sad possibility is that even without cover models, the next best thing is actors or very attractive people we’ve come across — which is fine — so how much of it is really imagination versus what all the noise around us is telling us how Fit Guy 1 and Brown Eyed Girl 2 ought to look like?


  9. I hate people on covers because they never look like the described characters. If it’s a painting instead of a photo then that’s more forgivable because then it’s sometimes a match for the character, but even there it’s not always ‘right’. I’d much rather no people, photographed or painted.

    Thanks for a good laugh.


    1. For all the books with cover novels that I have read (which isn’t a lot), I don’t even remember which route I take to imagine the “model” characters. I feel as though I just skip by and it’s just blank-faced dude and some blank-faced girl and they’re like doing stuff and I’m like “omg where is the plot..” — the regrettable truth of me reading most NA romances (which is why I have identified most of them aren’t for me…for now).


  10. Awesome post as usual Joey, can’t say I read too many books with hunky main dudes on the covers, but working in the web industry, you see stock photography re-used a *lot*, so I know what it’s like with book models being over-used.

    Really quirky, fun post – loved it!


  11. I haven’t seen model Jem on any other cover. Phew.

    My opinion in regards to models and using faces on covers… I’m pretty indifferent about it. But I have noticed that ones that do have them are seldom book cover buys. I like covers with a lot of watercolor, shrubbery, and pretty (embossed/raised) typography instead. XD


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