The Cover Clone Caper–Does That Guy Look Familiar?

We knew Jean Lafite was quite a ham, but as reader Suzanne Boyd noted yesterday (thanks for the tip!), he’s also apparently hiring himself out for other modeling jobs. Note the cover of PIRATESHIP DOWN.

Pirateship Down

Then these covers?

eloisa james cover lisa asiento cover lisa olech book cover st claire cover st. clair cover 2


Jean and his side businesses. Sheesh! I wonder if Rene got a cut? I thought it was funny that the Eloisa James cover is obviously the same shot but the art director PhotoShopped out the model’s moustache.

Okay, so really, how does this happen? Well, both large and small publishing houses–as well as self-publishing independent authors–have access to the same databases of stock photography. If you’re a big-enough publisher, you create custom images either taking your own photos with a private license (very expensive) or paying for exclusive use of stock photos (also very expensive). If you’re self-publishing, as I did with PIRATESHIP DOWN, or are a publishing who doesn’t care about exclusivity or doesn’t want to pay for it (as in some of these other examples), then you always run the risk of selecting the same image.

I did a lot of image research, and the number of stock images of pirates is VERY limited. As for this model, whose name I don’t know, he did a series of hot pirate shots for Dreamstime, a stock photo house with royalty-free images, which means you pay once for the image and don’t have to pay the model or house a royalty for each copy you sell.

I knew this was a risk, so it didn’t surprise or upset me. Plus, this happens ALL. THE. TIME. Here are a few I found on a quick search yesterday. It’s always fun to see what gets changed in Photoshop, especially different weapons and color filters and fake tattoos.

back boy2 backboy3 backboy4

What about you? Does it bother you to see the same image used a little differently on book covers? Or do you notice it?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man's Curse; Black Diamond).

12 thoughts on “The Cover Clone Caper–Does That Guy Look Familiar?

  1. I do notice it, but it doesn’t bother me. I picture the characters different than how they appear on the cover anyway.

  2. I have noticed it, doesn’t bother me. I’m a fan of the covers and turned off by some. Understand that cost has a big part in the self publishing field, but the most important part is the story.

  3. I do notice, but it really doesn’t bother me. It was very interesting to learn how this happens.

  4. I do notice it. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me. I am tired of headless torsos. I like a face to go with the body.

  5. I have noticed similar covers on various books, it is not so uncommon nowadays. It does not bother me in any way. This is largely because, when I read a book, it is the author’s words that paint the picture of a character for me. And where a description is not complete, I can’t help but fill in the blanks with my imagination.

  6. Yes, I do notice, and it is a problem, because then I think I already own that book (especially if I have read it. I think it is less of a problem for people who read ebooks, because you don’t see the cover every time you put the book down. But as long as you don’t have a familiy member you can dress up as you want, I guess you are dependent on excisting photographs.