Why so many romance covers look the same

Notice something about the two covers below?


Yeah. The one on the left is my most recent release (as I write this in October 2017). The cover on the right is another sassy contemporary romance … but not by me. 

Jillian Dodd published Vegas Love in 2015—long before I even conceived the story of Ready to Run, much less its cover! 

To those who’ve asked whether I knew about the similarities—I did not. Not until Ready to Run’s release coincided with a pricing promotion on Ms. Dodd’s book. And I don’t believe my publisher (who designed the cover knew either). 

So how did it happen?

The same way this happens.


And the same way this happens.


This is less obvious, but I'd bet money these candy pictures are from the same photo shoot.


Or take a look at this. The guy look familiar? 


Since my books are featured in most of these, I can tell you, quite assuredly ...

This is never intentional.

I can't speak for everyone who shares a cover image with another author (and there are dozens of examples), but in my case, I didn't even know until after the book was published.

So why. 

Why are we inadvertently using the same photos?

Because there are a lot of romance novels out there. Millions. And there aren’t enough photos to go around.

Most of us romance authors use stock photos—photos available for purchase. But those photos can be purchased over and over and over again. And they often are! 

Don't believe me that it's that simple? Take a look at this. It's the same photo Jillian Dodd and my publisher picked for two different book covers (I've had a couple readers tell me they've seen it on other romance covers as well, though I couldn't find any in time for this blog post!) 

So why aren't we getting our own photos?

Some authors are! There are a handful of authors out there who splurge on a custom photo shoot or exclusive rights to one photo, the financial reality for many self-published authors doesn’t allow for that. 

And traditionally published authors are in the same boat. I've published more than two dozen books with some of the biggest publishers. Three out of the twenty-four books had a custom photo shoot. The rest? Stock photos.

Is this a bad thing? Honestly, I don’t really think so! I love some of my stock-photo covers. I love other people’s stock photo covers. Even the ones that look the same!

To anyone worrying that someone copied your favorite author’s cover … probably not the case.

We’re just all trying to share and be nice on the playground. 

Author LifeLauren Layne