This week I decided to do a paranormal romance book display in the window of Otter Creek Used Books. Since it's a relatively new sub genre, paranormal romance has been shelved in Fantasy and Romance, so for the window display I had to comb through the store looking for anything that would fit the bill.
Sound impossible? It was actually a lot easier than I thought. It seems that there's some unspoken agreement between publishers to design paranormal covers in a very limited color wheel involving black, white, blue, and purple.
So for the novice, here's a tongue-in-cheek, somewhat accurate, easy way to pick them out on the shelves:
1. Vampire Paranormal: It should hardly come as a surprise to learn that most vampire books involve a lot of black (because vamps are, like, dark-hearted and can only come out when it's dark outside) and red (blood! They drink it!).
2. Werewolf Paranormal: I've noticed that a lot of werewolf covers are blue. Maybe it's because of the emphasis on the night sky, full moon, and whatnot. Of course if there's a wolf in the foreground and a beefy guy's bedroom eyes overlaid over a full moon in the background, that's also a dead giveaway.Please note the continued use of red as an accent color (blood! Werewolves want it, too!).
3. Faerie Paranormal: As if to emphasize the more feminine, sparkly, glittery aspect of faeries, these covers tend to be purple. And pretty.
4. Young Adult Paranormal: Paranormal targeted at young adults often features a closeup of a beautiful, pale teen girl, or a part of her anatomy. I think it's safe to say that Twilight kicked off this trend with its closeup of a girl's hands (see above). The emphasis on female anatomy and extremely white skin frankly weirds me out. Just saying.
All The Rest: Yes, there's also paranormal books involving witches and angels. When in doubt, look for a bad ass woman on the cover dressed in tight black leather/ corset/knee-high boots, her hip jutting out and her hair flowing.