Judging a Book by its Cover

Before I get too far, this was not my original intent when I sat down to write today’s blog post. I had intended to discuss the Arkansas Literary Festival that starts today in Little Rock. Then explain how these types of festivals offer great learning opportunities and provide the chance to make connections with other authors.

I was also going to mention (brag) that I get to have lunch with Sylvia Day on Saturday before she leaves town – me and the fabulous ladies of my RWA chapter group, that is (shout out to the Diamond State Romance Authors – woot woot!).

Don’t worry, if history holds true, the luncheon will sport its own hashtag and we will all tweet the out-of-context, totally inappropriate things said at the table. I’m not sure even Sylvia Day could tame this group…but Saturday (and Twitter) will tell the tale.

BUT, as I said, I want to talk about something else. Something I knew was happening, but was powerless to stop. My Nook…my Kindle. My iPad, for chrissake. None of them were safe.  

Someone please tell me…what the fuck is up with this new trend in book covers?

Well, someone had to say it! You know y’all are thinkin’ it!

This is especially annoying now that I have an iPad. You see, I enjoy looking through my Kindle and Nook libraries. The level of book cover hotness is (was) astounding. Seeing those covers in HD on my iPad gave me a happy, tingly feeling as I remembered the story…or anticipated one yet to be read.  

So, imagine my surprise when, one-by-one, my library of sexy book covers turned into…wait for it…fruit. Or dog tags. Or sunglasses. Or flowers. (I could go on and on). Take your pick. Bottom line –  a large percentage of my naked torsos and rock hard biceps are gone.

Seriously though, these new-trend book covers are beautifully done by talented artists. Artists who work hard and deserve loads of praise for the work they do.

For me, personally, I want a cover that screams “I’m a romance filled with hot sex and hotter men!” and “Look at me! I’m a proud, sexy book!”  I’m not sure what a pear screams…but I’m pretty sure it isn’t “open me because there’s smokin’ hot ménage sex on my pages.” (No offense to the fabulous author of this pear covered smokin’ hot ménage story).

My point is this – the covers on the books I bought were sexy. Some are gone now…I get that. But what does this trend say about the future of publishing and for the individuality of the author and their story?

I saw a cover the other day and I immediately identified its style to one I had purchased before. I thought…yay! Another book in the series. Only it wasn’t. It was the same style cover – exactly the same – only it was different author. So, in this case, the publisher is recognizable by the cover instead of the author. Let me say that another way. The author had no brand of their own. Hmm.

It’s not my intention to start a riot or ruffle feathers. This is basically me complaining that my hot covers are gone. I’ll get over it. Maybe. 😉

I’m the perfect example of a consumer that will buy a book for its cover. I’ve done it. I’ll do it again. It’s just the way of things.

How do you feel about book covers? Do you prefer handcuffs or hot male flesh? Sexy guy(s), sexy gal(s)? Does it matter to you?

Until next time…

12 thoughts on “Judging a Book by its Cover

  1. And Twilight too. It has similar covers. I want ABS! Yes, you hear me…abs. Big ones, hard ones, male ones. Ones I don’t get to see in everyday life. I need them on my covers. I would settle for a nice back, or arms too. But give me my handsome dude with the abs. Please. No more pears.


  2. Very interesting topic. My theory is that 50 shades did it and the reason is so that women would feel more comfortable walking around with the actual paper book in their hands and not worrying what anyone says about their choice of reading material.

    I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Good that more women are comfortable reading it out in public, yes, but what does that say about the genre in general? That its to be kept under a brown paper wrapping because its too hot? (Bring it on!) or does it say more that women are still being judged by society and each other about what fiction we choose to read? If we prefer to spend our free time escaping into the pages of a sexy tale we are somehow trashier and sluttier than women who prefer more ‘serious’ works of fiction? Screw that! I am a strong, intelligent, capable, sexual woman and I like to read HOT romance stories. I prefer that to the latest mystery and that does not make me embarrassed or shameful.

    Now, having said that, it is easier for my kids to catch a glimpse of one of the more arty covers than the steamy ones, yes, but I’m pretty darn careful about letting them have glimpses of my Kindle library and I wanna see smokin’ hot bodies, thankyouverymuch!


  3. I’m with Rosanna — man abs — lots of them. This is a trend — we had a similar trend in the 70s with flowers on romance covers – sheesh I still have some of those paperbacks. I think there was lace also or ribbons – the publishers got over it. They’ll get over this too.

    Another issue is the publishers have to make their distributors happy and since English language e-books are being sold all over the world — the distributors have to meet local standards as to what is considered politically correct. What might be okay in the US home of free speech and expression (this includes images) might not go over well in India or a country where Islam is the predominant culture. So, I think that is why some of the more sexy covers have been cut back — to meet distributor needs. An image of a tie or cuff links does not offend.

    But I still want naked male lickable abs.


  4. We discussed this new trend in one of my design classes. It seems it did start with 50 Shades as a result of women (and even some men) not wanting to be seen with an ab covered/smut cover. I personally think the whole thing is a travesty. If you feel like you have to hide what you are reading, you shouldn’t be reading it. Seriously, folks, grow the hell up.


  5. I’m going to chime in as the person who prefers the frou frou pretty covers. They can be sexy, of course, but if all I see on the cover is half a man’s chest chances are I’m not buying the book. I identify with the heroines, so I like to see her on the cover. I’m kinda picky about covers and totally base my choice of purchase on them. My tastes veer all the time though…


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