Let’s Talk About…Book Covers
I seem to come at the topic of book covers from a different perspective than many of my friends, and apparently people who purchase most of the romance books. I don’t know models’ names. I don’t follow them on social media (maybe one or two), maybe there are three or four I know by name. Believe me, I love photos of hot guys, but 95% of the time, I couldn’t care less who is on your cover (unless it’s awful).
I like to picture my own characters, so when there are people on the cover, I usually prefer not to see faces, but I have learned to not really identify most cover models with the book character inside anymore. Still, if your character is blonde, put a blonde on the cover! Try to use a cover model that looks like your character.
Right now, the torso is where it’s at I guess. There are just so many naked chests out there! I love me some naked chest, (and the sexy “V”) but they are all blending together. And sadly, lately I have noticed that people with unique covers that I loved, or a cover that stood out as different, are changing the covers out to be naked torsos.
Looking at my favorite books of the year so far (<–scroll to bottom of page), very few have torsos. Look at the USA Today bestselling books weekly, again, few have torsos, though it has increased over the years. So why did this trend get so big and all-encompassing? Do you have to have a chest to say there is hot sex in a book? I like the chest for some books, especially a male POV cocky character, but sometimes it’s actually out of place. I was so glad when Kylie Scott changed the cover of Trust from torso to teen, it was a YA book.
I spend hours every day scanning Amazon for books for my sale and new release lists. I am the first to admit that I judge books by their cover. I choose which books to click on based on cover and title alone, then read the blurb and decide if it fits my blog. But I remember the unique covers way faster than the torsos. Lately, the torsos are almost saying to me that your book is like all the others. You might as well call it “A bad-boy, rock-star, MC, mafia, football, friends-to-lovers book”.
Most cover designers are doing a great job with distinguishing the covers from one another, especially lately. A few months ago there was a certain look that so many books had, they all felt related or copied but now I am happily seeing a little more variety.
I want to clarify, a naked chest won’t turn me off of a book, some of my favorites have them, and I admit, I have bought a few because I want that chest on my kindle, but I take a book more seriously that doesn’t have that unless I know the author’s writing. Some stories it works for, especially the stripper or porn star ones, and the male POV books, but for many it just doesn’t really fit. It’s not only chests though. It seems some authors choose to look more like everyone else, and supposedly it works. Naked chests sell. Looking like another popular book sells too. But is that the way you want to sell?
The last four top favorites I read have no chests. And they have all done VERY well. I picked up Girl Crush solely for it’s cover (and I’m so glad I did!).
I am torn on this. I am a very visual person. You can tell me a title and author and I will have no clue what book you are talking about (even if I have read it), but show me the cover, and I will totally know the book. So in most cases, I really don’t like a cover re-design; the story is associated with the cover for me. Plus, as a blogger, I hate that my old reviews which are still found often on google and goodreads will have the wrong cover art.
Lately there has been a bit of a trend of changing covers right after publishing because I guess the book didn’t perform as expected, which, for someone in advertising, this makes me cringe, such a waste of money promoting a cover that is gone!
Some books desperately need updating, but those are almost all do-it-yourself covers or covers with a stock photo used everywhere. I also understand that changing covers on an older series may bring new life back to the series. But PLEASE, say it is a re-release, it sucks to read a book and realize you already read it.
A favorite series of mine with brighter colors and a suited man on the covers changed recently, I couldn’t ID it in a lineup now and it used to be unique. But supposedly the change helped her sales. So I am rambling here, but I’d like to hear thoughts from cover designers, authors and readers!
Do you gravitate more towards the naked chests, couples or objects?
Do you like faces?
Do you know models and follow them?
How do you feel about cover redesigns?
What are some of your favorite covers?
Do you judge books by the cover?
Have you read books where the cover and story totally don’t match?
Tell me how you feel about covers today!
Do you have a good suggestion for future let’s talk about it posts?
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