Never judge a book by its cover, right?
How many of us can say they don’t? I know I do. I’ve even started a weekly post on my blog dedicated to romance novel covers. So I wanted to explore the idea of cover art for romance novels and what readers really want.
I’ve found I have a preference for what is called “clinch” covers, where there is a man and woman, usually locked in an embrace or kissing passionately. These covers are just plain sexy to me and are what will catch my eye in a bookstore, grocery store, Walmart, or if I’m browsing on Amazon. In fact, cover art is what will sell me on a book by an author I don’t know faster than anything else. Mind you, once my attention is snagged, then the blurb on the back will have to “reel me in” so to speak, but that initial look is what authors and cover artists strive for. Getting the reader to pick that book up is the first and biggest hurdle.
Romance Writers of America did a survey that I find interesting. According to two different surveys they consulted, 53% of readers prefer abstract or romantic covers (I’m assuming romantic covers are the same as “clinch” covers). Another 35% of readers say they prefer a sedate and abstract cover and only 12% seek out solely romantic covers. Abstract covers, I assume also, are those with an object such as a flower, a sword, a horse, etc. on the front. I find these covers pretty, however, I probably wouldn’t pick them up if the author was unknown to me, unless there was a catchy or intriguing title.
According to Written Word Media’s article “How to Create a Bestselling Cover,” trends in romance novel covers currently include kissing couples, a prominent author name, and bright colors. If your taste runs to erotic romance, trends include the colors black, white, and red. However, the article’s prime advice, which I will echo because it is sound is “readers make snap decisions about whether to buy your book simply by looking at the cover. Spend time, care, and money on your book cover.”