I was sitting at the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation (OWFI) Conference banquet this weekend when the topic of half-naked men on covers came up.
Okay, I admit I was the culprit who brought said topic into the conversation. You can usually count on me to bring the naughty element into just about any situation, though in this case, I can’t remember how it happened. Somehow Jimmy Thomas was mentioned (probably by me) and then we were off to what does and doesn’t work on covers—specifically, whether half-naked men work for romance.
Oh, and if you need a little Monday wake-me-up eye candy and to know who Jimmy Thomas is, here you go.
Now, for the question I want to bring to you…
When you’re perusing the bookstore isles, be it in person or electronically, what makes you pick up/click for a closer look?
Do you gravitate to the half-naked man? If so, what does the image “promise” you’ll get by picking it up? Does it convey a subconscious heat level? Or, do you shy away from the rippling abs for fear of “tainting” your bookshelf with such tawdry displays of the flesh?
I always thought I gravitated to these covers until I came home and started working through some of my favorites. Here’s the montage I came up with:
They’re all hellaciously sexy, but not as skin intensive as I’d thought.
What if the book cover in question just has symbolism? A sword, a shield, etc. To me those say fantasy, but I’m curious if it works the same for you. Paranormal, urban fantasy, or just plain fantasy are pretty easy to discern. The clothing, colors, and fonts usually clue me in, but knowing whether or not there’s a romantic element can be tricky unless both a man and woman appear on the cover.
Take, for instance, Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress series.
You know this is either paranormal or urban fantasy in a snap. Is there a love interest? You betcha. But I had to pick up the book to figure it out for sure.
This one was the first from Karen Marie Moning’s Faefever series.
I picked it up a few times in the bookstore because I knew and loved her work from the Highlander series, but I always put it back because I didn’t think it promised much romance. (And you know I must have romance.) Not long after my last by-pass of the book, my sister stomped into my house and insisted I read it.
Holy cow, was she right. Jericho Barrons, has been one of my favorite book boyfriends ever since.
So, tell me what makes you reach for a book. Colors? Title? Muscles and rippling abs? I promise, no judgment. We’ll call this a cover preference safe space. But do me a favor, if you’ve got a particular favorite or drool-worthy one, share the link in the comments so we can drool together. 🙂