Cover Art Part 2

Weird (and not so weird) things about cover art at Harlequin:

1. No matter what color hair the hero in the novel really has, it’s probably going to be dark brown on the cover.

2. The person in the more dominant position on the cover is also usually the person who is more dominant in the story. It’s subliminal messaging, telling you subtly what the story is about.

3. Covers that prominently feature the hero’s torso (and little else) seem to sell better than every other kind of cover (this is anecdotal–I haven’t done an actual study, but am just going by what every author claims who’s had one of these mythical torso covers).

4. Object covers (featuring things instead of people), unless it’s for a bestselling author, sell horribly.

5. I can see no correlation at all between what I think are my most appealing covers and how well the book actually sells. It’s all a great big mystery (Of course there are many other factors affecting sales, but I find it strange that I can’t see any pattern. At ALL.).


  1. Oh, now that’s interesting. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I’m browsing the Blazes. I did see several shirtless covers this time around, including two that were so identical (Elle Kennedy’s and Alison Kent’s) that I put them side by side to make sure they weren’t the same guy. Nope. Just the same shirtless pose. Yum. FWIW, I bought the books for very specific reasons (I read all the first Blazes like entrails or tarot cards in the hopes of divining What The Editors Want and I love Alison Kent’s books) so the cover didn’t matter.

  2. Dawn B.

    What usually draws me to a (romance) cover is a well placed title with some piece of individuality rather than an obvious reused clutch cover.

    Blaze has definately gotten the message about naked male torso. For Example:

    6 books, 1 shirted male.

    The Blazes I buy mostly either while subscriber or Author Name recognition (and occasionally series if I liked the previous: See Red Letter Nights).

  3. Anne, What the Editors Want would be an interesting blog topic… Will see what I can come up with. Thanks for the idea. šŸ™‚

    I agree, Alison is dreamy.

    And Dawn, that’s hilarious about the one click buy of all those torso covers! Thanks for the link. Some of those guys’ torsos are so cut they look more like comic book drawings than real humans.

  4. Mel K.

    LOL! I love a male torso on a cover. I usually buy the book.
    Certain colors catch my eye too. Red, purple, pink, orange.

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