Just as the whole girly pink chick-litty cartoonish shoe art finally comes to a welcome close, I’m noticing another alarming trend–well, not alarming, but it is a trend–in romance cover art. Perhaps you’ve seen it too? Or maybe you’ve noticed that in Crime fiction the current trend is for a blood-spattered white background with the title in red. I see the books and think, Wow. Another serial killer. Who knew there were so many Dexter-types out there?
Crime novels tend to have less artwork on the covers, but romance covers are tricky. There are more colours than red involved. I may be an anomaly in the world of romance readers because I’m not a fan of what’s known Historically as a Clinch cover. For you non-romance readers, think Fabio and all the cliched things you hear about romance fiction and you’ll easily picture the cover art I mean. If you can’t imagine what I mean, look at this cover.
That swoony stuff doesn’t work on me. In fact, unless it’s an author someone recommended I am very unlikely to buy a book with a clinch cover because I don’t look at the picture and sigh, my, how romantic. Nope. My default is a shudder and an expression that Dr John Gottman classifies as contempt.
Lately, I’m having a similar contemptuous reaction to the "backless dress" and "bare legs" covers that seem to be turning up everywhere you look in romance fiction. The stories are great, but the covers are The SAME.
Hello Publishers? Know how you tell budding writers you’re looking for something innovative? As a consumer I too look for innovation. As pretty as the backless dress can be, like the whole chick lit pink thing and clinch covers the backne-less backs on display are a real turn-off. By copy-catting the covers you’re losing my almighty dollar the same way you lose my buck with clinch artwork. I see it and think Seen it before, read it before. Sure, you might suggest I’m judging a book by it’s cover and, well, you’re damn right I am.
Contempt. My lip goes all funny. I sneer like a cross between Elvis and Billy Idol. Dr Gottman knows contempt because he runs the Love Lab at the Gottman Relationship Institute. Yeah, you know the guy. He’s the dude who was on 60 Minutes and a couple of programs on the Discovery Channel. He’s the man Shrinky says really knows relationship stuff.
You think I can get Shrinky to persuade Dr Gottman to have a sit down with the art departments of the houses that publish romance? They can discuss the relationship between the reader and cover art.