I recently read an article about the recent trend in contemporary romance book covers and I thought I would talk about it a bit. Romance doesn’t typically appeal to all readers because they deem the covers “too sexy”.
I guess a half-naked man on a cover isn’t for everyone. The new trend in romance covers has a lot to do with the rom-com sub-genre. While romance can be over the top sexy, it can also be cute with a side of sexy and with tons of witty banter. Let’s be honest, we’re all a little trash for that banter. The latest romance covers are all colourful and illustrated, which has been pulling in non-romance readers like crazy. It helps that they are totally insta-worthy as well and make for a great photo-op!
Romance is such a tricky genre because people often judge the book by its cover. I think a lot of it has to do with perception as well. People don’t want to be shamed for reading what others might label as “trashy” or “borderline pornographic”. I think the genre has taken a lot of flack since the Fifty Shades trend and the whole “mommy porn” thing. But there has been a huge turn recently to the romantic comedies we now see everywhere. They’re cute, flirty, fun, slightly sexy, and have the tendency to make you squeal with joy.
Personally, I enjoy both sides of romance. I believe readers should be able to enjoy whatever genre they love to read without feeling the need to defend themselves. One book that took the book world by storm this year was The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I know a lot of people who don’t typically go for a romance who really enjoyed it. There was definitely a gap in the romance market for this kind of story and I think it’s got some pretty powerful themes and messages for readers in general. Yes, there are a few sexy parts, but it’s also super cute as well. I don’t think romance should be degraded because it may include a couple having sex. A lot of the more recent romance releases talk about a lot of important issues and I don’t think they should be dismissed so easily.
I think more publishers are quickly catching on that a fun, simple cover creates more marketing opportunities for romance books. It’s important that these lighter, fluffier stories are able to stand out on shelves and attract the attention of readers new to the genre. The rom-com genre has suddenly become more appealing for those who are uncomfortable picking up books that they feel may incur silent judgement from others.
I feel like there are definitely a lot of closet romance readers out there because they fear scrutiny over their reading choices. Recently I had a conversation with a friend who said she feels uncomfortable posting photos of certain romance covers to her bookstagram because they’re “too sexy”. Bookstagram is essentially about selling books with creative photography, and I think publishers have become aware of how far a book goes with the right cover. In particular, I really love how Berkley is designing their latest romance covers. They’re fun, colourful, and I could stare at them for days.
I love that the romantic comedy genre is finding its way into the mainstream and hopefully this trend continues. It’s great to see new people falling for these books when they wouldn’t have thought twice before.
What are your thoughts on romance covers? Romance in general? Would you pick up the genre more often if they had covers like these? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!