I want to talk about covers. Specifically, covers for reissued traditional Regencies. I’m looking into the idea of republishing my backlist and interested to see what others have done.
Some authors have gotten new cover art much in the style of the Zebra and Signet Regency covers. Shannon Donnelly has some very nice ones; here’s an example. The concern I have with these is the possible perception among readers that these books contain no more sexual activity than kissing. I’ve had some irate reader mail about my Regencies that had sex scenes and some Amazon comments to the effect that sex does not belong in traditional Regencies (or even that sex did not occur during the Regency!) Janet and I once had a chat about how readers might not expect a bondage scene in a book with this type of cover. 🙂
There are some lovely covers using period fashion plates. Here’s one through Belgrave House and another by Candice Hern. I think they’re great but they do seem best suited to the sweet traditional Regency.
I like the use of period artwork, especially portraits. I pick books more by whether the characters seem intriguing than by the level of sexuality, so an attractive and interesting portrait will catch my eye.
I loved the first cover for Pam Rosenthal’s RITA-winning THE SLIGHTEST PROVOCATION, which featured a portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence. IMHO this cover is sexy; it also promises quality writing and a period feel. Yet the book was reissued with this much less subtle cover. The Smart Bitches and their guests discussed the merits of each; opinions were mixed but I think pretty evenly divided between the classier vs the cheesier cover. I only hope the two covers helped the book reach a wider readership!
So what do you think? Which sorts of covers do you like and why?
How important is it that a book cover reflects the level of sensuality of the book, versus other elements?
What sort of covers do you think work best for books that fall somewhere between the sweet traditional and the sexy historical?