My boyfriend has decided to leave me this week for an entire week and so I end Romance Book Month with my cat. The irony is palpable.
But today I will continue by talking about a few reasons a romance book looks the way it does. The cover is used to convey a few specific things and the romance genre has their usual styles for a reason.
Showcase the escapism
Romance is a form of escapism for the reader. They are getting away from their normal life to read about a happily ever after (with a few bumps on the way). As I’ve talked about before, there are some tropes that I love in romance that I would hate to see in real life or in other genres. They just work here. A good cover shows that escapism. Be it the couple or a fantastic beach getaway, a romance novel cover is a dreamy escape from real life.
Showing the Couple or the Love Interest is Standard
Scrolling through romance ebooks you’ve probably noticed the hot shirtless guy or the couple entangled with each other. This is an old standby for the entire genre. People know they’re going to read a romance novel when they see this. It also calls back to the escapism. Especially when it’s a 6’2, muscular man on the cover. It’s a standard trope for a reason. People pick these novels up.
The reader wants to know the title and they want to know it fast. Romance is a genre where people pick up their favorite author without question. They also pick up titles that fit what they already love. Are you writing about a duke? Make sure the title is bold and easy to read, because there is a whole audience that’ll pick your book up just because it says duke on the title.
Fit the Voice
Whether you’re writing historical or just fun and flirty, the cover in the romance genre tends to show the tone of the story. Contemporary romance tends to cool and sensual or cute and flirty. While historical romances are all about that dress and fleeting touches.
More and more, romance novels are leaning towards the fun and flirty contemporary style for their covers. Cute illustrations have popped up all over mainstream romance. From Talia Hibbert’s Brown sisters series to even historical romance. Cute illustrations are here to stay. They are whimsical, tend to show the couple without being to descriptive, and have a bit more polish. Just google 2020 romance novels and you’ll see most of them are this illustration style.
Trends in romance as well as their covers will come and go but the standards will always be there. They work because that’s what people expect. It makes it easy for them to grab the genre they love without having to worry.
Let me know in the comments below any trends you’re seeing or books that you loved the covers of. I would love to learn about what you’re seeing and compare notes.