Feb 12 2013 3:55pm

Do You Like Seeing a Face on Your Romance Novel Covers?

We've talked about whether it's okay to know an author's real-life inspiration for a character, and if that skews your view of the book, but what about the cover itself?

Does it alter your reading if there is a person's face on the cover? Do you prefer the headless torsos many historicals have? Or does it not color your perception of the book at all?

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1. Torifl
I don't mind full face views on cover but if it doesn't represent the H/H adequately, then I'm insulted. For example, blond hair when I know one and/or the other is a brunette. White anglo saxon features if I know H/H is of another race. Certain decorative featues not added; tattoos, facial piercings, ect..
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
Sometimes I'll even find myself looking back at the cover if it has a face and think to myself "oh yeah, that's what they look like..."

But I'm right there with @Torifl, I care more if the cover is NOT what the H/H are supposed to look like. I once worked with this one book at a lit agency that was supposed to be about a girl who is a skinny Irish Catholic girl with blonde hair. The art department came back with a voluptuous olive skinned dark haired girl on the cover. So if I know a character is supposed to be one way and the cover doesn't represent that, then it's more upsetting than seeing a face or no face. But I'm fine in romance to just allow the fantasy to take over—you'll get a sense of hair, eyes, and maybe mouth or jaw but most everything else is left up to the readers imagination.
3. Lizzie R
I like to create a picture in my mind of the characters, so sometimes if the bookcover has a face I like I'm okay with it. However sometimes I pictured the character differently and in that case i go with my fantasy rather than the cover.
Example: The Gollancz covers for the Psy Changeling series, (a man's half face) started off well - Lucas was a darkhaired guy with green eyes and 3 scars on his cheek, Vaughn had brown gold eyes I think, then for Judd they had a real looker except he was blond and blue eyed, but they really got it right for Dev and Drew. I absolutely love those covers and those cover models work with me.

On the other hand the British covers for the BDB series can be hit or miss, I disliked Rhage's (can any guy do Rhage justice?, he's described as truly gorgeous to both men and women) , Zsadists, Butch's, John Matthew's and Tohr's while V's, Rhevenge's and especially Phury's, worked for me (pity the book didn't). Of course this is just my personal choice.

Sometimes when I have no preconceived idea and there's a cover model he can become the character - Kresley Cole's Lothaire - I got an american copy at an airport and that cover guy became Lothaire.

Then of course there's those times you're reading about a skinny pale heroine with brown hair and the cover has a voluptuous brunette who is about as mousy as Angelina Jolie or Megan Fox.

I like the body covers that Julie James' books have. Especially because of the lovely dresses she tends to have. I think the cover of her new one would've been perfect for Kyle and Rylann's story because of that gorgeous red dress.
4. LadyWesley
Decapitated ladies on book covers look ridiculous. I don't really look at the covers (all my HR reading is on Kindle), but it does seem that the person(s) on the cover should at least bear a resemblance to the descriptions in the book.
Kim Miller
5. kdhmhmm
I prefer there not be people on the cover. Especially half naked men. I've witnessed a bit of an uproar lately about the stereotype of the romance genre and I don't think the half naked people on most of the covers help dispell that stereotype. But, if people are going to be present, I also prefer that they're representative of the character descriptions.
Carmen Pinzon
6. bungluna
I make it a point to ignore covers as much as posible. Before the advent of the internet, I would locate a type of cover that I liked and then be on the lookout for simillar ones under the assumtion that they would be of a like style. This was a short-cut for me to wade through all the books vieing for my attention. Now, thanks to the lovely romance community on the net, I can rely on word of mouth and recommendations from trusted sources and just ignore the covers which most often have absolutely nothing to do with the story itself.
Brandy Stott
7. brandeeleigh
I don't really go by the cover. I do perfer if they have people on them to not have a face. To me the covers rarely have anything to do with the story!!
8. HJ
Because I know from reading what authors say about covers, I know they very rarely represent the author's inspiration (or indeed resemble the character as described) so they don't affect me in that respect. I do wonder though *why* the art departments of publishers don't make more effoer to match the covers to the descriptions in the books.
kimber hume
10. myladykimber
I don't care for pictures of people on the covers. A. Most people make the assumption that I'm reading a smut book if they see people in a romantic way on the cover. Which I really resent. These books are definitely not cheesey romances. I resent strangers making that judgement from the cover. B. The man/woman on the cover never match the image the author has painted for me in my imagination. Thanks.
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