So you can read my books

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


I remember reading a post with a cover reveal ...

    The heroine was stranded in the desert.  A mysterious cowboy found her.  He had a past.  She had a past.  Both were looking to start anew.

   I was interested ...

then I scrolled down to the cover:

A bare chested model in jeans was pressing an enrapt, totally clothed woman against a tree.

I didn't think cowboys got wax jobs on their chests
in the Old West ...

     And if they were traveling across the desert, they buttoned up to keep from broiling like a crab.

Needless to say, I dropped the idea of buying that book.
I've read that the sexiest scene on series TV in the 80's was from the pilot of Magnum,

when he is bare chested (with hair) as he infiltrates an estate from the ocean.

But he was in swimming trunks in the sea ... an actual reason for the bare chest. 

But as a youngster seeing that scene, I still knew what it was for ... and almost switched the channel.

There was a similar scene from the first or second episode of LOST

where Evangeline Lilly stood exposed in the ocean in skimpy, wet attire. 

It came out of left field and totally took me out of the mystery and danger of the situation.  If I had been watching on TV, I would have switched channels.

But I had bought the DVD set and was watching it as I was exiled from my city due to Hurricane Rita.

The best stories…the ones that pulled me into the plot, made me root for the lovers, cry for them, bleed with them…

always had a very good reason for the sex. It was the proverbial icing on the cake or the cherry at the top of the sundae.

The books that are heavy on sex and short on deep POV, plot or motivation, I would think are quickly forgettable.

It is the connection between people that sells a novel for me.

Of course the premise has to be good, but I have to care for the people involved to not put the book down in boredom.

All those bare chests covers start to blur into one after awhile, none standing out.

Same for those close-up's of pretty boy models on the covers.

I don't get a sense of the specific crisis or adventure of the novel presented that way.  Those covers seem to say "This novel is shallow."

I hear that many readers do not like images of the characters on the covers but prefer symbolic covers that suggest the particular crisis presented in the novel.

How do you feel about bare chests on covers?
Do you like to see characters on covers or
do you rather prefer a symbolic cover
with evocative images?


  1. Gratuitious bare chests/mammary glands on display are boring.
    And, since the images on the cover very, very rarely co-incide with the ones in my head I would opt for symbolism. Every time.

  2. Elephant's Child:
    Me, too. I have started using image covers recently. :-)

  3. Skimpy clothing is used to sell certain genres of books, and in looking at the books on my shelves, I see I don't like covers with models.

    And you know, I don't recall ever seeing a guy with a hairy chest on any book cover. Not that I was looking for one. But I do wish I'd seen that Selleck episode. . .

  4. D.G.:
    I know Romance Novels made Fabio wealthy. Still, bare hairless chests just seem too pretty boy for me.

    THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH has both Alice and Victor on it -- but in a pose that suggests tension and ghostly romance.

    DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE's cover I think is evocative and mysterious -- and Meilori is fully clothed.

    Yes, I have seen still photographs of Tom Selleck from that episode. He looked ruggedly handsome and not a pretty boy model. :-)

    I look just like that ... not. LOL.

  5. That got a smile out of me whether true or not! Selleck is supposed to be a down to earth guy.

    Fabio used to be on all the covers of certain genres. He got around.

  6. When did hairless chests for men become the norm? I mean, to me it signals vanity and self-involvement and male stripper-type professions, because no real man has the time or inclination for such nonsense. Give me some chest hair on a man! (Um... but not back hair. Sorry.)

  7. Hi Roland - a real man .. but something that I really don't want ever to see .. it's too much! Smooth chests .. no thanks and like you I really don't like those covers and I am put off ...

    Tom Selleck is meant to be rugged looking isn't he .. was?! I enjoyed the stories ...

    Cheers Hilary

  8. Hey, I'm all for bare-chested women on the cover! haven't found many of those though... (Although your The Rival comes close.)
    I like a cover that depicts a scene in the story. That's why I've always really liked the ones my publisher made for my novels. And each represents a real scene, which is cool.

  9. D.G.:
    Fabio is probably a very wealthy man if he invested his money wisely!

    I have always liked Tom Selleck. He is my model for McCord. (Quigley)

    Yes, the model bare, hairless chest seems too vain to me, too.

    The Magnum stores were always fun because he didn't take himself seriously and more often than not, he didn't get the girl!

    Yes, I am going to have to do something about that cover. It depicts a scene in the book but gives the wrong impression.

    I am so glad you finished your first draft. Now, on to polishing!

  10. Bare chests? Not for me thanks.

    I'm not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but If I see pretty boy models (or girls for that matter) on the covers I would turn away instantly.

  11. I do not believe that I have ever bought a book with a bare chest on the cover. They usually make me laugh and can't the book seriously.

    I don't mind seeing the characters on the cover but I prefer a drawing or painting to a photograph. A stylized image gives me a better feel for the tone of the book.

  12. Wendy:
    I am like you: pretty boy or shallow girl models just make me sigh when I look at a cover.

    You're right: it's hard to take a book seriously that tries to wave red meat in front of readers as if we were animals.

    A stylized image does give you a better sense of the tone and mood of the book from comedy to drama to horror.

  13. The covers of the few romance novels or (semi)erotica books I've read, ruined it for me. I have to put effort into reading the story, without envisioning the cover. I'm very visual, so this is tough for me. I want to picture characters as I picture them, and the covers are too sappy, or unrealistic, or too different than how I'd imagine them too be. Plus they all look the same.