Seven Seductive Types of Romance Book Covers

Posted by Marie on February 12, 2018
Romance book covers are meant to intrigue and attract. Whether they’re chaste or steamy, there’s no doubt the designs are intended to make a reader (or a bystander) blush.

And while they’ve evolved since the days of Fabio, the need for flair and drama certainly hasn’t diminished. So if you're ready to have your hearts race, bosoms heave, and knees tremble with weakness, check out the seven common types of romance covers—along with highly rated examples to add to your Want to Read shelf!

Baby Got Bustle

These Vogue-worthy vixens would fall into the arms of a duke, baron, or pirate lord in nothing less than their haute couture.
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The Magic Mike

We also call this The Six-Pack Special. Because when these washboard assets are on full display, the effect can be intoxicating.
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The Prom Photo

This one's sweet enough to send a copy to your mom, even though the passion still simmers underneath.
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Armed and Dangerously Hot

Lethal weapons come in all shapes and sizes. But remember, it’s not the size that counts...
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The Clark Kent

A close cousin of The Magic Mike, The Clark Kent typically features a flash of skin with just a hint of scandal.
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The Illicit Snapchat

The more sensuous counterpart to The Prom Photo. The candid moment it captures should probably be deleted later.
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The Sex Symbol

Seduction relies on the power of suggestion—and these mysterious and alluring objects aim to tease and please.
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Do you have a favorite type of romance cover? Share it with us in the comments!

Check out the complete coverage of Romance Week:
The Ultimate Romance Pen Name Generator
Inclusive Love Stories: Becky Albertalli’s Must-Reads
Romantic Reading Challenge Prompts

Comments Showing 1-50 of 65 (65 new)


message 1: by iReadFluff (new)

iReadFluff Yes to the Clark Kent!


message 2: by Alisha (new)

Alisha Andrews The magic Mike all the way!!


message 3: by Malkhai (new)

Malkhai The Eye Candy is so dangerous for my pocket!!


message 4: by Anna (new)

Anna let's not forget "pretty, pale brunette woman in long dress pictured from the back, overlooking a body of water on a summer day". sounds oddly specific, but trust me, I work in a bookstore. I have pretty good visual memory, but there are at LEAST 10 novels currently in our store that I just... cannot tell apart. Nine times out of ten it is pure luck that I find the one the customer requested.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Ha, loving these cover title names


Edward Cullen is Bae Magic mike and The Sex Symbol all the way


message 7: by Rosaline (new)

Rosaline (Rosaline's Rolls & Scrolls) The Magic Mike is slowly draining my pockets!


message 8: by Seb5253 (new)

Seb5253 Considering some of the greatest works of literature of the past 2000years could be classed as romance, isnt it a little demeaning for woman to be served up this trashy,limp psedou porn and call it "Romantic fiction"? if Goodreads top recomendations for this genre are an acurate representation of the best there is,maybe you should consider sticking to amazon reviews instead?


message 9: by Lori S. (last edited Feb 12, 2018 01:09PM) (new)

Lori S. Seb5253 wrote: "Considering some of the greatest works of literature of the past 2000years could be classed as romance, isnt it a little demeaning for woman to be served up this trashy,limp psedou porn and call it..."

I think you're confusing Romance - fiction of high adventure, courtly love, and other such things - with romance - which is a genre of literature that's fairly recent. Also, not all of it is trashy or "pseudo-porn".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chivalr...


message 10: by Mercedes Cullen (new)

Mercedes Cullen Armed and dangerously hot makes my 68 year old heart flutter..in a good way.


message 11: by Saita (new)

Saita Anna wrote: "let's not forget "pretty, pale brunette woman in long dress pictured from the back, overlooking a body of water on a summer day". sounds oddly specific, but trust me, I work in a bookstore. I have ..."

Wow


message 12: by Marie (last edited Feb 12, 2018 11:34PM) (new)

Marie Orumaa Anna wrote: "let's not forget "pretty, pale brunette woman in long dress pictured from the back, overlooking a body of water on a summer day". sounds oddly specific, but trust me, I work in a bookstore. I have ..."

+1
I used to work in the returns section of a big company so we got all these little romance books returned to us that they sell in the supermarkets next to the newspapers and such. We released 5 new ones every 2 weeks and, boy, how hard it was to sort them when we got all different books back mixed. I had about 50 piles, they all had a woman or a couple in the same pose, BUT wearing different clothes. I sorted them mainly based on the clothes, because the dress colors were always different (yeah it was always a dress). We also had many Magic Mikes, Cowboys, Doctors, Suits etc. I'd also add a pregnant lady gategory or a naked baby picture (a lot of those as well for our Baby Romance).


message 13: by Jean (last edited Feb 13, 2018 02:06AM) (new)

Jean margaux: I’m actually inclined to agree with you because I’m not usually hot for Magic Mike covers. Though sometimes these have good stories too. If the synopsis/ratings/reviews entices me I’ll go for it! :)
My fav types of covers include Armed and Dangerously Hot, the Prom Photo, Sex Symbol, Clark Kent, and Illict Snapchat!
Wait. I guess that makes it most on the list...


message 14: by Jonetta (new)

Jonetta The Clark Kent & The Sex Symbol.


message 15: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Oxier The Clark Kent because it contains a hint of mystery and probably Armed and Dangerously Hot cause who wouldnt want to be rescued by one of them?


message 16: by Simona (new)

Simona The Prom Photo and The Sex Symbol are my favourites although I personally don't like romance book covers. I consider many of them to look a bit trashy, but the stories are many times very good written but the cover ..it completely destroys the book visually.


message 17: by Carol (new)

Carol The Magic Mike is a trend in my covers!! lol


message 18: by Anne (new)

Anne I work in a library and like to joke that you can tell if a book is a Western or a Romance by whether or not the cowboy has a shirt on. If he's wearing a shirt--it's a Western ;-)


message 19: by Janice (new)

Janice I agree with Anne, as I've been working in a public library for 31 years... and counting. Also, if a book doesn't have an interesting cover ---colorless-- and/or risque, I won't display it.


message 20: by Heather (new)

Heather Great romance covers! I love Baby Got Bustle, The Magic Mike, Armed & Dangerously Hot, and The Illicit Snapshot.


message 21: by Me Like Reading (new)

Me Like Reading Oooh, definitely Armed and Dangerously Hot. Although, I prefer for the guy’s head to be cropped out of the picture so I can mentally Photoshop - Tony Stark maybe, or the Trivago guy. Speaking of lethal weapons, this is probably one of my top five favourite quotes from a romance book, Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Kiss: “Blades,” he whispered, “and sheaths go together. And your sheath will only ever hold my blade.” *shudder*


message 22: by Jean (new)

Jean Me Like Reading wrote: "Oooh, definitely Armed and Dangerously Hot. Although, I prefer for the guy’s head to be cropped out of the picture so I can mentally Photoshop - Tony Stark maybe, or the Trivago guy. Speaking of le..."

HAHAHA! *likes comment* Wait. Where's the like button, goodreads? >.<


message 23: by Me Like Reading (new)

Me Like Reading Aw, thanks, Jeanne! Yeah, where is the like button? There are comments that, I too, would like to like, people!


message 24: by Bookishnymph *needs hea* (last edited Feb 13, 2018 09:48PM) (new)

Bookishnymph *needs hea* "The Clark Kent" LOL, love it! :D

I like the covers of Bared to You, Sustained, Night Song, and Falling for the Fake Fiancee.

Not on this list I like the cover of Breakfast in Bed by Robin Kaye.


message 25: by Jean (last edited Feb 13, 2018 09:43PM) (new)

Jean Me Like Reading wrote: "Aw, thanks, Jeanne! Yeah, where is the like button? There are comments that, I too, would like to like, people!"

I know right! >.< We're trying to spread more LOVE on this website through LIKES, goodreads!
P.S. I'll love a Tony Stark photoshop!


message 26: by David (last edited Feb 13, 2018 10:35PM) (new)

David These are all terrible, lol. Romance is tied with urban fantasy as the genre with the ugliest, tackiest, laziest covers. There literally isn't anything lazier than just taking a picture of an attractive, half-clothed model and vomiting the title somewhere in a random font. It also seems kind of...I don't know, pandering? At least hire an artist to do a painting of an attractive person instead of just taking a picture, ya know? Show you tried a little bit.


message 27: by Marusia (last edited Feb 13, 2018 10:56PM) (new)

Marusia "The Illicit Snapchat"... funny :)))


message 28: by Jean (new)

Jean David wrote: "These are all terrible, lol. Romance is tied with urban fantasy as the genre with the ugliest, tackiest, laziest covers. There literally isn't anything lazier than just taking a picture of an attra..."

That's harsh >.< These are just examples. Some people actually enjoy these Magic Mike (funny name!) type covers and I respect their choices.

I doubt it's a lazy option on the production side. It's likely a deliberate choice since it sells. Hey, good photos take work too. The choice of model and artistic direction/cover theme is something to ponder and debate about.

As a side note, I do like beautiful art on book covers. Jamie McGuire's Maddox Brothers series book covers featured some really pretty ones.


message 29: by Sri (new)

Sri One of the best covers I've seen are from the authors Santino Hassell, Sarina Bowen and Roan Parrish.


message 30: by rivka, Goodreads employee (new)

rivka Anna wrote: "let's not forget "pretty, pale brunette woman in long dress pictured from the back, overlooking a body of water on a summer day"."

Yes! I have several of these.


message 31: by David (last edited Feb 14, 2018 12:07AM) (new)

David Jeanne wrote: "David wrote: "These are all terrible, lol. Romance is tied with urban fantasy as the genre with the ugliest, tackiest, laziest covers. There literally isn't anything lazier than just taking a pictu..."

The sad truth is that in the overwhelming majority of cases they're just using a generic stock photograph from a company with a giant database of similar generic photos, as even hiring a single photographer and a single model for a single evening is way over the cover design budget =P

There's some pretty great blog posts where people have found different books that used the exact same stock photo for their cover and they are hilarious.

I'm sure you're not wrong about it selling anyway, though. Sex does tend to. Also, it's funny, if I pointed out how lazy and pandering sexy half-naked ladies on anything marketed to men is, I wonder if anybody would question it. I'd just be pointing out the obvious. Apparently when it's for something aimed at women it's up for debate? I ain't gonna judge nobody for what they read, but...come on, now, lol, ya'll know what these covers are and tasteful art ain't it. Some people don't mind being pandered to and that's perfectly fine, I just think it'd be nice if a little care and artistic skill went into the pandering, ya know? I mean, you can practically see the green screen in some of these, rofl. Can't even shoot a picture on location somewhere, it's just sad to look at. Find me a romance book where there's a picture of a real person and that person looks like they are actually in the environment at all and you will have found a rare gem.


message 32: by Jean (new)

Jean David wrote: "Jeanne wrote: "David wrote: "These are all terrible, lol. Romance is tied with urban fantasy as the genre with the ugliest, tackiest, laziest covers. There literally isn't anything lazier than just..."

Haha I get where you're coming from. It's a practical industry though, and they probably opt for what sells rather than what looks beautiful.
I don't really think an artistic book cover is a popular option in the romance genre. It would probably find a better market In other genres such as epic/high fantasy, classics, etc.


message 33: by Ijay (new)

Ijay The Clark kent all the way.


message 34: by Holly (new)

Holly Where are the covers with knights on horseback and troubadours serenading fair maidens?

This must be why I rarely read romance........

.....if some author could just stare at a Pre-Raphaelite painting and
make up a story about it, I would be happy.


message 35: by Sanika (last edited Feb 14, 2018 04:25AM) (new)

Sanika Holly wrote: "Where are the covers with knights on horseback and troubadours serenading fair maidens?

This must be why I rarely read romance........

.....if some author could just stare at a Pre-Raphaelite pai..."


Oh, then read Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier! I don't know if the painting that inspired it is Pre-Raphaelite or not, but you could still give it a shot.

Here's a link:
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier


message 36: by Suz (new)

Suz Holly wrote: ".....if some author could just stare at a Pre-Raphaelite painting and make up a story about it, I would be happy...."

*grin* Yeah, but how many versions of Camelot do you need?


message 37: by Hari (new)

Hari Brandl Not at all to my taste. I don't gravitate toward romance anyway, but if I were to be interested in this genre I'd seek more nuanced presentations.


message 38: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I've read (most of, before I bailed) the Crossfire series so the one that works on me is The Sex Symbol. I tend to skip the covers with the "characters". I prefer to let the story & my brain tell me what they look like.

And I have to agree abt the covers with the brunette woman facing away & in some gown. That seems to infiltrate a lot of fiction featuring romance and if I don't see another one in the next 50 years, it'll still be too soon. Ditto to the bearded dudes (they've all blended into the middle distance blind spot of sameness).


message 39: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Funny. For all those who are commenting negative things about romance or just simply saying you don't read it- why bother commenting? What a waste of time. Not to mention it's the best selling genre in book sales by quite a bit so they all must be doing something right. Not every book read has to be some important work of literature and to think that it does or to judge based on reading preferences- that's awfully pretentious.


message 40: by Ursula (new)

Ursula Johnson I love a guy with no tats or beards elegantly dressed on the cover. Love the Louise Bay book covers, very elegant and they stand out.


message 41: by Nidhi (new)

Nidhi Bhatt The Clark Kent is amazing!


message 42: by Kaje (last edited Feb 14, 2018 09:01AM) (new)

Kaje Harper You forgot angsty duo.














And brooding solo







And tension trio








message 43: by Cait (new)

Cait Cher I'm a terrible person. I love the Magic Mike covers the best.


message 44: by Viki /LostForReal/ (last edited Feb 14, 2018 11:31AM) (new)

Viki /LostForReal/ Seb5253 wrote: "Considering some of the greatest works of literature of the past 2000years could be classed as romance, isnt it a little demeaning for woman to be served up this trashy,limp psedou porn and call it..."

It is as demeaning as much as the Magic Mike type - both are pretty objectifying but that is just the way things work when it comes to any type of marketing. Both are as "bad", but at the same time, this way they are easily recognizable and they fit the book they are on, making it easy to find them. If you want inspiring, breathtaking and life-changing, these covers are not for you and you can tell after one look. There are way, way more books with great covers even if these might seem to be everywhere once you start noticing because this is becoming The Trend among romance, this is what sells.


message 45: by Heather (new)

Heather Cindy wrote: "Funny. For all those who are commenting negative things about romance or just simply saying you don't read it- why bother commenting? What a waste of time. Not to mention it's the best selling genr..."

Well said! I was thinking the same thing. Why are people who don’t like romance books even clicking on the link in the first place, much less commenting on it and insulting those of us who read romance, and who this is intended for? If I wasn’t into this genre, I wouldn’t even be checking the link out. Romance is a very popular genre, so obviously lots of people are into reading it. I agree about the literature comment; not everyone wants to read an intellectual, profound work of literature. I like reading for enjoyment, and that’s what romance books are to me.I find people that look down on romance books and those who read them to be pretentious too.


Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛ My favourites are the baby got bustles. Yeah they're really cliche in the genera and I kinda tease them too, but at the end of the day I love gorgeous dresses, and I love historical dresses, and those covers got those two in spades!


message 47: by Carol (new)

Carol These titles are brilliant!


message 48: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I've read all the comment up to this one, and I did't notice any negativity towards romance readers. People just said that they don't like the covers and they have the right to do so. And I agree with them. I read romance from time to time, and I hate how repetitive the covers are.


message 49: by Silvia (new)

Silvia Back in the day there wasn't a lot of variety in cover art, or in the romances themselves. Yay for us that we have so much to choose from.

If anyone is interested, the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books blog has a feature called Cover Snark for some epic fails. Makes you appreciate all the others, trust me.

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ta...


message 50: by Sharon711 (new)

Sharon711 turner The Clark Kent or the Armed and Dangerously Hot!


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