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Discussions and Questions > Old Covers vs. New Covers

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message 1: by Mermarie (new)

Mermarie | 956 comments Mod
Not entirely sure this has been addressed lately, or if ever on this forum, but I thought it was something to chew on for awhile. It's been something on my mind for quite awhile now.

I can't get the premise of actual models on covers of Historical Fiction Romance novels as Contemporary themes. I think it's because I transport back in time with Historical Fiction Romance, I need the 'snapshots' of history to connect those eras with; which usually revolves around Art, Painting, and Fantasy. An art gallery of the past. Using the same tools of the trade and reflective of those times to provide a window to that timeline. It's a place in time we must fantasize and reenact, and elaborating that with actual people posed on covers, somehow extracts from the Fantasy aspect of Historical Fiction. When I see a painting and artwork on covers, it ascribes a certain intangible element that indicates that the author wants you to imagine, as they had; whereas actual model covers is sometimes symbolizing the lack of creativity in the Historical Fiction world now. It's less about the Historical Fiction, and more about the Historical meter; enough to set-up avatar and prop themselves up with these people in the story. The dress-up Historical Reenactment costumes they wear aren't surprising either; so many of them are simply dress-up Historicals with no actual lasting impression outside of their closet.

Regardless of actual veins of Fantasy, I always view Historical Fiction AS a form of Fantasy because of the extremity in some cases, high dramatics and our view of history is through art galleries of sorts and less of pictures of real-time people. The heroine/hero are not real people, and sometimes, that's for the best, and gladly they're art forms. If real people are interjected, I begin to rate those characters by realistic standards and views; which usually leads to semi-feminist outrage. Now and then, there are actual covers of persons that actually bring out the fantasy elements to the surface, but it's so few and far between.

I've been dabbling in painting and sketching since I was a small child; now I actually work in Photoshop to create pieces ever so often; usually gaming banners and the like for friends or an MMO I've taken a fancy to. I suppose my brain works better in renditions and colorations just a few pixels from actual photos and people. Perhaps my complaints are just personal issues, or due to those mental limitations when I read.

Also, if you're an HF/Bodice Ripper author struggling to find Artwork, feel free to contact me. Perhaps we can work something out. This is not a thread to solicit sales for my artwork either, simply providing a friendly service to those authors, with like-minded interests in artwork, seeking old school artwork for their covers.

I created a List for new covers that make the cut; that appeal to the old school reader. https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/7...


And lastly, what are your thoughts in regards to the Old Artwork Covers & New Model Agency Covers?


message 2: by Mermarie (new)

Mermarie | 956 comments Mod
Hey, I was noticing that Avon still uses some artwork. Perhaps I'm seeing the brunt of the indie author world... Unfortunately, the novels they're covering are Regency. XD Also, they look quite tame in comparison by their historical ancestors. They appear as though they just met at a waterfall, whilst dancing on swan lake and hopscotching across lilypads. Weak...


message 3: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Italia | 28 comments Regan wrote: "Mermarie,
I love the old covers. I created a Pinterest board for the ones I especially love and designed the cover for my new medieval with them in mind. Here's the link to it:

http://www.pintere..."


Well done!
Thank you for the retro covers! Awesome!


message 4: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 8 comments For me, I choose my novels based on the cover. The more cheesy they look ( I.e from the 70's and 80's) the more likely I am to choose it. In my experience those books have been the best. If Fabio is on the cover I always buy it because it will be good. It's like a historical novel law...Fabio= fabulous.

I have fantasies that I have a writing room where the wall paper is that of bodice ripper covers from the 70's, 80's and 90's. I would melt into those worlds forever just looking at those paintings of a half dressed Fabio and a busty lass clinging to him with a sword by his side and a Scottish shore line in the background. *swoons*


message 5: by Mermarie (new)

Mermarie | 956 comments Mod
=D I recall a similar conversation sometime ago; a reading room with old bodice ripper wallpaper...although, I was never quite fond of Fabio covers, some of them are true works of art. I think some of my favorite are the covers that are modified from his modeling. You can discern that it's actually him, but another facet of him. ;D


message 6: by Vanessa Eden (new)

Vanessa  Eden Patton (vanessaeden) | 8 comments Exactly, like on the cover of The Conquorer, it's him but modified.


message 7: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Vanessa Eden wrote: "For me, I choose my novels based on the cover. The more cheesy they look ( I.e from the 70's and 80's) the more likely I am to choose it."

Same here. I'll even grab books with hideous 70s/80s cover art, just to see if the contents match the packaging.

Like this one:


or this one


or this one :D



message 8: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Italia | 28 comments OMG the Oak Hill cover is hilarious! He looks like an 80s boy band totally disinterested in her and she looks like his mother. Ha!!!


message 9: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
It's one of the most emo hairdos I've seen on any cover anywhere. :D


message 10: by Kit★ (new)

Kit★ (xkittyxlzt) | 75 comments I thought the guy on Passion Flame kind of looked like Jeff Goldblum... xD


message 11: by Karla (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Oh, now I won't be able to read that thinking of anyone else. Thanks for that. :D


message 12: by Mermarie (new)

Mermarie | 956 comments Mod
LOL, This Wounded Passion? That wounded face! I love that backdrop on Passion's Flame..it's so idyllic & picturesque, then a scary black etched castle at the top of the calm and serene; I can only hope terrible things are afoot therein. >:D


message 13: by Joshua (new)

Joshua | 15 comments There is a big stigma towards Romance novels. I think this is mainly because in our society, there's a stigma towards femininity in general. things that are viewed as feminine are viewed as degrading. When women are exploited and sexualized, it's okay. But when a woman takes right of her own sexuality, she's viewed as "slutty". These books are mainly written by women, for women, so people view them as something degrading and pathetic.

When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense that the covers of
romance novels went from this
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_nhteQqUzS9M...

To this…
https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/...

I've heard that romance publishers are trying desperately to remove themselves from these types of covers. Sometimes, the covers are awful. But I think it stems from a real problem with how our society views women.


message 14: by Mermarie (last edited Nov 11, 2014 05:21PM) (new)

Mermarie | 956 comments Mod
Joshua wrote: "There is a big stigma towards Romance novels. I think this is mainly because in our society, there's a stigma towards femininity in general. things that are viewed as feminine are viewed as degradi..."

It was also "women" authors who choose to shed the covers of yesteryear to be replaced with actual models. The models in question, are generally more racy posed and unclothed than their former artistic renditions. It's quite rare these days to find a novel published with covers without them. If anything, to me, that's quite liberated. As for your comparisons of basic covers, opting on any feminized touches at all and my daily browsing experience, those are a low percentage, few and far between and not enough to alarm me at all. It's the contents of the books; their extremely PCed version of HISTORICAL FICTION and ROMANCE approach that sticks in my craw. Every backlist author who has edited her work and republished and publicly made mention of the neutered version have shared their 'embarrassment' on writing such anti-feminist material of their historical romance.


message 15: by Joshua (new)

Joshua | 15 comments Mermarie wrote: "Joshua wrote: "There is a big stigma towards Romance novels. I think this is mainly because in our society, there's a stigma towards femininity in general. things that are viewed as feminine are vi..."

I think covers are just one part of it. I was mostly commenting on how the genre is viewed. The sexism in older books is troubling, but I also know that views were different at the time that they were written. And I'd also give to credit to authors like Rosemary Rogers and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, who opened to the door to writing erotic books for women when that was considered a very taboo thing to do, and I think that's a very feminist thing to do.
Romance novels have a lot more in common with feminism right now and I think that's awesome.

http://youtu.be/1YxRxbnkfbo

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/arch...


message 16: by Mermarie (last edited Nov 11, 2014 10:53PM) (new)

Mermarie | 956 comments Mod
Joshua wrote: "Mermarie wrote: "Joshua wrote: "There is a big stigma towards Romance novels. I think this is mainly because in our society, there's a stigma towards femininity in general. things that are viewed a..."

The sexism in older books is troubling, but I also know that views were different at the time that they were written.

They were simply writing Historical Fiction; even in their gritty version, it was still quite softened and glossed over. XD

For me, true feminism in Historical Fiction was to not adhere to the social standards and sexism present in the timeline; indomitable spirit & perseverance despite the odds, NOT the author prettying up the text and storyline to comply with modern day feministic views to create an easy win and cakewalk. Her survival against the odds, was key. If the New Age Authors decide to write with a note of archaic indifference towards women, women will forget its true importance and symbolism, but that's their choice, and I don't have to like it. Sadly, I probably won't. Ever. XD

Feminism is the establishment of choice, and I choose to read bodice rippers and realistic Historical Fiction. Plus, I adore alphas of that extremity--so, everyone wins! Or something. :D


message 17: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Italia | 28 comments Karla wrote: "It's one of the most emo hairdos I've seen on any cover anywhere. :D"

I loved the covers! Thanks for sharing! I just finished the cover for my third book so it was especially fun to view these.


message 18: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Italia | 28 comments Joshua wrote: "There is a big stigma towards Romance novels. I think this is mainly because in our society, there's a stigma towards femininity in general. things that are viewed as feminine are viewed as degradi..."

I think it's just the times changing. I read romance heavily in the 80s and 90s and the covers were totally cheesy and awesome.
Nowadays as you pointed out on the Lisa Kleypas novel (an author I love) there isn't even a person on it.
And if you go back even further to Georgette Heyer the covers are almost like paintings and very subdued.


message 19: by Mermarie (new)

Mermarie | 956 comments Mod
In regards to the Old Covers vs. New Covers - notice that Old Fantasy and New Fantasy remained unphased, but the artistic Romance works of yesteryear are all but replaced? XD


message 20: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Italia | 28 comments Very true Mermarie.


message 21: by Joshua (new)

Joshua | 15 comments Mermarie wrote: "Joshua wrote: "Mermarie wrote: "Joshua wrote: "There is a big stigma towards Romance novels. I think this is mainly because in our society, there's a stigma towards femininity in general. things th..."

I completely agree.


message 22: by Karla (last edited Nov 12, 2014 01:56AM) (new)

Karla | 1668 comments Mod
Maybe it's just what I've happened to see and it's not representative, but a lot of today's scifi has that 1950s pulpy comic book look to it. Thinking of the Baen line. I've seen those covers pop up in my feed because friends read them and they might as well have "AMAZING SPACE ADVENTURES!" blazoned across the top. The old scifi covers I've seen from the 60s and 70s leaned heavily towards the austere and abstract. All depended on the cover artist, I guess. I'm not well-versed in the names of vintage SF artists, but I'm sure there are recognizable styles just as there are in romance (Duillo, Gignilliat, Geer, Hall, Kursar, Sanjulian, Bennett, Pino, etc)


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