Someone I know recently won a contest based on the cover of her book. Well, actually, the person who created her book cover won. Covers, especially in Romance genres, are very important and can create sales all on their own.

I just unpacked a box of Romance books that have been in storage for a long time. I have been collecting Romance books for at least three decades now, and the changes in the covers is interesting. Especially Regency and Historical books.

Old Harlequin covers and Georgette Heyer books were pretty tame, a pretty woman, a handsome man, a lovely setting. This Mills and Boon cover from a 1965 novel is eye-catching, but tame.

There came a lot of odd use of matt-like covers. The evolution went from a square half-page presentation to a round picture in a white field. This style persisted and has been modernized a few times.

The current style is a full size photo with a red band across it. Very nice.

Historical romances started with Kathleen Woodiwiss and her Flame, Flower, Wolf, Dove stories. The advent of the bodice ripper covers. The first version wasn’t that blatant. This is closer.

Rosemary Rogers jumped in with great novels, and pretty good covers, too. The people are smaller, but that changes soon. Special inside artwork covers came about, with an increase in man chest.

In general, the historic romance went the path of more chest, and men with really big swords. The women got flouncier. And less was left to the reader’s imagination.

Contemporary Romances are very different, not really much more that something to catch your eye. That’s not a bad thing. A couple kissing in the rain will always get my attention. So will a bad boy with tats.

I can’t wrap this up without a word about Fabio. You may think of overexposure when you hear his name, but really, he started (or at least made it good) the man chest standard. Plus he has that chameleon quality that makes him look real no matter what the artist does to him.

Buzzfeed put out a great humor piece as to what Fabio is really thinking on the various covers.

And comedian that I think I am, here’s a collection of funny covers

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.