Cover Renovations: From Fraught to Hawt

Pam Rosenthal’s book The Slightest Provocation is being re-released with a new cover, which she wrote about over at the History Hoydens blog, (which is a rather awesome author collaborative blog and totally worth reading weekly, yo). The old cover, as Rosenthal put it, would appeal to readers who might be “in the mood for something improving and uplifting.”


And the new cover? Rosenthal highlights the fact that it is encoded with, “hawt.” Since it features her “angriest, sweatiest, most contentious pair of lovers,” Rosenthal is quite pleased with the visual encoding of the new cover:


I am SO impressed, NAL. Srsly, you have achieved the romance cover trifecta! Mullet: check! Shirt unbuttoned, but still tucked in? CHECK. O-face? CHECKITY CHECK CHECK. And a two-point conversion for both waxed abdominals AND a strangely bent heroine leg – way to go!

Which cover rocks for you? Would you be more likely to pick up the first version or the second? What do you think of the redesign?

Comments are Closed

  1. Babs says:

    Wow! Two totally different messages with those covers. I think the first one is just gorgeous but it doesn’t convey “angry, sweaty or contentious” to me…the second one on the other hand, does up the passion wattage.

    Has SBTB developed a points system for romance covers? Since we are just coming off the Olympics I’m imagining something on a 10.0 scale…

  2. Treehugger says:

    The second has Hugh Jackman on it.  All other points are surely invalid.

  3. Katherine B. says:

    Oh gods, you’re right! It DOES look like Jackman! No wonder I’m drawn to it!

  4. Trix says:

    Nope, sorry, Hugh doesn’t have a bald chest.

    From the Fuck Yeah Hugh Jackman blog, which is exactly what it says on the tin.

    I’m as dykey as dykey can be, and all I can say is that blog works for me.

  5. ailikate says:

    Honestly?  Seeing the two covers together is what’s sold me.  Anything that can convey both messages must be worth reading.

  6. Teddypig says:

    Does it say I am a shallow pig if I prefer the mantitty cover?

    I can live with that.

  7. Nadia says:

    I like the simple beauty of the first cover, but I would pick up that book expecting something Heyerish or Austenish, with the chase level of intimacy that implies.  Now, having a hot sexxoring surprise would make my day, but others who want the low level of heat promised by that cover might be a titch unhappy.  Better to go with truth-in-advertising waxed-up Hugh.  He’s purty.

  8. Ro says:

    I like the first cover, but I would probably be expecting it to be a novel about restraint and subtlety, rather than a passionate romp.  It does at least look like a book set in a particular time and place and I would be expecting some level of historical research to show through.  I’d buy this.

    The second cover doesn’t particularly suggest angry, sweaty or contentious either, I’m afraid.  Just cardboard cutout romance hero/heroine from some indeterminate time in the past with minimal historical accuracy.  I’d be unlikely to buy this based on the cover.

  9. Nadia says:

    Oops, that should be “chaste” not “chase.”  Although nothing wrong with a good chase before intimacy, either. 😉  Just finished Cole’s “Pleasure of a Dark Prince” and the hero chases the heroine to great, um,  effect.

  10. Ros says:

    Also the link to History Hoydens doesn’t seem to be working.

  11. Milena says:

    In the second cover, for some reason, I am bothered by the window in the background. Is it too modern? Is it the wintry landscape? I don’t know, but it seems somehow… off.

    captcha: really97. Yes, that window definitely looks as if it were really made in 1997.

  12. quizzabella says:

    It’s true – it is a shaven chested Hugh Jackman, and I think he might be snuggling Kylie Minogue!

  13. I’m a HughWaxedMantitty girl and proud of it. It also pleases me that the curtains match the sky, tho I’m not sure if the whole curtains-matching-rug thing applies in historicals (or if he particularly cares right now).

  14. DS says:

    I like the first cover.  I would pick it up at least and look at it.  It appears to have been the Trade edition while the second one is mass market.  Are people who buy the trade edition supposed to have a different sensibility from people who buy mmpb? 

    I wouldn’t even pick up the second one.  It’s like what the publisher did to Laura Kinsale’s latest—not retro enough to even be campy.  Are the publishers just recycling covers?  If there were a few bats fluttering around outside the window I would have thought 1990’s vampire romance for sure.

    Yep, I really don’t like it.

    And why is the guy’s shirt pulled back and tucked in his pants in that odd way?

  15. Gail W says:

    Oh, wow… the Contra Costa Times? Really, that’s the best quote they could come up with… sorry, I’m just having flashbacks to reading that paper every morning at the breakfast table….

    For the pure nostalgia, I’d have to say the ‘hawt’ version for me. It would probably have be that one even without the cover quote.

    And, treehugger, you’re right. It is Hugh Jackman!

  16. I thought Fe-model #2 looked like what’s her name…she married Charlie Sheen, I think? She was in Drop Dead Gorgeous? Furk. Celebufail.

    I think I prefer the second version, though it looks like umpteen other historical covers, I’m afraid. I’m also a whore for typography, and neither of these covers is really joining my ligatures. Sarah’s right, though—the second cover definitely went through the list and ticked off all the most important items. Full credit for base-coverage.

  17. Tina says:

    I was just thinking – OMG – he looks like Hugh Jackman.  So I’m all up in there!  LOL

  18. Kristin says:

    Oh man, the second cover with the Hugh Jackman lookalike would definitely get my vote.

  19. M— says:

    I like the first cover. I especially like the juxtaposition of the delicate, Austen-ish coverart with that tease of a title.

  20. First cover for me.  I dunno if it’s being a Brit, or whether it’s just me, but I like to have a book that at least looks as if it’s got some story in there.  The second cover shouts ‘LOOK!  THIS IS ABOUT A COUPLE HAVING SEX!’  Which does not a ‘story’ make.

    Spamword:  morning89.  Which is about how old I felt, this morning.

  21. Lori says:

    I might buy the first cover but I’d shake my head in icky-tude over that second one. And his nose in her eye makes me wanna say ouch.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    Based on the author’s description, the first cover is misleading, but at least I would have been drawn to it while browsing and would probably have picked it up to see what the plot was. The second wouldn’t make me pick up the book out of the extensive lineup of ‘guy and a girl who do it a lot’ covers.

    Are we awarding additional points for “chick’s clothes falling off in several places and yet still tastefully concealing her lady bits”?

  23. lisa says:

    I would never in a million years have picked up the first cover. It screams “English class assigned reading” to me and since I only ever liked one book I ever read in English, I pass those books right by. Also, I really hate it when the cut off the heroine’s heads. I think there’s some subconscoius violence there.

    The second cover I don’t like – I mean, I wouldn’t hang it on my wall – but it communicates to me that this is a book I might enjoy. This cover would get me to pick up and flip through the book. It’s like how I don’t really LIKE the look of my neighborhood diner (it’s a bit dirty and grungy with stained linoleum and the upholstry is torn) but when I see a place that looks like that, I KNOW they make good fries, so I go in.

  24. Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    A vote for the first cover here—it’s lovely and tasteful, and suggests a degree of historical accuracy in the content, whereas the second just says “cookie-cutter fake historical” to me.

  25. SB Sarah says:

    Sorry about the link – my fault.

  26. Laurel says:

    I would be waaaaaay more likely to pick up the first cover. But that doesn’t make it better. If the author says the second cover conveys the story within to greater effect, I believe her. Covers should appeal to their target audience or we feel bait-and-switched.

    Also, to Trix:

    I’m as dykey as dykey can be, and all I can say is that blog works for me.

    *snort*[. That cracked me up.

  27. Trai says:

    I like how the title they chose to identify the author as having written is different on the books, too. The more proper cover identifies the author as that of “The Book-Seller’s Daughter”. The hot cover identifies her as the author of “The Slightest Impropriety”, a more risque-sounding title.

  28. ladypeyton says:

    I’d pick up the first cover and give the book a chance.  I’d probably overlook the second cover entirely because it’s so cliche’.

  29. From what I’ve heard, Rosenthal’s books have a high level of eroticism AND a refined literary style.  Therefore, neither cover fits.  Or, they both do.  We need a mash up!

    Based on cover art alone, I’d pick up the second one.  It says hot romance, and that’s what I like.

  30. lyssa says:

    I would need a good recommendation for me to buy either cover. That said, the first cover would actually have me purchasing with more speed. The second one is so “stereotypical’ that I would assume it is yet another of the books that I have read before. (I really grew to dislike ‘formula’ novels a while back).

    I like interesting covers while man titty/hawt position really just makes me ‘eye roll’ and keep on walking.

  31. D.L. says:

    The second.  Despite its cliches, I still think it’s pretty, and to me the people look like Hugh Jackman and Billie Piper.

  32. SheaLuna says:

    The first cover is pretty, but very much suggests Austen. However, I admit it.  I am shallow.  I’m all about the Hugh Jackman de-haired mantitty.  Yes, please.

  33. Jenna says:

    I strongly prefer the first. The second is just tacky looking, and I’d be embarrassed to be seen reading it anywhere outside my own private bath tub.

  34. Jody W. says:

    It’s like how I don’t really LIKE the look of my neighborhood diner (it’s a bit dirty and grungy with stained linoleum and the upholstry is torn) but when I see a place that looks like that, I KNOW they make good fries, so I go in.

    That is PERFECT! I gather the second cover better represents the book’s content to mainstream readers than the first? While it is a clinch, actual romance readers know the clinch is so common, its presence doesn’t mean the book is all clinch, all the time. There’s story to be had between the shaved chest and the O face. The rest of the world isn’t the audience.

    Which one I picked up would depend on what I was in the mood for. To me the first says historical fiction; second says historical romance. But ITA it’s interesting this one book got both cover styles.

  35. Erin says:

    I am a million times more likely to pick up the first cover – mostly because I can read it on the subway without having to endure looks from people who think they know the first thing about me and my reading habits.

    Which isn’t to say I would NOT buy the second cover…just that if I had a choice, I’d go for the first!

  36. LizC says:

    Having already picked up and read the book based solely on the first cover I prefer it.

  37. I look for books by author name, and the second cover has AUTHOR NAME right up there in big ugly type. Title is more better in whatever that script font is. As to the pix—save me from another cliche!
    You know how marketing can go subliminal on you? That’s what happens on the first cover—heroine with weak hands and no brain, only a corset squeezing her ribs to mush to make her protuberances protrude. Then there is that strange veiny pinkish littlehead thing about to plunder the silks under her elbow…icky…especially with that little prim mouth all shiny in coral lipstick…so, no I wouldn’t pick that one up and read the back cover. Sorry Pam.
    Cover two and Hugh, okay, disclaimer here, I don’t know who he is, but I’d look twice if I saw that cover guy somewhere. Anywhere. The stupid pose and the window and the yogabunda leg? Gah!
    I’m an artist, and the one thing the first cover has going for it is the color palette while on #2 (maybe it’s my screen) contrasting that weird blue with that gold dress is an assault on the eye. But nobody’s really looking past the mullet, right?

  38. I… I think I judge books by their covers more than I ever thought I did, because I’m judging those two in totally different ways.

  39. stevie says:

    I might pick up the book with the first cover, but never the second.

    Tangential to the topic but I’m finding ‘Proof of Seduction’ heavy going; the story itself is great but the quality of the book in terms of paper, layout, print etc. etc. etc. is pretty abysmal.

    It’s probably not being helped by the fact that I’m reading ‘Tea Time for the Traditionally Built’ at the same time; it is beautifully produced, and a pleasure to read.

    I do appreciate that quality costs, and that seemingly effortless functionality means people are making a great deal of effort behind the scene, so to speak, but it’s only when there’s a ‘compare and contrast’ in front of you that it really registers…

  40. DS says:

    The first one is Margaret, Countess of Bessington by Lawrence.  I like portraits and thought I had seen her before.

    Actually she is an apt choice:

    Margaret Blessington, countess of, an Irish woman of letters, born near Clonmel, Sept. 1, 1789, died in Paris, June 4, 1849. She was the third daughter of Mr. Edmund Power, and when only 15 years old married Capt. Farmer. The marriage was an unhappy one, and within four months after her husband’s death in 1817 she married Charles John Gardiner, earl of Blessington…. She formed an intimate acquaintance with Lord Byron at Genoa; and at Paris, where she lived for some time with her husband, Count d’Orsay, was an inmate of their house. D’Orsay had married and afterward been separated from a daughter of the earl by a former wife. Soon after the earl’s death, which took place at Paris in 1829, Lady Blessington went to reside at Gore House, Kensington. Her social position was somewhat compromised by her intimacy with Count d’Orsay, but she gathered at her house a brilliant circle of the notable people of the day. Her expensive manner of living greatly impaired her fortune, and she resorted to the pen mainly for the purpose of enlarging her means.

      This BTW came from

Comments are closed.

By posting a comment, you consent to have your personally identifiable information collected and used in accordance with our privacy policy.

↑ Back to Top