Art vs. Commerce

Royalharlotfront_cover
By Susan/Miranda

Like most businesses, publishing is always on the hunt for the Next Big Thing, not only in what goes between the covers, but what’s on the front as well.  As Wench Pat noted in her last blog, Cover Art follows fashion like everything else.  As soon as one book with an interesting cover becomes a bestseller, every other art director in New York rushes to join the parade. In other words, Good Art is the Art that Sells.

Now what’s new is old.  Old Masters, Fine Art, or just plain Paintings (it’s all in the capitalization, I guess) are gracing popular fiction.  This kind of art has long been used on bookcovers, but usually on so-called classic fiction.  Old art equaled old writing,Emmabn
apparently, though in many readers’ minds, the sight of any “old” painting on a bookcover immediately brings to mind book reports and reading lists.  I really wonder at some of these choices, too.  What exactly does the worldly French Comtesse d’Haussonville (painted by Ingres in 1845) have to do with Jane Austen’s heroine Emma of a generation earlier?

DuchessThe art on covers now is often cropped in more interesting ways (though don’t get me started on the head-less-ness; I’ll save that for another blog), and balanced with elaborate type and other design elements to make it seem more "fresh."  Period art helps give a book historical credibility if the characters are based on real people.  When I wrote about Sarah Churchill in Duchess, it made sense for my publisher to put her portrait on the cover.  Though as I discovered when my publisher was choosing which portrait of Lady Castlemaine to put on the cover of Royal Harlot, it helps if your heroine’s face can pass current standards of attractiveness (For more about this, see my earlier blogs, Beauty & the Barbara, and Cover Girl.)

Lately paintings are turning up on mass market fiction, too. It’s an interesting trend, one that many of the WordWenches readers seem to be embracing.  However, for the sake of fair reporting, I have to note that fine art covers on historical romances are, in several cases, proving more confusing than enticing.  Readers aren’t “seeing” these covers as romances, and seem to feel a traditional clinch (however overdone) announces a romance much better than a 19th century portrait — or so the marketing folk are whispering with trepidation.  Who knows for certain?Slightestprovbn

Personally, I’m all for using art from the era of the story for any historically-based book, whether it’s a romance, a western, action/war, or a fictionalized biography.  I love art history, and a painting I recognize
makes me much more likely to pick up a book.  Museums and other private collections are paid for the usage of these pictures, too, and I appreciate how those fees help keep such institutions afloat.  And, frankly, it’s a lot easier to have a historical romance taken seriously when it has a handsome period cover (like Pam Rosenthal’s The Slightest Provocation here) instead of another luridly sweaty bodybuilder torso.

Which leads me to my Question of the Day: With all the thousands of historical images available around the world and over time, why are publishers using the same paintings over and over?   

Infamousarmyamazon
Yes, I know, I’ve got the art-history-nerd-girl eye that spots these things at fiftyConfessionsbn
paces.  But I can’t be the only one who’s noticed this, am I?  Georgette Heyer’s books are (finally) being reissued in elegant formats worthy of her writing.  But in my local big-box store, this new edition of The Infamous Army is on a table twenty feet from Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.  Arggh!



Ladyhighbn
That’s only the beginning.  Surely with all the beautiful art produced during the Tudor era by artists like Hans Holbein, there must be scads of images to use.  Yet both TheSecretdiarybn
Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn
by Robin Maxwell and A Lady Raised High by Laurien Gardiner have the same painting on their covers  Yes, it’s a picture of Henry VIII’s doomed second queen, but it wasn’t done in her lifetime, or even by an English artist.  Instead it’s a highly romanticized version of Anne’s last days in the Tower of London, painted by Frenchman Edouard Cibot in 1835.  Go figure.

 

Another French artist has had even greater success defining English ladies of the Regency era, at least if current cover-art is to be believed.  Gerard’s portrait of (the French, not English) Juliette Recamier is luminously beautiful, and one of the most famous portraits of the early 19th century. Art directors all up and down Manhattan must agree, because Juliette’s turning up on covers lately with super-model frequency.  Here she is, in various forms, gracing the books of Honorary Wench Candace Hern, Mary Balough, and Amanda Elyot.

Flingsbn
Nomansmistressbn
Byaladybn

Otherboelynorig
But perhaps the trend is already fading.  Philippa Gregory, the most successful of Otherboleynnew_2
 
current historical novelists, has never had a period-painting on a cover on her popular Tudor-set books.  Instead her “look” has been over-painted photographs of costumed models, with lavish gold embossing and lush type.  Yet the latest edition (the movie tie-in) of The Other Boleyn Girl looks more like one of the Gossip Girls series set in modern New York than the Tudors of sixteenth century England.

What do you think of fine art on book covers?  Does it make you pick up a book, or pass on by?  And how many other separated-at-birth covers have you seen in the stores?

120 thoughts on “Art vs. Commerce”

  1. Fascinating post! I think I’m more likely to pick up a book with an historical painting on the cover. Somehow it implies an historically rich world within the book. And a painting or a person, rather than a landscape or battle scene, implies interesting, dynamic characters. So with all that running through my subconscious, the book is half sold :-).
    I had lunch with a group of writer friends today, and at one point we were talking about my recent release “Secrets of a Lady” (historical fiction/suspense) which is a trade paperback re-release of my 2002 book “Daughter of the Game”. Someone said, “why did they change the cover? I loved the first one.” I loved the first one too, but it had a very gothic look which I suspect appealed to some readers but put others off (the book has suspense elements but definitely isn’t a gothic). The new cover is built around a paitning by Henry Raeburn of Elizabeth Campbell, Marchesa di Spineto (which I don’t *think* I’ve seen on another cover). It has a much more historical fiction look. It’s also my favorite cover I’ve ever had. It really captures the mood and tone of the book (and the painting actually looks quite like the heroine).

    Reply
  2. Fascinating post! I think I’m more likely to pick up a book with an historical painting on the cover. Somehow it implies an historically rich world within the book. And a painting or a person, rather than a landscape or battle scene, implies interesting, dynamic characters. So with all that running through my subconscious, the book is half sold :-).
    I had lunch with a group of writer friends today, and at one point we were talking about my recent release “Secrets of a Lady” (historical fiction/suspense) which is a trade paperback re-release of my 2002 book “Daughter of the Game”. Someone said, “why did they change the cover? I loved the first one.” I loved the first one too, but it had a very gothic look which I suspect appealed to some readers but put others off (the book has suspense elements but definitely isn’t a gothic). The new cover is built around a paitning by Henry Raeburn of Elizabeth Campbell, Marchesa di Spineto (which I don’t *think* I’ve seen on another cover). It has a much more historical fiction look. It’s also my favorite cover I’ve ever had. It really captures the mood and tone of the book (and the painting actually looks quite like the heroine).

    Reply
  3. Fascinating post! I think I’m more likely to pick up a book with an historical painting on the cover. Somehow it implies an historically rich world within the book. And a painting or a person, rather than a landscape or battle scene, implies interesting, dynamic characters. So with all that running through my subconscious, the book is half sold :-).
    I had lunch with a group of writer friends today, and at one point we were talking about my recent release “Secrets of a Lady” (historical fiction/suspense) which is a trade paperback re-release of my 2002 book “Daughter of the Game”. Someone said, “why did they change the cover? I loved the first one.” I loved the first one too, but it had a very gothic look which I suspect appealed to some readers but put others off (the book has suspense elements but definitely isn’t a gothic). The new cover is built around a paitning by Henry Raeburn of Elizabeth Campbell, Marchesa di Spineto (which I don’t *think* I’ve seen on another cover). It has a much more historical fiction look. It’s also my favorite cover I’ve ever had. It really captures the mood and tone of the book (and the painting actually looks quite like the heroine).

    Reply
  4. Fascinating post! I think I’m more likely to pick up a book with an historical painting on the cover. Somehow it implies an historically rich world within the book. And a painting or a person, rather than a landscape or battle scene, implies interesting, dynamic characters. So with all that running through my subconscious, the book is half sold :-).
    I had lunch with a group of writer friends today, and at one point we were talking about my recent release “Secrets of a Lady” (historical fiction/suspense) which is a trade paperback re-release of my 2002 book “Daughter of the Game”. Someone said, “why did they change the cover? I loved the first one.” I loved the first one too, but it had a very gothic look which I suspect appealed to some readers but put others off (the book has suspense elements but definitely isn’t a gothic). The new cover is built around a paitning by Henry Raeburn of Elizabeth Campbell, Marchesa di Spineto (which I don’t *think* I’ve seen on another cover). It has a much more historical fiction look. It’s also my favorite cover I’ve ever had. It really captures the mood and tone of the book (and the painting actually looks quite like the heroine).

    Reply
  5. Fascinating post! I think I’m more likely to pick up a book with an historical painting on the cover. Somehow it implies an historically rich world within the book. And a painting or a person, rather than a landscape or battle scene, implies interesting, dynamic characters. So with all that running through my subconscious, the book is half sold :-).
    I had lunch with a group of writer friends today, and at one point we were talking about my recent release “Secrets of a Lady” (historical fiction/suspense) which is a trade paperback re-release of my 2002 book “Daughter of the Game”. Someone said, “why did they change the cover? I loved the first one.” I loved the first one too, but it had a very gothic look which I suspect appealed to some readers but put others off (the book has suspense elements but definitely isn’t a gothic). The new cover is built around a paitning by Henry Raeburn of Elizabeth Campbell, Marchesa di Spineto (which I don’t *think* I’ve seen on another cover). It has a much more historical fiction look. It’s also my favorite cover I’ve ever had. It really captures the mood and tone of the book (and the painting actually looks quite like the heroine).

    Reply
  6. I love the fine art covers. They always catch my eye, just as I enjoy the fine art you wenches use to illustrate your posts. I’ve downloaded lots of paintings for my own blog too. There’s nothing more fun than finding something classic to illustrate something contemporary. Long live the classy covers! Do you suppose it’s a rights/copyright issue why so many pictures are repeated?

    Reply
  7. I love the fine art covers. They always catch my eye, just as I enjoy the fine art you wenches use to illustrate your posts. I’ve downloaded lots of paintings for my own blog too. There’s nothing more fun than finding something classic to illustrate something contemporary. Long live the classy covers! Do you suppose it’s a rights/copyright issue why so many pictures are repeated?

    Reply
  8. I love the fine art covers. They always catch my eye, just as I enjoy the fine art you wenches use to illustrate your posts. I’ve downloaded lots of paintings for my own blog too. There’s nothing more fun than finding something classic to illustrate something contemporary. Long live the classy covers! Do you suppose it’s a rights/copyright issue why so many pictures are repeated?

    Reply
  9. I love the fine art covers. They always catch my eye, just as I enjoy the fine art you wenches use to illustrate your posts. I’ve downloaded lots of paintings for my own blog too. There’s nothing more fun than finding something classic to illustrate something contemporary. Long live the classy covers! Do you suppose it’s a rights/copyright issue why so many pictures are repeated?

    Reply
  10. I love the fine art covers. They always catch my eye, just as I enjoy the fine art you wenches use to illustrate your posts. I’ve downloaded lots of paintings for my own blog too. There’s nothing more fun than finding something classic to illustrate something contemporary. Long live the classy covers! Do you suppose it’s a rights/copyright issue why so many pictures are repeated?

    Reply
  11. I studied art history for 4 years and while everybody around me was oohing and ahhing over Picasso, Pollack and Modigliani, I was gazing raptly at Fragonard, Ingres and David. We would go to museums and they would be in the rooms with the red splatters, I would be in the portrait rooms. I love portraits, I paint portraits, so when I see portraits on a book cover I’m in heaven. Its even better when they match the time periods of the book. I do agree with Susan though, there really is quite a lot to choose from, you’d think there wouldn’t be so many duplicates. I’m guessing financial considerations.

    Reply
  12. I studied art history for 4 years and while everybody around me was oohing and ahhing over Picasso, Pollack and Modigliani, I was gazing raptly at Fragonard, Ingres and David. We would go to museums and they would be in the rooms with the red splatters, I would be in the portrait rooms. I love portraits, I paint portraits, so when I see portraits on a book cover I’m in heaven. Its even better when they match the time periods of the book. I do agree with Susan though, there really is quite a lot to choose from, you’d think there wouldn’t be so many duplicates. I’m guessing financial considerations.

    Reply
  13. I studied art history for 4 years and while everybody around me was oohing and ahhing over Picasso, Pollack and Modigliani, I was gazing raptly at Fragonard, Ingres and David. We would go to museums and they would be in the rooms with the red splatters, I would be in the portrait rooms. I love portraits, I paint portraits, so when I see portraits on a book cover I’m in heaven. Its even better when they match the time periods of the book. I do agree with Susan though, there really is quite a lot to choose from, you’d think there wouldn’t be so many duplicates. I’m guessing financial considerations.

    Reply
  14. I studied art history for 4 years and while everybody around me was oohing and ahhing over Picasso, Pollack and Modigliani, I was gazing raptly at Fragonard, Ingres and David. We would go to museums and they would be in the rooms with the red splatters, I would be in the portrait rooms. I love portraits, I paint portraits, so when I see portraits on a book cover I’m in heaven. Its even better when they match the time periods of the book. I do agree with Susan though, there really is quite a lot to choose from, you’d think there wouldn’t be so many duplicates. I’m guessing financial considerations.

    Reply
  15. I studied art history for 4 years and while everybody around me was oohing and ahhing over Picasso, Pollack and Modigliani, I was gazing raptly at Fragonard, Ingres and David. We would go to museums and they would be in the rooms with the red splatters, I would be in the portrait rooms. I love portraits, I paint portraits, so when I see portraits on a book cover I’m in heaven. Its even better when they match the time periods of the book. I do agree with Susan though, there really is quite a lot to choose from, you’d think there wouldn’t be so many duplicates. I’m guessing financial considerations.

    Reply
  16. I’m guessing it’s “financial considerations”, too, Kay, because it usually is. *g*
    The way I understand it, publishers ask whoever owns the painting for permission to use it, usually as a single-use application. Themuseum/gallery/collector decides if it’s an acceptable usage (ie, not pornography, slanderous, that sort of thing), and the publisher pays a fee. The fees vary a lot, I’m told, and so do the rules for printing.
    For example, the painting of Sarah Churchill on DUCHESS is owned by the Queen (part of the Crown’s collections), and they were notoriously picky about the usage. My publisher’s legal department read me the riot act about not using the painting in any other way (say, cropped differently, or panned across for a trailer-video) than the version they’d accepted for the cover.
    So it may simply be that the images used over and over are more easily/cheaply obtained by publishers. If anyone else knows with more certainty, I hope they’ll speak up! 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  17. I’m guessing it’s “financial considerations”, too, Kay, because it usually is. *g*
    The way I understand it, publishers ask whoever owns the painting for permission to use it, usually as a single-use application. Themuseum/gallery/collector decides if it’s an acceptable usage (ie, not pornography, slanderous, that sort of thing), and the publisher pays a fee. The fees vary a lot, I’m told, and so do the rules for printing.
    For example, the painting of Sarah Churchill on DUCHESS is owned by the Queen (part of the Crown’s collections), and they were notoriously picky about the usage. My publisher’s legal department read me the riot act about not using the painting in any other way (say, cropped differently, or panned across for a trailer-video) than the version they’d accepted for the cover.
    So it may simply be that the images used over and over are more easily/cheaply obtained by publishers. If anyone else knows with more certainty, I hope they’ll speak up! 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  18. I’m guessing it’s “financial considerations”, too, Kay, because it usually is. *g*
    The way I understand it, publishers ask whoever owns the painting for permission to use it, usually as a single-use application. Themuseum/gallery/collector decides if it’s an acceptable usage (ie, not pornography, slanderous, that sort of thing), and the publisher pays a fee. The fees vary a lot, I’m told, and so do the rules for printing.
    For example, the painting of Sarah Churchill on DUCHESS is owned by the Queen (part of the Crown’s collections), and they were notoriously picky about the usage. My publisher’s legal department read me the riot act about not using the painting in any other way (say, cropped differently, or panned across for a trailer-video) than the version they’d accepted for the cover.
    So it may simply be that the images used over and over are more easily/cheaply obtained by publishers. If anyone else knows with more certainty, I hope they’ll speak up! 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  19. I’m guessing it’s “financial considerations”, too, Kay, because it usually is. *g*
    The way I understand it, publishers ask whoever owns the painting for permission to use it, usually as a single-use application. Themuseum/gallery/collector decides if it’s an acceptable usage (ie, not pornography, slanderous, that sort of thing), and the publisher pays a fee. The fees vary a lot, I’m told, and so do the rules for printing.
    For example, the painting of Sarah Churchill on DUCHESS is owned by the Queen (part of the Crown’s collections), and they were notoriously picky about the usage. My publisher’s legal department read me the riot act about not using the painting in any other way (say, cropped differently, or panned across for a trailer-video) than the version they’d accepted for the cover.
    So it may simply be that the images used over and over are more easily/cheaply obtained by publishers. If anyone else knows with more certainty, I hope they’ll speak up! 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  20. I’m guessing it’s “financial considerations”, too, Kay, because it usually is. *g*
    The way I understand it, publishers ask whoever owns the painting for permission to use it, usually as a single-use application. Themuseum/gallery/collector decides if it’s an acceptable usage (ie, not pornography, slanderous, that sort of thing), and the publisher pays a fee. The fees vary a lot, I’m told, and so do the rules for printing.
    For example, the painting of Sarah Churchill on DUCHESS is owned by the Queen (part of the Crown’s collections), and they were notoriously picky about the usage. My publisher’s legal department read me the riot act about not using the painting in any other way (say, cropped differently, or panned across for a trailer-video) than the version they’d accepted for the cover.
    So it may simply be that the images used over and over are more easily/cheaply obtained by publishers. If anyone else knows with more certainty, I hope they’ll speak up! 🙂
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  21. I do love the “art” covers, and they have the great advantage of allowing one to read the book in public without embarrassment. I do wonder about the financial aspect, though. While it seems likely that the same painting gets used over and over because permission is granted easily or economically, is this in turn cheaper than original art? Because I’m sure most of the artists who do the beachboy/bimbo covers are quite capable of doing a mock-Fragonard or a mock-David instead. And they’d probably enjoy it.

    Reply
  22. I do love the “art” covers, and they have the great advantage of allowing one to read the book in public without embarrassment. I do wonder about the financial aspect, though. While it seems likely that the same painting gets used over and over because permission is granted easily or economically, is this in turn cheaper than original art? Because I’m sure most of the artists who do the beachboy/bimbo covers are quite capable of doing a mock-Fragonard or a mock-David instead. And they’d probably enjoy it.

    Reply
  23. I do love the “art” covers, and they have the great advantage of allowing one to read the book in public without embarrassment. I do wonder about the financial aspect, though. While it seems likely that the same painting gets used over and over because permission is granted easily or economically, is this in turn cheaper than original art? Because I’m sure most of the artists who do the beachboy/bimbo covers are quite capable of doing a mock-Fragonard or a mock-David instead. And they’d probably enjoy it.

    Reply
  24. I do love the “art” covers, and they have the great advantage of allowing one to read the book in public without embarrassment. I do wonder about the financial aspect, though. While it seems likely that the same painting gets used over and over because permission is granted easily or economically, is this in turn cheaper than original art? Because I’m sure most of the artists who do the beachboy/bimbo covers are quite capable of doing a mock-Fragonard or a mock-David instead. And they’d probably enjoy it.

    Reply
  25. I do love the “art” covers, and they have the great advantage of allowing one to read the book in public without embarrassment. I do wonder about the financial aspect, though. While it seems likely that the same painting gets used over and over because permission is granted easily or economically, is this in turn cheaper than original art? Because I’m sure most of the artists who do the beachboy/bimbo covers are quite capable of doing a mock-Fragonard or a mock-David instead. And they’d probably enjoy it.

    Reply
  26. Actually, Jane, from what I’ve heard (and of course that’s not all-encompassing*g*), it’s about the same for buying rights to a historical painting and for commissioning new art — which often isn’t even a “real” painting these days, but a creatively enhanced computerized photograph.
    You’re right that many of the traditional illustrators probably would enjoy the chance to paint in the style of David or Ingres, and that some could likely pull off pretty good versions. Most commercial artists come from a firm fine-art painting background, so they’d likely enjoy the challenge.
    However, no matter how skilled the copy would be, it wouldn’t carry the same cache as something from the historical time. It’s the same way with the book between the covers: no matter how hard a 21st century writer strives to make her Regency-set novel as accurate as possible, she can never make it the same as Jane Austen.
    The past is tricky like that….:)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  27. Actually, Jane, from what I’ve heard (and of course that’s not all-encompassing*g*), it’s about the same for buying rights to a historical painting and for commissioning new art — which often isn’t even a “real” painting these days, but a creatively enhanced computerized photograph.
    You’re right that many of the traditional illustrators probably would enjoy the chance to paint in the style of David or Ingres, and that some could likely pull off pretty good versions. Most commercial artists come from a firm fine-art painting background, so they’d likely enjoy the challenge.
    However, no matter how skilled the copy would be, it wouldn’t carry the same cache as something from the historical time. It’s the same way with the book between the covers: no matter how hard a 21st century writer strives to make her Regency-set novel as accurate as possible, she can never make it the same as Jane Austen.
    The past is tricky like that….:)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  28. Actually, Jane, from what I’ve heard (and of course that’s not all-encompassing*g*), it’s about the same for buying rights to a historical painting and for commissioning new art — which often isn’t even a “real” painting these days, but a creatively enhanced computerized photograph.
    You’re right that many of the traditional illustrators probably would enjoy the chance to paint in the style of David or Ingres, and that some could likely pull off pretty good versions. Most commercial artists come from a firm fine-art painting background, so they’d likely enjoy the challenge.
    However, no matter how skilled the copy would be, it wouldn’t carry the same cache as something from the historical time. It’s the same way with the book between the covers: no matter how hard a 21st century writer strives to make her Regency-set novel as accurate as possible, she can never make it the same as Jane Austen.
    The past is tricky like that….:)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  29. Actually, Jane, from what I’ve heard (and of course that’s not all-encompassing*g*), it’s about the same for buying rights to a historical painting and for commissioning new art — which often isn’t even a “real” painting these days, but a creatively enhanced computerized photograph.
    You’re right that many of the traditional illustrators probably would enjoy the chance to paint in the style of David or Ingres, and that some could likely pull off pretty good versions. Most commercial artists come from a firm fine-art painting background, so they’d likely enjoy the challenge.
    However, no matter how skilled the copy would be, it wouldn’t carry the same cache as something from the historical time. It’s the same way with the book between the covers: no matter how hard a 21st century writer strives to make her Regency-set novel as accurate as possible, she can never make it the same as Jane Austen.
    The past is tricky like that….:)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  30. Actually, Jane, from what I’ve heard (and of course that’s not all-encompassing*g*), it’s about the same for buying rights to a historical painting and for commissioning new art — which often isn’t even a “real” painting these days, but a creatively enhanced computerized photograph.
    You’re right that many of the traditional illustrators probably would enjoy the chance to paint in the style of David or Ingres, and that some could likely pull off pretty good versions. Most commercial artists come from a firm fine-art painting background, so they’d likely enjoy the challenge.
    However, no matter how skilled the copy would be, it wouldn’t carry the same cache as something from the historical time. It’s the same way with the book between the covers: no matter how hard a 21st century writer strives to make her Regency-set novel as accurate as possible, she can never make it the same as Jane Austen.
    The past is tricky like that….:)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  31. I vastly prefer covers that use historical images, but then I’m also a heavy reader of literary, classic, and historical fiction, so those covers make me drool (rather than giving me flashbacks to assigned reading from high school).

    Reply
  32. I vastly prefer covers that use historical images, but then I’m also a heavy reader of literary, classic, and historical fiction, so those covers make me drool (rather than giving me flashbacks to assigned reading from high school).

    Reply
  33. I vastly prefer covers that use historical images, but then I’m also a heavy reader of literary, classic, and historical fiction, so those covers make me drool (rather than giving me flashbacks to assigned reading from high school).

    Reply
  34. I vastly prefer covers that use historical images, but then I’m also a heavy reader of literary, classic, and historical fiction, so those covers make me drool (rather than giving me flashbacks to assigned reading from high school).

    Reply
  35. I vastly prefer covers that use historical images, but then I’m also a heavy reader of literary, classic, and historical fiction, so those covers make me drool (rather than giving me flashbacks to assigned reading from high school).

    Reply
  36. I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.
    While I can understand how two different publishers could use the same classical painting, what REALLY puzzles me is how they can take a painting produced specifically for one book, and use it on another, with only minor modifications. I remember one, where the hero (John DeSalvo) is in the foreground, with a landscape behind him. They used the same cover on another book, but added a cape to the hero and altered the background very slightly. Still, there’s no question that it’s the same cover.
    Here’s a Web site that talks about book cover similarities and shows examples: http://tinyurl.com/ysk5z6

    Reply
  37. I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.
    While I can understand how two different publishers could use the same classical painting, what REALLY puzzles me is how they can take a painting produced specifically for one book, and use it on another, with only minor modifications. I remember one, where the hero (John DeSalvo) is in the foreground, with a landscape behind him. They used the same cover on another book, but added a cape to the hero and altered the background very slightly. Still, there’s no question that it’s the same cover.
    Here’s a Web site that talks about book cover similarities and shows examples: http://tinyurl.com/ysk5z6

    Reply
  38. I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.
    While I can understand how two different publishers could use the same classical painting, what REALLY puzzles me is how they can take a painting produced specifically for one book, and use it on another, with only minor modifications. I remember one, where the hero (John DeSalvo) is in the foreground, with a landscape behind him. They used the same cover on another book, but added a cape to the hero and altered the background very slightly. Still, there’s no question that it’s the same cover.
    Here’s a Web site that talks about book cover similarities and shows examples: http://tinyurl.com/ysk5z6

    Reply
  39. I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.
    While I can understand how two different publishers could use the same classical painting, what REALLY puzzles me is how they can take a painting produced specifically for one book, and use it on another, with only minor modifications. I remember one, where the hero (John DeSalvo) is in the foreground, with a landscape behind him. They used the same cover on another book, but added a cape to the hero and altered the background very slightly. Still, there’s no question that it’s the same cover.
    Here’s a Web site that talks about book cover similarities and shows examples: http://tinyurl.com/ysk5z6

    Reply
  40. I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.
    While I can understand how two different publishers could use the same classical painting, what REALLY puzzles me is how they can take a painting produced specifically for one book, and use it on another, with only minor modifications. I remember one, where the hero (John DeSalvo) is in the foreground, with a landscape behind him. They used the same cover on another book, but added a cape to the hero and altered the background very slightly. Still, there’s no question that it’s the same cover.
    Here’s a Web site that talks about book cover similarities and shows examples: http://tinyurl.com/ysk5z6

    Reply
  41. “I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.”
    Same here.
    I do occasionally get distracted if I recognize the subject of a painting and it doesn’t IMHO match the story. I’ve seen at least two covers that used Emma Hamilton’s very memorable face for heroines who were nothing like her. But I guess that just goes to show how much of a geek I’ve become on the Regency era!

    Reply
  42. “I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.”
    Same here.
    I do occasionally get distracted if I recognize the subject of a painting and it doesn’t IMHO match the story. I’ve seen at least two covers that used Emma Hamilton’s very memorable face for heroines who were nothing like her. But I guess that just goes to show how much of a geek I’ve become on the Regency era!

    Reply
  43. “I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.”
    Same here.
    I do occasionally get distracted if I recognize the subject of a painting and it doesn’t IMHO match the story. I’ve seen at least two covers that used Emma Hamilton’s very memorable face for heroines who were nothing like her. But I guess that just goes to show how much of a geek I’ve become on the Regency era!

    Reply
  44. “I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.”
    Same here.
    I do occasionally get distracted if I recognize the subject of a painting and it doesn’t IMHO match the story. I’ve seen at least two covers that used Emma Hamilton’s very memorable face for heroines who were nothing like her. But I guess that just goes to show how much of a geek I’ve become on the Regency era!

    Reply
  45. “I adore classical paintings on book covers, and I like the mystery of it when they show only part of the face.”
    Same here.
    I do occasionally get distracted if I recognize the subject of a painting and it doesn’t IMHO match the story. I’ve seen at least two covers that used Emma Hamilton’s very memorable face for heroines who were nothing like her. But I guess that just goes to show how much of a geek I’ve become on the Regency era!

    Reply
  46. The lady in the cover for Ann Boleyn looks like the lady in waiting in “Death of Lady Jane Grey” which I think was also painted by a Frenchman- I want to say Bourgereau but I am probably wrong. Art experts: Who did that painting? And is the pose of the lady the same? Or am i having a “Senior Moment”? Anyway, the art for Loretta’s original issue of “Lord of Scoundrels” was used, with minor alterations, for one of Julia Quinn’s books- I have it at home but just now cannot remember which. My lamentable memory…

    Reply
  47. The lady in the cover for Ann Boleyn looks like the lady in waiting in “Death of Lady Jane Grey” which I think was also painted by a Frenchman- I want to say Bourgereau but I am probably wrong. Art experts: Who did that painting? And is the pose of the lady the same? Or am i having a “Senior Moment”? Anyway, the art for Loretta’s original issue of “Lord of Scoundrels” was used, with minor alterations, for one of Julia Quinn’s books- I have it at home but just now cannot remember which. My lamentable memory…

    Reply
  48. The lady in the cover for Ann Boleyn looks like the lady in waiting in “Death of Lady Jane Grey” which I think was also painted by a Frenchman- I want to say Bourgereau but I am probably wrong. Art experts: Who did that painting? And is the pose of the lady the same? Or am i having a “Senior Moment”? Anyway, the art for Loretta’s original issue of “Lord of Scoundrels” was used, with minor alterations, for one of Julia Quinn’s books- I have it at home but just now cannot remember which. My lamentable memory…

    Reply
  49. The lady in the cover for Ann Boleyn looks like the lady in waiting in “Death of Lady Jane Grey” which I think was also painted by a Frenchman- I want to say Bourgereau but I am probably wrong. Art experts: Who did that painting? And is the pose of the lady the same? Or am i having a “Senior Moment”? Anyway, the art for Loretta’s original issue of “Lord of Scoundrels” was used, with minor alterations, for one of Julia Quinn’s books- I have it at home but just now cannot remember which. My lamentable memory…

    Reply
  50. The lady in the cover for Ann Boleyn looks like the lady in waiting in “Death of Lady Jane Grey” which I think was also painted by a Frenchman- I want to say Bourgereau but I am probably wrong. Art experts: Who did that painting? And is the pose of the lady the same? Or am i having a “Senior Moment”? Anyway, the art for Loretta’s original issue of “Lord of Scoundrels” was used, with minor alterations, for one of Julia Quinn’s books- I have it at home but just now cannot remember which. My lamentable memory…

    Reply
  51. When will they put Thomas Rowlandson and Gilray and other brilliant period characaturists on covers? They’d look a snitch like the old Cartland covers that sold like the proverbial hotcakes. but are so much more rewarding. I think historical readers would love them!
    But what do I know?
    sigh.

    Reply
  52. When will they put Thomas Rowlandson and Gilray and other brilliant period characaturists on covers? They’d look a snitch like the old Cartland covers that sold like the proverbial hotcakes. but are so much more rewarding. I think historical readers would love them!
    But what do I know?
    sigh.

    Reply
  53. When will they put Thomas Rowlandson and Gilray and other brilliant period characaturists on covers? They’d look a snitch like the old Cartland covers that sold like the proverbial hotcakes. but are so much more rewarding. I think historical readers would love them!
    But what do I know?
    sigh.

    Reply
  54. When will they put Thomas Rowlandson and Gilray and other brilliant period characaturists on covers? They’d look a snitch like the old Cartland covers that sold like the proverbial hotcakes. but are so much more rewarding. I think historical readers would love them!
    But what do I know?
    sigh.

    Reply
  55. When will they put Thomas Rowlandson and Gilray and other brilliant period characaturists on covers? They’d look a snitch like the old Cartland covers that sold like the proverbial hotcakes. but are so much more rewarding. I think historical readers would love them!
    But what do I know?
    sigh.

    Reply
  56. Heyer is being reissued? I’ll have to check that out.
    I love the classical painting covers. I never thought one had to pay to use them – it just never occurred to me. I would have assumed the ownership lapsed on them the same way it does on writing.
    The headless-cover issue seems to divide readers (lol) but I for one really like them. Mostly because I like looking at the pretty dresses 🙂

    Reply
  57. Heyer is being reissued? I’ll have to check that out.
    I love the classical painting covers. I never thought one had to pay to use them – it just never occurred to me. I would have assumed the ownership lapsed on them the same way it does on writing.
    The headless-cover issue seems to divide readers (lol) but I for one really like them. Mostly because I like looking at the pretty dresses 🙂

    Reply
  58. Heyer is being reissued? I’ll have to check that out.
    I love the classical painting covers. I never thought one had to pay to use them – it just never occurred to me. I would have assumed the ownership lapsed on them the same way it does on writing.
    The headless-cover issue seems to divide readers (lol) but I for one really like them. Mostly because I like looking at the pretty dresses 🙂

    Reply
  59. Heyer is being reissued? I’ll have to check that out.
    I love the classical painting covers. I never thought one had to pay to use them – it just never occurred to me. I would have assumed the ownership lapsed on them the same way it does on writing.
    The headless-cover issue seems to divide readers (lol) but I for one really like them. Mostly because I like looking at the pretty dresses 🙂

    Reply
  60. Heyer is being reissued? I’ll have to check that out.
    I love the classical painting covers. I never thought one had to pay to use them – it just never occurred to me. I would have assumed the ownership lapsed on them the same way it does on writing.
    The headless-cover issue seems to divide readers (lol) but I for one really like them. Mostly because I like looking at the pretty dresses 🙂

    Reply
  61. I like a cover image to be aesthetically pleasing, and many paintings in museum collections are aesthetically pleasing. But a handsome cover won’t make me buy – or necessarily even pick up – a book, any more than ghastly cover ‘art’ will prevent my doing so. I don’t let the quality of the wrapping paper affect my judgement of the present inside.
    Incidentally, though the overall effect of the Heyer reissues is quite good, some of the individual cover choices are poor in terms of artistic quality, e.g. a picture by some 19th/early 20thC Italian classical painter with a saccharine-sweet chocolate-box style on the cover of ‘Bath Tangle’. Still, it’s Heyer inside, so never mind the cover. The only reason that I have bought some of them is that it is nice to be able to re-read for the umpteenth time without having to watch that none of the loose, tattered pages actually falls out…

    Reply
  62. I like a cover image to be aesthetically pleasing, and many paintings in museum collections are aesthetically pleasing. But a handsome cover won’t make me buy – or necessarily even pick up – a book, any more than ghastly cover ‘art’ will prevent my doing so. I don’t let the quality of the wrapping paper affect my judgement of the present inside.
    Incidentally, though the overall effect of the Heyer reissues is quite good, some of the individual cover choices are poor in terms of artistic quality, e.g. a picture by some 19th/early 20thC Italian classical painter with a saccharine-sweet chocolate-box style on the cover of ‘Bath Tangle’. Still, it’s Heyer inside, so never mind the cover. The only reason that I have bought some of them is that it is nice to be able to re-read for the umpteenth time without having to watch that none of the loose, tattered pages actually falls out…

    Reply
  63. I like a cover image to be aesthetically pleasing, and many paintings in museum collections are aesthetically pleasing. But a handsome cover won’t make me buy – or necessarily even pick up – a book, any more than ghastly cover ‘art’ will prevent my doing so. I don’t let the quality of the wrapping paper affect my judgement of the present inside.
    Incidentally, though the overall effect of the Heyer reissues is quite good, some of the individual cover choices are poor in terms of artistic quality, e.g. a picture by some 19th/early 20thC Italian classical painter with a saccharine-sweet chocolate-box style on the cover of ‘Bath Tangle’. Still, it’s Heyer inside, so never mind the cover. The only reason that I have bought some of them is that it is nice to be able to re-read for the umpteenth time without having to watch that none of the loose, tattered pages actually falls out…

    Reply
  64. I like a cover image to be aesthetically pleasing, and many paintings in museum collections are aesthetically pleasing. But a handsome cover won’t make me buy – or necessarily even pick up – a book, any more than ghastly cover ‘art’ will prevent my doing so. I don’t let the quality of the wrapping paper affect my judgement of the present inside.
    Incidentally, though the overall effect of the Heyer reissues is quite good, some of the individual cover choices are poor in terms of artistic quality, e.g. a picture by some 19th/early 20thC Italian classical painter with a saccharine-sweet chocolate-box style on the cover of ‘Bath Tangle’. Still, it’s Heyer inside, so never mind the cover. The only reason that I have bought some of them is that it is nice to be able to re-read for the umpteenth time without having to watch that none of the loose, tattered pages actually falls out…

    Reply
  65. I like a cover image to be aesthetically pleasing, and many paintings in museum collections are aesthetically pleasing. But a handsome cover won’t make me buy – or necessarily even pick up – a book, any more than ghastly cover ‘art’ will prevent my doing so. I don’t let the quality of the wrapping paper affect my judgement of the present inside.
    Incidentally, though the overall effect of the Heyer reissues is quite good, some of the individual cover choices are poor in terms of artistic quality, e.g. a picture by some 19th/early 20thC Italian classical painter with a saccharine-sweet chocolate-box style on the cover of ‘Bath Tangle’. Still, it’s Heyer inside, so never mind the cover. The only reason that I have bought some of them is that it is nice to be able to re-read for the umpteenth time without having to watch that none of the loose, tattered pages actually falls out…

    Reply
  66. The cropped heads, close focus, weird angles/layout seems to be a big trend in graphics right now. So many trade magazines, conference brouchures, etc. that I’ve seen in the past 6 months have used that approach in their design. I don’t really like it, but I think it’s considered “cutting edge”.
    I have to admit that I haven’t realized that certain famous paintings have been reused in several covers, and I’ve read many of the books shown! Like the previous poster, I have noticed when similar clinch art has been used. I’m definitely familiar with the similar Lorretta and Julia covers. That always annoys me – like a mass market paperback doesn’t deserve a cover of its own.
    It would be REALLY interesting to know how the use of famous paintings on historical romances effect sales. I’ve sometimes been surprised by the choice. Trying to put myself in the head of a person who only reads historical fiction, I wonder if I’d be taken aback by the hyper focus on the relationship and sometimes hyper focus on the sexual relationship and lack of a strong external plot.

    Reply
  67. The cropped heads, close focus, weird angles/layout seems to be a big trend in graphics right now. So many trade magazines, conference brouchures, etc. that I’ve seen in the past 6 months have used that approach in their design. I don’t really like it, but I think it’s considered “cutting edge”.
    I have to admit that I haven’t realized that certain famous paintings have been reused in several covers, and I’ve read many of the books shown! Like the previous poster, I have noticed when similar clinch art has been used. I’m definitely familiar with the similar Lorretta and Julia covers. That always annoys me – like a mass market paperback doesn’t deserve a cover of its own.
    It would be REALLY interesting to know how the use of famous paintings on historical romances effect sales. I’ve sometimes been surprised by the choice. Trying to put myself in the head of a person who only reads historical fiction, I wonder if I’d be taken aback by the hyper focus on the relationship and sometimes hyper focus on the sexual relationship and lack of a strong external plot.

    Reply
  68. The cropped heads, close focus, weird angles/layout seems to be a big trend in graphics right now. So many trade magazines, conference brouchures, etc. that I’ve seen in the past 6 months have used that approach in their design. I don’t really like it, but I think it’s considered “cutting edge”.
    I have to admit that I haven’t realized that certain famous paintings have been reused in several covers, and I’ve read many of the books shown! Like the previous poster, I have noticed when similar clinch art has been used. I’m definitely familiar with the similar Lorretta and Julia covers. That always annoys me – like a mass market paperback doesn’t deserve a cover of its own.
    It would be REALLY interesting to know how the use of famous paintings on historical romances effect sales. I’ve sometimes been surprised by the choice. Trying to put myself in the head of a person who only reads historical fiction, I wonder if I’d be taken aback by the hyper focus on the relationship and sometimes hyper focus on the sexual relationship and lack of a strong external plot.

    Reply
  69. The cropped heads, close focus, weird angles/layout seems to be a big trend in graphics right now. So many trade magazines, conference brouchures, etc. that I’ve seen in the past 6 months have used that approach in their design. I don’t really like it, but I think it’s considered “cutting edge”.
    I have to admit that I haven’t realized that certain famous paintings have been reused in several covers, and I’ve read many of the books shown! Like the previous poster, I have noticed when similar clinch art has been used. I’m definitely familiar with the similar Lorretta and Julia covers. That always annoys me – like a mass market paperback doesn’t deserve a cover of its own.
    It would be REALLY interesting to know how the use of famous paintings on historical romances effect sales. I’ve sometimes been surprised by the choice. Trying to put myself in the head of a person who only reads historical fiction, I wonder if I’d be taken aback by the hyper focus on the relationship and sometimes hyper focus on the sexual relationship and lack of a strong external plot.

    Reply
  70. The cropped heads, close focus, weird angles/layout seems to be a big trend in graphics right now. So many trade magazines, conference brouchures, etc. that I’ve seen in the past 6 months have used that approach in their design. I don’t really like it, but I think it’s considered “cutting edge”.
    I have to admit that I haven’t realized that certain famous paintings have been reused in several covers, and I’ve read many of the books shown! Like the previous poster, I have noticed when similar clinch art has been used. I’m definitely familiar with the similar Lorretta and Julia covers. That always annoys me – like a mass market paperback doesn’t deserve a cover of its own.
    It would be REALLY interesting to know how the use of famous paintings on historical romances effect sales. I’ve sometimes been surprised by the choice. Trying to put myself in the head of a person who only reads historical fiction, I wonder if I’d be taken aback by the hyper focus on the relationship and sometimes hyper focus on the sexual relationship and lack of a strong external plot.

    Reply
  71. AgTigress, you, just made me think of a question. You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up? Anybody else?
    I confess it would probably prevent me from picking up the book unless there were some other reason to do so, such as it being one of my favorite authors, or a subject matter I’m interested in.
    One example is a book I love despite the cover, because it’s by a favorite author. The H/H are standing in a flowered arbor. (Hee! I almost typed floured!) The hero has chipmunk cheeks and what looks like a large leaf on his head. Because the H/H are so small (they’re overpowered by the arbor) I can’t tell if it really is a leaf or if it’s just a shadow. I wouldn’t have picked up the book but for the author’s name on the cover.

    Reply
  72. AgTigress, you, just made me think of a question. You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up? Anybody else?
    I confess it would probably prevent me from picking up the book unless there were some other reason to do so, such as it being one of my favorite authors, or a subject matter I’m interested in.
    One example is a book I love despite the cover, because it’s by a favorite author. The H/H are standing in a flowered arbor. (Hee! I almost typed floured!) The hero has chipmunk cheeks and what looks like a large leaf on his head. Because the H/H are so small (they’re overpowered by the arbor) I can’t tell if it really is a leaf or if it’s just a shadow. I wouldn’t have picked up the book but for the author’s name on the cover.

    Reply
  73. AgTigress, you, just made me think of a question. You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up? Anybody else?
    I confess it would probably prevent me from picking up the book unless there were some other reason to do so, such as it being one of my favorite authors, or a subject matter I’m interested in.
    One example is a book I love despite the cover, because it’s by a favorite author. The H/H are standing in a flowered arbor. (Hee! I almost typed floured!) The hero has chipmunk cheeks and what looks like a large leaf on his head. Because the H/H are so small (they’re overpowered by the arbor) I can’t tell if it really is a leaf or if it’s just a shadow. I wouldn’t have picked up the book but for the author’s name on the cover.

    Reply
  74. AgTigress, you, just made me think of a question. You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up? Anybody else?
    I confess it would probably prevent me from picking up the book unless there were some other reason to do so, such as it being one of my favorite authors, or a subject matter I’m interested in.
    One example is a book I love despite the cover, because it’s by a favorite author. The H/H are standing in a flowered arbor. (Hee! I almost typed floured!) The hero has chipmunk cheeks and what looks like a large leaf on his head. Because the H/H are so small (they’re overpowered by the arbor) I can’t tell if it really is a leaf or if it’s just a shadow. I wouldn’t have picked up the book but for the author’s name on the cover.

    Reply
  75. AgTigress, you, just made me think of a question. You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up? Anybody else?
    I confess it would probably prevent me from picking up the book unless there were some other reason to do so, such as it being one of my favorite authors, or a subject matter I’m interested in.
    One example is a book I love despite the cover, because it’s by a favorite author. The H/H are standing in a flowered arbor. (Hee! I almost typed floured!) The hero has chipmunk cheeks and what looks like a large leaf on his head. Because the H/H are so small (they’re overpowered by the arbor) I can’t tell if it really is a leaf or if it’s just a shadow. I wouldn’t have picked up the book but for the author’s name on the cover.

    Reply
  76. The main reason I pick up a book is the name of the author on the cover.
    If the book cover “looks” like the kind of book I like – even if I actually think it’s ugly, I’ll pick up the book and read the back cover copy.
    So, I pick up a lot of garish clinch or naked people covers.

    Reply
  77. The main reason I pick up a book is the name of the author on the cover.
    If the book cover “looks” like the kind of book I like – even if I actually think it’s ugly, I’ll pick up the book and read the back cover copy.
    So, I pick up a lot of garish clinch or naked people covers.

    Reply
  78. The main reason I pick up a book is the name of the author on the cover.
    If the book cover “looks” like the kind of book I like – even if I actually think it’s ugly, I’ll pick up the book and read the back cover copy.
    So, I pick up a lot of garish clinch or naked people covers.

    Reply
  79. The main reason I pick up a book is the name of the author on the cover.
    If the book cover “looks” like the kind of book I like – even if I actually think it’s ugly, I’ll pick up the book and read the back cover copy.
    So, I pick up a lot of garish clinch or naked people covers.

    Reply
  80. The main reason I pick up a book is the name of the author on the cover.
    If the book cover “looks” like the kind of book I like – even if I actually think it’s ugly, I’ll pick up the book and read the back cover copy.
    So, I pick up a lot of garish clinch or naked people covers.

    Reply
  81. Sherrie, I’d no IDEA how often the same images appear on mysteries and thrillers! (I have to admit that that’s one corner of the bookstore where I seldom go.) Thanks so much for posting that link. Somehow these seem much worse, since they use anonymous stock photos. Sheesh, all the work that goes in to writing a book, and that’s what you get for a cover?
    Edith, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’d LOVE to see some of the more wry Rowlandson drawings on covers, and I bet they’d sell, too.
    AGTigress, I agree with you, too. A painting I didn’t like won’t make me pick up the book, no matter when or by whom it was painted. On the other hand, I did pick up the reissue of “The Infamous Army”, because it was Heyer, while I let “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” remain where it was because — oh, let’s just say because. *g*
    Just following the Heyer covers through the years would make for an interesting blog — and an interesting commentary on changing tastes, too.
    Michelle, it’s interesting that you brought up the “variations on a theme” (hah!) cover that was used for both Loretta and Julia Quinn. Loretta mentioned this one to me herself when we were talking about this blog, but she couldn’t remember the other book. Actually, this used to happen more than it should with cover-paintings. I remember an editor sputtering over this at RWA once, blaming the artist for double-dipping. Claimed the publisher didn’t know it had happened until the book was in print and eagle-eyed readers spotted it. Don’t know if she was being disingenuous or not — the artist might have been trying to pull a fast one, or the publisher might have wanted to attract readers of the first book so badly that they’d repeat the cover on the second, or….who knows for sure?
    Sure makes for good gossipy speculation, though. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  82. Sherrie, I’d no IDEA how often the same images appear on mysteries and thrillers! (I have to admit that that’s one corner of the bookstore where I seldom go.) Thanks so much for posting that link. Somehow these seem much worse, since they use anonymous stock photos. Sheesh, all the work that goes in to writing a book, and that’s what you get for a cover?
    Edith, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’d LOVE to see some of the more wry Rowlandson drawings on covers, and I bet they’d sell, too.
    AGTigress, I agree with you, too. A painting I didn’t like won’t make me pick up the book, no matter when or by whom it was painted. On the other hand, I did pick up the reissue of “The Infamous Army”, because it was Heyer, while I let “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” remain where it was because — oh, let’s just say because. *g*
    Just following the Heyer covers through the years would make for an interesting blog — and an interesting commentary on changing tastes, too.
    Michelle, it’s interesting that you brought up the “variations on a theme” (hah!) cover that was used for both Loretta and Julia Quinn. Loretta mentioned this one to me herself when we were talking about this blog, but she couldn’t remember the other book. Actually, this used to happen more than it should with cover-paintings. I remember an editor sputtering over this at RWA once, blaming the artist for double-dipping. Claimed the publisher didn’t know it had happened until the book was in print and eagle-eyed readers spotted it. Don’t know if she was being disingenuous or not — the artist might have been trying to pull a fast one, or the publisher might have wanted to attract readers of the first book so badly that they’d repeat the cover on the second, or….who knows for sure?
    Sure makes for good gossipy speculation, though. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  83. Sherrie, I’d no IDEA how often the same images appear on mysteries and thrillers! (I have to admit that that’s one corner of the bookstore where I seldom go.) Thanks so much for posting that link. Somehow these seem much worse, since they use anonymous stock photos. Sheesh, all the work that goes in to writing a book, and that’s what you get for a cover?
    Edith, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’d LOVE to see some of the more wry Rowlandson drawings on covers, and I bet they’d sell, too.
    AGTigress, I agree with you, too. A painting I didn’t like won’t make me pick up the book, no matter when or by whom it was painted. On the other hand, I did pick up the reissue of “The Infamous Army”, because it was Heyer, while I let “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” remain where it was because — oh, let’s just say because. *g*
    Just following the Heyer covers through the years would make for an interesting blog — and an interesting commentary on changing tastes, too.
    Michelle, it’s interesting that you brought up the “variations on a theme” (hah!) cover that was used for both Loretta and Julia Quinn. Loretta mentioned this one to me herself when we were talking about this blog, but she couldn’t remember the other book. Actually, this used to happen more than it should with cover-paintings. I remember an editor sputtering over this at RWA once, blaming the artist for double-dipping. Claimed the publisher didn’t know it had happened until the book was in print and eagle-eyed readers spotted it. Don’t know if she was being disingenuous or not — the artist might have been trying to pull a fast one, or the publisher might have wanted to attract readers of the first book so badly that they’d repeat the cover on the second, or….who knows for sure?
    Sure makes for good gossipy speculation, though. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  84. Sherrie, I’d no IDEA how often the same images appear on mysteries and thrillers! (I have to admit that that’s one corner of the bookstore where I seldom go.) Thanks so much for posting that link. Somehow these seem much worse, since they use anonymous stock photos. Sheesh, all the work that goes in to writing a book, and that’s what you get for a cover?
    Edith, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’d LOVE to see some of the more wry Rowlandson drawings on covers, and I bet they’d sell, too.
    AGTigress, I agree with you, too. A painting I didn’t like won’t make me pick up the book, no matter when or by whom it was painted. On the other hand, I did pick up the reissue of “The Infamous Army”, because it was Heyer, while I let “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” remain where it was because — oh, let’s just say because. *g*
    Just following the Heyer covers through the years would make for an interesting blog — and an interesting commentary on changing tastes, too.
    Michelle, it’s interesting that you brought up the “variations on a theme” (hah!) cover that was used for both Loretta and Julia Quinn. Loretta mentioned this one to me herself when we were talking about this blog, but she couldn’t remember the other book. Actually, this used to happen more than it should with cover-paintings. I remember an editor sputtering over this at RWA once, blaming the artist for double-dipping. Claimed the publisher didn’t know it had happened until the book was in print and eagle-eyed readers spotted it. Don’t know if she was being disingenuous or not — the artist might have been trying to pull a fast one, or the publisher might have wanted to attract readers of the first book so badly that they’d repeat the cover on the second, or….who knows for sure?
    Sure makes for good gossipy speculation, though. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  85. Sherrie, I’d no IDEA how often the same images appear on mysteries and thrillers! (I have to admit that that’s one corner of the bookstore where I seldom go.) Thanks so much for posting that link. Somehow these seem much worse, since they use anonymous stock photos. Sheesh, all the work that goes in to writing a book, and that’s what you get for a cover?
    Edith, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I’d LOVE to see some of the more wry Rowlandson drawings on covers, and I bet they’d sell, too.
    AGTigress, I agree with you, too. A painting I didn’t like won’t make me pick up the book, no matter when or by whom it was painted. On the other hand, I did pick up the reissue of “The Infamous Army”, because it was Heyer, while I let “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict” remain where it was because — oh, let’s just say because. *g*
    Just following the Heyer covers through the years would make for an interesting blog — and an interesting commentary on changing tastes, too.
    Michelle, it’s interesting that you brought up the “variations on a theme” (hah!) cover that was used for both Loretta and Julia Quinn. Loretta mentioned this one to me herself when we were talking about this blog, but she couldn’t remember the other book. Actually, this used to happen more than it should with cover-paintings. I remember an editor sputtering over this at RWA once, blaming the artist for double-dipping. Claimed the publisher didn’t know it had happened until the book was in print and eagle-eyed readers spotted it. Don’t know if she was being disingenuous or not — the artist might have been trying to pull a fast one, or the publisher might have wanted to attract readers of the first book so badly that they’d repeat the cover on the second, or….who knows for sure?
    Sure makes for good gossipy speculation, though. *g*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  86. these covers are beautiful, and much more likely to make me pick up a romance than a clinch or stand alone bare dchested hero.
    the partiality doesn’t bother me in these kinds of examples but it really does in things like beer ads that only show a woman’s torso (usually bikini clad). is that wrong?

    Reply
  87. these covers are beautiful, and much more likely to make me pick up a romance than a clinch or stand alone bare dchested hero.
    the partiality doesn’t bother me in these kinds of examples but it really does in things like beer ads that only show a woman’s torso (usually bikini clad). is that wrong?

    Reply
  88. these covers are beautiful, and much more likely to make me pick up a romance than a clinch or stand alone bare dchested hero.
    the partiality doesn’t bother me in these kinds of examples but it really does in things like beer ads that only show a woman’s torso (usually bikini clad). is that wrong?

    Reply
  89. these covers are beautiful, and much more likely to make me pick up a romance than a clinch or stand alone bare dchested hero.
    the partiality doesn’t bother me in these kinds of examples but it really does in things like beer ads that only show a woman’s torso (usually bikini clad). is that wrong?

    Reply
  90. these covers are beautiful, and much more likely to make me pick up a romance than a clinch or stand alone bare dchested hero.
    the partiality doesn’t bother me in these kinds of examples but it really does in things like beer ads that only show a woman’s torso (usually bikini clad). is that wrong?

    Reply
  91. Sherrie said: ‘You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up?’
    Answer: (1) author name; (2) prior knowledge through recommendation from friends; (3) reviews in respected published sources.
    Having picked the book up, I do my standard ‘tasting’. I read the back-cover blurb, a page or two at or near the beginning of the text, the middle, and the end. If the author is new to me, the general style of the writing will decide me. Cover art does not feature *at all*. I was in my 40s before I ever read a romance novel, because I was so revolted by most of the covers. I now know that that was stupid: the wrapping does not necessarily indicate the quality of the contents. I may be slow, but I do learn eventually.
    I now possess many *excellent* novels with covers that almost make me gag to look at them!
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  92. Sherrie said: ‘You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up?’
    Answer: (1) author name; (2) prior knowledge through recommendation from friends; (3) reviews in respected published sources.
    Having picked the book up, I do my standard ‘tasting’. I read the back-cover blurb, a page or two at or near the beginning of the text, the middle, and the end. If the author is new to me, the general style of the writing will decide me. Cover art does not feature *at all*. I was in my 40s before I ever read a romance novel, because I was so revolted by most of the covers. I now know that that was stupid: the wrapping does not necessarily indicate the quality of the contents. I may be slow, but I do learn eventually.
    I now possess many *excellent* novels with covers that almost make me gag to look at them!
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  93. Sherrie said: ‘You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up?’
    Answer: (1) author name; (2) prior knowledge through recommendation from friends; (3) reviews in respected published sources.
    Having picked the book up, I do my standard ‘tasting’. I read the back-cover blurb, a page or two at or near the beginning of the text, the middle, and the end. If the author is new to me, the general style of the writing will decide me. Cover art does not feature *at all*. I was in my 40s before I ever read a romance novel, because I was so revolted by most of the covers. I now know that that was stupid: the wrapping does not necessarily indicate the quality of the contents. I may be slow, but I do learn eventually.
    I now possess many *excellent* novels with covers that almost make me gag to look at them!
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  94. Sherrie said: ‘You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up?’
    Answer: (1) author name; (2) prior knowledge through recommendation from friends; (3) reviews in respected published sources.
    Having picked the book up, I do my standard ‘tasting’. I read the back-cover blurb, a page or two at or near the beginning of the text, the middle, and the end. If the author is new to me, the general style of the writing will decide me. Cover art does not feature *at all*. I was in my 40s before I ever read a romance novel, because I was so revolted by most of the covers. I now know that that was stupid: the wrapping does not necessarily indicate the quality of the contents. I may be slow, but I do learn eventually.
    I now possess many *excellent* novels with covers that almost make me gag to look at them!
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  95. Sherrie said: ‘You said a book cover doesn’t determine whether or not you’ll buy a book, and that a ghastly cover wouldn’t prevent you from picking it up. That leaves me with a question: if you see a book with an ugly cover, what *would* make you pick it up?’
    Answer: (1) author name; (2) prior knowledge through recommendation from friends; (3) reviews in respected published sources.
    Having picked the book up, I do my standard ‘tasting’. I read the back-cover blurb, a page or two at or near the beginning of the text, the middle, and the end. If the author is new to me, the general style of the writing will decide me. Cover art does not feature *at all*. I was in my 40s before I ever read a romance novel, because I was so revolted by most of the covers. I now know that that was stupid: the wrapping does not necessarily indicate the quality of the contents. I may be slow, but I do learn eventually.
    I now possess many *excellent* novels with covers that almost make me gag to look at them!
    😉 🙂

    Reply
  96. Susan/Miranda: picking up on your point about Heyer covers, I recently did exactly this with the covers of Mary Stewart’s ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’: UK and US covers from 1958 (first publication) to 2007.
    Very instructive indeed. The art tells one far more about the changing taste in graphics over 50 years, and the differences in UK and US tastes, than it does about Stewart’s classic gothic/romantic suspense novel.
    😉

    Reply
  97. Susan/Miranda: picking up on your point about Heyer covers, I recently did exactly this with the covers of Mary Stewart’s ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’: UK and US covers from 1958 (first publication) to 2007.
    Very instructive indeed. The art tells one far more about the changing taste in graphics over 50 years, and the differences in UK and US tastes, than it does about Stewart’s classic gothic/romantic suspense novel.
    😉

    Reply
  98. Susan/Miranda: picking up on your point about Heyer covers, I recently did exactly this with the covers of Mary Stewart’s ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’: UK and US covers from 1958 (first publication) to 2007.
    Very instructive indeed. The art tells one far more about the changing taste in graphics over 50 years, and the differences in UK and US tastes, than it does about Stewart’s classic gothic/romantic suspense novel.
    😉

    Reply
  99. Susan/Miranda: picking up on your point about Heyer covers, I recently did exactly this with the covers of Mary Stewart’s ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’: UK and US covers from 1958 (first publication) to 2007.
    Very instructive indeed. The art tells one far more about the changing taste in graphics over 50 years, and the differences in UK and US tastes, than it does about Stewart’s classic gothic/romantic suspense novel.
    😉

    Reply
  100. Susan/Miranda: picking up on your point about Heyer covers, I recently did exactly this with the covers of Mary Stewart’s ‘Nine Coaches Waiting’: UK and US covers from 1958 (first publication) to 2007.
    Very instructive indeed. The art tells one far more about the changing taste in graphics over 50 years, and the differences in UK and US tastes, than it does about Stewart’s classic gothic/romantic suspense novel.
    😉

    Reply
  101. Good evening ladies!
    We have on “the power of 10” tonight (it’s a game show where you guess what percentage of Americans think about certain things) and they just said that 82% of Americans do judge books by their covers.
    Goodness. Maybe you all don’t have to worry about the back blurbs anymore… 🙂

    Reply
  102. Good evening ladies!
    We have on “the power of 10” tonight (it’s a game show where you guess what percentage of Americans think about certain things) and they just said that 82% of Americans do judge books by their covers.
    Goodness. Maybe you all don’t have to worry about the back blurbs anymore… 🙂

    Reply
  103. Good evening ladies!
    We have on “the power of 10” tonight (it’s a game show where you guess what percentage of Americans think about certain things) and they just said that 82% of Americans do judge books by their covers.
    Goodness. Maybe you all don’t have to worry about the back blurbs anymore… 🙂

    Reply
  104. Good evening ladies!
    We have on “the power of 10” tonight (it’s a game show where you guess what percentage of Americans think about certain things) and they just said that 82% of Americans do judge books by their covers.
    Goodness. Maybe you all don’t have to worry about the back blurbs anymore… 🙂

    Reply
  105. Good evening ladies!
    We have on “the power of 10” tonight (it’s a game show where you guess what percentage of Americans think about certain things) and they just said that 82% of Americans do judge books by their covers.
    Goodness. Maybe you all don’t have to worry about the back blurbs anymore… 🙂

    Reply
  106. I think covers do make a difference. I picked up “Daughter of the Game” because the cover caught my eye. It looked romantic and mysterious, and I love romance and mystery! I will be forever grateful to that cover, because I’d never HEARD of Tracy Grant before then, now I have several books from her backlist.

    Reply
  107. I think covers do make a difference. I picked up “Daughter of the Game” because the cover caught my eye. It looked romantic and mysterious, and I love romance and mystery! I will be forever grateful to that cover, because I’d never HEARD of Tracy Grant before then, now I have several books from her backlist.

    Reply
  108. I think covers do make a difference. I picked up “Daughter of the Game” because the cover caught my eye. It looked romantic and mysterious, and I love romance and mystery! I will be forever grateful to that cover, because I’d never HEARD of Tracy Grant before then, now I have several books from her backlist.

    Reply
  109. I think covers do make a difference. I picked up “Daughter of the Game” because the cover caught my eye. It looked romantic and mysterious, and I love romance and mystery! I will be forever grateful to that cover, because I’d never HEARD of Tracy Grant before then, now I have several books from her backlist.

    Reply
  110. I think covers do make a difference. I picked up “Daughter of the Game” because the cover caught my eye. It looked romantic and mysterious, and I love romance and mystery! I will be forever grateful to that cover, because I’d never HEARD of Tracy Grant before then, now I have several books from her backlist.

    Reply

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