Good morning, everyone! I’m your blogger for the day and I’m going to talk about cover models.

cheriffortin.jpgI think everyone agrees that the right book cover can make or break a book. Publishers try everything they can to ensure good sales because if a book flops, they lose money. Eye-catching titles and enticing blurbs are certainly two ways to attract attention. But cover models are one of the biggest drawing cards. Having a handsome hunk on the cover lures a reader right to it. Who wouldn’t want to take home a book with cover model John DeSalvo, Cherif Fortin, Nathan Kamp, Mike Dale, Tracy James, or Peter DeCicco on it? They’re sexy, red-blooded, very appealing men. One good thing is that there’s no extra charge for the eye-candy! They won’t give you cavities either. Are you drooling yet? By the way the photo is of Cherif Fortin.

Nearly all of us daydream. I think a reader shopping for a new book ldesalvo.jpgikes to imagine herself in the model’s arms, to be the love of his life, and to transport her from a boring life into one full of adventure and excitement. I think a woman would pretty much have to be dead not to like looking at well-formed abs and handsome features. Those faces draw us to the book like a June bug to a streetlight. Our fingers do a little dance right there in the store. We run our hands over the smooth image. We may close our eyes and picture ourselves on the cover with the model. Then we turn the book over and read the back blurb. If we’re satisfied with the full package we’ll trod to the check out with it and sat up half the night living in that fantasy world. I don’t know about you, but personally I prefer the covers with just the male model. I’m a teensy bit jealous if he has another half-dressed woman in a clinch pose. I think to myself, “How dare he, the two-timer!” I want him all to myself. I’m funny that way. The photo in this paragraph is John DeSalvo.

So, the publisher devotes a lot of thought, and psychology, into giving the book the right look. And what do they do when it’s a brand new, untried author they’re trying to promote? It costs big bucks to hire live models. In that case, the art department will probably go to their files of previous cover art and pull out one they’ve used on other books. I’d wager a great many are recycled covers. That puts more money in the publisher’s pocket. If they don’t use a recycled cover they might use a painting instead.

The cover of my first book,knightface.jpg Knight on the Texas Plains, was from a cowboy.jpgpainting that hung on the wall outside my editor’s office. I believe the second, The Cowboy Who Came Calling, was a recycled cover. I loved both because the men both looked strong and closely resembled my heroes.

When Dorchester bought Redemption I got live modelsredemptionfaces.jpg for the first time and that was flattering. It told me that the house was willing to risk a little more money on me. That gave me a wonderful feeling. I felt like I had finally arrived.

Now, the upcoming anthology Give Me a Texan by Kensington really went the extra mile when they hired nathan-kamp-face.jpgthe sexy Nathan Kamp to pose as a cowboy. Nathan’s been on a lot of covers. karenkay-cover.jpgBesides ours, I know he posed for two of Karen Kay’s as an American Indian—-Red Hawk’s Woman and The Spirit of the Wolf. He was also on Bobbie Smith’s The Lawless Texan so he really gets around, a very versatile man. And oh baby, is he nice to look at!

John DeSalvo sizzled on Geralyn Dawson’sjohn-d-geralyns.jpg Simmer All Night. Frank Sepe heated up the cover of Lorraine Heath’s A Rogue in Texas. And Tracy James galloped onto Pam Crooks’ Wanted. I think getting the right man on the cover (ha, or under them!) helps sell copies. I also believe it gives the reader a little extra bonus–-a win, win situation.

Do you have a favorite cover model?

And does the cover model influence your buying habits?

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Here in the Texas Panhandle, we do love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson and jeans that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!

27 thoughts on “OH BABY!!”

  1. Most of the books I buy and read have appealed first to the emotions caused by the cover. A handsome man on the cover is always an attention grabber.

  2. Connie, guess these publishing houses are right in their thinking. I knew I wasn’t the only one whose attention went directly to the sexy men on the covers. They do make my heart pitter-patter. And I’ve been guilty of daydreaming a whole lot.

  3. I’m probably the odd duck when it comes to cover models. I like looking at a good-looking fellas as well as the next red-blooded woman, but I prefer not to recognize someone as an actor or a model if I’m going to be imagining them in the story I’m reading. It somehow takes away from the fantasy of the characters for me.

    I comb magazines for pictures of characters whose faces aren’t recognizable for the same reason. I want them to be the people I create, not people who already exist.

    I had no idea the covers you mentioned portrayed recognizable faces, so that was interesting. I always enjoy learning something.

  4. I’m a 1/2 and 1/2 one. The back blurb has to sound good to me, the picture on the cover can definitely get my attention if it’s got a hunky guy on it, though I don’t know any of the models by name, so I haven’t the slightest clue about any of them, but beautiful scenery can get my attention as well. A wonderful western scene, a haunting cliffside.

    For me a lot of time it just depends on what mood I’m in and what I’m looking for. I do agree I prefer to see only the male model though most the time because it leaves it up to the imagination that the main female lead “could” be me without the image of another woman stepping in and causing a triangle in my mind. LOL

    Great topic!

  5. Now here’s a topic I can really sink my teeth into 🙂

    If any of you visit Romance Novel TV you will know that I adore cover models. The model gives you just a hint of what is between the sheets (of paper that is!). He intrigues me, draws me in, and has me buying books by authors I have never read. This has happened many times!

    Yes, I do read the back blurbs and I do look for author name recognition. But as I browse the shelfs at the book store, the cover is what pops out at me.

  6. What are you guys talking about? Who’s Linda? What topic?
    What? There were WORDS included with that post? Not just pictures? I’d better go look again.
    I didn’t notice any words.

  7. You really know your cover models–and you’re so right about how they influence sales. As women, we are–consciously or subconsciously–attracted to the man on the cover. He’s part of the fantasy–and the reason why we love romances.

    But dang, they’re getting younger and younger–for me. Most of them could be my sons these days. Interesting news clip not too long ago about how Harlequin is recognizing this and that they’re looking for more ‘true men’–heavier and a bit older.

    Great post, Linda!

    And Mary, as always, I had to laugh at you!

  8. Taryn, I like scenery covers too but for me they really don’t have the pull like a hunky man does. I guess it depends on the person. Thanks for commenting.

    Buffie, yeah girl, I hear you. I knew I wasn’t too awfully strange. Sometimes I do wonder though. But nice to hear we love the same things.

    Mary, Mary, Mary, you’re so funny! Thought I’d wake you up this morning and get your blood moving. You know, it grows stale if it doesn’t get that jolt.

    And of course, thanks to my fellow fillies, Pam and Cheryl. I just find the topic interesting as well as learning more about what a publisher does to get a book from concept, to print, to the bookstore. It gets really complicated when you think about it. Knowing a little of this doesn’t help sell a story though so it’s probably useless stuff. No wonder my brain is so cluttered!

  9. Good morning Linda and all– It’s a nice way to wake up, isn’t it? Seeing all those cover models.
    I’m an all-male cover lover myself, but I’ve never gotten one!! Even though I’ve asked, but I’m not complaining, I do love my covers. And John DeSalvo did two of my covers. Imagine my delight when he was on my first book ever, Chance in a Million! My MIL, painted it for me in oil and it’s up on my wall as we speak.

    Linda- you did get some hotties on your covers.
    I think when all is said and done, readers are influenced by covers, more than anything. Until the author is an auto-buy. And I agree with Pam the models are looking younger and younger. I did an article about REAL MEN and spoke of Harlequin’s search to put more appealing, age-appropriate men on our covers.

  10. Charlene, I can’t believe you got John DeSalvo on a cover! Wow! You did great. I’m sure he helped your sales. And I forgot to respond to Pam’s comment about possibly getting some older guys to pose. I’m all for that. I did see that article you mentioned. Can you just picture Sean Connery or someone like Tom Selleck? Older men are just as saleable and I’m all for it! Hope the publishing houses are listening to the drum beat.

  11. Older models work for me if they’re age-appropriate to heroine. A heroine in her 20’s should have a similar-age guy IMO. But Linda, what an enjoyable, provocative YUMMY topic. Thanks for another good read and collection of comments.

  12. Tanya, thanks for dropping by and weighing in on the conversation. You’re a sweetie. What better subject to voice an opinion on.

    Terry, I’m surprised and pleased to see you. Great! Sorry you missed my post about Palo Duro Canyon. You might appreciate that one more. It’s still in the archives in the personal glimpses category if you want to look.

  13. Linda, I just got my jpeg for my second book from my Kensington editor, and the cover is close to your anthol. Yep, hunky cowboy Nathan Kamp. But it captures the feel of my story so well, and he’s so easy on the eyes. 😉

  14. Linda, terrific post–and thanks so much for the photos! LOL!

    Your cover for “The Cowboy Who Came Calling” is one of my all-time favorites. I’m so glad I finally get to tell you. :o) And that love scene in the barn… so tender, it’s stuck with me all this time.

    Anyway, back to topic. I may be strange (cough), but I much prefer the cover models to be fully dressed, rather than bare-chested, or even mostly naked. To me, the imagination is worth a thousand nekked pictures. ;O)

    John DeSalvo was a worthy successor as king of the cover models, but (and I really hate to admit this) I kinda miss Fabio–horse face and all.

  15. Hi Linda and all!!! Oh I do remember dearly, KNIGHT ON A TEXAS PLAIN. That one I cried with! Its on the keepers shelf here! Love covers with Cherif Fortin. I don’t know most models, I learn from others, and usually have no idea who’s on the cover, I love to look 🙂 But too this is neat finding out who they are and finding more covers they did. There was one I loved that was on the stepback cover of a Joan Wolf book but can’t remember the name! I hope it comes up here so I can go back to it.

    So great to find this blog. Dearly love historical romances! Especially the westerns!

  16. Janette, congrats on getting your hunky new cover. Can’t wait to see it. I think Nathan Kamp is really the hottest cover model right now. I see him just about everywhere I turn, especially in my sleep. Ha!

  17. Devon, I’m so glad you enjoyed The Cowboy Who Came Calling! That was such a fun and emotional book to write. Yeah, that cover was one of my favorites as well. I can’t wait to read your book. I hear some very good things about it. Aren’t western romances the best genre to write?

  18. Cathie, Thanks for the comment re Knight on the Texas Plains. I’m so glad you liked that book. It’s truly the most satisfying thing when a reader tells you how much your story meant to them. Duel and Jessie’s story was pretty emotional. Want to know a secret? I cried when I wrote it. I think I used up a whole box of Kleenex. Hope you come back again.

  19. Linda, great topic. Although she said she sees Nathan in her dreams … I’m the keeper of the life side promotional poster of our cover! We had it matted for a conference a couple of months ago. I keep it in the living room and it’s kinda interesting to see folks look at it … like you’re a very weird lady. The best, my exterminator asked where I got a picture of him for Kensington to use! My grandson said that his mama would never let him wear his jeans that low! Nathan is certainly one hot model and we all feel so fortunate to have him for our cover. What a great site, ladies. Phyliss

  20. Oh Dang! I’m late to this party.
    I’m more in line with Cheryl. I know we are the minority and just like Cheryl, I like a good looking guy as much as the next gal, but I don’t care that much for the hunky cover models. And anymore I’m buying books despite Nathan Kamp being on the cover – not because he is. That’s one of the reasons I liked the cover of Maureen McKade’s latest for example. He was fully dressed, he wasn’t recognizable and he looked the part.

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