I recently came across a list of the best Christian book covers as voted by readers. I only looked at the top 100 covers, but still – I was surprised. A little shocked. Maybe a touch dismayed. Let me share with you what I found…
Out of the top 100 covers, 3 were for Christian living books. Only eight of those covers were for contemporary Christian fiction, and of those, only six were for contemporary romance. And of those six, three were romantic suspense. So…out of 100 of the voter-decided best Christian book covers, three were for contemporary Christian romance (CCR).
Want to know what the other eighty-nine covers were for? Historical fiction – mostly romance.
So that got me to wondering. Are historical romance covers really that much better than contemporary romance covers? Or do historical readers just vote more?
As I tried to reason that out, I figured I’d ask the fabulous Inspy Romance readers. After all, you’re our target audience, and your opinion matters.
I’m putting some book covers in below and talking about what I like about each cover…but I want your input, too! Please comment below. Tell me your favorite of these book covers, what you like about one or more of the covers, what makes you stop and want to read more…or really anything. Just so you know – your feedback is a huge help to the authors of Inspy Romance. We want to hear what you think! 😊
This is one of my favorite covers of the of the books I have. It’s not available for purchase at the moment…because I’m slow about some things. It was in a box set a few years ago, but I haven’t released it for sale since that box set. I love the cover, though, and the way it captures some of the funny and endearing moments in the story. It catches the fun vibe of the book and the brightness of the characters. But I’m biased. You can give me a fresh perspective. What do you think? Does it make you want to read the book? Or at least make you want to read the back cover?
Let’s face it – most historical covers have women in beautiful gowns. We don’t see that a lot on contemporary covers, so when we do, it always catches my eye. What I like about this cover: the beautiful gown – especially the draped jewels on the back. Something about that catches my eye. It might even make me feel pretty – even though I’m only reading it. Honestly, that’s not a bad way to draw a reader in. 😉 The title font draws the eye, too, in a way that’s elegant but not stuffy. The grand staircase as a backdrop is interesting, too.
There’s a bit of a dream quality to this cover. Parts of it are a little out of focus, but it’s intentional. I don’t always like the bright light effect, but on this cover – that sun over his shoulder works for me. I think one of the things that the sunshine and slightly out-of-focus effects communicate is a sense of warmth. Maybe even comfort. That, coupled with the way the cover models are standing makes me feel like these are two people who have found where they belong. (With each other. Since this is romance and all.)
We don’t often see dark covers in CCR. While there are a good reasons for covers usually being brighter, the darkness is part of what makes this cover stand out. It’s different. The lit-up home in the background brightens the cover, and the reflection on the water gives it a hint of romance – kind of like candlelight. Then you have the couple in the foreground. The forehead-to-forehead pose conveys a kind of emotional romance that’s more subtle than a kiss or full-on embrace would. It fits with the subtlety of the non-candlelight in the background.
This cover has a softness to it that you don’t often get in romance covers. It uses the same out-of-focus technique as To Believe in You. It communicates warmth here, too, but because the subject matter is so different, it evokes a different emotion. For those people who like to read romances that involve children – or dogs, for that matter! – it would be hard to pass by this cover. The girl and the puppy both have sweet faces that make you want to ensure they each get their happily ever after. It’s clear that they’ll play an integral part in the HEA of the main characters, too.
There’s a lot to like about this cover. Again – a pretty dress. (I think I’ve worn a dress twice since my wedding 20+ years ago…but apparently even I like covers with pretty dresses.) Anyway…I also love the hot air balloons. They brighten up the cover with a bold splash of color, yeah. But they also convey romance in this super-subtle way, right? Hot air balloons are often associated with romance. They also create an attractive backdrop to the title. The title font would get lost on a lighter background, but on the hot air balloons, the title pops. The font is interesting, too, and the interplay between the two fonts in the title manages to convey vulnerability but also strength.
Okay now – you’ve heard all of my rambling thoughts on what I see as positives about each of these covers. Let me wrap it back around to the original question, though. Why do you think historical covers ranked so well in that “top 100 Christian book covers” list that I saw? Is it all about the pretty dresses? Or do historical readers just somehow more motivated to vote on things like that?
Or maybe it’s that in CCR, we have a lot of variety. We have romantic comedy, which has a certain style of cover. And we have more drama-driven romance. Plus small-town romance. And lets not forget modern cowboy romances. Plus all kinds of other interesting types of contemporary Christian romance. That diversity might mean it’s harder for us to win in a reader poll about favorite book cover, but it’s also one of the strengths of CCR. No matter my mood, I can find a CCR that feeds what I want in that moment.
Please share your thoughts below!!