There are a lot of blogs commenting on the change in the rise of minimalist cover art for romance novels such as Smart Bitches Trashy Books. The prequel, if you like, seemed to be the Twilight series which was followed and popularised by the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey. Given the success of this style, it isn’t too surprising that other erotic novels such as those by Sylvia Day and Beth Kery have followed suit. I don’t read this genre but I can’t help wondering why this shift is occurring. I came up with what I think are plausible reasons:
- They don’t look like romance novels so you won’t be embarrassed buying them, reading them on the train or bus or even leaving them lying around at home. It also helps to distance the reader from the stereotypical romance reader
- It is cheap to produce. You don’t have to hire models or photographers etc and get international rights to the pictures. You don’t have to mess around in a design program trying to touch up the images. Simply find a stock image, add the title and author in a simple font and you are done
- The publishers think people are bored of the bodice rippers and the guys with impossible abs. The problem is that they are simply replacing one trope with another
- Simple often works best at attracting an audience. Why confuse them with lots of colour and distracting images, when you can settle for something simpler. Case in point is Macy Beckett’s new novel Surrender to Sultry. The original image was very busy and the main characters got lost in the background. The publisher decided to commission a new one and the author is ecstatic with the simplicity of it
- Publishers have decided to stop objectifying women and men in particular for the instant but non-PC gratification of their audience (snicker).
The Twilight series:
50 Shades of Grey and a couple inspired by the approach:
Macy Beckett’s Surrender to Sultry. Old is on the left.