Do you know that in 2018, 44% of all fiction books sold in the US were romances? That’s millions upon millions of books snuggly cozying up together on shelves, storages of e-readers and smartphones, and warming up in people’s hands.
We’ve created a fair share of romance book covers and know what it takes to make them work. Let’s take a look at our romance cover art and learn more about the characteristics of this genre.
If by any chance you need some inspiration or a droplet of warm fuzziness on this cold day, enjoy.
Romance Book Audience
You need to know your target audience like the back of your hand to create an effective romance book cover.. So first, let’s take a look at romance fiction readers
- 84% of romance readers are women (which, we hope, is going to change and become more balanced.
- 59% of the audience have a couple (fun fact: “romance readers are more likely to be married or living with a partner than a general population”)
- Usually, the age of a reader is 30-54 years
- The romance literature audience is very loyal, with 6% buying more than one book every week and 15% at least once a week.
Keeping this rough sketch of the reader in mind, let’s see how to get a cover that motivates them to pay attention.
Romance Book Cover Tips and Examples
When creating a romance book cover, the first thing to consider is sincerity — the cover must be crystal-clear about its genre and content.
That’s why it’s quite difficult to find a romance book without
- a couple of people hugging, snugging, and touching
- a particularly handsome/pretty individual with a passionate look upon their face
Cover Should Build Tension
A romantic book cover can be particularly effective if it communicates sexual tension well. And the more tension you can build the better. And a few things do it better than a nice hint at eroticism.
A reader who looks at the cover should feel the electricity between the characters. If you want to be subtle, such a cover should not be overtly erotic. Treat it as an eye wink — playful but not super revealing of its intentions.
Color is Used to Evoke Emotion
It does not matter how romantic or “tense” the energy between the people on a cover seems, the cover won’t cut it without the proper choice of colors
The common options for choosing colors for the romance book cover design are tender, pastel palettes and radiant, warm ones. Such colors can evoke desired emotions in our readers. For example,
- Pink symbolizes love and romance, caring, tenderness, acceptance, and calm.
- Beige and ivory symbolize unity, coziness, and calm.
- Yellow is associated with joy, warmth, optimism.
On the opposite side, we have dark tones, which are great for a forbidden-fruit kinda vibe or mysterious atmosphere. And also there is red, which is all about fire, passion, and maybe some danger to spice things up.
The colors we mentioned are the tip of the iceberg though, and if you have unconventional ideas, feel free to try them out.
For example, the best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey did fine work with covers that doubled down on the shades of grey. This color choice isn’t intuitive for romance (despite the desire to harmonize with the name of the book), but the covers look neat and suit the genre.
Background and Other Details are Storytelling Elements
For the most part, people are the focal point of romance book covers. So, often, to maintain the focus of a reader, the cover background is left blank while the details are sparse.
There are exceptions though. Some romance subgenres take place in uncommon settings. In such a case, meticulous background or saturation with details can hint at supernatural/fantastic elements.
In other cases, it’s better to keep things simple.
Of course, romance is all about different tastes and flavors, so we don’t want to generalize a lot. The possibilities are boundless, and so are ideas and approaches you can try out. However, if you want a cover to be an effective marketing tool, you should take into account the wants of your target audience. Then, with the help of color, imagery, and composition, you can achieve the desired impact.
What do you think, what are the elements of an attention-grabbing romance book cover?