Book Cover Trends

You know the saying: "Don't judge a book by its cover." But really, how often do we actually follow that adage? We are all drawn by attractive covers. If a book cover is ugly or unappealing, we're less likely to buy the novel.

As a writer, you're not just in the writing business; you're also in the book business, which is a marketing business. And your novel's cover markets your book to potential readers.

There are several different trends in historical novel covers that I've noticed lately. I'm not sure how long these trends have been going on, but here's what I'm observing now.

One of the most popular cover types is simply a public domain painting or part of a painting. This painting may have something to do with the time period the novel is set in, like the cover of Sandra Worth's novel The Rose of York: Crown of Destiny. It's about Richard III and the cover is a portrait of him (sorry for the blurriness):

Other book covers are paintings not specifically connected to the events of the novel, but they still look like they could be about that time period. An example of this is the cover of Laurel Corona's Penelope's Daughter, which features a Pre-Raphaelite painting of a young Greek woman:

Another popular cover style is the live model style, which uses a photograph of a model in a lush historical costume. Often these novels cut the model's head off around the mouth area. Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter is an example of this:

My favorite cover style is the kind that shows most of the model's body and also has a background that hints at the novel's historical setting. Two great examples of this are Kate Quinn's novels Mistress of Rome and Daughters of Rome, and Stephanie Dray's novel Lily of the Nile:

What is your favorite style of book cover? If you have some favorite examples, or even your own book cover, please feel free to share!

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