I have a real antipathy to bare muscle-chested males on book covers, and am unlikely to buy a book with this kind of front cover. If the man is clutching a mainly naked woman, that makes a double reason not to buy the book.
Why? Because these covers give the impression that the story relies heavily on physical attraction (and sex).
I write romances, I write about a man and woman being attracted to each other. Yes, maybe physically attracted in the first instance, but if that’s all there is between them, then the relationship is shallow. I much prefer an emotional connection and deepening love rather than a relationship based solely on physical attraction and/or a need for wild sex. Any bedroom (or elsewhere) scenes in my novels are the result of a blossoming love, and not just sex because they can’t keep their hands off each other.
There seem to be more and more covers with naked males/females, but I’m not sure why some authors choose to have these bare chests or part-clad females on their covers. Do they think readers will buy the book, hoping for sexy (or even erotic) scenes? Am I weird that I don’t find these covers – or bare chests - particularly attractive?
Attractiveness to me is a smile, an intense gaze from dark eyes, or even twinkly brown eyes (yes, I admit I once fell for a man who really did have twinkly eyes when he smiled!). After that comes the character and personality of the man. If that doesn’t turn me on, then his chest, bare or otherwise, certainly won’t.
I’ll leave you with two images. Not exactly a bare chest, but the (infamous) wet shirt scene from Pride and Prejudice.
To me, this is much sexier than a bare chest, but I didn’t pause the DVD at this point. Here’s where I stopped the DVD and replayed (again and again!).
This to me was infinitely more sexy. The smouldering look of love.
A bare chest with six or eight pack is the last thing that would attract me to a man, in real life or in fiction – and so I’m not interested in books that show bare chests on their covers.
Does that mean I’m in a minority? Maybe more to the point, would I sell more books if my front covers showed bare-chested heroes?