Paula explains why she dislikes bare-chested males on book covers.
Whenever I fill in a cover art form for one of my novels, I always stipulate, ‘No bare chests please,’ I have a real antipathy to bare muscle-chested males on book covers, and will probably never buy a book with a cover showing a bare-chested man. If the man is clutching a half-naked woman, that makes a double reason not to buy the book.
Why not? Because these covers give the impression that the story relies heavily on physical attraction and, invariably, sex.
I write romance. 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 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 simply because the characters want sex with someone they happen to find physically attractive.
There seem to be more and more covers with bare chests but I’m not sure why some authors choose to have these bare chests or scantily clad females on their covers. Titillation maybe? Hoping that 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?
I know people raved about Mr. Darcy in a wet shirt clinging to his chest or about Poldark’s bare chest, but those images did nothing for me. In contrast, attractiveness to me could be a smile, or an intense look from dark eyes, or even twinkly brown eyes (yes, I admit I once fell for a man whose eyes really did twinkle when he smiled!). After that comes the character and personality of the man. If all that doesn’t turn me on, then his chest, bare or otherwise, certainly won’t. That applies in real life – and also applies to the men on book covers.
However, there seem to be a lot of covers around with bare-chested men – so does that mean I’m in a minority?