#romanceclasscovers update: 9 and we’ll keep going
The story so far: We’ve been writing romance novels that we publish internationally. Many of our favorite international romance books for the past few decades have photos or real people’s faces on the covers. Many of us started with art illustrations as covers, and they’re lovely—but some of us do want people/photo covers too and just didn’t have the resources to make it happen. Stock photo sites haven’t provided what we needed. So #romanceclass started romanceclasscovers, and then did more shoots. Now we have options, in case authors of romance featuring Filipino characters have been looking and can’t find the photo they need.
As it turns out, illustrated covers seems to be the trend in romance right now. Lovely art is lovely art, and supporting artists is a good thing. I will definitely continue to support AOCs who are getting this cover treatment, and I appreciate the work of the artists they work with. I hope as this “trend” is evaluated, people remember the comments we (non-US, indie authors) got when we were almost exclusively using art covers, say 2013 when romanceclass started. Specifically, people have said: “doesn’t look like romance,” “can’t tell what heat level,” “can’t tell from the cover the ethnicity/nationality of the characters,” “doesn’t match other books in the genre,” and other similar comments that sent a message that our books as packaged didn’t look like they belonged. Do those comments no longer apply now, when back then they were used as reasons to give some of our books a pass? I guess we’ll see.
Until 2018, romanceclass authors have been releasing books with covers that are illustrated, though some have switched to photos, and some have combined both styles in their own way. I hope the mainstreaming of illustrated covers means an expansion of the audience, of readers being more welcoming, rather than, I don’t know, once again figuring out how to pass on some books just when they started looking like how the others have looked for decades.
Anyway. Obviously we’ve discovered that regardless of trend, this is a soul-enriching experience, to see Filipinos on romance book covers. It’s wonderful for the author, for readers, and even for the cover models we invite, many of them surprised to be told they could be a Main Character or Love Interest. So we’ve done more shoots!
Bibo Reyes and Gracielle So (2018, photography by Pach Urrea, styling by Alex Lapa, makeup by Layla Tanjutco)
It might be a function of timing, but the books with Bibo and Graie covers have sold extremely well in romanceclass events and book fairs in 2018. Just saying!
Biel Faundo and JP Basco and Alex Lapa (2018, photography by Pach Urrea, styling by Alex Lapa, makeup by Layla Tanjutco)
Amazing how we find our cover people sometimes: JP made a memorable first impression as a live reader at AprilFeelsDay2018, and Biel is a doctor (who’s a friend of a romanceclass author). Alex, I met because she read my books and we started following each other on Twitter. I invited her before to be on the cover of my Young and Scambitious series, and on this shoot she reprises her role (haha), in a new set of photos for a compiled edition I’m releasing.
Update, June 2020: We have since done 11 shoots. Sponsor a shoot or purchase a photo at instagram.com/romanceclasscovers.