1999 Cover Contest Results

March 8, 2000

Results for our first ever Covers Contest are in! These results will be of interest to a variety of people. Most of you reading this are romance readers and romance authors, along with a reasonable smattering of SF/Fantasy fans as well. Some cover illustrators will be reading it now as well, but since the Internet allows material to stay online permanently, perhaps over time additional artists will read it and gain insights into what readers really want on their covers. Those artists will intrepret our results and the accompanying comments somewhat differently than readers and authors will.

Artists do want to know what is readers seem to like right now, but they know that in our image-saturated society, we grow easily bored with certain looks. I personally have a very low threshold of boredom; I very quickly grow tired when I see or read the same thing continuously. Others may take much longer to get bored with an idea or a look, or may appreciate similar ideas and/or looks being expressed out of a comfort factor. Where some see boredom, others see comfort. Still, artists run the risk of being left behind when they don't pick up on the fact that tastes are changing.

While those who produce covers are interested in knowing what you liked in 1999 and want to know what you are enjoying in 2000, they want to get inside your heads and learn what images are interesting to you, and, conversely, what images have crossed your thresholds of boredom. Those images may be the keys to the future of romance covers.

If a cover scored somewhere in the middle, yet was trying something new and different, it might indicate this is a look readers might come to love is in the future. Artists also want to know if certain visuals have reached the saturation point from overuse, and if readers are showing signs of tiring from them. We have one or two covers that clearly show this possibility. All of the rankings are here, as well as some of voter comments we received. The results of our first annual Cover Contest should not only be a valuable resource for the artists who produce the covers, but could be used by authors in discussions on future book covers. We realize most authors have had limited input up until now, but, for the future, who knows? We could make a difference.

With the exception of the Worst Cover category, all the images voted on are truly winners. The nine covers in each of our categories were nominated and voted on by committee before being opened for a public vote. Even that image in last place in a particular category is still one of the best images of the year. Just as in the Academy Awards, it truly is an honor "just having been nominated." To make it into the finals, each image had to beat out many, many other covers, so many, in fact, that we lost track of their number.

Without further ado, here, then, are the winners in each category:

Favorite Contemporary Cover

Pearl Cove
Avon,
Patricia Barrow;
Wendy Popp
Favorite Paranormal Cover

Touch of the Wolf
Bantam,
Franco Accornero

Favorite Series Cover

Enchanted
Silhouette Intimate Moments
Steve Brennan


Favorite Single Cover Historical

Bride to Be
Bantam,
Franco Accornero

Favorite Historical with Stepback

Charming the Prince
Bantam,
front, Alan Ayers;  stepback, Lynne Sanders
Worst Cover

Seekers of the Dawn
New Concepts
Eliza Black

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