Images We Can't Forget:
The Cover Nominations For 1999 (so far)
Everyone at AAR has been busy helping out with our very first Cover Ballot which is going to appear at year's end. Sandi and I almost have crossed eyes we've looked at so many cover images. What we've done is put all of the nominations in front of those who work at AAR and have them vote on them to whittle down the slate of nominees.
We continue to run new nominations past this group to see if any can unseat the nominees in the folders. This process will continue until year's end, so please continue to send in your nominations, especially for covers which come out in the last quarter of 1999 which haven't had as much exposure as earlier 1999 covers. I've tried to keep my personal taste out of this contest as I am more interested in discovering what appeals to a broader base of romance readers. My own taste also runs more to the abstract and modern which I know is not the typical preference for romance covers.
Remember that to qualify, a cover must have been released in 1999. This does not mean that the novel had to come out in 1999; just the cover. 1999 reissues having new covers qualify even though the novel itself was originally released prior to 1999. Also, sometimes the cover changes when it goes from hardback to paperback. If the paperback cover is different and came out in 1999, it qualifies. Often the year of the cover copyright is found on the copyright page of the book. A 1999 copyright date on the art work tells you that you have a cover which qualifies even if the copyright date for the novel itself is another year. We're going to view the nominees as they now exist in, first, Worst Covers and, then, the Best Covers grouped by romance sub genre categories.
For better or worse, we romance aficionados have a lot to work with when we turn to contenders for worst romance cover. We received lots of nominations - this is a very fun category for readers, and was as well for those who write for AAR. Since we get probably some of the very worst images in the entire book publishing industry, I think everyone felt it was time to skewer the publishers for these affronts to our sensibilities. Remember that the authors involved had absolutely no say in these covers being inflicted upon their books. When pointing the finger of blame, it must go to the publishers and artists/illustrators/designers. If the publisher gives credit to the artist/illustrator/designer, we will give that name(s) along with the publisher's name in every voting category. We are not going to list any author's name in any voting category. However, you will be able to see the author's name on the front cover as we have no way of eliminating it - it is part and parcel of the total package. You will notice that all six worst cover nominees have the hero on front. We did have some nominations which did not have the hero but none of them made it into the finals. My own guess is that romance readers react strongly, in both extremes, to images of the hero. Thus, the publisher has a chance to score big with the reader with the right hero and also to hit the skids with the wrong hero, or a hero with the wrong expression or costume.
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