Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fabio's belly button

Posted by Lois Greiman

Last fall a fellow author and I did a coast to coast book tour that started in Los Angeles and ended in New York. It was kind of fun, but mostly insane. I lost a shoe (while wearing it) somewhere in Arizona, found myself running sprints in the dark in the middle of Kansas, and stopped at more bookstores than I care to remember. But finally, after about 200 signings and a serious case of author dementia, I ended up on the east coast where I visited my publishing house, Harper Collins.

It was October when I arrived there. The art director was just beginning to visualize the cover for Tempting the Wolf, my next historical romance, and he was excited. Now I’ve been in this business a while and have had about 20 books published so maybe I’ve become a bit jaded because I assumed there wasn’t anything to get too riled up about. But then he showed me a mock-up of the cover-to-be. And it was…Ta Da...Gorgeous. It was also…Ta Da…Fabio’s torso. That’s right--one of the most celebrated torsos in all of Christiandom. And it was proposed to be slapped onto the cover of my very own 'masterpiece.' I returned home a happy camper, but after that I started to worry, cuz you don’t know…life’s funny…you get all geared up for one thing and you get another. You’re hoping for filet mignon and you get a stale peanut butter sandwich with a side of limp pickle. What I'm trying to say is, I was a little worried I was going to end up with Woody Allen's twin brother adorning my latest manuscript.

But ten months have passed now. Tempting the Wolf is about to hit bookstores everywhere, and neither Woody Allen nor his charming but anemic look-alikes have appeared. In fact, Fabio is firmly in place. Not his face, mind you. (Well okay, you can see the cleft in his chin.) Not his limbs. Just his torso, belly button included. And, jaded or not, I have to admit--it’s pretty nifty. All gold and shiny and bumpy with muscle.

With all the recent talk of cover art, though, it has occurred to me that not everyone's going to be as tickled about this as I am. Maybe readers prefer their books to be adorned with flowers or scenery or…pictures of ducks. So I thought I'd ask for a quick vote; If you're going to pick up a romance novel, what do you want to see? Fabio's abs or...poultry?


Helen Brenna said...

Lois, your cover IS gorgeous and what's even better is that it seems to fit the feel of your story. I like that it's just a guy and not a clinch with the heroine. Gives it a unique quality.

But to be honest, covers have never mattered much to me. I've always been a author/story person. I don't know that I've ever bought or haven't bought a book because of a cover.

I'm curious, though, to see what everyone else thinks, in particular, our readers.

Aniteb the gorgeous said...

Ooooooh baby. That's one nice lookin' chest. Me? I'd rather have the muscles. . . assumin' there are muscles in the book, ya know? Flowers, schmowers. An' ducks? Pigs? Butterflies? Acckkkk. Gimmee the BEEF!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I'm a character gal myself, and Fab covers are fab unless you've had a close encounter with this character Fab. Which I have. No one contemplates that navel more than its owner. Having said that, I think it's also safe to say that no book buyer really cares what's going on above the man's neck.

You've got your six-pack, you've got your beef. And the pickle? The powers that be have the good sense to leave that up to the feminine imagination--which can hardly put all of the above together with "limp."

The Fab offers his best in your behalf, Lois. Rejoice and be glad in this. Let us sing. "Praise the navel and pass the royalties, oh sister spinners of the fanatsy."

By the way, I'm an Episcopalian. We're not known for our singing. Are there any Methodists in the house?

Candace said...

I have never quite seen the appeal of Fabio. Too much hair and pecs and his jaw is just too square. Although, I must say, Lois, he has VERY nice abs. But I digress...

Like Kathleen, I had a close encounter with him once. Well, not close, exactly, but about seven or eight years ago Fabio and I stood arm's length apart at a conference event and engaged in superficial cocktail conversation for, oh, 15 seconds maybe. Probably that's not long enough--or close enough--to form an opinion, but for those (maybe) 15 seconds I thought he was quite charming and polite.

That said, I would pick up this book based on the cover alone. As I said, great abs.

anne frasier said...


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Manscaping is a neologism that was brought into American homes in 2004 by Queer Eye for the Straight Guy; portmanteau for "landscaping" the male body by shaving, trimming, waxing, or brushing the body hair.

Michele said...

Nice cover. Will definately attract readers' eyes. I like the chin cleft actually. A bit of a match to the belly button. But what's with the nipple? Looks like one of those stick-on plastic jobbies. Do you think Fabio has stunt nipples?

Aniteb the Amused said...

Warn us please, Michele, before your pull one of those comments again! I nearly damaged the silk on my office chair. . . not to mention my Charnos Cherub French knickers!

lois greiman said...

Okay, now I feel bad about my poultry on covers comment, cuz I found a wounded duck on the side of the road today. He was upside down and paddling pathetically, so Daughter and I took him to the wildlife rehabilitation center and became quite attached to him on the way. So....really a duck on the cover would not be so bad. He was young and handsome. No bellybutton though. So maybe Fabio still wins. Stunt nipples and all. By the by, Michele, the art director was very excited about those nipples. Maybe they have to pay extra for them.

anne frasier said...

aww, lois. i'm so glad you took the duck to rehab!

i hope the poor guy makes it.

Kimber said...

I dunno about poultry on the cover, unless you're talking about roosters. What's that other word for "rooster"...?

Personally, I always feel the shaven, bare-chested, muscle-bound look is a bit homoerotic. Fabio looks like he might also shave his armpits, although maybe that's just artistic license.

anne said...

kimber: LOL! yes, publishers should definitely start penis covers. maybe they could be somewhat disguised. wearing hats and scarves and such.

it's ART! art, i tell you!