Today, stepbacks remain widespread in romance. Many fans cherish these covers for the beauty they display (and hide).
A fun way to show off old and new stepback cover art is to post them on “Stepback Saturdays.”
(Cat lovers need not worry. Caturday is still and will always be in effect.)
A few months ago, we wrote about using Instagram to show off your vintage books. One of the more popular tags on Romancestagram or RomanceBookstagram is #stepbacksaturday. Using this hashtag, bookish Instagrammers upload pictures of interior cover art or the clinches illustrated on the back covers.
On Instagram, readers and collectors use filters to highlight the bright, glorious colors of the covers. They display their books surrounded by fabrics, flowers, jewelry, scarves, or other objects to add some flair.
Users discuss facts about the books or the covers. They make guesses about the book’s title. Others try to identify the artists or authors. Stepback Saturdays are a fun way to share your collection with others and make internet friends.
Then the following Sunday, readers upload the front cover using the hashtag #stepbackreveal or #stepbacksaturdayreveal.
Did you guess the title, author, or artist?
Popular Stepback Covers on Instagram
Some covers make the round more often than others. A classic is Brenda Joyce’s The Conqueror. It shows Fabio standing arrogantly with a mace and sword, a redhead kneeling and clutching at his legs, while a horse rears in the background.
It’s yet another wonderfully saucy cover by Elaine Duillo. Although she disliked hiding her art behind a plain exterior, stepbacks allowed her to get racier with her clinches.
From week to week, covers by the talented Victor Gadino, whom Sweet Savage Flame considers to be the undisputed “King of the Stepbacks,” are also favored. Looking at this glorious illustration for Lisa Kleypas, we see why!
Oh, what the heck, here’s another popular Gadino cover. This whimsical piece is for Catherine Coulter’s The Scottish Bride.
It’s satisfying enough that the hero has the heroine placed over his shoulder as John Wayne would do to Maureen O’Hara in an old flick from the 1940s or 1950s. What’s fun about this–and many other covers–is the action in the background. There’s always something crazy going on in romance covers.
Sometimes a very rare stepback makes the rounds, such as this one for Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander.
Have you ever posted images for #stepbacksaturday? You should, it’s a blast! Everyone oohs and ahhs over the gorgeous images. It’s neat to look at all the varied ways people stage their books.
Plus, #bookishromance is a very welcoming community, with a lot of knowledgeable folks about the genres. Even writers engage in the fun.
Where do you stand on romance cover art? Do you like stepback covers? Do you prefer them to regular clinches? Are you more drawn to the modern cartoon-illustration style that’s being used today? Or does cover art not concern you that much thanks to e-readers?
Whatever is on your mind, we’d love to hear what you think. Please drop a comment, and let’s talk romance.