Tag Archives: romancestagram

stepback saturday vi

Stepback Covers Part VI: Stepback Saturday

stepback saturday vi

Stepback Saturday

Today, stepback covers remain widespread in romance. Many fans cherish them 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 Bookstagram/ Romancestagram/ RomanceBookstagram is #stepbacksaturday. With this hashtag, bookish Instagrammers upload pictures of interior cover art or the clinches illustrated on the back covers.

Staging Stepbacks for Instagram

On Instagram, readers and collectors use filters to highlight the bright, glorious colors of the covers. Proper lighting is essential to getting your book cover to look its best.

Posters display their stepback Saturday books surrounded by fabrics, flowers, jewelry, scarves, or other objects to add some flair.

stepback saturday rebel in silk instagram

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?

stepback saturday rebel in silk
Rebel in Silk, Sandra Chastain, Bantam, 1994, Daniel R. Horne interior cover art

Here’s another #stepbacksaturday image. I put the book outside on the grass, placed some flowers on part of the cover to hide the ISBN code, and let the natural sunlight do the rest.

Do you recognize the artwork?

stepbacks rosanne bittner

It’s an H. Tom Hall illustration. Any luck?

stepback saturday

The book is Rosanne Bittner‘s Wildest Dreams from 1994, published by Bantam.

Remember Caturday? Well, if you are cat-crazy like me, you can combine the two to get the best of both worlds. Here is a lovely Ken Otsuka illustration.

stepback saturday lady valiant

This stepback reveal of Suzanne Robinson‘s Lady Valiant is paired with a lazy cat lounging in the sun. Use the hashtag #catsandbooks to show off your feline and literary fancies.


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.

Other popular books Stepback Saturday posters show off include Amanda Quick’s romances, with her various Pino-designed covers (most of which also starred Fabio).

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 to see the hero with the heroine slung 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.

Stepback Saturdays are loads of fun. You can even post your covers on other social media platforms. Just remember to use the right keywords or hashtags, and then reveal the title on Sunday!

Your Opinion?

Have you ever posted images for Stepback Saturday? 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.


Instagram and Vintage Romance Books

trio of sci fi romances
#romancebookstagram #coverlustfriday #scifiromance #fantasyromance #scifantasyRomance
Sweet Starfire, Jayne Ann Krentz, Popular Library, 1986; Moondust and Madness, Janelle Taylor, Bantam, 1986; Golden Temptress, Patricia Roenbeck, Dorchester, 1991

Become a #bookstagram-er and Show Off Your Romance Novels

There’s never been a better time to be a collector of vintage or old-school romance novels. With social media, you can show them off to your heart’s delight. The Instagram app is a great place to do this. In addition, you can also upload images to Twitter and Tumblr.

We’ve referenced using Instagram before. Here are more tips on how to be part of the book micro-blogging community.

  1. Just jump right in! Bookstagramming is easy and fun. Use the hashtags #bookstagram and #bookish and post pictures of books. That’s really all you have to do!
  2. Be sure not to post just photos! Including relevant text about the book, author, publisher, etc., is essential. Talk about the book or the artist. Ask what everyone’s reading plans are for the weekend. It’s easy; you want to encourage discussion.
  3. With the images taken from your phone, use hashtags to catch people’s attention. They have different themes and will keep you busy taking pictures of books from your personal library.

#Hashtags To Use

#romancestagram or #romancebookstagram – Use these tags whenever you post anything romance-novel-related. Bookstagram is the general book-loving community. Romancestagram is for romance readers.

#coverlustfridays – On Fridays, choose one of your favorite covers. Tweak it a bit with filters to make it pop. Write a short explanation of why you chose it. Add fun trivia if you know any.

robert mcginnis

#stepbacksaturday – Stepback Saturdays are legendary! Take a picture of the interior of a step-back romance. Just the inside cover only. The front cover you’ll save for Sunday.

Then, if you like, provide hints about the book, but don’t mention the title. It’s up to your followers to guess what it is. Don’t forget to hide any revealing characteristics like ISBN code or author’s name.

#stepbacksaturdayreveal or #stepbackreveal – The following day, it’s time to solve the mystery! Post the image of the stepback cover and interior.

#tropetuesday – Every Tuesday, choose any particular trope and a book (or books) that best represents it. You can add text and designs through your phone. Alternatively, sites like Canva provide templates you can alter to make your post look more professional.

#covertwinning– Did you ever notice that some cover art gets recycled? If you have two or more different books with the same illustration, use this hashtag.

#covertwinning These two Ron Lesser-designed covers were published 10 months apart for the Harlequin Presents line! How did the editors not notice this? Interesting tidbit: neither book gets the heroes’ looks right, as both are black-haired, not dark-blond, and he heroine one book has light brown hair, not black.

Book Staging

You don’t have to worry about having the perfect phone camera. Instagram has many filters you can use to add cool effects to your pictures.

Set your book against an interesting backdrop. Be creative! Use fabrics, exterior settings, or a collage of other books behind it.

Decorate! Dollar stores are a bookstagrammer’s friend. Purchase fake flowers, glitter, beads, ribbons, or whatever you think will add some panache to your pics. Look at other users’ profiles to get ideas for your posts.

Don’t worry if your images aren’t perfect. This isn’t a contest. The Romancestagram community is open and engaging. It’s all about sharing the love for romance books and their beautiful covers!

#bookish #books #bookstagram #history #historybooks #romance #romancebooks #romancehistory #romancestagram