Originally Posted by Lemurion
Most people in the industry can recognize a "bodice ripper" by the cover alone. Many urban fantasy covers are stylistically similar, as are many SF covers. Each of these styles of cover sends a message about the contents, which either attracts or repels certain readers based on their tastes or possibly their preconceptions.
I think this is very true.
I was talking to someone about a favorite Fantasy series of mine, and trying to get someone interested since they were looking for a new series. They seemed interested, and went to have a peek. Then I got the reply...
"Sorry, but I'm not looking for something with a lot of porn in it."
I knew right away that they'd taken the covers as representing some sort of porn/sexual/romantic storyline. I had originally been expecting something of the sort myself when I started the series, then forgot about it as I continued on. Did bug me a bit that the cover really seemed to promise something that didn't have anything to do with the series.
Now I have to remember to recommend it with a "Not as sexy as it looks" warning about the covers. Otherwise, it'll turn some people off or leave others disappointed when it doesn't 'go there'.