Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you to former committee member, John Rothermel for the original FAQ. They have been updated to include committee changes.


  • Q: What is the Cover Cafe?
  • A: The Cover Cafe committee reviews covers from romance novels or novels with a strong romance element and sponsors the annual on-line contest celebrating the best covers in several romance categories.

  • Q: How are the members of the group selected?
  • A: There is a core group that was formed on another website several years ago. The contest was spun off as a separate website in 2005. Friends of this group have also nominated members and fans of the contest have joined the group.

  • Q: How are the covers selected?
  • A: Members of the group and website visitors nominate covers via a nomination form.

  • Q: What is the process?
  • A: Whenever a committee chair receives approximately 20 nominations, the covers are posted in a ballot and committee members vote for the covers they believe are the best in that year. If needed, run off ballots help reduce the nominations, and only ten(AV,TIC, WO) or fifteen(CO, HST) covers reach the final public ballot in each category.

  • Q: What are the standards used by the members when they vote?
  • A: It depends on the tastes of the person voting. Some members apply artistic standards and judge based on the theme, the style of the title, author's name, and marketing blurbs. Others look at the colors and authenticity of costumes, hairstyles, and surroundings. The attractiveness of the models can also be a factor. Are they are believable together? The cover must appeal to a large segment of readers.

  • Q: Are all of the members the same age and sex?
  • A: No. Members range in age from their 30's to their 70's and can be either female or male. Currently, we do not have any male committee members.

  • Q: Do only the great covers make your list?
  • A: Oh, not at all. One category is named Worst. In this category, garish or outlandish qualities make up the majority of winners. Examples are military heroes who are way too soft; female models that look too modern for a period or historical story; extra arms or legs in the picture; people simply doing things that seem to defy the laws of gravity or physics and cartoons where the characters are too grotesque to be attractive.

  • Q: Who makes the final decision?
  • A: On line voters. Each spring ballots with the finalists in each category are posted on the Cover Cafe website. Anyone interested in the contest can vote, but only once in each category, and the voters must vote in at least three categories. The winning covers are determined by a simple majority of the public votes.

  • Q: Why do you members take this much time on such a trivial project?
  • A: Again, it depends on the individual member. However, most of the members are motivated by a sincere desire to celebrate excellent, attractive, and innovative covers from the romance genre. And make no mistake, romance and women's fiction is a large and growing segment of the publishing world. Besides, it is fun dishing about covers and discussing your ideas with like-minded people.