Posted in Book Talk

The guy you see on the most romance novel covers

I recently saw this comment on a book on Goodreads:

apparently his name is Dylan

Besides giving me a good laugh, it also made me wonder who the people on book covers are. How do they get to be the person representing that character? How can the author ever find the perfect match in a real person to how they’ve imagined the character while writing? How do you get into the business of being a cover model?

The classic names

Apparently there are two main names when people think of cover models: Fabio and Cindy Guyer. You can probably guess which is which.

Cindy was a new name to me, but Fabio made a lot of things from the past click; jokes from TV shows and such suddenly made sense. He’s so famous that most of his movie or tv show appearances just cast him as “Himself.” One was even for a role titled “Handsome Man.” Also, wasn’t he the Beast Master or something? You can get a pretty good idea of the kind of characters he typically got cast for in the example cover for “Warrior’s Woman” below. 😏

Romance novels = 100% judging by the cover

They both primarily starred in covers for romance novels, which honestly sounds so fun. You get to dress up in gorgeous or unique or sexy clothes (or dress down in maybe minimal clothes), and have a professional take super flattering photos of you. Then on top of that, they get to be used for BOOKS!

I’m fairly sure Fabio had the record for most number of books using him as their cover model, set at 500. But times have changed, and apparently so have tastes, because there’s was a new man around in the 2010s who sought to shatter that record — and did.

…Not what I expected?

Jason Baca is the name of the guy who has set the new record for being on the most book covers. (It might be a record for only romance novels, I’m unsure, but either way a damn lot. Over 630, in fact. He retired in 2019 after saying the excitement had dulled and he wanted to pursue other passions, which kind of makes sense after so many.

After seeing Fabio as the last wildly popular model, it’s interesting to see how Baca’s style differs! It’s hard to come up with any solid conclusions just based on this, but it does make me curious as to how the main themes of romance novels have changed over the years. I’m sure there was a spike in paranormal romance around 2008 (thanks Stephanie Meyer!), but I’d like to know what else has happened!

How to find out who’s on that cover?

If you, like Tucker from the beginning of our post, would really like to know who that smokeshow on the front of your well-worn romance novel is, there are ways! Primary suggestions include:

  • contact the publisher and ask! Usually a good place to start
  • check the front matter in the book. The name of the photographer or other designer for the cover should be on there, and possibly the model names as well
  • reverse image search! Simple and effective

Though a (hopefully not needed) disclaimer that you’ll probably need a decent reason before anyone will disclose someone’s contact info. But if you find yourself researching or are looking for a model for your own book, these are the ways to start!

PS – here’s another article I enjoyed with an interview of a female romance cover model.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

6 thoughts on “The guy you see on the most romance novel covers

  1. OMG I’m cracking up πŸ˜†I recognized Fabio immediately. But interestingly enough I never heard of Cindy Guyer. AND I’ve never seen Jason Baca before 😳
    I’ve seen on FB how readers in FB groups stalk models on IG etc. There is definitely an interest in that.


    1. It definitely depends on what kind of romances you’re reading, as I’d never seen him either. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ I have never once thought about the cover models like that because they become the characters and i forget they’re people haha but I’m not surprised others clearly do!


  2. Hahaha this post is truly amazing! There are some guys on these covers that have me like “Ooh yes, hello who are you?” but I’m never curious enough to find out who they are IRL. Glad that I will at least know how to find them if I ever want to πŸ˜‰ Baca is definitely not what I expected but then again… Fabio… wasn’t either haha interesting to see what works for romance covers… Great post πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hahaha right? I was describing this to a friend about how the change in style from Fabio to Baca seems so drastic. I guess being muscular never goes out of style apparently. πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

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