It is easier to see the lesbian motifs when the lesbian pulp covers are compared to pulp fiction books with straight themes. In the following examples, the placement of the women on the covers and how they relate to each other signal their lesbian relationship, especially when compared with books by the same author that do not contain lesbian themes.
“The Marriage” (1960) by Ann Bannon while narrated by two of her queer characters, is primarily focused on the relationship between a man and woman who learn they are brother and sister after they are already married. “Odd Girl Out” (1957) is the first of Ms. Bannon’s Beebo Brinker series and explores Laura Landon’s realization that she is a lesbian.
Hired Girl” (1953) was Valerie Taylor’s first novel. It has no lesbian characters. It is often included in Lesbian Pulp Fiction collections because Valarie Taylor was an early lesbian activist and her other books deal with lesbian themes. “Whisper Their Love” (1957) was Ms. Taylor’s first lesbian novel. Interestingly, the publishers changed Ms. Taylor’s working title of “The Heart Takes Many Paths” to one that emphasized the publishing conventions of secrecy and shame for lesbian titles.
Melissa Sky. “Cover Charge: Selling Sex and Survival in Lesbian Pulp Fiction” in Matthews, Nicole, and Moody, Nickianne. Judging a Book by its Cover: Fans, Publishers, Designers, and the Marketing of Fiction. Ashgate, 2007.
Young, Ian. Out in Paperback: A Visual History of Gay Pulps. LMB Editions, 2007.
Zimet, Jaye. Strange Sisters: The Art of Lesbian Pulp Fiction, 1949-1969. Viking Studio, 1999.