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How My Book Cover Was Designed

When I visited my publishing house a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with the Creative Director of the Design Team and talk with him about my book cover. He led me step by step through fascinating process of how they developed it.

Before I describe this process, however, I need to issue a disclaimer. Not all publishing houses develop book covers the same way. I’m sure even within Bethany House, covers are not all designed in an identical manner.

In addition, the process of cover development may vary between genres. As most of us know, historical romance is currently a popular genre. The costume and designs of past eras often fascinate modern readers. Thus the covers of historical romances may elicit more time and money than other genre covers.

All that to say, the Bethany House Design Team worked very hard on my book cover, and during my visit, I got a glimpse of how it was made.

First, the Creative Director showed me three large bulletin boards in his office. One board was filled with replicas of all the book covers he had developed for spring releases. Another board contained the book covers for summer. And the last board was still mostly empty, waiting for fall covers.

He rubbed his hand over a spot on the fall board and said, “Yours will go right here.” And I just melted. “Really?”

To prove it, he pulled out the file for my book and opened it. There were the initial sketches and plans for the cover, the notes describing the heroine, and all the other information that would help in the design.

Next he explained that they’d looked through the portfolios of models they have on file, found one similar to my heroine, and arranged a photo shoot. They rented the appropriate clothing for the time period, met with the model, and took over 500 pictures.

Fortunately I had the opportunity to sit down in the office of the graphic designer who was at that very moment working on my cover. She showed me several of the possibilities she’d already designed as well as the one she was currently focusing on. Fonts, swirls, background colors, facial expressions, the countryside setting—I was amazed at the attention they give to every detail.

Of course I didn’t get to see the finished product before I left, but I did get to take home a souvenir—a picture of the model, the woman who would now represent my heroine to the world. And for the record, I couldn’t have picked a more perfect model if I’d tried.

In the ensuing weeks, a committee met and discussed the pros and cons of each cover option. They settled upon the one they all liked best and emailed it to me and my agent for our thoughts.

More about my reaction in the next post . . .

We all hear how important the cover is, especially for debut authors. Our names won’t attract readers to pick up our books. The cover has to catch the reader’s eye first. Once the reader picks it up, then the back cover blurb and first page have to seal the deal. But without a compelling cover, we may not get a chance to tempt readers at all.

When my book sits on the shelf next to all of the other books with beautifully designed covers, I can only speculate what will draw someone to pick mine up or pass over it for someone else’s. I hope my cover draws readers, but I have no guarantees.

But I want to thank the very talented Bethany House Creative Team for all their hard work on my cover. The beauty of their design at least gives The Preacher’s Bride a fighting chance.

What do you think of how my book cover was made? Surprised by anything? What makes you pass over some covers and draws you to others?


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