Birth of a Book Cover

One of my favorite parts of the publication process is seeing my book cover for the first time. Will it capture my characters? Will it reflect the tone and style of my story? Will I love it?

Thankfully, my publisher has blessed me with some truly fabulous covers. That helps ease the anxiety over whether or not I will like what they come up with, because authors really have very little say in the design of their covers. We give ideas and feedback. We give descriptions of our characters, their clothing, and the setting, but then we turn it over to the Art Department and trust them to work their magic in a  way that produces a cover that will catch a reader’s attention.

With my latest project, Stealing the Preacher, I had several fun ideas, all of which required that my preacher be tied up somehow on the cover. So when my project manager finally sent me the finished cover, I couldn’t wait to see how it had turned out. Well, here it is:

Yep – I got my preacher tied up. WooHoo!!! Crockett Archer is in for one crazy adventure.

But how did this cover come to be? Well, my editor was kind enough to send me several pictures she managed to take on the sly during the photo shoot.



First, meet our two cover models, Isaiah and Katie. They make a cute couple, don’t they? Notice that Katie is actually a blonde. My heroine is a redhead. Thanks to some serious photo-shopping talent, her locks changed color on the cover.





Now we need some costumes. I love the dress they found for Joanna Robbins (my heroine). The style is gorgeous. The only problem is that Joanna never once wears red in the book. She’s a redhead, remember, and there are very few redheads that can carry off red clothing as well. However, from a marketing perspective, the red is very eye-catching and will easily draw a reader’s attention, so I couldn’t argue with the color. In fact, I went back during the editing phase and added a deep red skirt to Joanna’s wardrobe.



Next comes the really fun part. Time to play with different poses and scenarios. My original idea was to have a lasso around Crockett’s middle because that accurately depicted the scene in the book where he first met Joanna. Aren’t these shots fun?

The one they ended up choosing, however, does a great job of capturing the heroine’s personality while still keeping my preacher tied up, so I am completely satisfied with the final result.









Some of the photos were taken in a studio, others were taken in the designer’s back yard. They did all they could to ensure they got the perfect shot.









So what do you think? Did they do a good job?

What makes a good book cover in your opinion? Do you prefer men or women on the cover or both? No people at all?

Also, if you like sales, I thought I’d let you know that today only, my third book and the winner of the 2012 Carol Award and 2012 HOLT Medallion, To Win Her Heart, has been discounted for a one-day promotion. Today only, you can download the e-book version for only $2.99.  This price is valid for both Kindle and Nook.

Click on the book cover to order through Amazon.


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For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at:

36 thoughts on “Birth of a Book Cover”

  1. Hi, Keli! I think you’ll like Joanna. She’s a rather sheltered, shy gal – until someone she cares about is threatened. Then she become a tigress. The feisty tiger-side comes out quite frequently thanks to all the trouble she and Crockett face. Hope you enjoy it this summer!

  2. THanks, Cheryl. I LOVE the heroine’s expression. Her hands are so prayerful and demure, but those eyes are full of mischief and secrets. The cover model really pulled it off to perfection!

  3. Hey, Amy. My editor sent me about 20 photos. I wish I could have shared them all. You’re absolutely right, everyone seemed to be having such a great time. I would have loved to have been there. 🙂

  4. Thanks, Renee. Crockett definitely has his hands full with this one. LOL.

    Krista – I felt like a kid at Christmas when I opened my inbox to find several emails with photos attached from the cover shoot. My editor could not have given me a better gift! It was almost as good as being there myself. 🙂

    Candice and Carol – Thanks, ladies! I’m excited, too. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful design team to work with. I have full confidence in their ability to create an outstanding cover for my stories ever time.

  5. I can’t wait for the new book, Karen. You’re books are always so fun and the cover really promises this will be another one. YAY!
    Funny cover. I love hearing about creating covers for some reason. I suppose because it’s such a huge part of the book and yet really completely out of the authors control.
    But Bethany does such great work it’s easy to hand that responsibility over.

  6. I love the cover! And since I’m a shutterbug, the process the pictures go through to become a cover are very interesting to me. 🙂 I am currently writing my first novel, and I think about possible ‘covers’ a lot. 🙂 Since I worked in a Christian bookstore for about 4 years, I know that despite the famous saying, ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, most people do just that. So, can I ask you, did book cover designs factor in to your choice of publisher?
    Thanks for writing such fun stories, but still keeping that strong faith thread. I look forward to ‘Stealing the Preacher’ !

  7. Karen, Thank you for an inside look your outside cover. Fabulous and fun. I look forward to the your story and the setting. I thrilled to read the other books set in parts of Texas near our home. Many blessings as you move forward with this book.

  8. Thanks, Mary! You are so right about Bethany House. I’ve never truly worried over what my covers will look like. They always do stunning work!

    Hi, Joy. Isn’t it fun to dream up ideas for covers that go along with your stories? Bethany House was always my dream publisher, mostly because I enjoyed reading the types of books they put out, but I have to say, their covers attracted me as well. We constantly judge books by the covers, don’t we? I know I sure have.

    Cathy – So excited to see you here today. Thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement!

  9. Thanks for sharing these, Karen. Love getting to see the behind-the-scenes shots as well as the final cover. Can’t wait to read it. And for cover art–I like having a pic of both the hero and heroine. I believe great covers sell books. Thanks for posting!

  10. Very interesting, Karen! I love seeing how covers all come together. It’s a fun process. And I think the end result for you is exceptional. This sounds like a fun book to read. I can’t wait for it come out.

    I’m kinda torn in my cover preference. I noticed that your cover for To Win Her Heart didn’t show the model’s faces and that really worked for me. I think what matters most though is having a cover that draws the reader. It doesn’t really matter if there are people on it or if it’s simply a beautiful landscape. It has to be pleasing to the eye. Some of the covers I’ve been given I didn’t much care for. But I realize I have little control over those things and try to roll with the flow.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing, Karen. It was fun to see how that is all put together. I love seeing the main characters pictured on the front. It helps to “see them”, as I’m reading the book. It looks great! Can’t wait to read it!

  12. This was a fun post. The cover is sometimes the first thing I notice about the book. Other times the author’s name especially if written by my Fillies friends.

    I love this book cover! Looking forward to reading this one.

  13. I’ve just recently seen other pictures too on how this is done and find it very fascinating – the transition is amazing and I think they did a wonderful job and your covers are lovely!

  14. Annette – Great covers make a huge difference in sales, that’s for sure!

    Hi, Christina. Stealing the Preacher doesn’t come out until June, but at least we can have fun with the cover while we wait. 🙂

    Linda – I agree completely. Whatever is on the cover it has to be pleasing and capture the reader’s imagination. I’ve seen some gorgeous landscape/castle ruins type covers that draw me in even more than a hunky man. LOL.

  15. Hi, Diane. I like having people on the covers, too, but I can remember one time I was reading a story, and in my head the hero was tall dark and handsome and every time I closed the book it jarred me to see a blond-headed guy on the staring back at me. It turns out the character WAS actually blond, but in my biased imagination, I had made him dark. LOL.

    Hi, Connie. Thanks for being such a Filly supporter!!! We love you for it!

    Catslady – Most of my backgrounds are actually computer generated, and it is amazing to me how seamless they make it all look. As if the models are actually there, not in a studio.

  16. Awesome post, Karen! Such fun to see how it all came together! And I for one cannot wait to see how, why, and wherefore that preacherman get tied up. Great cover, and I know, a great story! xoxo

  17. Finally got here. Just love it and the background to the shoot.

    June? June??????? Guess I just need to go do some re-reads until then. 😉

    Peace, Julie

  18. Hi, Tanya. I laughingly told my editor at conference that it’s not every day you see a preacher tied up on the cover of a Christian novel. Ha!

    Julie – Sorry about the wait. It’s torture, isn’t it? I wish I could speed it up for you. Hope you enjoy your re-reads in the meantime. 🙂

    Hi, Colleen. I loved getting those behind-the-scenes shots. I wish I had those for all of my covers. Glad you had fun with us today!

  19. Very interesting how you got this all done. One never knows just what goes into a cover. We just look at them and don’t realize that there is actually work involved. Good job.
    And a great cover, too.

  20. I absolutely love the cover! That’s one of the first things that drew me to the first book I read of yours, A Tailor Made Bride (which I happened to use for my honors English III application book report…which helped me get in the class). 🙂 Sometimes it’s fun to picture myself on the cover of the book… that way if I can’t meet the author, I’ll at least be beside them(their name at least!):D Every one of your book covers is catchy and relates to the book. The titles are always exciting and one of the best parts is where it says, “Karen Whitemeyer” on the front cover!

  21. I love the cover!!!! I like seeing both man and women on the cover cause it give you a little more of a mental picture to who you are reading about! Oh i cant wait! I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning!!!

  22. I love the cover too. So fun to see the process you went through and the “photo shoot”! It’s fun to see behind the scenes. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Hi, Mary J. I’m sure there is more going on behind the scenes than even I know. LOL. I had so much fun going through these pictures. It was fun to share them with everyone.

    Veronica – You are such a sweetheart! Wouldn’t it be a crazy fun job to be a Christian fiction cover model? Those fabulous historical dresses and maybe even a handsome hero to lasso? Sign me up! oh – and I’m so excited that Jericho and Hannah could help you get into your honors English class. Very cool!

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