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Historical Romance Author

Before and After: Book Cover Changes

Before and After: Book Cover Changes

My publisher Bethany House is famous for their historical romance books…and covers. Their covers are adored by authors and readers alike. I’ve never had a cover from them that I didn’t like, but occasionally I get a cover that needs just a little change to make it fit the story better. 


For instance, this is my first book cover. Gorgeous, isn’t it? The blouse even matches the descriptions of Rosa’s hand-embroidery work and drawstring neckline.  The one problem we had was that this series takes place in Caldwell County, Texas – a real location that just happens to look nothing like a desert.


60 Acres Mountains



Sixty Acres and  Bride

Those sandy dunes and mountain ranges were replaced with wheat fields and some…well, smaller mountains. This picture could possibly be in central Texas, while the other could not.

My Caught in the Middle cover is absolutely adorable, but this was the second attempt.

Updated Cover


Guess what changed?


CITM Straight Hair


Caught in the Middle

It’s not that I dislike straight hair, but Anne has curly hair and it was too late to change that part of the story. Caught in the Middle was the third book of the series, and Anne had already been described as having curly hair in both Sixty Acres and a Bride and Love in the Balance.  And as you should be able to tell from the boots, she wasn’t the type of lady to iron her curls out straight.

It does seem that most of my requested changes have been about the hair. Here’s the cover for my novella An Unforeseen Match:

An Unforeseen Match (663x1024)


This is the story about an Grace O’Malley, a schoolteacher who is going blind. One description of her (which is significant to the plot) is that she has very striking coloring – fair skin and black hair.

This was the first attempt:

AMMIT Red Hair

I understand the name Grace O’Malley sounds like a redhead, but in this case, she wasn’t.

Second attempt:

AMMIT Brown Hair

Well, it’s not red anymore, but it’s still a long way from black. At this point I told them I could rewrite the story to go with a redhead, but having fair skin and brown hair isn’t usually consider dramatic coloring.


An Unforeseen Match (663x1024)

It is black, for the most part. 🙂  Funny story – while discussing the cover with my editor he told me one of the earliest drafts had her with a newspaper in her hand instead of an parasol. Blind schoolteacher, remember? He was able to catch that one early. You can see that they have a very strong commitment to accuracy and working with their authors.

And now for my last cover which has perfect hair and no odd geographical formations in the background: 

A Most Inconvenient Marriage

Isn’t it cute? A Most Inconvenient Marriage is now available for Pre-Order! I can’t wait to share it with you. Here’s a short blurb:

With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun. They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he’s gone–a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain–until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail’s story. Abigail is flummoxed. After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she’s never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before? How can she convince him that she isn’t trying to steal his farm? And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?

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What do you like to see on book covers? Please share!




  1. I love seeing the cover changes!

    • I’ve seen some more drastic changes that friends have had. I’m pretty lucky that mine have all been so minor. Fun, isn’t it?

  2. How interesting that it was mainly the hair that needed a tweak! I have to admit that I really love the curly hair compared to straight hair on “Caught in the Middle”! Thanks for sharing! I love reading things like this! 😀

    • Thanks, Laura. And isn’t it amazing how they can change a person’s hair?

  3. Love it!

    • Being the great cover artist you are, I thought you might like this.

  4. thanks for sharing this! i’ve definitely wondered how much say an author gets, since sometimes covers don’t really seem to match the descriptions. Hah, the newspaper! and i love anne’s curly hair.

    i can’t wait for your latest book!

    • Thanks Lyssa! We laugh that no matter how poor the heroine is, the dress on the cover will be pretty.

  5. Very fun, Regina! I love seeing the transformation of the covers. And the curly-haired Anne seems so much more fitting, even if you hadn’t already described her that way. : )

  6. Love seeing how book covers come together. 🙂 Bethany House definitely has some of the best cover art. And the premise for your next story sounds amazing!! Can’t wait to read it.

    • Thanks Gabrielle! I’m so blessed to get to work with them. Have a great week. 🙂

  7. I can’t wait to get my hands on A Most Inconvenient Marriage. All of the covers are beautiful and make me want to read the books.

    • Then they are doing their job! Thanks for visiting, Robin.

  8. Loved the after pictures and the changes being made.

    • So interesting, isn’t it? Thanks for commenting, Lynn.

  9. I love seeing the process of cover design! I think it’s fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a fun post, Regina! You have some of THE loveliest historical covers. They are always so beautiful!

    • Don’t they do an amazing job on them? If only our world was as glamorous…

  11. Fun post, Regina! I find that after spending almost a year writing a book, waiting to see what the cover art will look like is excruciating! Bethany does a great job and yours are always beautiful

    • As are yours! I’d love to see a post on your process sometime.

  12. I love seeing the changes that had to be made on the covers! I was just telling my daughter Thursday about how you actually have the dress from Caught in the Middle. We both think that is so fun!

    What really made me laugh in this post is that they tried to have the blind school teacher holding a newspaper. Nope, that doesn’t work quite with the story 🙂

    I love the premise for A Most Inconvenient Marriage and look forward to reading it.

    • Yeah, although the newspaper was in the story, she wasn’t the one reading it. 🙂 And I get to wear the dress next week. The ACFW conference has a genre dinner where you dress like your characters. Glad I have somewhere to wear it.

      • That will be so fun! Have a great time 🙂

  13. I have a book coming out Dec. 3rd, “Love Takes Flight,” set in the Brazilian Amazon. The hero is a missionary pilot. In the original cover mock-up, a plane in the sky was an ancient Russian Anatol biplane on wheels, not a Cessna Caravan on amphibious floats. And the angle of the plane meant it would crash into a mountain within a few seconds. An MAF friend came through with the plane photo. Then I found buy-able photos of what the Amazon jungle actually looks like–definitely no mountains. The cover artist for Prism Book Group worked with me, and I’ve volunteered to change the color of the heroine’s hair to match the couple photo I found.

    • So many details, aren’t there? Sometimes it is easier to just change the story. 😉

  14. I enjoyed learning about how the covers are put together and LOVE Bethany House’s work!
    You are one of my favorite authors, and I can’t wait for your newest–the plot sounds fun!
    Thank you for your work; it’s greatly enjoyed.

    • Thank you, Karen! I really appreciate your encouragement. Have a blessed weekend!


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