Judging a Book By Its Cover: Fall 2014 Releases

One of the most common questions I see during our Book Banter events is, “How much say does the author have about what the cover looks like?” or “How are covers designed?” Because of this, every season, I’ll post our upcoming book covers, along with a “sneak peak” inside Bethany House’s cover design process.

This Season’s Topic: Photoshoots

Here’s a little bit of “insider” background on how we get the images for our book covers. Most of our books are created by doing a photoshoot with models who fit descriptions given to the designers by the authors. They try to find people who look like the characters both physically and who display the kind of personality the author wants to get across as well. Each book has a file in our creative director’s office filled with a synopsis of the book, photos of the time period or setting, and ideas for what the cover might look like.

Some of the backgrounds are the actual location of the photoshoot: for example, the lovely garden in A Beauty So Rare was really the Como Park Conservatory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Others are landscapes from other sources that our talented designers blend seamlessly into the scene. (I’m sure our designers would love to take a field trip to Alaska for Dani Pettrey’s current series, but apparently that’s just not in the budget.)


Props can sometimes also play a part, and for the most part, we rent them for a one-time use. I feel a personal connection to the cover for Keepers of the Covenant because I found the weapons used for it sitting around at work one day. (We didn’t end up using the version of the cover with the spear, but it’s still extremely cool to find ancient weaponry in your office coat closet.)


Want to know more behind-the-scenes info about cover creation? Some of our authors have written blog posts about what went into the making of their covers. You can learn about how the dress for A Beauty So Rare was created here, or join in on the photoshoot for Melissa Tagg’s Here to Stay here, or read an interview with the cover models from Julie Klassen’s The Dancing Master here or Becky Wade’s Meant to Be Mine here.

Now that you know a little more about what goes in to a cover, enjoy taking a look at our lineup of fall and early winter covers. It’s fun to see what you can guess about the stories just by looking at the visual “sneak peek” displayed in full color on the outside.

September Releases

A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears

11685 BrideInStore_CVR_mck.indd

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer

Playing by Heart

The River by Beverly Lewis

The River

Tried and True by Mary Connealy

Tried and True

October Releases

Becoming Bea by Leslie Gould

Becoming Bea

The Brickmaker’s Bride by Judith Miller

Brickmaker's Bride

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin

Keepers of the Covenant

A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson

Matter of Heart

To Everything a Season by Lauraine Snelling


November Releases

The Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

Patmos Deception

December Releases

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund


A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings

Most Inconvenient Marriage

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen


19 thoughts on “Judging a Book By Its Cover: Fall 2014 Releases

  1. Bethany House truly has some of the best book covers. I am curious as to how a cover actually begins. I have seen the different postings of various cover shoots, but who actually decides the content or design of the cover. Also, every once in awhile I’ll see a cover pic that I’ve seen before on a different book cover. Blue Moon Bay has a pic that I have seen on a totally unrelated book cover. I was very surprised.

    • Oooh, great questions Rebecca. The short answer is that our creative director works with the designers and a team of BHP employees to brainstorm ideas from the author’s synopsis and character description. There’s a lot of teamwork involved!

  2. I love Bethany House book covers, the coloring, the use of transparency and light, and the fonts each reveal a hint of what lays inside the pages. While the models and places are always gorgeous it is the little things that inspire me.

  3. Bethany House does have some of the prettiest covers of many publishers. I think my only complaint is that lately, you can really tell the models have a ton of makeup on. I know that often for photo shoots that is needed, but often, it is really distracting.

  4. I do like historical fiction. However, when I see a historical fiction title with an “oh-so-modern” photograph or painting of a contemporary woman who appears to be playing dress-up, I won’t buy it. To me, the anachronistic cover signals that the writing will also be anachronistic.

    • That’s a good pet peeve, Kathy. (Though, to be fair to the writers, they aren’t usually heavily involved in the cover design process. While we try to make the cover design match the writing style as much as we can, it isn’t always reflected.)

  5. Oooh, Bethany House always does the prettiest covers!

    Glad to see Leslie Gould has another of her Shakespeare-related stories coming out. 😀

  6. Pingback: Beauty and Book Covers | The Monday Heretic

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