Elizabeth Turner,assistant art director at Hachette, discusses the cover design process for Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen.

Given how much effort goes into cover design—the elaborate dress, the quality of the photography—there’s a risk, Turner says, that the books look too expensive. So Hachette occasionally has a price call-out on the cover: “It’s worked well in the past.”

“I remember the description says something about the fact that [the heroine] was almost an unusual and unique beauty,” Turner says. “We talked about other women but kept coming back to this one person.”

“We ended up contacting the Theater Development Foundation, which provides dresses for the Manhattan Opera and plays throughout the city,” Turner recalls. She and her colleagues took a field trip and rooted through the foundation’s warehouse until they found the ball gown that, she says, “spoke to the mood board and the character.”

The background, Turner explains, is intentionally sparse in order to showcase the dress. She feels that when a romance cover goes overboard with elaborate furnishing, backgrounds, and wardrobe, the end result can sometimes be distracting.

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