In 2016, I wrote the first draft of Cowgirl Rescue and then found a lovely cover for it and bought it. That was in July. I didn’t know for sure what the title of the third Selkirk Family Ranch book would be, so I had the cover designer dummy up the cover with a working title.
Since then, other projects have intervened, and I’ve only recently come up with a better title and finished enough revision passes to feel that the story is ready for the world. It’s a good feeling. Not such a good feeling is the discovery that other authors have since discovered the same wonderful piece of western romance cover art, and also licensed the right to use it.
Models participate in shoots and do multiple poses and then photo licensing companies sell licenses, whether to major traditional publishers or private individuals, to use the photos. If there’s a very big budget for a cover, an individual or company can arrange and pay for an exclusive model shoot, and then own all the rights to those photos. But more and more, you’ll commonly see book cover and interior photos that are non-exclusive. In fact, the background photo for the print edition of Crisis at Comicon is the very same photo that Sirius XM Satellite Radio uses on its site. There’s a guy with a pained look on his face whom I’ve seen on at least half a dozen romance and thriller book covers. And just recently, I saw an interior still photo in a college textbook that a television network uses in full version as a video house ad.
So…the cover to Cowgirl Rescue is based on a photo that is non-exclusive, which means that other people can use it, too. And they do.
In the spirit of sharing, here are all the covers I have found so far that start with the photo I used on Cowgirl Rescue:
Let me know if you find some more!