2 Book Versions: Genius Idea by Ruth Kaufman

Grab your coffee and get ready to meet Ruth Kaufman, a Chicago on-camera and voiceover talent. Ruth is also a freelance writer, editor and speaker with a J.D. and a Master’s in Radio/TV.

About Ruth Kaufman

Ruth is a former Romance Writers of America® 2011 Golden Heart® winner and runner up in RT Book Reviews’ national American Title II contest. Her true, short story, "The Scrinch" is in the St. Martin's Press anthology The Spirit of Christmas, foreword by Debbie Macomber.

She has appeared in indie features, short films, web series and national and local TV commercials, and has voiced hundreds of "explainer" videos, e-learning courses, commercials and assorted characters. Oh, and on the personal side, she loves peanut butter and chocolate milkshakes, singing in a symphony chorus and going to the theatre.

Find Ruth Kaufman Online: Performer Website * Amazon Author Page * Blog * Twitter * Facebook, Ruth Talks

At His Command by Ruth Kaufman

Could she defy her king for love?

England 1453: The king sends Sir Nicholas Gray to protect the recently widowed Lady Amice Winfield from undesirable suitors. Though Nicholas intrigues her, she yearns to run Castle Rising without a man’s control.

At court, the king and queen choose a new husband for her. How can she follow the king’s command when she’s a scribe for his rival? How can she marry another man when she’s falling in love with Nicholas?

Readers, there's a reason you see 2 book covers for the same book. Sit up and take notice because this may just be a genius idea. Take it away, Ruth!

One Book; Two Versions
by Ruth Kaufman

Many readers want to see some, or many, love scenes in the books they read. But a lot of readers don’t, preferring the bedroom door to remain closed. Some readers like books that include a faith element, while others don’t want to read about the characters’ relationships with God. So when I decided to self-publish my 2011 Golden Heart® winning medieval inspirational, At His Command, I didn’t want to limit readership to those preferring mild/sweet romances with some faith. As it is, I might already be culling my audience somewhat with my setting in 1453 England as opposed to some time and place more popular for historicals.

That’s when it hit me. I’d release two versions of the same story at the same time to interest as many readers as possible: the GH winning version, and one without faith but with love scenes. I’m fairly sure I’m the first author to do this with inspirational and non-inspirational romance. Maybe if there was a market for that, someone would’ve done it already. But every author I mentioned the idea to thought it was a great one, including more than a few bestsellers. I might’ve gone ahead even if feedback advised against it, but having successful authors’ approval boosted my confidence.

Producing two books at the same time involved a lot more work and expense, because everything had to be done twice. I needed two covers and formatting for two digital and print books. The GH winner had gone through two rounds of revisions with Love Inspired Historical, so I didn’t think I needed a developmental editor. The copy editor I hired was kind enough to give me a price break on the second book, since the vast majority is the same.

What would I call each of them? Should the one with love scenes have a different title, or would that confuse readers? I reached out to an “advisory board” of authors I knew who had successfully self-published. One advised combining the two versions into one volume, but I worried that inspirational readers might not want to bring any R rated content into their homes or onto their computers, even if I merely provided links to access one version or the other.

How would I distinguish two books called At His Command? First, by making the version descriptor part of the actual book title so that whenever a potential reader clicked on the cover, s/he would see either At His Command-Inspirational At His Command-Historical Romance Version. Coming up with the second version descriptors was a challenge. Nothing else I or my advisory board came up with sounded quite right. I didn’t want to say with love scenes, regular or traditional romance, open bedroom door, etc.

Second, I chose to put the hero on the HRV and the heroine on the IV. (I still don’t get why hero is pronounced here-oh and heroine isn’t here-oh-in but hair-oh-in, which is a drug. But I digress.) Her book is green, his dark orangey red. Interestingly, the flower on his version happens to be the device of the queen at the time (Margaret or Marguerite of Anjou): the marguerite (daisy), which actually figures into the story. I’d like to be able to say I thought of that, but it was a coincidence my cover designer chose them. I also asked her to use different pictures of the same castle, the actual Castle Rising, where the heroine lives and the hero begins to think of as his home.

Third, I classified each book under different Amazon categories. For example, Christian Fiction is one option for the inspirational version but not the historical romance version.

What’s next? Should I continue with two versions of each book I release, assuming I can create enough story lines and characters that would work in either sub-genre, or move forward with the sub-genre that has the most and best reviews or sales? At the moment, the HRV is outselling the IV almost 3 to 1, so I’m glad I decided to do two. A few people have told me that they want to buy both to see what’s different. I’ll be interested to hear their thoughts, and those of readers of either version.
What do you think of having two versions of the same book?

Buy At His Command, Historical Romance Version, Kindle Edition

Buy At His Command, Inspirational Version, Kindle Edition

Takeaway Truth

With indie publishing, I think you'll see more authors tailoring their books to specific niche markets. What do you think about publishing 2 versions of the same book? With low ebook prices, it's easy to grab each copy of Ruth's novel, At His Command, and draw your own conclusions about this niche publishing. Happy reading!


  1. I actually did this last year with my Diamondback Ranch Series. Now, there's The Diamondback Original Series and The Diamondback Sweeter Series. :)

    1. Hi, Anne Marie. We've been out of touch. Didn't know you'd tried this too. How did it go?

  2. Anne Marie, I've heard of a few authors who've done, if you will, spicy and sweet versions. How is doing two working out for you?

    The difference is my version with the heroine on the cover-Inspirational Version-is not only sweeter than the other, it also has a faith element. I haven't heard of anyone else who has done that.

    1. Thanks for dropping by today, Ruth. I think your experiment is fascinating and can't wait to hear the results when you visit in a few months. Good luck with both versions.