Behind The Scenes: THE RULES Cover
Today, I’m really excited to bring you something very cool—a behind-the-scenes look at the photo shoot for THE RULES cover.
When I was a copywriter and a project manager, I attended a few photo shoots, but they were more product focused. You know, “Check out this breast pump; new and improved with THREE buttons.” Or, “Look at the happy people who are now so much happier because they have the right homeowners’ insurance.” Or whatever.
Those projects weren’t simple by any means, but if you think about it, an image for a book cover has to do so much more. The image, in combination with the cover design, has to convey the tone of the story, an idea of the genre, possibly something about the main character or characters, and some kind of emotion. Not to mention the ever-elusive “hook.” Something that makes readers want to pluck it off the shelves to take a closer look.
So I asked Christian Trimmer, my amazing editor at Hyperion, if we could document the photo shoot for THE RULES. I wanted to see how it went from an idea to an actual cover, and I thought you guys might find it interesting as well! Christian graciously agreed and took a whole bunch of fun pictures during the casting and shooting process.
Whenever I start with a new story, I create a file for pictures. I grab photos off the internet or from magazines that remind me of the story or the people in it. It’s my lazy way of making a story collage.
Sometimes, I’m casting characters. (I almost always have actors picked out to play the roles in the movie in my head.) Other times, I put a picture in the file simply because it reminds me of an idea or emotion from the story.
In this case, I found an image from a movie poster that, I felt, really spoke to the isolation and fear Ariane feels throughout the story. Not to mention the whole “wanting what you can’t have” thing. 😀
I sent that image, along with several others, to Christian. This book, I think, is a little tricky when it comes to cover concepts. It’s science fiction, but it’s not set in space or even the future. It has romance (Of course! You know I can’t write books without kissing in them), but it’s also very much a story about identity.
So, Whitney Manger, the fantastic designer who created the cover, worked on over a dozen different comps (like mock-ups of potential covers).
I’ve gotten permission to share three of those mock-ups with you today. So neat! None of these three ended up being the final concept, but they’re all very cool in their own way. And it’s interesting to see which details were chosen for each and the way the common elements in them (Ariane’s pale hair, her unusual eyes, etc.) were executed differently.
(Click on the image a few times if you want to view a larger version. That goes for all the images in this post, actually.)
With an agreed-upon concept, the next step was to find a photographer and start casting. Ali Smith was the photographer chosen for this project. Her work is gorgeous. She did the trailer for FEVER by Lauren DeStefano, among other amazing projects. Be sure to check out Ali’s site and her blog.
(fellow designer and head of YA design)
at the start of the casting process.
Here is a description of Zane from Ariane’s perspective (she doesn’t particularly like him, but she’s not unaware of his charms):
“Lacrosse player, son of the Wingate Police Chief, favorer of nineties rock and those preppy button-down shirts. He was good-looking and almost freakishly tall but built with enough muscle to keep from appearing strange. He was everything I would have found attractive—tall, broad shoulders, dark hair and gray-blue eyes…”
And—get this—Whitney, in talking to Monte at the photo shoot, discovered that he was a lacrosse player, just as Zane is. Talk about spot-on casting!
And here’s the inside scoop about the process from Christian:
“Ali took hundreds of photos over the course of four hours. She and Whitney then poured over them, selecting the ones they thought were the best (in terms of character and tone). The shoot was on a Wednesday. By Monday, Whitney had put together five comps. We narrowed that down to two and shared them with Sales. They made their choice, and we reached out to Ali to touch up the image. She then sent the hi-res image to Whitney, who placed it into the cover template and added all the cool effects. We had a final galley cover by end of day the following Wednesday.”
THE RULES (Project Paper Doll, Book One) will be out on April 23, 2013. I hope you all will check it out!
Huge thanks to Christian Trimmer, Ali Smith, Whitney Manger, Marci Senders, JSterling, and, of course, Kaitlyn and Monte!