creating the cover

When I found out my publisher did a photo shoot for the cover of So Much Closer, I was ecstatic. Cover shoots are pretty rare. Even better – they actually brought my dream cover to life! You can read how it happened here.

I wasn’t at the cover shoot, but my editor was. She’s also into documenting. So I can share some behind-the-scenes pics and info with you about the photo shoot. First off, I’ve been wondering what the models look like from the front. Four Lots of people have told me that it looks like me and John Mayer on the cover. I am totally going with that. Although the boy looks more like Taylor Lautner from the side to me. The models’ headshots were much different than what I was picturing!

Model for So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

Model for So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

Jim Hoover is my magnificent cover designer. He also did the cover of Something Like Fate. There was a photo shoot for that cover as well. I asked Jim to tell you a bit about his process. He agreed because he is awesome like that. From Jim:

“Susane and I had discussed very early on that we’d like to shoot on the High Line on Manhattan’s west side for this cover. I scheduled the shoot, and did a little reconnaissance the week before just to be safe – (always do your homework, right?). I wanted to find the perfect time for when the sun was setting and do a little location scouting. I realized quickly that, while the views were stunning, there was a lot of parking lot space between the park and the Hudson river. I ended up taking some close up images of various buildings, the river, and New Jersey beyond, knowing that we would likely need to composite various elements into the cover to get just the iconic look we were going for.”

The background of the original photo was changed. There’s not much on the New Jersey side from that spot. So Jim took other background photos from different locations on the High Line and Hudson River Park, then Photoshopped in a new background. That clock tower and the other buildings on the cover are actually located south of the High Line. Here’s a photo I took of them from the High Line:

View from the High Line on So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

The left side of the photo had to be completely changed, too. There was this big, dark wall that looked kind of evil:

Models for So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover

Evil Wall was substituted with a less obtrusive, glossy building. Glossy buildings rule. They did try shooting in the opposite direction, but I guess they originally wanted the sunset.

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti hardcover photo shoot

Which brings me to the pink sky. The very first cover design I saw had a gorgeous sunset. I was stoked. Then the sunset was toned down to look more like the pink sky I know and love. Here’s the Pink Sky cover:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti alternate cover

I love this cover! I think it’s even better than the final version. I fought to keep some of the sunset in the sky. I really did. Even just a tinge of pink would have been sweet. But the important thing is that my dream cover became reality. That, like, never happens. The only thing I wasn’t able to get changed that still bothers me is the whole pink shirt and purple sweater combo:

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Um, hi, 1984 called? They want their clothes back. I tried to explain that they don’t go. I tried to explain that no one would wear that. Why oh WHY didn’t they just go with the white tee? We will never know. However, Jim was kind enough to share some insight regarding the sunset:

“Art directing a photo shoot on location is always challenging. You have to make sure the lighting is just right, and hope it won’t rain. It is best to go in with a very clear idea of what you want, and sometimes that might just be a tight sketch that I put together before hand. You want to get the best performance out of the models and get a little variation in the poses and interaction just to be safe. Working with digital cameras makes that much easier nowadays, and you often go into the office the next day with a very clear picture of what you have to work with. Then all of the elements come together in Photoshop like building blocks or a puzzle. We toyed a little with a few palates, and in the end, decided the orange sunset was just a little too distracting from the two main characters, and ended up going for the look of a more natural light.”

So there you have it, friendly neighbors. That’s how this cover became a cover! Fascinating, right?

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21 thoughts on “creating the cover

  1. Wow! That’s such a crazy process. And you’re right– those models are totally different than what they look like from behind. Amazing cover though, despite the pink/purple sweater 🙂
    I’m so happy I got to see The High Line when I did, because now I can picture everything John and Brooke describe perfectly. Like the water towers. When my dad and I sat on The High Line, before I even knew they were included in So Much Closer, I could see all the water towers and thought they were really cool.
    Congrats on such an awesome cover!

    • Thanks! I remember our conversation about the cover. It helps to know that no amount of pink and purple clashing would dissuade you from reading 😉
      Aren’t the water towers so cool?! I think they’re beautiful in their strange, unique way.

  2. OK I am so glad you said something about the shirt and sweater. I am so not a fan of it. But I love your books, so I’ll overlook that to get to the good stuff inside. 😉
    Not much longer!

    • Also, I love that you gave us the behind the scenes look. I love this stuff. And wow, the amount of comp work that went into the cover to change their clothing! And I like seeing the big picture. Her hair falls funny and I always wondered why she was wearing a sun visor. But now I see she wasn’t. My eyes must be funny.
      She is also REALLY REALLY pretty!

      • There were lots of other changes I didn’t write about. This post was already so long! I love finding out all the secret stuff behind the process. Yay that you do, too 😀
        P.S. I might be coming to Chicago for one more event in June. I’d love to see you again! Stay tuned…

  3. I like the final cover. The pink sunset is gorgeous but a little bit too pink. (I can’t believe I said that; pink is my favorite color). And, for what it’s worth, I actually love the pink shirt and purple sweater. Hee!

  4. Maybe you can keep the pink sunset for the paperback? That’d be nice.
    Though I agree with Jim Hoover that the pink sky was distracting a little from the main characters, that might be because he’s in red and she’s in pink (same colour family). Still, I like the whole softer look the pink gave the cover and that’s something I seem to find in paperbacks. I say I like it and I actually loathe pink.
    On another note, trading the tall square building on the left for a stockier rounded one was great. It was dwarfing the couple and this way there’s more emphasis on the title and your name.
    It never ceases to impress me how designer people have the subtlest ways of making things look better. My husband is a graphic designer and we’re building a website for me. It’s amazing the tiny little things he’s teaching me; they make all the difference.
    Talking about websites, I just went to yours and it looks adorable! All colourful and happy, but still organized and visually good to read. There are far too many author sites out there lacking these characteristics, so good job!

    • Thank you! I do my own website design. It’s so much easier when you have a specific vision for what you want to just design it yourself, you know?
      I’ve already asked my paperback editor to put the white tee and pink sweater back. Or like you were saying, make the sweater a pale yellow to tone down all the red shades. The model was wearing a pale yellow sweater and I think it looked good.

  5. I really couldn’t agree with you more on the pink shirt and purple sweater combo (maybe this outfit needs to be worn at a signing). The rest is perfection though.

  6. cover
    I honestly like both covers. (the final and pink one) I like the pink sky, but the final one feels more like New York to me. (maybe that’s why they removed the pink?) I’ve always loved pink skies around twilight and sunsets. even though pink and i usually never get along. 😛 glad you got your dream cover! 😀

  7. This was a FASCINATING post! I must admit, I would be sad if I didn’t get to go to a photo shoot for my own book cover! I had no idea how much they had to Photoshop, and that they were willing to remove and add in elements to create the perfect cover. I must say, out of the five books you’ve had published, it is my favorite cover, definitely.
    I agree with you that the pink cover is stunning though! But Jim’s point is crystal clear when you look at the two side by side. As you guys were saying in comments, it’s the red shirt that throws it off, because IMO, red and pink almost never go together. Every once in a great while, it’ll look good, but most of the time, you risk a clash. If his shirt was a different color, it might work.
    I laughed so hard at the 1984 comment because I was thinking the same thing!

  8. Pingback: behind the scenes | Susane Colasanti – Blog

  9. Pingback: all i need behind the scenes | Susane Colasanti – Blog

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