Oct 30, 2012

Posted by in Guest Posts | 23 Comments

The Dark Truth Behind Carolyn Crane’s Cover Woes…

Mr. Real, the much anticipated first book in Carolyn Crane’s Code of Shadows series, is out today!!!  WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!  And she’s here today to talk about the making of Mr. Real’s cover.  What’s I’ve learned from this:  Coming up with a cover is HARD and sometimes receiving emails from Carolyn Crane means work 😉

Welcome back to Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks Carolyn!

Hi Julie!

What fun to be here today. So, we’re doing a walk down memory lane of you being one of my long-suffering model photo opinionators. Did you think the nightmare of the Mr. Real cover was over? LOL. I was really grateful for your help on all this.

Okay, so, since it’s illegal for me to post pics on your blog that I don’t have rights to, I’m including some book covers that have pics I was thinking about using, and a few ads that use them. And, the other pics here are ones that I have rights to and didn’t use.

Carolyn Crane: First, do you remember this guy?  He actually got a test cover made of him.

Julie:  Oh I do remember him…  I liked him!  He looked quite different in your cover though – more ‘dreamy-like’.  Is he the one you thought was not paranormal enough in the end?

CC: Yes, he seemed too contemporary romance. And, he wasn’t intense enough. Though he looks like what my hero looks like, except my guy is a fighter. Yes, we both liked this guy. I was wondering if V-neck shirts for guys are in or out. That was another question on my mind, vain as it sounds. But I didn’t want my hero to look unfashionable! What do you think?

J:  Now that I have read the book, I totally see this guy being Paul/Sir Kendall!  And honestly, I have no idea if v-necks on a guy are in or not lol.  But it does show off more of this dude’s amazing bone structure.  And I completely picture Paul having great bone structure – even if he’s been knocked around a time or five.  I still think he would have worked.

CC: I really liked this guy! (Bottom lower corner). I think you were okay with him, right?

J: He was fine.  Overall though I found him a bit meh.  You liked him because he looked like a fighter and that’s what you were looking for.

CC: Yes, very athletic! I think he comes up on photo sites when you plug in sweaty athlete.

J:  Sweaty athlete?!  Ew!  lol

CC: You wouldn’t believe the search terms you find yourself using on the stock sites.

CC: Remember this guy?

J:  Who can forget those eyes!!!

CC: He definitely wasn’t intense enough. But, I liked the moody. I have been seeing him everywhere. Walking around with my mom in town this weekend, I even spied him on a Biolage ad in a store window. For men’s haircare. He is the most dreamy!

J:  I have totally seen him on those ads!  You’re right though – not intense enough.

CC: You actually went out and found this guy. I really love him. But, he is really expensive. And, Jeffe Kennedy, one of my other victims, hates guys looking down.

J:  Darn you Jeffe Kennedy!  😉  I did find him and thought he was perfect because he’s yummy, a fighter and mysterious.  But nope, not good enough.  I didn’t realize he got nixed partly because he was looking down!  That’s too funny…lol

CC: But, I really think he could’ve worked. We would’ve had to brush out the dog tags, but that would’ve been no problem. Have you thought of going into the book cover model photo-finding business?

J:  LOL You’re too funny.  Um, nope I can’t say that I have thought about that Carolyn.  But I don’t think I would get hired very often since apparently I pick expensive photos 😉

CC: I was really thrilled with this guy. Nobody else liked him.

J:  I can’t believe I’m about to say this but he’s too dirty.  LOL He just didn’t seem to fit what you said you were looking for.  But yes, he is pretty to look at.  That’s probably why you liked him.  😉

CC: lol. I would’ve wanted to crop him a bit below the belly button, because, yes, there is a lot of him showing! I like his beleaguered look. I have him in my image files to use. Here is a guessing game: what do you think the number one complaint about him was from my other influencers? Let’s see if you can fill in the blank: He looks like he __________

J:  Can’t remember his name?  Has a headache???

CC: Yes! People thought he looked like he had a headache. Maybe Annika needs to write a story about a hunk with a headache.

CC: An early, serious contender!!!

J:  Oh you really liked this one!  I found him too old!  lol But man did you like him.  You tried quite a few times to make him work but alas, in the end, he didn’t cut it.

CC: I really liked him! Sob. Yes, you were very definitive about his oldness. You were like, he’s 40! I appreciated that. My long-suffering cover artist even photoshopped him to youthen him up. But, he looked too aggressive in layouts. I think it’s the fists. He’s actually used in a lot of covers, I’ve noticed.

J:  Okay, I am not saying that 40 is old.  I was saying that he looks too old to be your twenty-something hero.  I just thought I should clarify that here lol.  I can totally see him on a book cover!  He’s nice to look at and distinguished looking too.  Just…too old for you.  *snort*

CC:  Did I ever show you this one? Used here by Alexis Browne for her book. I liked the spy look, but…IDK. I like him as what he is here, a lord. That makes more sense.

J:  No you never showed me this guy!  I see the spy in him for sure but yeah…there is something about his pose that’s not quite right for your book.

CC:  Yes, he has a more humorous look. Also, the hero isn’t the spy. Okay, are those abs photoshopped?

 J:  I think the abs are real but definitely enhanced.  I don’t know if abs even can stand out that much from the body!  I mean, if I put a penny between a couple of them, will I ever find it again?

CC: This one I liked at first.

J:  You were really happy with this one.  In fact, I thought you finally settled!  But…nope lol.  You even tried this one in different colors, right?  I suppose that should have been my first hint that you were not 100% satisfied.  I do like the dreamy-ness of it.  And I like that dude looks a bit like Matt Damon.  Can’t go wrong with that.

CC: Sigh. Yes, you are very perceptive. That should’ve been my hint, too. Yes, he looks like Matt Damon. I was happy, and then one day I woke up and I hated him! I should’ve been more sensitive to people’s reactions, too. When I released this cover, the feedback was like, can’t wait for the book! But nobody said the cover was great. I suck at finding models.

J:  Seeing him now though, dude doesn’t look like your hero…lol

CC: Right!!

CC:  Of course we all know what happened to this guy. Used too much!!!

J:  I didn’t like this guy at first.  I found his hands were too angry.  I felt that dude was thinking “damn, why won’t she just do what I say?” or “damn, why can’t I get this car grease off of my hands?” or “damn, I am about to turn into the Incredible Hulk!”

CC: LOL. I know. He’s like, Nooooooo!

J:  But apparently I was the hold-out and the only one of your ‘critics’ that didn’t like it.  Once you showed me this image on what you thought would be your final cover, I ended up going over to your side.  I did like him on this cover.  Probably because angry-Hulk-hands were dimmed down by the mist.  😉

CC:  I didn’t like him at first, either! I had chosen another guy who was similar to V-neck T-shirt guy, and my designer threw this guy in just for comparison, and I was like, WTF, but then people liked him. Even Jeffe liked him, and he’s looking down! Jeffe!! Now I like him.  I might use him if I write a book  #4 about Sir Kendall and Karen.

J:  Sir Kendall and Karen!  Ooo I like the sound of that! And you are so right!  He IS looking down and Jeffe liked this guy!  What’s with that?!

CC: I came to love how dynamic he is.

J: I must say though I really love this cover. 

CC:  I love it too.  Thank you!!!

J: Of all the images and covers you flashed by me, this is by far the best.  And I’m not just saying that because you had already sent me 453 images by the time this one became the final-final and I was worried that you would give yourself a stroke if you didn’t feel happy with one image soon.  *grin* Your designer did a great job on this cover and I’m glad you love it!

CC: She did a great job!  And, readers, this is just a sampling of the images gone through. There are others but I couldn’t find copyright-okay versions to put up here. With my Disillusionist covers, I was like, I want more control! But this is the dark underbelly of control – when you can change everything at any time, and nobody stops you!

CC: Speaking of the dark underbelly of control.  I changed the title color recently. Mr. Crane told me he was going to have me committed. But, I told him to count himself  lucky that my attitude toward covers doesn’t extend to husbands. But don’t you like this better? I feel the green said spooky and action, and that’s not accurate to this book.

J:  ROTFLMAO You actually changed the cover again?!  You are TOO much!  lol  I do like the blue though.  Less harsh. And your husband is funny.  Does he still offer his support when you show him possible cover images now or does he just walk away while shaking his head?  😉

CC: I do think he would be concerned if I changed it again. I was just going to say that it’s too late, considering this is my release day, but never say never. I hear of authors changing covers even once the book is up.

J:  *heads desk*


J:  It’s been fun going down memory lane.  I am so excited that Mr. Real is finally out for all of you to read!  Let me tell you, it is not like any book you have ever read.  There’s magic computers, a sexy super spy, an evil maniacal villain, a yummy fighter and surprises around every corner.  We know that Carolyn’s imagination is outstanding and you will notice that once again in this latest release. 

Carolyn, you’ve been talking about this book for so long that it’s almost surreal that it’s out!  Congratulations on your latest release and thank you for visiting the blog today!

CC:  Thanks for having me so much, Julie!  And for all your advice.  It’s been fun.

Carolyn is offering a digital copy of Mr. Real to one lucky winner!  Just leave a comment below by Sunday, November 4th 2012 11:59pm est.  Giveaway open internationally.  Good luck everyone and THANK YOU Carolyn!!!

Here’s where you can find Carolyn –

  1. Katrina T. says:

    I must say I like the final cover with the blue lettering best. Happy Halloween! and thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

  2. What an adventure it was! I thought I was seeing things when a new cover kept popping up in my feed. The green text certainly pops against the background (or should I say backside?) but I like the blue more. Cause it’s my favorite color and well, less green. 😛

    As a digital artist myself I totally understand the struggle when you have so much power over the design. It’s always hard to narrow down the choices.

  3. I definitely prefer the cover you ended up with over the “Matt Damon looking up” one. I don’t know that I could put my finger on why I didn’t like the first one until I saw the last, but the actual cover is a big improvement.

  4. Hey, thanks for stopping by!

  5. Lol, poor Mr Real, it sure took him long to be real

  6. What a fun post! I’ll have you know, I have been so looking forward to this release. I bought it this morning as soon as I got up. Now the debate…do I read it tonight in front of the other 33 books that I am supposed to be reading that are in my review pile? Yes, I think I’m going to have to… (shhh, don’t mention that to Julie since 2 of those are reviews for her blog) smiles….

  7. Readsalot81 says:

    I have to say I like the final cover the most as well. Everything *pops* so to speak. The extremely buff guy, the smoke, the house/apt .. Congrats on the release Carolyn,the book looks fabulous!

  8. Wow, I saw some of those covers flash on twitter… but that is a lot of men! I do like where it ended up though. Also, I’m FINALLY reading The Hostage Bargain and grinning like an idiot. Which I KNEW would happen, that I would love it. Because I love your voice and possibly my only complaint, which wasn’t a real complain but just a thing I would have liked, was more sex. So this was the answer, and yet it took me this long to get around to it. There is no excuse. /ramble

  9. Whoa! I said I didn’t like guys looking down??? I think I just didn’t like THAT guy looking down… like he was checking himself out or something. :-p

  10. Wow… I didn’t realize how much went into making covers! But I love the one you ended up with 🙂 Thanks for the fun post and giveaway!

  11. Barbara Elness says:

    It was fun hearing about all of the cover incarnations, and I do like the last one a lot. I’m looking forward to reading Mr. Real, it sounds like such a great story.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  12. They are all great, but I do like the final cover the best.

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  13. Wow, that is a lot of work for one cover but I understand you want it to be perfect. I don’t know if I am allowed to post this, but I follow a blog, that kind of specializes in covers and models and have great pics and interviews and such.
    You see the original picture, and then the bookcover it has become. http://romancingrakes4theluvofromance.blogspot.com/

  14. I love the blue. Green not so much…


  15. Wow, I never realized quite how much went into these decisions! The research seems like fun though!

  16. LOL. I’m just grinning reading these comments. It really was a fun process!

  17. I love the final cover, Carolyn. I think it conveys Mr. Real perfectly. I have the book, can’t wait to get started reading!

  18. LOL 453 images? I can see why finding the perfect guy for the cover wasn’t easy, must be hard to choose from so much yumminess! :))

    Phew, good thing you didn’t stick with the v-neck T-shirt guy. He’s yummy all right, but a cover with him would have been just meh. Too…. Contemp-nothing-exciting-about-this like. :))

    But I LOVE the final cover (and I love the blue font even better!) The first one was too… cartoon or comic-book-cover like and the second one… I agree with Julie, what’s with the hands? It’s like he didn’t see them in a long time and he’s shocked by what he sees now!LMAO

    I liked the one with the guy looking down too (reading Jeffe’s comment now though, he does look like he’s checking himself out. LOL)

    Hey, maybe I can help next time? It’s fun and I can be super critic (and, um… brutally honest LOL). I’m cover obsessed!:D

    Oh, and congrats on the release, Carolyn! <3

  19. Fun interview. Nice covers.

  20. I must say that I like the final cover! Can’t wait to read this! Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

  21. THANK YOU Deea! (see???)

  22. Wow, talk about struggles and a cover in the making, this one really took a lot of tries and people to come to the end ruslt. But I have to say I really like the last one (and didn’t really care for the green title, looked too sci-fi for me). Congrats Carolyn on not only releasing Mr. Real but finding The One cover (and hopefull the last one too 😉 lol

  23. Wow, talk about struggles and a cover in the making, this one really took a lot of tries and people to come to the end result. But I have to say I really like the last one (and didn’t really care for the green title, looked too sci-fi for me). Congrats Carolyn on not only releasing Mr. Real but finding The One cover (and hopefully the last one too 😉 lol

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