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View Full Version : Let's do cover critiques!



Splendad
01-27-2011, 09:49 PM
Maybe it has already been done, but hey, new covers are done every day. Let's do a "post your cover," deal for feedback and comments, eh? This is my first, front-only... it's a working model for me. (EDIT: Based on a good point from PortableHal, please don't post in here on this thread unless you can take a verbal head-butt because this is for progress, not praise). :)



(http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/6725/nameofaltcoverphotoshop.jpg)

PortableHal
01-28-2011, 12:09 AM
Kevin, I love the idea of cover critiques but I worry about bruising a few feelings along the way. Sometimes, a writer is proud of a cover that I think looks terrible...and, sometimes, they're right and I'm wrong. If it catches the eye, helps sell the book, and is true to the story, it's a good cover.

For me, your cover is a little awkward and the graphics are rough. I'm guessing, science fiction? Aliens and birds are paramount to the tale?

The piece I like best is the eyeball and that's almost thrown away when placed in the upper left hand corner.

scottishpunk
01-28-2011, 12:17 AM
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs762.ash1/165359_194338660579337_111802028833001_767841_4232 992_n.jpg

Here's the cover for my new ebook, soon to be available on Kindle and Nook. I'm pretty stoked about it. Thoughts?

Splendad
01-28-2011, 12:29 AM
Hey, good point Portable; I'mma edit the initial post so people don't come in here who can't take criticism. HURT MY FEELINGS! HELP ME MAKE THIS GREAT! I'll post such a warning...

Splendad
01-28-2011, 12:33 AM
Josh, it stands out. My impression is post-apocalyptic... is that what it is? How do you want it to feel? It's got that toxic dump warning feel to it for me... darkening around the edges gives a look of authenticity but the bright center might scare off a person or two who doesn't like brights because this is an e-book so they will be seeing the cover on a monitor, etc. and to my notion, softer covers are more inviting. One guy's view (that's all we can really do, right?)

quickreaver
01-28-2011, 01:23 AM
I think this is an interesting thread, given the blossoming self-publishing/small press wave.

When it comes to design, there are two major things to consider: form and function. E-covers must be legible at the thumbnail size. You should be able to grasp not only the title and author, but the overall image of the illustration as well in smaller sizes.

When your cover is greatly reduced, Spendad, we almost totally lose the author's name. Be careful adding lots of layer styles to the fontwork; simplicity and clarity is usually your best bet. Fancier doesn't always mean better. Also remember your 'bleed'; this is the edge/border of your cover. Don't run important text or images too close to the edge unless it works with your composition and you don't plan on printing out the cover. Give the important stuff breathing room to sit solidly on your page.

These are the rock-bottom basics of function. Form is a whole 'nother ball of wax, since it feeds into opinion and style, and this is where feelings can get hurt. I'll try to be gentle!

Splendad, your cover gets the genre across perfectly well (I'm assuming it's sci-fi) but it looks like a bunch of disparate images on the page. An eyeball here, an alien there...nothing relates contextually or compositionally. It looks home-grown: the work of a well-meaning amateur. Would it sell the book, though? Not sure. It's not super-important that you pay hundreds of dollars for a professional cover but an amateurish cover will, by implication, mean the interior is also not as professional as it could be, from formatting to actual writing. Think like a consumer! Think like your reader. If you have doubts as to your illustration skills, stick to a font-only cover, and pick a font that's both clean and indicative of your genre.

Like Josh! Very readable and professional. I might've left the 'a novel' and 'by' bits out, because...well, duh. (Then the author's name could've been bigger.) I'm not sure what the genre is, however, based on the cover. It could be anything. Maybe instead of 'A Novel', it should've read 'A Fantasy Novel' or 'A Post-Apocalyptic Thriller' or whatever it is.

Oh, another thing! Keep the number of fonts used down to 2 or 3 at the most. (You both did well on this front.) It makes the image look unified and helps sell the theme of the book. Font is very expressive; use it wisely.

Hope this gives everyone food for thought when creating your own covers…and I haven't stepped on too many toes!

~Cris

scottishpunk
01-28-2011, 01:52 AM
Josh, it stands out. My impression is post-apocalyptic... is that what it is? How do you want it to feel? It's got that toxic dump warning feel to it for me... darkening around the edges gives a look of authenticity but the bright center might scare off a person or two who doesn't like brights because this is an e-book so they will be seeing the cover on a monitor, etc. and to my notion, softer covers are more inviting. One guy's view (that's all we can really do, right?)

It's supposed to have a bit of a gritty, wild-west feel. The story is a cross between Greek Mythology and a western.

CaoPaux
01-28-2011, 02:22 AM
For the sake of bandwidth, please keep images as small as feasible. Kthxbai.

Carradee
01-28-2011, 03:19 AM
Ooo! Cover critiques!

Splendad, yours looks… interesting. It makes me think it's an evolutionary sci fi that focuses on the science instead of the people, which generally isn't my alley. (I tend to prefer character-oriented sci-fi, more focused on the effects of the sci fi elements on individuals.)

The cover's hard for me to read, but I have trouble with anything that isn't a standard font. (It seems to be a side effect of my specific learning style.) I'm not sure how it would work as a thumbnail, though. It seems like it would become incomprehensible if compressed, but maybe not.

Something strikes me as off about the images, too… I'm not sure they all have the same dimensionality, or whatever you'd call it. The images don't look like they had the same light source, and they look like they're in different points on the scale between 2D and 3D artwork. (I actually don't see in 3D and have no graphics training, so please take my words with a heavy dose of salt.)

scottishpunk, yours makes me think of Mockingjay meets Greek gods, so I guess you're good. I don't read westerns and am not too familiar with their covers.

I'm again not sure how yours would look as a thumbnail, and your byline text makes me wonder if you used a commercially licensed font for that. (I used to be able to ID standard font types and sizes to look at them. I'm a bit out of practice, but that looks like one of MS Word's standard ones, which aren't necessarily commercially licensed.)

I would keep the "a novel"; otherwise that background makes it look like it could be an academic text about the pantheon.

My (short story's) cover:
http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/e28fad9663.jpg

valeriec80
01-28-2011, 09:22 AM
Cool. I could use some advice on a cover I'm working on right now.

Splendad-To be brutally honest, your cover looks self-published. You must ditch the wordart-y type title treatment, the clipart-y type images floating around, and the weird reflection thing you've got going on over your name. I like the green eye, though. I'd keep that. In fact, since I don't know how to explain this in words, I'd do something more like this:


http://vjchambers.com/awexample.jpg


I got the top image from googling "public domain space images." I think it came from the second or third search result, but my browser crashed and I can't find the address. (PM me if you'd like the photoshop file. Sorry if doing that was presumptuous.)

Scottishpunk--looks great! I would do as someone else suggested and ditch the "by" in front of your name.

And now...what do you guys think of this?


http://vjchambers.com/betweencoversmaller.jpg


It's meant to match the first cover from the series, which you can see here: http://vjchambers.com/stillnessmid.jpg

lizzyj1991
01-28-2011, 10:30 AM
Scottishpunk, I absolutely LOVE your cover! Did you do that yourself?

BrokenSword
01-28-2011, 10:46 AM
Name of Alt:

Splendad:
This cover hit me only lukewarm; it is visual to me but the four elements don't define the book enough (for me). I also didn't think the vertical/wave of 'Alt' does anything for you. As with another poster, I think I'd rather see one/two fonts at most. I'd also NOT have 'of' dangle as it does; more like--


Name
of
Alt



I could also see the blue moon/planet as a backdrop for your title as I laid it out above, but more centered/symmetric. The eye seems to hang meaningless and the 'bird'?? graphic is not discernable to me.** If I had to rearrange, I think I'd put the alien and bird character at the 7 and 5 o'clock position of the moon while having the title start above the moon and end inside it, probably necessitating a color change for legibility (as necessary).


Pantheon:

this one catches my eye immediately simply for being unique. I think you have a good contrast of color and when I put it in my 'would I notice this book cover on an endcap of a B&M store?', I definitely do.

I don't think I'd have gotten your take on a Greek western though, but it's close.* I get a Native American feel when I see it.

Overall, I like it.



Between the Heaves of Storms:

V, I thought your cover was no doubt unique, but unless your book is about a swarm, it's offsetting. I also wasn't enamored with the 'heaves' part of your title; it's a 'different' word to be sure, but taking from my poetic experience, the word doesn't ring.

You can suggest that storms heave between spells of violence, but somehow I think a better word exists. I'm thinking; 'Between The Arms of Storm', or along the same lines, perhaps this: 'After The Thunder, Before the Rain'. Just ideas to consider.

Re the cover though, I'm not sure I'd pick your book out from others simply because the colors aren't contrasty enough.

Also, 'Apocalypse Two' is too far offset for my tastes. I guess from this last that you're portraying insects as all that survives an apocalypse, and though that's probably accurate, I guess I'd go with a more stereotypical backdrop (unless of course, the bugs are integral to your story). Just some thoughts.




And for review, my current WIP proto cover idea;* For review purposes, I'll post both the front and back blurb, and the cover can be judged solely on it's own presentation and/or knowing the back blurb.* Thank you for any input/feedback.

* Just an aside; I know I don't need 'a novel by' but that's one of my conventions from my previous two books and I'll probably keep it, but feel free to mention if such gets in your way.* Also, I'm not nearly as worried about thumbnail/shrinkage because this cover is designed for print, not electronic publication.

I suppose I could redesign for both but I'm not writing to expose my name as much as my story; tis just my way.

Michael

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23386460@N06/5393751377/
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5172/5393751377_1431f74c44_b.jpg


http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5255/5393751309_ee8e8292cc_b.jpg
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23386460@N06/5393751377/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/23386460@N06/5393751377/)

Back cover copy;

Imagine getting on an L train, late at night, hoping to find a last solitude for what you’re about to do and instead, entering a car filled with a cast of characters from your past; some actually know you, some couldn’t care less, and some have motives you can’t fathom. Imagine that the emotions that have built for 9 years, are unable to be contained, emotions surrounding the events of a divorce and a daughter’s decision to leave. Imagine that only one suspects that the bulge in your pocket is a gun and couple this with a passenger who gets on soon after you do, unobtrusively sliding a worn briefcase beneath his seat.

Imagine all this and wonder at the characters which seem to pull at the fabric of every fear and joy you can know. Will Wallstreet survive the crash? Will Siren get to Jax and his biker-boy good looks? Will Prudy purse her lips the whole time? Will Bert and Ernie really know what lifelong friendship is like? And Norman and Ethel: how can they need so little reason to dance on the L? Then there’s Spyder--how do the music and drugs keep him alive? The professor nicknamed ‘Plato’ who’s always arguing with the Jesus Freak...can they compromise? And the boy...the silent one, bouncing a blue, rubber ball...

Imagine the frustration of wanting to be heard, of wanting reconcilation, and not finding it.

Into this melee of words and textures, Michelle is thrust as she receives word that her father, Matt Owens, is critically ill in the ICU.

What she imagines though, can only happen
on the L...

lizzyj1991
01-28-2011, 01:30 PM
Okay, here's my possible book cover!

http://i1032.photobucket.com/albums/a403/lizzyj1/coverbook.jpg

lizbeth dylan
01-28-2011, 04:40 PM
Josh, is that a phoenix rising on the cover? That was my first thought when I saw it. If so, then I think you nailed it on your cover. The distressed colors and graphics made me thing Native. The phoenix and the title made me think of Greece and mythology. Good job!

Carradee, I really like the colors you've used and the crisp look. Is there anyway to make the boot larger and centered, then have the butterfly look as if it just landed on the boot? What if you would use a softer font for the word Butterfly and a sturdier font for the word Boots, just to tie in with the graphics?

Valerie, Love the overall look of yours. Just wonder how it would look by lowering the opacity of the bee image layer so the fonts become a bit more distinguishable. Also, the line above "apocalypse book two", I can make out that it says "jason and..." but not the last word. Would darkening that layer make it stand out just a bit more?



Hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes, especially since I don't have my own cover to post. For the past several years I've done alot of graphic design with my business so those were just things that stood out to me.

Carradee
01-28-2011, 04:44 PM
valeriec80, it looks neat, but the title's a bit hard to read. That's my only complaint about it. (And I have difficulty reading non-standard fonts, anyway.)

BrokenSword, You may want to consider centering everything more evenly. As it is, the title and the cover image are off-center, making it looks like they're cut short immediately after the L. Your byline also doesn't work in a thumbnail size; only the top half of it actually shows up.

The back cover copy's also a bit long, isn't it?

lizzyj1991, I love it! Clear, simple, readable, pretty. Your byline looks nice where it is, but it's small and illegible when you

Nobody critiquing mine above? :( Here's a larger version of the image:

http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/299ad9dcef.jpg

lizbeth dylan
01-28-2011, 04:53 PM
Nobody critiquing mine above? :( Here's a larger version of the image:



I did ;) post just above you.

lizzyj1991
01-28-2011, 05:19 PM
Oh I'm sorry! Carradee, I had to look a second time to see it. I do like yours a lot too! I love how it corresponds with the title of the book perfectly. Did you make that cover yourself? I think it would look really nice with a tougher font for the boot and a softer (or slightly more feminine) font for the butterfly, like said above.

Broken Sword - I love the back of your book, I do like the front cover as well but I'm not sure about the "On the L" bit at the bottom. Is that part of the title as well? And it looks like that might need to be centered a tad more also because the L hits directly against the black lining. Unless of course my computer is simply not showing me the picture correctly.

And Valerie I can't seem to make out the words above Apocalypse Book Two. I really do like everything else though, the font isn't my favorite, but that's only my opinion. I would only suggest darkening those words I mentioned.

DoctorMandaBenson
01-28-2011, 05:21 PM
OK, I am going to be honest. Hope it’s helpful rather than offputting. :-)

Splendad: I’m afraid I’d say it doesn’t look professionally produced. I can see a black rhombus around the eye graphic where it’s been clipped out. There is also a greyish rectangle behind the text with your name on it. The overall image is too low-res. I don’t like the wavy text effects (no idea what program you used to make it, but if you want to do wavy text effects professionally, you really need professional software). The ‘bird’ shape is intriguing, but it’s blurry because of the low resolution. The alien thingy isn’t encouraging to me because it looks too much like a ‘Roswell’ alien and I’d look for something more imaginative.

What would work well if you wanted something that looked good but was easy to produce would be to grab an image from NASA’s website (NASA images are public domain) and add your name and title in a plain white font, large enough to read on a thumbnail size.

Scottishpunk: great cover, that does suggest Western in its design. The image and the title suggest Greek mythology. Only suggestion is that the font on ‘By Josh Strnad’ and ‘A Novel’ doesn’t quite match. Have you considered using all caps or a taller font? Possibly the dark areas of the cover could also be blacker to make them stand out better.

Valerie: I would make the light box containing the title less transparent so the title stands out more but you can only just see the flies through it. The landscape in the background I find slightly fussy and generic. It might work better with the insects overlaid on a solid background in a very pale salmon colour.

Brokensword: Text does not stand out very well. I would suggest making it thicker and going with a sans-serif font, and using a colour that contrasts more strongly as this blue gets lost a bit against the bluish background. I don’t really care for the borders around the image and would suggest fitting the images into the available space. The back cover image with the font over it works well, but I think the text if your back cover copy is maybe too long and detailed. I would recommend going with a one-sentence hook and then distilling the blurb into one or two short paragraphs below this.

LizzyJ: Nice. You’ve managed to use a crazy font effectively by matching it with a colour in your image and laying it out sympathetically.

Carradee: Right sort of idea, but I don’t think it’s quite there. The font in all the different coloured bits looks kind of childish. Lizbeth’s suggestions are good. I think the main problems are the fonts and the unimaginative way the different components of the cover have been put together (with the things equidistant from each other like this it looks a bit simplistic). I think you need to experiment by moving the components around and trying different fonts.

valeriec80
01-28-2011, 09:10 PM
Thanks for the advice, all! I appreciate it. (Quick aside, the title is from Emily Dickinson's "I Heard a Fly Buzz--When I Died" so it's not really alterable, but thanks for the suggestions. :)

You know what would be really cool? If we could have a separate subforum here for cover critiques. Then each of us could post a new thread with our covers and the critiques wouldn't get all confused. Sort of like query letter hell, but for book covers? Is that a possibility, moderator? I guess there might need to be some rules for bandwidth, like keeping the images to a certain size, or using links for large images or something...

Anyway, thanks for the nifty thread idea. I really appreciate the feedback.

CaoPaux
01-28-2011, 11:14 PM
I like the idea, but it'd depend upon folks' ability to reduce their image size. E.g., scottishpunk cover is a nice size: 580 px max height and <70kb. If y'all can keep them <500 px high and <60kb, it'd be even better, and I'll bump the request up the chain.

Splendad
01-28-2011, 11:20 PM
Thanks for the feedback everybody (and I'll give more soon; working on a time-sensitive deal right now). The blue thing is a NASA image (venus/clouds). The eye is also a NASA image of a galaxy that I turned into an eye in Photoshop (where I edited all the stuff). Looking at it with your comments, I see a lot of inconsistency between the separate elements of the cover. Valerie that covers looks great and could grow on me... I feel like I'm not being true to my story though if I don't have at lease silhouettes of my MC (alien, named Alt) and his pet (the deformed penguin looking other alien, named Khan). I have a template from CreateSpace.com that suggests doing everything at 300dpi (vs. the standard 72dpi that pops up when you go to create/edit in photoshop). Anyway, thanks a bunch guys and I'm giving this a hard look... the good news is my Kindle book will be released today (well it already has been) so I can change that cover anytime. But when I go into print next week, I want my cover to look good! So I gotta hurry. When I follow the rules, I can rise to pro level on photoshop stuff (this cover is 20mins worth of fiddling; the galaxy eye is also Alt's eyes, for example). Meh. Progress.

scottishpunk
01-29-2011, 01:15 AM
Scottishpunk, I absolutely LOVE your cover! Did you do that yourself?

A buddy of mine whipped it up for me. He's cool like that.

scottishpunk
01-29-2011, 01:17 AM
Josh, is that a phoenix rising on the cover? That was my first thought when I saw it. If so, then I think you nailed it on your cover. The distressed colors and graphics made me thing Native. The phoenix and the title made me think of Greece and mythology. Good job!

It is, indeed, a phoenix. Good eye!

And thanks for the compliments!

Stormhawk
01-29-2011, 01:25 AM
Name of Alt: Agreed with the other comments - it looks self-pubbed, and needs a cleaner layout. You'll definitely be able to keep some of the design elements, (the eye, the planet backdrop), just needs a sleeker design.

Pantheon: My brain immediately went to World War Z, just for it being a striking cover. 10/10, 'nuff said.

Between the Heaves of Storms: Ew, creepy, crawly bugs...sets a great mood just by looking at it. All I'd say it that I think your name needs to be a little lower (seems to be sitting too high) and that the titling/box around the titling could be centred (it's throwing me off being off-centre like that).

On the L: Potential for a great cover here.
Front cover - the photo is great, sets the atmosphere up straight away. However the black around the edges is...inconsistent and seems more like you couldn't stretch the image far enough rather than being a deliberate choice. Maybe a thinner border of black, with the edges of the photo dissolving into it (like the feather/smudge tool or something).

Back cover: Same comment about the black border/photo placement. And it seems like just a bit too much text. Wall'o'texts can be scary.

Imagine Peace: I'd shift the author credit to the lower half, rather than having it sit halfway up as it is now, for my 2c, it sort of just looks dumped there, whilst the bottom half of the book is essentially uninteresting (people look at the flowers, not at the stems).

Butterfly Boots: On the whole, I like this - just something about the font doesn't sit right though, like maybe another could be picked, with everything else kept the same, and it would look better. Also the "A story of" seems like it could find better placement.

Chris P
01-29-2011, 01:35 AM
Okay, I Suck with a capital S at visual stuff. I don't like this cover, and I can't decide why. Is it because it's text on a pic? I only liked white or black for the text, but it was so hard to place it in either color where it looked good. The only thing I like is the company logo on the building. Rip away! Anything will be better than this!

http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b234/setimret/paperthinmockup-1.jpg

Chris P
01-29-2011, 01:42 AM
Splendad: I agree with the others that the cover doesn't tie in together; it's a bunch of isolated elements. But it does give a good indication of genre.

Scottish and Valerie: Those are incredible covers! I'd read the blurbs for sure if I saw those in the store.

Brokensword: I liked it, but I thought the text was too far pushed to the edges. Otherwise it looked good.

Lizzy: I like the image, but the font on the text was tough on my eyes.

Caradee: I like it. Is it for a children's story, though? That's what it looks to me.

the bunny hugger
01-29-2011, 02:01 AM
To get everyone critiques it might make more sense to have a thread per cover and put it in the blog review subforum where it won't clog things up?

Carradee
01-29-2011, 02:07 AM
Thanks for the feedback, folks. "Butterfly Boots" is a short story for children or adults. It's short, cute, and silly.

I'll look into finding another font or two for it, at least, and maybe playing with the boot size.

Chris P: The company logo is neat, but you have white text on a light background. The title color needs to be changed to something that shows up better, and you might want to make your byline a bit bigger.

Also (bear in mind this is coming from the gal who just got negative comments for her own font choices), you may want to look into getting some different commercially-licensed fonts for that cover. It's quite… bland. (Is there more sky in the original photo? The cover might look better if the building isn't quite as overwhelming.)

Splendad
01-29-2011, 02:44 AM
Hey everybody, we're all writers here. Remember that the critique you are getting is coming from a writer who is not only usually a heavy-duty reader but who also is relatively versed at finding errors. That means two things; it's gonna feel a little sharp, and it's gonna be useful. :) I know, to some degree, lots of us are used to getting praised for our work (esp. by family and friends) but this is a place where you have to ask this: How can I leap up over the hurdles that so many writers smash into face-first and never recover from? To that end, all you gotta do is set pride aside and be thankful, because you're getting reviews/critiques/pointers here (on writing and art) that might cost you thousands elsewhere. Gotta stick together and promote one another!

eqb
01-29-2011, 03:27 AM
Splendad: I agree with the others that the cover doesn't tie in together; it's a bunch of isolated elements. But it does give a good indication of genre.

I would add that it gives the impression of very old school, 1950s genre. If that is what you're aiming for, great, but if that's not the audience for your story, you need to rethink the design.

izanobu
01-29-2011, 05:33 AM
scottishpunk- I really like that cover. My only suggestion would be to remove the "by" since that's the one thing that makes it look less like a professional cover to me and just have your name there.

Chris P- often flat fonts on unaltered photographs will end up looking exactly like yours. Texturing your text can help a lot. Not sure how to advise you on the image...

Brokensword- my only quibble with yours was that the back cover copy is really long. I think you could cut your blurb down a little and still keep it intriguing. As it stands it looks like a lot of text which might be off-putting to someone browsing (even online browsing).

I'm pretty fond of my covers and not really looking to change them, but I'll post one here anyway. Who knows how any advice might help out for future ones? :)

http://i927.photobucket.com/albums/ad118/doomedmuse/SpacersBladethumb.png

francist44
01-29-2011, 05:48 AM
I created my cover/s with the drawing options in MS Word 2k and yes they look ok. How do I get one here? Copy. paste seem don't to work here? What type of file must I save it as?

lizbeth dylan
01-29-2011, 06:20 AM
Hi francist

Click the yellow icon that looks like a mountain just above the text box when you go to post your message. A pop up will appear and in the box, put in the URL to the image you want to post. You will have to host the image somewhere to link to it.

MJNL
01-29-2011, 07:51 AM
Ms. Nobu, I love it! The wrapped words balance the spaceship well, and they give me a "warped" feeling, which I like. It's interesting and professional, and would definitely entice me to read the collection.

Splendad
01-29-2011, 12:09 PM
Hope I didn't make this too big for the thread (does it hurt the server or something? we are remote hosting so not sure i understand size issue...) I think I'm going to add to the backo blurbo but this is all home grown except for the galaxy shot (NASA) that I turned into the eye. Unless some of you guys just hate it, I'll prolly be going with this based on your suggestions.

http://img37.imageshack.us/img37/39/bookcover525x8bw200aw.jpg

DoctorMandaBenson
01-29-2011, 05:04 PM
Splendad: It's improving. :-) Is that the Cat's Eye planetary nebula? I like the subtle colour gradient through the font, but I still think the font's impact is reduced slightly by having dark-coloured areas that blend into the background.

I'd say the images you are using are still too low-res. It needs to be 300 dpi minimum. If you are drawing components of the cover yourself, I'd recommend working at 600 dpi and then scaling down when you assemble the cover images, as this will give a crisper finish. The image of the planet isn't great. I don't know if it's a false colour scan and it looked like that when you got it, or you've edited it to make it look this way, but it doesn't work for me. If you want to use Venus, have you considered getting a picture of it in its natural colour and cropping around it and then pasting it over a landscape picture of a night sky and using this as a wraparound image? IDK what printer you are using, but the cover templates I get from Lightning Source allow you to put on one background image through which you can see guidelines to add your text.

The back cover text I'd say was too fussy with the shadow on it. Also, I think it will look better if you either justify or centre it, rather than having it left-aligned with a ragged right edge like this.

OK, some thoughts on overall design, particularly with the design of the spine. You need to apply 'branding' to your design. The font used on the spine should be the same as the font used on the front plate. Ideally, you also want to use the same font to highlight things in the interior design (in my books, I use the font for the cover titling to do things like page numbers and headers). It gives the book a feel of consistency throughout.

The spine text on the latest version is too small. Consider how the book will look on a shelf. Will this small font on a greyish background entice someone browsing the shelf to pick it up? On your spine you should ideally use up all the width with the title. The spine should also include your publisher's logo (I can't recall ever seeing a book that doesn't have this on the spine) and if the spine is wide enough, possibly an image from the cover or that fits with the design of the cover.

Here (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_IHLQZD_bTFo/TSIVnzyJ4PI/AAAAAAAAADE/Lf5DFallbIk/s1600/beaconcover.jpg)and here (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_IHLQZD_bTFo/TSIVgDHRB2I/AAAAAAAAAC8/-ZYKNWyoRAY/s1600/wmncov.jpg) are links to some of my book covers (I'm not saying this is exemplary or anything like that, but to illustrate these points about matching the design and using branding). The most important points I want to make are that the text on the cover stands out from the image. The spine includes part of the image from the cover and text in the same style, and the publisher's logo. The back and front both feature a 'product brand' -- a little logo I made from the series title. Try to incorporate more of this coordinated design feel into your cover.

Don't be afraid to play with your cover for as much time as you can afford to spare. You'll get a feel for what works best that way. :-)

DoctorMandaBenson
01-29-2011, 05:11 PM
Izanobu: Really nice design. Only suggestion is that I'm not 100% sure that turquoise colour is precisely the right choice. 'Blade' could also be stretched out more to make it align closer. Very minor though.

Splendad
01-29-2011, 07:27 PM
Yours all look awesome Doc, seriously. And I'm in flaw-finder mode. Anyway, I'm self publishing (should have mentioned, sorry; prolly explains a lot, eh? including the ridiculous spine margins I have to work with on createspace) One thing you made me notice, too, was I hate the planet glow; it didn't look like that in PS so something was lost in translation... I had a nice blue gradient (light blue, dark blue, black and white in a nice pattern for the glow). I KNEW somebody would mention the drop shadow on the back text but honestly, I did this 100 times; when I remove the drop shadow, it looks so plain and ugly and actually doesn't contrast as well. Zoomed in, it's nice and sharp and easy to read but I realize why you're saying it; I battled myself on that for a half hour (drop shadow or no, drop shadow or no...)

I made the planet myself this time from scratch and used a filter and blending options... I don't want Venus (it's awesome, no doubt, but I just wanted a "strange" world; Alt sees lots...) I like your idea and will be looking 'round NASA more today.

About the justification tho; I picked up like six books that I had to look at the rear and they all were left-justified. Instead of centering, what could I do to clean up the footprint of it?

Thanks again Doc and everybody else who has helped me; if I can find the energy (especially regarding starting from scratch at 600dpi) I'll revise, otherwise, I will take your lessons and keep them near and dear when I start on my next cover.

CaoPaux
01-29-2011, 07:36 PM
Hope I didn't make this too big for the thread (does it hurt the server or something? we are remote hosting so not sure i understand size issue...) Load is load, and bandwidth = $. There is also the consideration for your viewers: a not-insignificant percentage of members are still on dial-up, and large images not only load slowly, enough of them can crash a thread. And then there's the simple annoyance of having to scroll past large images.

In short, we've had problems with image-laden threads before, and I'm not yet convinced full-on cover critique is feasible.

MartinD
01-29-2011, 07:50 PM
I've enjoyed looking at the covers and hope we can continue something like this in the forums.

Chris P
01-29-2011, 10:41 PM
Izanobu: I like it.

Splendad: It is improving, in fact I'd say it's there for my taste.

About my cover, it's a mock-up I did for fun in PowerPoint, so there's no expectation of professionalism on my part. I tried the title in black and in white, and it was a toss up. The font is plain old Arial, simply because I thought any other font on a picture would make it too busy. When this book goes to press (hopefully with one of the big houses :)) a serious attempt will be made. However, this has been VERY informative. Thank you all for your comments.

lizbeth dylan
01-29-2011, 11:06 PM
Load is load, and bandwidth = $. There is also the consideration for your viewers: a not-insignificant percentage of members are still on dial-up, and large images not only load slowly, enough of them can crash a thread. And then there's the simple annoyance of having to scroll past large images.

In short, we've had problems with image-laden threads before, and I'm not yet convinced full-on cover critique is feasible.


What if the poster would put up a link to the image hosted elsewhere instead of inserting the image? Does that still use up AWWC bandwidth? That might be a possible solution.

francist44
01-29-2011, 11:34 PM
Hi francist

Click the yellow icon that looks like a mountain just above the text box when you go to post your message. A pop up will appear and in the box, put in the URL to the image you want to post. You will have to host the image somewhere to link to it.

Thanks for the info. Since it's an MW Word 2k file, I guess I'll need to get soemone to convert it to a IMG or HMTL file so I put it up on photobusket for the link.

francist44
01-29-2011, 11:40 PM
http://http://s16.photobucket.com/albums/b50/francis44/?action=view&current=image001-5-1.gif

This is just test to se if the word file will work. That image is just a small part of the cover

CaoPaux
01-30-2011, 12:06 AM
What if the poster would put up a link to the image hosted elsewhere instead of inserting the image? Does that still use up AWWC bandwidth? That might be a possible solution.Links would be fine, of course, but if folks keep images reasonable we can keep them in-thread.

We've received a tentative okay from On High, so stay tuned ....

BrokenSword
01-30-2011, 01:01 AM
A hearty thank you for all that have given me some feedback re 'On the L'; I've already incorporated some in proto v2 like cutting the backcover copy in half and adjusting the centering. When I lifted the cover, I was actually just cutting from a whole cover layout and wasn't exact, hence some de-centering, but I tweaked it anyway. Many have noted the black borders and originally, I had the pic edge to edge but when I was playing around with the title and byline, I couldn't get enough contrast with one or the other, so reduced the pic size and with the black border, BOTH now are set off. The blue color of the bylne isn't nearly as prominent against the lighter ceiling of the L pic and I don't know that I want to change colors (I might have in an earlier mockup but can't remember). Any other suggestions and I could possibly go back to plan A and ditch the borders. Again, thank you to all.


Michael



proto v2 with the changes; whatcha think?


http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5018/5399333436_a40fe5de82_b.jpg

BrokenSword
01-30-2011, 01:06 AM
Splendad: I too think you're getting cleaner/closer. Didn't like the eye as the 'o' part of 'of', though. Iz: I wasn't enamored of the corner 1/4 circle, but it IS unique/noticeable and that's more important. Still, a good cover overall. Chris: I think just because it looks 'like a picture with text' is why it's not working. Maybe dress up the picture with some creative filtering? Your issue with diff colors on light/dark backgrounds is also my dilemma, hence I went with a dark border and held the same color for title and byline. That is, you might consider some darkening of the edges ala fade + reducing the graphic size. Just an idea.
./

Michael

francist44
01-30-2011, 02:03 AM
http://s16.photobucket.com/albums/b50/francis44/?action=view&current=image001-5-1.gif

Splendad
01-30-2011, 08:57 AM
BrokenSword, BINGO! Readability jumped, initial pull-in on me jumped. I like softer (darker) images on computers in general so that affects it but seriously, compared to your first one, it's so much better. I'd have to look at the 2nd version for a WHILE to come up with any additional pointers (and I will)... it just looks great. This cover would stand out as ultra-cool and professional at the brick-n-mortars. Nice.

Splendad
01-30-2011, 09:05 AM
My 2nd (and final, for a while) cover of a book that will be released within the next month. Fire away if you get a moment. Is this closer to the size we need to be uploading so we don't choke the lines?

http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/3846/bookcover525x8bw200flos.jpg

Splendad
01-30-2011, 09:23 AM
Chris, I can re-work yours for you if you like (if all you're trying to do is get the text to separate from the photo). Also you can consider darkening the photo and lightening the text. Overall the book has a very cold, business-vibe to it right now and if that's what your goal is, then chalk it up. To get some ideas on contrast and pleasing-to-the-eye complementary colors and such, I think a good place to look is Doc's covers. Just lemme know if you want some simple help with that one you posted.

BrokenSword
01-30-2011, 08:38 PM
Spendad: thanks for the second looksee! Part of why I enjoy self pubbing is to have such control over the graphic variables, so I'm thankful you started this thread, too! .

Re your second cover 'The Lost Dialogues..': I like the cover a lot; the only part is the angle/curvature of the upper text. I think it should either fit the mug's curvature or be straight. The curvature you have now isn't lining up with anything I can see. I THINK you've got the lower text part (of your title) matched up to the mug's, yes? I'd go straight for this part too if you can't get the upper part to fit and/or look decent with the mug's curvature. Otherwise, it stands out.

Michael aka BrokenSword

Heitkemper
01-30-2011, 11:25 PM
Here's my first self published work. Had a friend of mine make up the cover based on my idea. See what you think.

http://mheitkemperbooks.com/uploads/2/8/4/2/2842371/9062285.jpg

CurranCR
01-31-2011, 08:56 AM
Just my opinion: The folder image is fine and I like the men in the background. I don't like the "Becoming" in cursive, though. It seems out of place with the rest of your cover. I think you should consider changing "Becoming" to a non-cursive font.


Here's my first self published work. Had a friend of mine make up the cover based on my idea. See what you think.

http://mheitkemperbooks.com/uploads/2/8/4/2/2842371/9062285.jpg

francist44
01-31-2011, 06:58 PM
The cover works for me. Good luck with the book.

Splendad
01-31-2011, 07:22 PM
Michael, I'm with Curran on "becoming." The only exception is if the whole book is focused so tightly on that act of becoming that it necessarily is more important that what the result of "becoming," is (Mortal Gods). But I'm also one who thinks that coming at it from a new angle is always a good thing; I'm just trying to respond as a reader... as an artist of sorts, I love new and different. But if it's about sales and success, you gotta fall inside some guidelines of sorts on style imo.

JerseyGirl1962
01-31-2011, 07:44 PM
Heitkemper,

Take this from whence it comes - I've worked as an Administrative Asst. in offices for quite some time, so if I'm wrong with this slight nit, tell me to buzz off...

Shouldn't the "g" in "gods" be capitalized?

Other than that, I really like your cover! :)

Francis,

For some reason, your cover isn't showing up on my computer (but maybe it's the computer).

Nancy

zpeteman
01-31-2011, 10:19 PM
Yes, JerseyGirl, it should.

DoctorMandaBenson
01-31-2011, 10:57 PM
Splendad: thanks for your kind compliments. :-) Re: the colours messing up on the cover compared to your original -- this may be a problem with conversion from working RGB to printable CMYK in Photoshop. You can fiddle with the settings when you convert and you might get better results.

Curran: Like the other people, I'm not so keen on 'mortal' being capitalised but not 'gods'. The 'becoming' font looks OK to me. The other thing I would suggest is moving the folder component of the image down (it looks like a large, plain area taking up too much cover space as it is) to include more of the top graphic with the people on, so the text does not overlay their heads. I don't think the focus is quite in the right place with it like this. Other than this, it is a nice design. The colours work well. What genre is it? I'm intrigued by the 'heavy water' label.

I like the idea of a separate subforum for this. Could be called 'Pimp my Cover'. :-)

Heitkemper
02-01-2011, 12:37 AM
Thanks to everyone for their response. I hadn't thought that the cursive writing would be a big deal, but it still seems like it's a bit divided on the opinions. We had it in printed text before, but it just appeared too dull. Most people whose seen it have liked it, and to be honest, I think I'm going to stick with it. I like the way that it looks. But I do appreciate your opinions.

As to the lower case 'g'; it's that way to play into a point in the plot. I too thought I should capitalize it being that it's in the title and all. But I figured, "Hey, I'm the publisher, I'll do what I want," right?:D

Chris P
02-01-2011, 12:39 AM
I like the idea of a separate subforum for this. Could be called 'Pimp my Cover'. :-)

Or even "Cover Art SYW"

kalencap
02-01-2011, 03:44 AM
Here's the link to my cover for a short story ebook on smashwords.

https://dwtr67e3ikfml.cloudfront.net/bookCovers/3467f613b518ef3d16086de0c392f0353ce2a892

kalencap
02-01-2011, 04:30 AM
Splendad (1st) - for an ebook cover, I think the pictures are okay. I would prefer the lettering to be brighter so both the title and name stand out.

scottishpunk - I like the simplicity of this cover. Actually, I thought it was of an owl which still works with the Greek pantheon and Athena/Athens. I didn't get the western connotation from it, but that's okay with me.

Carrades - the butterfly boots cover is okay, but it almost seems too simple a design, which is better than too complex IMO.

valeriec80 - I like the art on the cover. the lettering looks too busy to me (Four styles?)

Brokensword - the cover picture didn't do a lot for me. At first glance, the car looks empty, although there is one person way in the back. Having frequently rode the DC metro system in the 90's, an empty subway car means boredom to me. That's from my initial reaction which I realize is highly idiosyncratic based on my personal experience.

lizzyj1991 - I like the title, not crazy about the lettering style choice. Red flowers seem rather mundane, but i do like the sky/background color.

Chris P - uh, I don't get this one, sorry. Looks like something from page 5 of a company's annual report to me.

izanobu - I like the cover in the larger version, once I click on the thumbnail at B & N. The picture's a little busy for the smaller thumbnail view though. (I think this is true of my short story ebook cover as well.)

DoctorMB - I really like the P Beacon cover - probably the best on this thread so far. The Weatherman's niece cover looked too messy, too busy, to me in comparison.

Splendad (2nd) - For the "Table 18" cover, the picture seems drab. If the protag's talking with a pirate, why not emphasize that?

Heitkemper - to me, the varied lettering styles on the cover detract from it. At first, I didn't like the stained folder, but it quickly grew on me - nice effect. I actually didn't see the men in the background initially, and probably wouldn't have noticed if they weren't mentioned on this thread. On screen, the pictured men simply looked like a background color to me.

Whew, that's what I get for joining the thread so late. Hope I didn't miss anyone.

Splendad
02-01-2011, 06:29 AM
I like the idea of a separate subforum for this. Could be called 'Pimp my Cover'. :-) :roll:

zpeteman
02-01-2011, 09:14 AM
As to the lower case 'g'; it's that way to play into a point in the plot. I too thought I should capitalize it being that it's in the title and all. But I figured, "Hey, I'm the publisher, I'll do what I want," right?

The result is that potential readers are going to see what appears to be a glaring typo on the cover of the book. Is that really the first impression you want to make? What do you gain by it? Nothing.

JerseyGirl1962
02-01-2011, 06:14 PM
As to the lower case 'g'; it's that way to play into a point in the plot. I too thought I should capitalize it being that it's in the title and all. But I figured, "Hey, I'm the publisher, I'll do what I want," right?:D

That's true - you be the boss! :)

...although zpeteman makes a very good point.

@zpeteman - love your cover; the colors are esp. appealing!

Nancy

FranYoakumVeal
02-01-2011, 07:28 PM
Here's the cover to my soon-to-be epubbed YA. Title may change.



http://http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/48fc3110b9.jpg

YAWriter37
02-01-2011, 08:23 PM
I love the idea of this thread, and I wish I had a cover of my own to post. I do covers, so far just for YA, but I could try a few mainstream.

The covers that really appealed to me as I scrolled down were the bright ones, Pantheon, Inner Peace, Between the Heaves of Storm and the front cover of On the L...

If anyone has suggestions as to what covers I should try for display I'd be willing to give it a go. So far I only have one cover up on my site that isn't one for my own personal use.

http://spittyfish.wordpress.com

YAWriter37
02-01-2011, 08:28 PM
Fran Yoakum Veal, I couldn't see your cover on your site. I might just be obtuse. I'm really curious though.

YAWriter37
02-01-2011, 08:33 PM
Yes, JerseyGirl, it should.

Your cover is so far my favorite zpeteman! Wow!

YAWriter37
02-01-2011, 08:38 PM
Just my opinion: The folder image is fine and I like the men in the background. I don't like the "Becoming" in cursive, though. It seems out of place with the rest of your cover. I think you should consider changing "Becoming" to a non-cursive font.

I agree that the word becoming isn't my favorite part. I'd make it bigger at least. I like the overall idea and design though. Classy.

FranYoakumVeal
02-01-2011, 10:27 PM
I'm going to scream. I can't get the link to work. I'll try later.

YAWriter37
02-01-2011, 10:52 PM
I'm going to scream. I can't get the link to work. I'll try later.


The link to your blog works, are you trying to load the picture onto your blog?

It's a blogspot, right?
Is it just not uploading from your browser? Or is it a link from online that might be broken? Bizzarre. I have a blogspot, so I was just hoping I could help.

FranYoakumVeal
02-01-2011, 11:24 PM
Can you see it now? Escaping may not be the final title. The book is YA romance, somewhat paranormal. The MC is also dealing with the murder of her parents and the killer is still after her. One of the reasons I'm thinking about epubbing is that the book doesn't really fit a specific genre.




http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/7319/escaping.png

Chris P
02-01-2011, 11:26 PM
Fran: Oh yeah! Those eyes have me spellbound....

Yes master? You want me to what? Get back to work? Oh, you crazy minx, you!

FranYoakumVeal
02-01-2011, 11:29 PM
Fran: Oh yeah! Those eyes have me spellbound....

Yes master? You want me to what? Get back to work? Oh, you crazy minx, you!

Believe it or not, the eyes were brown, but my 13 year old recolored them. I think she may have a career in cover design!

Chris P
02-01-2011, 11:32 PM
As for a crit on the cover, I would be expecting teen romance. Is that correct? Despite the captivating model (my GF is a green-eyed--but not that green!--brunette. I have a weakness!), I'd give the book a pass because this is not my preferred genre.

FranYoakumVeal
02-02-2011, 12:12 AM
It is YA. Paranormal romance, actually. I'm going to go back and edit that into the original post.

Evelyn
02-02-2011, 02:00 AM
Hi Fran,

It's a beautiful cover and those green eyes drew me right in!

But... I'm concerned because when I saw the image, my first thought was: "That must be a memoir."

It doesn't say YA paranormal romance to me at all.

Another thing I would worry about is the model's age - does she look too old for your target audience? Off the top of my head, she appears to be in her 20's.

Please take my comments with a grain of salt, I appreciate the hard work that goes into designing a cover, and it is a very attractive cover.

Evelyn

Carradee
02-02-2011, 02:21 AM
Splendad: I like it, but the back cover copy looks… too busy. That excerpt really overdoes it. Why not use that as the first page, like some books do?

Heitkemper: I'm with everyone else who doesn't like the cursive "Becoming" or inconsistent capitals, but I think I'd be okay with it if "Mortal" was lower case, too.

Kelencamp: I like the image, but the text strikes me as too small. You know you can get freeware fonts that look nice? As it is, I can tell the snake was added in, and it looks sorta home-done. (I know, I'm one to talk.)

Fran: I told you my thoughts, already. :)

I've revised mine from everyone's suggestions (click for larger image):
http://www.freeimagehosting.net/uploads/th.f030d2925a.jpg (http://www.freeimagehosting.net/image.php?f030d2925a.jpg)

YAWriter37
02-02-2011, 02:50 AM
Can you see it now? Escaping may not be the final title. The book is YA romance, somewhat paranormal. The MC is also dealing with the murder of her parents and the killer is still after her. One of the reasons I'm thinking about epubbing is that the book doesn't really fit a specific genre.



Yup, very nice.

izanobu
02-02-2011, 03:12 AM
Fran- I like it. Not sure the paranormal part comes through, but the cover works (and would be enough to get me to read the description, where I assume it would be obvious what the book is about).

valeriec80
02-02-2011, 03:46 AM
Fran, I love the cover image itself, especially her eyes. I'm not crazy about your font choice, however. Maybe you could evoke something of the paranormal with the font. I'd do a cover search on google of YA paranormal or romance book covers and then try to find a free download of similar font. Also, while I understand your reasoning for putting your name on two lines (since it won't read over the colors otherwise), the triangular shape you've created is drawing my eyes down to the bottom of the cover and there ain't nothing going on there. :)

Carradee: I like your font, and I like the boot. I'd kind of like the contrast between the boot and the background not to be so intense, however. And I feel like your boot is swallowing your cover. I want my eyes to drift to your title, not your boot. :P Maybe try it a little smaller, and try either a different color background, a textured background, or an unassuming natural-type background (like a summer sky or something?) Also, I think you should lose the colon in front of "a story of Aleyi."

francist44
02-02-2011, 07:41 AM
These are just layout drafts i created using the simple drawing tools in MSWord
I guess should have selected a dif upload so thyewould be seen without clcking. Anyway remarks welcomed

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b50/francis44/Blue500Perfect1-1.jpg
http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b50/francis44/Red580_70kb1.jpg

zpeteman
02-02-2011, 09:32 AM
Your title is misspelled. Twice.

kalencap
02-02-2011, 05:05 PM
Fran Yoakun Veal - "Escaping" is a great cover - works for me.

francis44 - Spelling aside, I like the first cover better.

francist44
02-03-2011, 06:38 AM
Fran Yoakun Veal - "Escaping" is a great cover - works for me.

francis44 - Spelling aside, I like the first cover better.

Thanks, I also like that one better'
lol, I not only flipped the i with the e but I also kept it going for two covers! Hm.. maybe more, I'll have to see where else copied it. At lleast they're just drafts.

CurranCR
02-03-2011, 06:58 AM
Francist44 - Those colors on your cover (first file) just don't work for me. Sorry. Felt like if I looked too long I'd get a headache.
The second, red cover is a little better, but still pretty jarring.

Fran Yoakun Veal - Your cover is very striking, especially the green eyes.

francist44
02-03-2011, 04:10 PM
Francist44 - Those colors on your cover (first file) just don't work for me. Sorry. Felt like if I looked too long I'd get a headache.
The second, red cover is a little better, but still pretty jarring.

Fran Yoakun Veal - Your cover is very striking, especially the green eyes.

Thanks to both. I'm not dead set on the colors for either. More concerned with the basic layout such as the doubble demon crest. Not sure I want to keep it. I like the way the demons form a face.

CaoPaux
02-06-2011, 12:08 AM
A'ight, we've got a subforum; y'all can spread out now. :)

jdm
03-30-2011, 12:40 AM
I don't have a cover to submit (well I do but it is a piece of crap at this point and I want to recreate it for real instead of as a paste up in photoshop), but I would like to know what people don't like to see on a cover. What are the elements that turn you away from a cover right off the bat?

BrokenSword
03-30-2011, 04:53 AM
It would be better to just post because one person's treasure is another person's crap, despite I know where you're trying to go with this. Think of it like this: if I suddenly turn and see a book endcap in the bookstore, will your cover stand out from the rest? After you've got my gaze, then the graphic will appeal or not and that often is dependent on the genre, imo. If I see a romance cover, I'll not look twice as I don't read those, but if it's sf, you can still get my attention. That's when the subjective artist intent has to shine if you're trying to get me to pick up your book and read the back text.

So, it's like; I know a cover that catches my attention...ah, when it catches my attention! Can be vivid colors or not, can be unusual images or poses, etc, but you should post and give some a blurb to tell me what the book is about and I can judge by; first impression, then how well it relates to your story. IMO, everything else then becomes about details that enhance a good cover into a great one. Or at least, one that will catch my attention!


Michael




I don't have a cover to submit (well I do but it is a piece of crap at this point and I want to recreate it for real instead of as a paste up in photoshop), but I would like to know what people don't like to see on a cover. What are the elements that turn you away from a cover right off the bat?

jdm
03-30-2011, 08:53 PM
Thanks BrokenSword. Your post still gives some insight as to what you like. I was sort of attempting to see if there were certain images that just automatically cause the majority of readers to cringe and look the other way no matter what the genre is. I think there are images that spell out the same things to a lot of people. I do think it is really useful to post one's cover to get feedback, but I was wondering if there are obvious imagery paths that should not be walked at all.

For instance, in my case, I am open to almost all images on a book cover if the execution is done well. Some will strike my fancy more than others but even the lesser ones don't cause me to reject the book out of hand if well executed. The exception to that (and I truly don't mean to offend anyone who has covers of this nature because it is simply a matter of opinion and mine is only one among many) is the large image of one or two people who are too beautiful and perfect to be real dominating the entire cover. When I see such a cover, I always tend to think there must be no reality to be found on the inside pages and the story is populated by only the handsome and beautiful, with which I have nothing in common, lol. Of course I also realize that image is almost always expected for certain genres. But if I did see a cover with two average-to-homely looking people on a romance cover, I might be tempted to read my very first romance novel.

But your point is well taken, and it may be that the opinion of what doesn't work is specific to the genre, so I withdraw the question.

BrokenSword
03-31-2011, 01:16 AM
jdm:

the thing with art is, it's very subjective. And if you view your cover that way, you're going to get many opinions. I've seen covers I would swear were drawn by children (and no, I'm not saying good artists can't be children, but that the 'style' is more representative of what I'd see a grade-schooler mock up) and I would swear the reaction should be negative and yet, some posters really liked it. Sooooo, I guess if you want to stay away from the cliched covers (like you mention and rightly, imo), that's one avenue. But, IF stats show that being cliche sells books, ah, you're going to have to choose if you want that uniqueness at the expense of marketing success stories. I think, like I alluded to earlier, it's not how good your cover is but how noticeable it is among the other, similar covers of books in your genre.

If you have 10 books and all the covers are great, it might not be a given that they ALL sell well but rather, that the one that stands out might at least be given more glances by the perspective audience. Still doesn't mean that potential will be realized, just because the cover is great, but it's like getting your foot in the door.

For me, I choose the artistic way and I don't look back. The $$ isn't my main goal, so though I ask for opinions, I also am not going to probably have a cover with either sparkly people on it or the 'young and too beautiful to believe' (as you tend to eschew, also) gracing its cover.


Just post what you have and let us non-objective author types have a whack at it! At least you'll know what catches (or not) our eye and you can tweak. And I don't let any ONE opinion guide me because there's too many types of reader as well as art aficionados to please any one group. Just be noticeable, and imo, even a horrible cover gets more attention than a bland/blase one. Stand out from the crowd in some way, while still creating something most will like. And what most will like changes, btw, so perhaps peruse the bookstore and let that be your basis!


Michael

jdm
03-31-2011, 04:17 AM
BrokenSword;

Appreciate the input. I won't post at this time because the mock-up I did for my own cover contains a copyrighted background, nor could I find decent looking accessories to photoshop into it (and my photoshop skills are fledgling besides). I did it primarily to give myself an idea if re-creating it in a real setting might look decent. I think it could, but I need to find someone who would loan me the necessary accessories for the photo shoot and that will take a while. I will comment, though, that I was impressed by many of the covers I saw posted in this thread.

John

Cabriolean
04-11-2011, 01:04 PM
It's a novella, probably going to end up around 30,000 words, currently just under 10,000. It revolves around 5 girls raised in complete isolation since birth, they have been raised in a mockery of the christian religion hence the stained-glass effect. With the introduction of another girl things slowly start to fall apart.
http://catlex.deviantart.com/art/CoverDtD-204461486
I'm not sure about the font, so comments on that would be nice, I know about the discolouration around the ball and will fix it.

jdm
05-03-2011, 07:06 PM
Cabriolean:

I have no problem with the font except to say your name is too small. I don't quite get a stained glass effect out of it, though, primarily because the pieces are too small and look more like a mosaic picture than a stained glass window. I am also a bit too obtuse to figure out what the snake-like thing is holding the ball. I think it is suppose to be an arm, but I cannot reconcile how it is articulated. Perhaps I will see it if you explain it to me but I am a bit too artistically challenged to see it on my own. I like the overall color composition.

James D. Macdonald
05-03-2011, 07:20 PM
It might be interesting to do the covers in Amazon Display Format: that is, 180 pixels high, and 90 pixels high, the way you'd see 'em in an on-line bookstore.

Alessandra Kelley
05-03-2011, 08:05 PM
Cabriolean:

I have no problem with the font except to say your name is too small. I don't quite get a stained glass effect out of it, though, primarily because the pieces are too small and look more like a mosaic picture than a stained glass window. I am also a bit too obtuse to figure out what the snake-like thing is holding the ball. I think it is suppose to be an arm, but I cannot reconcile how it is articulated. Perhaps I will see it if you explain it to me but I am a bit too artistically challenged to see it on my own. I like the overall color composition.

It's a hand. I fear this may be relying a bit overmuch on Photoshop effects for the mosaic effect. The concept is intriguing, but I think it may need work.

jnfr
05-04-2011, 04:37 AM
I think it's definitely worthwhile to look at your cover in a thumbnail size (150 px high say) and the size it will be on an Amazon page (300px), and also look at it in B&W as it would appear on a Kindle. You've got to look pretty everywhere :)

AllisonK
06-03-2011, 06:35 PM
I'm new here, but figured I might as well jump right in with a critique! :) I have some design background, so hopefully that helps in this part of the forum.

Chosen: The artwork is great, looks very sci-fi. The only thing I might change is in the fonts. I would make the author's name larger (not as large as the title, just larger than the "Book One..." subheading) and change the font of the title. I can be kind of a font snob, so it may just be my own personal tastes getting in the way, but that's a very common-looking typeface (Copperplate Gothic, right?), which is one of the things that can make a cover look amateurish. With the right font, I think yours could look even better. Check out some free font sites and see if you can find something. I would aim for a font that's a little bolder than what you're using, so it stands out more. dafont.com and fontsquirrel.com are good ones, and myfonts.com has some nice freebies.

I hope that's helpful to you!

JoleaB
06-04-2011, 05:08 AM
Yes, it's very helpful. Funny, I argued with my kids about that font for a good bit. They didn't like it either, lol. That makes 3 strikes! I've been fooling around with other ideas all day and nothing works as well as this one for me. Now I just have to hope the guy who drew that monster will let me use it. It took a long time to track down where I got this from and he's a pro, so I'm not sure he'll agree. Keeping my fingers crossed.

AllisonK
06-05-2011, 01:45 AM
Glad I could help. :)

As far as fonts go, this one could work for you: http://www.fontspace.com/nicks-fonts/cuppajoe I'm not sure if you'll like it, but it's still got that scifi look to it, but is a little bolder and more unique-looking.

Good luck on getting the artist's permission!

MartinD
06-05-2011, 03:57 AM
JoleaB, I like the font but I'm confused by the artwork. What exactly are the creatures at the bottom doing to one another?

They look like "more than friends" to me.

JoleaB
06-05-2011, 06:53 PM
Glad I could help. :)

As far as fonts go, this one could work for you: http://www.fontspace.com/nicks-fonts/cuppajoe I'm not sure if you'll like it, but it's still got that scifi look to it, but is a little bolder and more unique-looking.

Good luck on getting the artist's permission!

Thanks! That font is fantastic. I'm going to try it today when I have a minute to sit down and think. I'm doubting I will get the artist's permission, so I'm probably going to start over with something else.

JoleaB
06-05-2011, 07:01 PM
JoleaB, I like the font but I'm confused by the artwork. What exactly are the creatures at the bottom doing to one another?

They look like "more than friends" to me.

One is ripping a hole in the other, allowing his soul to depart, but I certainly don't want any other connotation. Not sure what I can do about that though. Hmmm. Thanks for the input!