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AmsterdamAssassin
02-27-2011, 09:00 PM
I'd like to have reactions from viewers about this cover - what message does this cover convey to you?

[picture removed]

CheG
02-27-2011, 09:10 PM
It's too dark. The tiny thumbnail on Amazon is just going to look like a blue square. The building should be lighter to stand out against the sky.

BUT, it is a very good and professional looking design. I'm glad there are two fonts too, people miss that on covers a lot and just use one font.

AmsterdamAssassin
02-27-2011, 10:25 PM
What do you think the book is about - just from the cover?

veinglory
02-27-2011, 11:10 PM
It seems a little complicated to me. The window panes are not drawn in the right perspective and the design at the top is cluttered will too much space and emphasis on the series name. I would guess some kind of polilitcal or spy adventure series, possibly YA.

Sad Soup-eating Girl
02-27-2011, 11:24 PM
Honestly, I think it's too cluttered. The detailed building contributes to that feel, plus the various fonts and text colors/gradients... I think the text alone wouldn't be a problem but along with the street and houses, which are a completely different color scheme, I must say in all honesty, it's a bit amateuristic.

I would personally either put the street view into a reddish tint and reduce its detail, or vice-versa, make the text and the text background blue-ish, too or plain white text rechtstreeks op de night sky.

As for the contents, it looks like a detective novel.

thehairymob
02-27-2011, 11:53 PM
I agree it looks to dark. I would have thought a horror/thriller because it is so dark an image.

DoctorMandaBenson
02-28-2011, 12:28 AM
I really like the whole concept of the cover. I like how it uses the Dutch flag with an image from Holland and the font you have chosen.

I think it's a thriller or a crime novel.

Suggestions: I'm not sure what the coloured square in the window is meant to represent, nor that it adds anything. Possibly there is too much information cramped at the top of the image. Have you considered overlaying the stripes of colour more evenly over the image and spreading the wording out a bit more and seeing how this looks? The arrowhead image is perhaps too much and it might look better with this left off. Also I would suggest increasing the space on either side of the V in your name, so that the letters don't run together so much, as your name took a second or so for me to decipher.

Adobedragon
02-28-2011, 02:33 AM
My guess would be murder mystery.

It feels like the top third, the title block as it were, doesn't really belong to the image. I actually like the top third. But the dark, and overly complicated image that takes up the majority of the design, isn't working for me. It's murky and lacks any distinguishing features to grab my eye.

I think it might work better if you zoomed into some key aspect of the street scene. Ideally, the chosen image would have high contrast with some aspect being highly lit and set off with dark shadows.

Smaddux
02-28-2011, 07:17 PM
I think it horror, I agree that it is dark. I like it though if it was a thriller.

Fiona
02-28-2011, 08:06 PM
I really, really like this cover!

I do agree though, it might benefit from being made lighter...

My guess is it's a thriller or horror? Something dark? I love dark fiction and the cover would make me want to consider buying.

s.m.s
02-28-2011, 08:14 PM
Looks like a mystery, thriller or horror. I like the general idea, but I agree that its way too dark.

AmsterdamAssassin
03-01-2011, 12:01 AM
I'd like to run some changes by the collective wisdom of Absolute Write, before I suggest these changes to the designer.

Changes:

Move the Push Dagger plus 'Amsterdam Assassin Series' to the bottom and make both Dagger and text Silver, to contrast with the deep dark blue.

Example of the dagger in silver:
https://www.smaws.com/images/Cold_Steel_Safe_Keeper_II_Push_Dagger_250.jpg

No more XXX on the dagger - almost no-one understands that the three white crosses are the symbol for Amsterdam...

http://www.freeamsterdam.nl/news/images/other-pics/Wapen-Amsterdam.jpg

Shift Martyn V. Halm to the top, in the red.

Shift the title to the white part. Make the white 'off white' and the same width as the red section.

Change the lighted window to one that has no side window and make it slightly muted.

Then there is the issue of the title.

The story is about a freelance assassin, someone who kills for money. Initially, the title was 'Artisan', but that was too 'generic'.

Peccadillo means 'minor sin' or 'trifling fault/character flaw', but some people equate peccadilloes with sexual dalliances, so that doesn't work.

I played with the title Reprobate for the sequel, since my assassin is a reprobate: amoral, unprincipled, predestined for damnation.

That Reprobate is also my nickname on a variety of forums shouldn't prevent me from using Reprobate as the title of my debut novel...

Any thoughts?

the bunny hugger
03-01-2011, 12:33 AM
I didn't recognise the push dagger at all and suspect the size it is displayed at is effecting your composition. If you really want to keep it I would suggest something more subtle with order of promonance being TITLE>AUTHOR>SERIES

Soccer Mom
03-01-2011, 02:00 AM
Definitely too dark in the picture. I also didn't recognize the dagger and didn't get that the XXX was for Amsterdam.

And to be honest, Peccadillo makes me think of a sexy novel, not a thriller. The XXX sort of reinforced it.

I like Reprobate better, but it still is a bit generic. Yeah, I'd still keep working on the title.

elae
03-01-2011, 04:47 AM
I read it as the cover to a thriller. I really like that the color scheme is the flag, and my (German) wife immediately recognized the three-x crest, but not when just seeing it on the dagger.

I would really lighten up the blue section, though, like everyone has said. I have to squint to understand it.

Instead of "Amsterdam Assassin Series", consider "Amsterdam Assassin: Book 1"?

AmsterdamAssassin
03-01-2011, 03:30 PM
I still wonder if I should put a 'symbol' for the series on the cover - like the silver push dagger - or just 'Amsterdam Assassin Series' at the bottom and leave it at that.
The designer is very 'into branding', while I never thought about stuff like that. And I'm afraid that loading up on symbols will detract from the overal picture. It wouldn't be a problem if I used the Push Dagger for 'Push Dagger Publications' or something like that, but I'm not sure if a 'series' should have a defining symbol attached.
So, tiny silver push dagger before 'Amsterdam Assassin Series', yea or nay?

DoctorMandaBenson
03-01-2011, 09:03 PM
I still wonder if I should put a 'symbol' for the series on the cover - like the silver push dagger - or just 'Amsterdam Assassin Series' at the bottom and leave it at that.
The designer is very 'into branding', while I never thought about stuff like that. And I'm afraid that loading up on symbols will detract from the overal picture. It wouldn't be a problem if I used the Push Dagger for 'Push Dagger Publications' or something like that, but I'm not sure if a 'series' should have a defining symbol attached.
So, tiny silver push dagger before 'Amsterdam Assassin Series', yea or nay?

I think branding and a symbol are a great idea. I would, however, try to keep it small and simple and maybe limit it to a few colours so it doesn't detract from the overall design of the book. Have you considered turning the xxx hand dagger so it is pointing upwards or downwards and arranging the words 'Amsterdam' and 'Assassin' on either side of it in a very plain font so it can be reduced to a small size and included inconspicuously at the top or bottom of the book? Have a look at publisher's logos as an example. They are all simple, recognisable designs either in black and white or a few contrasting colours. That's the kind of branding you want to aim for.

I think some of the reason I thought it was an arrowhead was because of the orientation and the shortness of the blade.

BTW, I didn't attribute sexual connotations to the XXX (I assumed an archery glove with stitching) or the title Peccadillo, and I have a dirty mind and write fetish erotica under another name. :-P Just my tuppenceworth.

veinglory
03-01-2011, 09:11 PM
I think using a symbol for a series is fine but it doesn't need to be large or on the cover at all. From what I see many large presses don't mention the series on the cover at all and I assume they know what they are doing.

AmsterdamAssassin
03-04-2011, 01:55 AM
Well.... the designer didn't like the suggestions.

CheG
03-11-2011, 12:41 AM
Well.... the designer didn't like the suggestions.

Well you are the client. Presumably you're paying and should get what you want.

brainstorm77
03-11-2011, 01:00 AM
Well you are the client. Presumably you're paying and should get what you want.

This. They don't have to like it. You are paying them for a service, and if they can't fullfill it, then ask for your money back(if you have paid already) and find an artist who can.

veinglory
03-11-2011, 01:28 AM
Unless his designs are all over surprise best sellers, I have to agree. He knows about design, but does he know about selling books.

I remember learning that lesson very early on. The artsy stuff I like does not sell books. So when I commissioned my first cover for a self-published books I went straight for the best-selling visual tropes of my genre (see left).

AmsterdamAssassin
03-11-2011, 01:49 AM
The problem was that I liked the cover, but I got too much input that showed the cover would be misinterpreted. He didn't like it that there had to be changes made - he thought I liked it.

I explained - if it was a piece of art for my wall, then all that matters is my opinion, but this cover has to sell the book.

So we parted - he didn't want to do the last changes. He did send me a bill, but I told him I wouldn't be using his cover and he pulled out of the deal, so I can't pay him.

But I do know now what I want - I won't duplicate the cover you saw here, but most elements in the design were mine to begin with, so I've been brainstorming and I came up with a new cover design.

Now all I need is a graphic designer to help me turn my sketch into cover art.

veinglory
03-11-2011, 01:53 AM
Best of luck. Good on you for keeping on track.