View Full Version : cover art crit request: a fire king

03-02-2011, 07:32 AM
Tell me, do these looks sellable to any degree? Yes? No? Only if I don't want to spend the money on an artist? (I noticed that I forgot the name on the side binding, ignore that)

http://img818.imageshack.us/img818/451/firekingfront.jpg http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/1486/firekingback.jpg


And it would look something like this (ignore the poor cropping):

03-02-2011, 07:37 AM
I think the concept is okay, but I'm not crazy about the figure in silhouette (looks like a cartoon character or puppet).

I would probably also have used a less drastic difference in fonts between the title and the author's name.

Sorry. I assume you'd prefer honestly over an "It's looks great!" comment.

03-02-2011, 08:41 AM
No, they do not. And if the writing on the jacket copy is an indication, the book needs some serious revision as well. I'm not saying that to be mean. I'm saying that to save you a lot of money and heartbreak.

03-02-2011, 03:43 PM
Whilst I like the idea of the silhouette wreathed in fire, I don't think the fire you have drawn works well in this case. I would perhaps consider getting some stock images of fire, or looking up some Photoshop tutorials to give you an idea about how to generate better effects. Also, you have used two fancy fonts, which violates what seems to be an unwritten rule about covers I've noticed. If you use a fancy font on your cover, that's fine, but if you use other fonts in addition to this, those fonts must be very plain, i.e. sans serif and not italic. Two non-fancy fonts can also be fine. The colours used on the fonts look muddy and don't grab my attention.

The back cover copy might be better centred or justified, and it seems to be in Arial, and no-one likes Arial. :-( I think it also reads melodramatic and overwritten and is far too long. It leaves out what I would consider to be important information, such as why Andreas killed his father and how he feels about that (which makes him sound like an unsympathetic character), what a Fire King actually is, and how the king could make a decision whether or not to execute his son when he was dead. Writing pitches about their own stories is something a lot of people have trouble with, and it takes practice. Making random guesses, I think you want to go for something more like this:

Prince Andreas, a boy of eleven, killed his father the Fire King under the influence of a psychotic drug that was slipped into his porridge by the malevolent Water Queen. The Fire King's ghost appeared at Andreas's hearing and asked the jury to pardon his son and spare him the executioner's blade. In view of his father's wishes, Andreas was exiled from the palace and stripped of his title.
Eight years later, Andreas meets an old woman on the street. Offering to be his mentor, she explains to Andreas that if he can master the elements of fire, earth, water, and air, he can become Fire King and reclaim the birthright he thought he'd lost. If he can do this, he can then avenge his father's death. But before he can become Fire King, Andreas must overcome the shadows of his past and his fears of the future, deal with the love of a friend and the hatred of an enemy, and conquer the elements around him and the feelings within him.

It's not great, but it's punchier and more compact. Experiment and see what you can do.

03-02-2011, 06:57 PM
I agree with other posters that the fire effect is way too much (and the dark figure doesn't do anything for me).

I don't pretend to be a graphic artist, but I think what's done here (http://www.amazon.com/Red-Seas-Under-Skies/dp/0553588958/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299077440&sr=8-1#reader_0553588958) for the Red Seas Under Red Skies cover gets the fire point across without overdoing it.

I also agree that your blurb is too long. Check out the blurbs on other books; they usually give you just enough info on what's going on, with a minimum of words.

I think you should start with Manda's great take and tweak from there.

Good luck!


03-02-2011, 11:30 PM
Thanks for the replies. I guess this was something I just threw together to see how it would work out. Meh. Also, thanks for pointing out the ambiguity of the first few sentences. Andreas did not kill the Fire King, he merely tried to and failed. I will make that more clear. And I'll condense the description. Also, I noticed that a lot of books have their intros in the jacket cover. What are your takes on that?

Chris P
03-02-2011, 11:40 PM
My first reaction was there was too much yellow in the fire. As for the text, it just wasn't snappy; I'd have given up in the first paragraph. If you could cut the text in half I think you might have something.

03-17-2011, 07:27 AM
I'm still fairly new to book covers, but not graphic design, and the basics rules are the same for any other form of advertising material.

I really like the design concept, it does ilustrate the story of someone emerging from/mastering the element of fire.

I'd say the design is top-heavy. There is a lot of clutter at the top on the front cover, but the bottom is empty. I'd suggest balancing out the titling, with text at the top and the bottom.

I'd agree with the prior poster-the fire is mighty yellow. Try adding some more orange and red, and maybe a subtle hint of green or blue? I'd also suggest having a few tongues of flame extending above the black area where the text is on the back cover.

The big block of text on the back cover is not friendly or appealing. Less text, broken into small blocks are going to look more attractive to that hand that might reach for it. Also, make sure that you use the same type of paragraph style. One paragraph is indented, the other is not.

Italic fonts are harder for people to read than their non-italic brethren. Keep that in mind when formatting text. Make sure it's comfortable for people to read in font style as well as size.

And, don't forget to put your name on the spine.


03-18-2011, 08:28 PM
The font was hard to read and the fire was a bit much, but for something that you just threw together it was fine, with revisions from the tips and ideas, it will look great

entropic island
03-18-2011, 10:46 PM
The back is supposed to hook the reader. It doesn't have to accurately summarize the story. It's an art in it's own way. (I'm no expert on this, just going by my experience as a reader in bookstores. For example, today I bought Stephen Baxter's Ring just going off of the back cover.) You definitely need to condense the writing on the back.

As for the cover, I'm no expert, but the fire is a bit overdone.

You've gotten some really great advice in this thread already.

03-20-2011, 05:09 AM
My first thought reading the summary was that it sounded like Zuko. It's going to be hard to do a master the elements story without sounding like an Avatar knockoff, so if you haven't seen that, you should probably at least read a summary so you can keep that in mind for the blurb.