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View Full Version : My EBook cover just got finalized!



Luis Samways
09-29-2012, 03:30 AM
Hey guys

I just received my professionally designed cover for my debut novel. I want to see if the money was worth spending by getting all of your valued opinions.

First a synopsis on the book:

Frank McKenzie is a broken man. His torturous existence is made only that much bearable by his precious pills. He pops them at will on a good day. On a bad day he spoon feeds himself to happiness. Today is a bad day.

Connor Chase is an ordinary guy. He is well spoken and well dressed. Every man has his breaking point; Connor’s breaking point is today. In what transpires as a whirl wind day in Bean town, Boston, MA, also turns out to be the day the United States stands still as their leaders are attacked & Boston is held hostage.

In a world where privacy concerns are top headlines, they secure another spot in the Media's eyes as Connor Chase and his men hold Boston at ransom in an attempt to change privacy laws. Frank McKenzie is tasked with being the point man to bring Chase down in his attempt to secure a 28th amendment in his image.

In a week that shocks America and destroys the careers of several prominent figures can Frank McKenzie come out of this clean or will Connor Chase drag him through the mud? Will Frank be able to stop the man he has so quickly learned to hate or will Chase get his amendment and walk free. Can Frank stop the violence from escalating or will the streets of Boston run with blood?

First my attempt at the cover:
http://imageshack.us/a/img28/5847/resizedforforums.jpg

And his rather...Better attempt:
http://imageshack.us/a/img716/1420/resizedforforums2.jpg


So...What does everyone think?

If people want his info so you can get a cover then PM me (as to not be giving out his info as a spammer lol)

The cover cost $395 btw, ....worth it?

CrystalCierlak
09-29-2012, 08:05 AM
$395? Really? I have to say that the cover doesn't necessarily match what I had in mind after reading the description. For some reason with "privacy" and "Media" in there I imagined it had to do with the internet, or something close to it. I will say the professional attempt is better than your own (no offense).

Gale Haut
09-29-2012, 08:34 AM
There are a lot of things I really like about it. And for $395 worth, I'd say you got your money's worth for sure.

Purple Rose
09-29-2012, 08:57 AM
There are a lot of things I really like about it. And for $395 worth, I'd say you got your money's worth for sure.

I must agree with Gale. 100%.

In fact, it's not a lot considering I paid US$250 just for the typography on my book and that too, was after I negotiated a special discount. I undertook the cover project on my own instead of leaving it to the publisher as I wanted my friend's daughter to design it. It looks like this (http://mahitavas.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/cover.jpg)

Old Hack
09-29-2012, 11:10 AM
Luis, we have a maximum image size here of 400 x 400 pixels. Please resize those. Thanks.

leahzero
09-29-2012, 04:32 PM
$395 is way overpriced for that. His cover isn't bad, but generic. It's a collection of images. It doesn't tell a story or capture an essence--it looks like a generic medical thriller, which doesn't seem to be what the blurb is about at all.

I mean, it looks better than the typical "my son/daughter/whatever made this!" self-published book covers, but I'm getting a strong medical thriller vibe that doesn't fit. That's what happens when someone "designs" a cover based off a vague blurb.

It's not design, it's paint by numbers. *shrug*

Luis Samways
09-29-2012, 05:18 PM
I'd say the cover conveys the story well - Boston skyline, Some pills, and blood. Thats basically my story lol :)

LBlankenship
09-29-2012, 05:26 PM
I like it, though I agree that the pills are kind of problematic. From your blurb, it doesn't sound like they're something the plot hinges on -- though they may be a major character point -- so I don't know if they should be so prominent on the cover.

I like the "Boston Blood" type and the splatters, and I always like to see the Boston skyline. (I'm a New Englander.)

And welcome to AW! See you around :)

thebloodfiend
09-29-2012, 06:06 PM
hmm.... I don't know if I like it, but it's better than the cover of The Casual Vacancy. That's all I'll say.

It just doesn't stick out to me. If I was browsing crime thrillers -- granted, I don't really read crime thrillers, though I watch the fuck out of them -- I probably wouldn't click on it.

asroc
09-29-2012, 06:08 PM
I do like it, but I think the pills make the cover look needlessly busy. They draw attention away from the title and the title is already a bit obscured by the blood spatter, especially as a thumbnail. I zoomed out and it looks a lot like "flood" or "ploob."

But I like the skyline, the grunge font and the title background.

(As an aside, 'Beantown" is a tourist word. No Boston native would refer to the city like that.)

Rachel Udin
09-29-2012, 09:15 PM
Sorry, I have a compulsion to do some editing on the blurb. lol.


Frank McKenzie is a broken man. His torturous existence is made only that much bearable by his precious pills. He pops them at will on a good day. On a bad day he spoon feeds himself to happiness. Today is a bad day.

Connor Chase is an ordinary guy. He is well-spoken and well-dressed. Every man has his breaking point; Connor’s breaking point is today. In what transpires as a whirl[cut the space]wind day in Bean town, Boston, MA, also turns out to be the day the United States stands still as their leaders are attacked & Boston is held hostage.

In a world where pPrivacy concerns are top headlines, they secure another spot in the Media's eyes as Connor Chase and his men hold Boston at ransom in an attempt to change privacy laws. Frank McKenzie is tasked with being the point man to bring Chase down in his attempt to secure a 28th amendment in his image.

In a week that shocks America and destroys the careers of several prominent figures can Frank McKenzie come out of this clean or will Connor Chase drag him through the mud? Will Frank be able to stop the man he has so quickly learned to hate or will Chase get his amendment and walk free. Can Frank stop the violence from escalating or will the streets of Boston run with blood?Even if this isn't a query, put it through Query Hell anyway... Mostly I cleaned up spelling/grammar though.


Hey guys

And his rather...Better attempt:
http://imageshack.us/a/img716/1420/resizedforforums2.jpg


So...What does everyone think?

If people want his info so you can get a cover then PM me (as to not be giving out his info as a spammer lol)

The cover cost $395 btw, ....worth it?
Compositionally and in terms of color he did much better (Triadic! Yay--for those keeping count). Also the typography is much stronger (respected margins! Yay--could do something about the rivers, but most graphic designers don't know that stuff, the pros that do book covers usually do, though). No offense intended on your own abilities.

Though I have to agree that I don't see how the pills relate (and some hardliners over at Query Hell might be ruthless enough to say cut it from the blurb.) This probably goes to show that getting a blurb critiqued is a good idea before submitting it to an artist...?

As for how generic, etc it is, depends on the elements in the story and how well you conveyed those in the description of the story. (Michael Whelan takes time to read the books he puts covers on. Or at least claims to.) I probably would choose a better and more unique element than the pills which say "Insane asylum" more than suspense. Something that only this story v. other stories have, but that may be difficult.

395 isn't bad considering pros usually charge 500. It is a step up in either case.

Gale Haut
09-30-2012, 01:06 AM
395 isn't bad considering pros usually charge 500. It is a step up in either case.

A thousand times this.

@OP And could you please re-scale the work so that it is not weirdly elongated? Your poor designer is probably going to get a hemorrhoid if she sees it like that.

Purple Rose
09-30-2012, 08:20 AM
Just adding my 2 cents: Considering Gale's and Rachel's background in design, I respect all their comments and in fact, agree with them.

However, we're all making comments based on what we see, what we get out of the blurb and whether or not we like the cover or the blurb. That's all subjective.

I think that for any creative to be judged objectively, it would help to see a design brief. This is where the key message you want to convey - along with the tone and your target audience - becomes the essence that drives the design. The designer than does his or her job by telling you how best to say it. Maybe what he gave you is spot on? Maybe a little off, though many of us actually like it?

And really, I honestly don't think you've paid a lot for the design. In Asia, where everything seems to be cheaper, my indie publisher typically sets aside US$1,000 per book including stock imagery/art, typography and finished artwork. I paid a total of US$540 out of my own pocket (personal reasons) and am very pleased with my cover. People do, sometimes, judge books by the cover.

Just to be sure, if you're working on a tight budget, maybe you could check if you have to pay extra for the stock image of the Boston skyline? Just so you're not surprised to find another US$100 added to your cost? Costs depend on usage - time, location etc. You'd one rights for global (e-books) usage, at least.

Gale Haut
09-30-2012, 09:18 AM
I'm totally with Purple on this one. I'm actually getting from this thread a vibe that if your work isn't the best thing ever on a shelf, then it's not worth the money.

$395 for a cover is amateur pay. You should expect in the ballpark of amateur quality for that amount. If you get something better, then you should be pleasantly surprised.

I was absolutely flabbergasted to see one specific member here who clearly disagrees with me, but I won't name names and I won't press the issue further.

KalenO
09-30-2012, 10:07 AM
As a designer myself, I have to say I'm with Gale on this. The price quoted is perfectly reasonable for someone with this degree of technical skill. It's sharp and professional for the most part, though I would have made a couple of different choices (ie, I would not have faded the pill bottle or pills, but rather kept it at full opacity, I would have matched the red at the bottom of the cover and the red in the blue/red lights blur so as to limit the number of hues on the cover, and I would have used the red brush/style on the bottom of the cover on a layer below the pills so they didn't interfere). There's a perception in the self-published community that work like this shouldn't even cost a couple hundred bucks, and that's seriously undervaluing the work and expertise involved.

As for how effective the cover is....again, Purple Rose is dead on with that, it comes down to the design brief. As designers, we're hired to do what the client wants, even if it OFTEN contradicts the rules of design. This is one of the dangers of self-publishing and DIY in general. There's a reason trade publishers don't usually consult authors on what their covers should look like. The skills involved in telling a story and those involved in selling that story with a single cover image are entirely different, and not always compatible. Many, many clients come to me with a clear view of what they want on their cover. Though I always offer my professional opinion as tactfully as possible, its not my job or my place to tell them their idea doesn't fit with market trends for their genre, won't convey their story well, isn't inherently pleasing to the eye, etc. (By this I mean, I try and inform them of my opinion on these things of course, but it still comes down to what they want, and I'm not going to tell a client no, I won't make your cover because I don't think your idea works.) At the end of the day, our job is to make a cover the client is happy with, as professionally and as skillfully as we can render it. Some of my happiest clients ended up with the covers I personally disliked most as a designer.

Rachel Udin
09-30-2012, 11:23 AM
Some of my happiest clients ended up with the covers I personally disliked most as a designer.
Welcome to the world of design. =P Designer's joke.

Anyway, 1/2 a day's work is automatically going rate of 500 dollars (last I checked). If you want changes it's additional money in the pro world. (My Design prof was very, very firm on this because to charge lower is to underrate and undercut the market. Absolutely do not do that and their is a manual for charging rates, if they don't like it, they can go elsewhere. And so on.)

The thing is that people often undervalue the work of a designer and think it should be 1 hour of work, easy and say, 20 dollars (Which is just laughable. That's for a friend, who is in dire straights and you're still taking classes in design and are in your first semester.) I think there is a misunderstanding that the faster it is to consume, the easier it must be to produce, but that's really not so.

Also, I'm of the thought that if you want your work respected as an artist, you should also respect other artists. =P You don't want to mock all of acting as "easy" and expect that they will also understand how hard it is to write a book. (Plus half the time art/creativity is so interconnected you are shooting yourself in the foot anyway).

So for what you got it's not bad. There were not huge gaffes, so you got your money's worth.

Alessandra Kelley
09-30-2012, 10:19 PM
Luis, I think your cover came out very well for what you paid.

As for the rest of this thread, I think some clear discussion of respect, fair prices, fair treatment and expectations may be a good idea.

Luis Samways
10-02-2012, 02:42 PM
Luis, I think your cover came out very well for what you paid.

As for the rest of this thread, I think some clear discussion of respect, fair prices, fair treatment and expectations may be a good idea.

I hear you there my friend.

As for the really strange responses I have had, I'll put this in short:

Yes the pills are bloody important, my main character uses them constantly, and they distort the way he sees the world. I don't get why people are ragging on the pills, what else should I have on there? let me guess, some blood? because I have Boston in the center, so all that's missing is blood right? Oh maybe I should of called the book Boston Pills for all of you who are questioning the reasons behind such visualizations. Come on man, I asked about the overall "awesomeness" of the cover, not a run down on whether or not I should of gone for a generic "gun and badge" cover that most thrillers have.

Damonza did an awesome job on this cover. I am real pleased with it. I just wanted to see if people thought it was well put together, not my choices on what I put on there. Although i do appreciate everyone's comments, I just find it boring when every one zones into one specific critique, and echo the fuck out of it.

Take a chill pill guys :)

veinglory
10-02-2012, 06:27 PM
The cover dimensions seem non-standard? What will get cropped off when it goes to distributors?

Maryn
10-02-2012, 08:11 PM
I hear you there my friend.

As for the really strange responses I have had, I'll put this in short:

Yes the pills are bloody important, my main character uses them constantly, and they distort the way he sees the world. I don't get why people are ragging on the pills, what else should I have on there? let me guess, some blood? because I have Boston in the center, so all that's missing is blood right? Oh maybe I should of called the book Boston Pills for all of you who are questioning the reasons behind such visualizations. Come on man, I asked about the overall "awesomeness" of the cover, not a run down on whether or not I should of gone for a generic "gun and badge" cover that most thrillers have.

Damonza did an awesome job on this cover. I am real pleased with it. I just wanted to see if people thought it was well put together, not my choices on what I put on there. Although i do appreciate everyone's comments, I just find it boring when every one zones into one specific critique, and echo the fuck out of it.

Take a chill pill guys :)Whoa, dude. A smiley does not obliterate the tone of the rest of your post. This is not the Announcements, Events, and Self Promotion board, where you might expect congratulations and hearty handshakes. If you want commentary on the cover, which is what you asked for here ("So, what does everyone think?"), you have to be open to more than its awesomeness. The hostility in the response I quoted is pretty off-putting.

And, as others have noted, it's not a standard proportion for a cover, so will something be chopped or will the image be compressed? People have asked, but you have not answered.

Maryn, former Bostonian

Gale Haut
10-02-2012, 11:39 PM
Maryn, FTW.

I think that Alessandra's post has been misread.

There are a lot of illustrators and designers here who do nothing but think about the different markets and demographics for genres, and how to best execute a strong composition that will sell like pancakes on the market.

The "Designing Book Covers" forum is a place where we come to discuss how this is done or give advice to people who feel lost at sea. So we aren't putting your choices and work down on a personal level. Everyone here was genuinely trying to be helpful.


Yes the pills are bloody important, my main character uses them constantly, and they distort the way he sees the world. I don't get why people are ragging on the pills, what else should I have on there? let me guess, some blood? because I have Boston in the center, so all that's missing is blood right? Oh maybe I should of called the book Boston Pills for all of you who are questioning the reasons behind such visualizations. Come on man, I asked about the overall "awesomeness" of the cover, not a run down on whether or not I should of gone for a generic "gun and badge" cover that most thrillers have.

In a way, I do actually like that you're standing up for your designer. But you did ask for a critique in the OP.


Hey guys

I just received my professionally designed cover for my debut novel. I want to see if the money was worth spending by getting all of your valued opinions.

(...)

The cover cost $395 btw, ....worth it?

And people here took time out of their days to answer your question free of charge.

You're welcome. :)

Luis Samways
10-03-2012, 12:48 PM
the image is reformatted for this board because one of the mods had asked me to crop it because the actual cover is too large for here. The normal cover runs @ 1600 x 2500.

veinglory
10-03-2012, 06:49 PM
The issue is not the size, but the height to width proportion. It is not industry standard and so when you send this to Amazon etc it will either not be accepted or be cropped at the top and/or bottom.

Luis Samways
10-03-2012, 08:26 PM
The issue is not the size, but the height to width proportion. It is not industry standard and so when you send this to Amazon etc it will either not be accepted or be cropped at the top and/or bottom.

Um......I don't quite know what your on about good sir. It seems to have been okay on the 100's of covers he's done before. Maybe YOU just aren't aware of this "OTHER" width length that's available haha

veinglory
10-03-2012, 08:48 PM
Distributors have a set aspect ratio. As you will discover. But... some people can't be helped, I guess.

Edit: Oh, I see, you distorted it when you posted it. How it is shown here is not how the designer made it,

James D. Macdonald
10-03-2012, 09:19 PM
http://www.sff.net/people/yog/boston_blood.jpg

Here it is with its proper aspect ratio.

Alessandra Kelley
10-03-2012, 10:42 PM
This board is about designing book covers. There is an expectation that book covers posted here are to be looked at in terms of their design, imagery, industry standards, and effectiveness.

We have some very experienced and accomplished members who effectively donate their time and experience to help in this.

If all one is looking to do is announce one's book cover without getting a critique, it's better to post in Announcements, Events, and Self-Promotion (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=34) or Goals and Accomplishments (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=31).

Luis Samways
10-04-2012, 04:54 PM
Edit: Oh, I see, you distorted it when you posted it. How it is shown here is not how the designer made it,

Yeah, sorry if my explaining was off par. That is a weakness in my story writing. I do apologize if I have come off like an asshole. You know what they say. Just nod your head in agreement.

I apologize to everyone who was trying to be helpful regarding my cover. I will make sure to be less "writer like" in defending my self in the future, after all I am new here and I'm sure it hasn't helped my chances of making anyone "get me"

Thanks everyone