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View Full Version : Not dead! *ROUND 2* Mathematical fiction novel - NEW DESIGN IDEA IN POST #37



slhuang
06-25-2013, 06:55 AM
I'm not dead! New version at post #37 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8466545#post8466545).

(whiting out this post so people don't crit accidentally)

Everyone agreed that the first version didn't match the SFF genre at all (thank you so much for the feedback!) -- new concept sketches in post #16.






(::bites fingernails:: This is just a little bit terrifying . . .)

So, some of you may remember my question about mathematical notation being copyrighted . . . well, here's my first attempt at my cover. I'm still a ways off from releasing but I figure this way I'll have some time to make changes if I get a lot of critique here. :)

[deleted photo so people don't waste their valuable time critiquing accidentally -- click below if you're curious to see the first attempt]

Larger version here (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/casZeroSumGame-progress.jpg)

I'm looking to get to acceptable/good -- basically, I don't want it to jump out as self-published. I'm aiming for something professional-looking, but it doesn't have to be the greatest cover ever known to humankind, either. ;) Nitpicks are certainly appreciated, but I'd be ever so grateful if you give me a gauge as to how nitpicky they are (on a scale of, "Hire a cover artist if you have to!" to, "It's okay as it is, but XYZ would improve it" to, "Nobody but me would notice this" :D).

Some things I'd like feedback on in particular:

* Does it match the genre/description? (Following.)
* My MC is a woman, but is not a "sexy" sort of woman, so I'm afraid the silhouette doesn't read as female. Thoughts? Does it matter?
* Would this cover tempt you to pick it up?

And any other thoughts welcome, of course.

Description of Book

GENRE

Contemporary science fiction (basically our world / near future). I like to call it mathematical fiction, but nobody else thinks that's a genre. ;) Reads a little like urban superhero, a little like urban fantasy (1st person POV, a fair bit of snark and wry humor, will be an ongoing series). Lots of action.

DRAFT OF BLURB (hasn't been run through QLH yet, but it will be!)

Cas Russell isn't your garden-variety mathematician. She can do vector calculus in her head fast enough to win any fight, make the most outrageous escapes, and (almost) dodge bullets -- skills she uses in a seedy career as a retrieval specialist in Los Angeles. But when she rescues a young man from a Colombian drug cartel, she collides with a mystery fraught with arson, conspiracy, and murder -- and an enemy who might be just as superpowered as she is.

Gun fights and game theory go head to head in an action-adventure blend of contemporary scifi, urban superhero, and mathematical fiction. Written by an MIT-educated numbers lover, _Zero Sum Game_ cheerfully thumbs its nose at anyone who's ever dared call math boring.

From reading everyone's helpful advice here, I felt I needed three elements in play here:

(1) an indication of the mathematics (since that's the whole premise),
(2) a depiction of my MC (since it's very "hero"-centered), and
(3) a suggestion that it's speculative fiction (which I tried to do with the font in this version).

So that's how I came up with this cover (plus I am thinking I will do every book in the series with a different silhouette / different color gradient / different background math appropriate to the book). But if you think I should redo it completely, feel free to say so! My limitations: I'm a trained fine artist (somewhat) but not at ALL a graphic artist, nor do I have any experience with typography. Also, I'm reluctant to use stock photography to show my MC, because then I'd have to find a stock photo of the same woman for every other book cover (and she's a POC so it's already hard to find!). Hence the silhouette. I mention all this in case it impacts suggestions if people recommend a redo. :)

Thanks in advance, everyone!

Polenth
06-25-2013, 07:16 AM
It's generally okay. The main thing I don't like are the halos around everything black.

The person doesn't really read as anything, as there isn't enough of the body to tell. I don't see that as an issue.

To me this says contemporary thriller. The same goes for the description, as nothing she can do sounds outside of the realms of special thriller protagonist. If that's the market you're aiming at, you're going the right way. If you were hoping to market more to the SFF crowd, they're likely to overlook it, not realising it's SFF. But tweaking the description might help solve that (and that'll be for another thread).

Kerosene
06-25-2013, 07:20 AM
I also see it as a contemporary thriller. It was my first idea. Guy with a gun, numbers behind him, and a title that doesn't say anything 'spec-fic'-y. Reminds me of a bit more aggressive Numb3rs (if you've seen the show).

I like the borders around the text, and I'd say you can make the text bigger.

Invincibility
06-25-2013, 08:23 AM
I agree that the title should be made bigger. There's a weirdly empty feeling about the space the title is in right now.

I don't see anything wrong with the silhouette, but if you want to make it clear that she's a woman maybe show that she has long hair? If she has long hair, anyway. If she doesn't then I'm of no help here.

Kerosene
06-25-2013, 08:34 AM
I don't see anything wrong with the silhouette, but if you want to make it clear that she's a woman maybe show that she has long hair? If she has long hair, anyway. If she doesn't then I'm of no help here.

Wait, a woman?

Totally missed that part. Yeah, the silhouette doesn't look like a woman to me. Looks more like a man with straggly hair.

Dunno what to do about it. :e2shrug:

F.E.
06-25-2013, 09:18 AM
The current cover makes me think the novel involves a youngish male MC, some intrigue, lots of killing, all of that in a contemporary world (such as today's world, due to the conventional pistol). ... I don't think that's the impression you want your cover to give.

Perhaps consider some of the following:

1. Use a background that involves a big summation symbol that sums up something from something to something which is then "=" to a weird zero symbol. Yanno, a mathematical zero-sum-equation, even if it really doesn't make sense, as long as it gives a casual reader the sense that it is mathematical and that it means the same thing as your title (which will also be on the cover).

2. Use a definitely female MC on the cover.

3. Add a sci-fi element or two on the cover, so that it screams that it is sci-fi (like a laser or space ship or robots or metallic clothes or vulcan ears or ...).

4. Make sure your cover looks good as a "thumbnail", that the math stuff is still visible (your current mathematical background won't be visible on a thumbnail) and the MC still looks like a woman and the sci-fi elements are recognizable.

Good luck! :)

slhuang
06-25-2013, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! MUCH appreciated!! Rep points coming your way. :D

Interesting about the contemporary thriller vibe. I was trying to say "action-adventure" with the graphics and "sci fi" with the font, but I guess the latter doesn't come across. There aren't really any classic scifi elements in the book (no spaceships or robots or anything like that . . .), even if I stretched for it, so I'm not sure about putting something like that on the cover. Would a more clearly "sci fi"-ish font help, do you think? I do think the book would appeal most to a nerd/scifi crowd, and there are definite science fiction elements but not really anything I can think of a way to draw a picture of . . . ack . . .

Related to the "no clear scifi elements to picture" problem -- the MC has short hair and doesn't dress in a feminine fashion at all (I screwed myself there). In both of these cases I'm not opposed in theory to making the cover art slightly inaccurate to the text (if I can think of a way to do it that's not TOO far off!), but if you were a reader, how much would it bug you if you read the book and the cover depiction was clearly not-quite-related? (I know I always roll my eyes at book covers like that . . . but maybe those publishers did it for a reason!)

I can definitely make the title text bigger. Everyone seems to agree on that. :D


Reminds me of a bit more aggressive Numb3rs (if you've seen the show).


That's . . . actually not a bad description of it in tone, except it pushes over into clearly fictional elements with the superpowers angle, and future books delve into math and technology that haven't been invented yet and are definitely science fiction. Maybe it's sort of like a magical realism version of "Numb3rs," ha. (I think I definitely have to work on how I describe the categorization and synopsis!)

Actually, speaking of magical realism, Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds comes to mind, which has this cover (http://www.amazon.com/Blackbirds-Chuck-Wendig/dp/0857662309/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top) . . . would something like this work, where the figure of the MC sort of "becomes" the mathematics? Although, I'm not sure I'm a good enough graphic artist to pull that off . . .

Another way I've thought about describing the book is that it's something like superhero comics/movies -- take the MCU movies for example (Iron Man, Avengers, etc.); they have science fiction elements of future tech but otherwise basically take place in our world. That's DEFINITELY very similar to what I'm doing, and the tone/humor of my series is very similar to those also, I think. So another idea would be to do some sort of comic-type cover -- the problem there being that I can't draw in a comic style at all! But I could work at it and/or hire someone if people think that would read better for what I'm doing.

Thanks again so, so much for your feedback on this, everyone. Invaluable. :Hail:

Putputt
06-25-2013, 11:46 AM
Actually, speaking of magical realism, Chuck Wendig's Blackbirds comes to mind, which has this cover (http://www.amazon.com/Blackbirds-Chuck-Wendig/dp/0857662309/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top) . . . would something like this work, where the figure of the MC sort of "becomes" the mathematics? Although, I'm not sure I'm a good enough graphic artist to pull that off . . .



Just wanted to chime in with my two cents...I love the Wendig cover and if I saw a character "melding" into math, I'd pick up the book right away. But it does seem pretty hard to get right, and I've seen a few really, really bad versions (I can PM you examples of what I've seen :D) that have made me go "Eurkk, BAN THIS", so it strikes me as something that if you get it wrong, you get it really wrong. So if you're not confident you can pull it off, maybe you might want to look into commissioning a graphic artist?

Anyway, with the current cover...I agree about the title being bigger. I love the equations in the background...but the silhouette does look to me more like a man, and I don't like the straggliness of his hair. Also, his arm looks kinda stumpy for some reason. *looks down at stumpy hippo paws* It might just be me projecting. :D

Okay I'm just rambling now, so I'll stop. Hope this was helpful!

slhuang
06-25-2013, 12:04 PM
Just wanted to chime in with my two cents...I love the Wendig cover and if I saw a character "melding" into math, I'd pick up the book right away. But it does seem pretty hard to get right, and I've seen a few really, really bad versions (I can PM you examples of what I've seen :D) that have made me go "Eurkk, BAN THIS", so it strikes me as something that if you get it wrong, you get it really wrong. So if you're not confident you can pull it off, maybe you might want to look into commissioning a graphic artist?

Yes, please PM me the bad ones if you don't mind! :D It sounds like this might be a good place to go with it (er, not the ones you want to ban, I mean the good kind). Or at least, I'll fiddle with it and try for it and possibly think about hiring someone if I can't get it right.


I love the equations in the background...They might be all correct game theory equations. This might have been the thing that took me the longest to do out of the whole cover.

*ahem*



but the silhouette does look to me more like a man, and I don't like the straggliness of his hair. Also, his arm looks kinda stumpy for some reason. *looks down at stumpy hippo paws* It might just be me projecting. :D Haha! Yeah, I think part of the problem is that my protag is NOT very attractive at all . . . which I like, but I didn't realize how much it might screw me over with regard to the cover. Oops.



Okay I'm just rambling now, so I'll stop. Hope this was helpful!Very! Thank you!

Putputt
06-25-2013, 12:19 PM
Haha! Yeah, I think part of the problem is that my protag is NOT very attractive at all . . . which I like, but I didn't realize how much it might screw me over with regard to the cover. Oops.



WUT. I love that. The MC in my first book is also not very attractive at all, and I do wonder how (if it ever gets to that stage) that would affect the book cover. I always figured she just won't be shown on the cover, which kinda sucks, but whatever.

Correct game theory equations huh? *puts on glasses* *squints into computer*

Old Hack
06-25-2013, 12:35 PM
So, some of you may remember my question about mathematical notation being copyrighted . . . well, here's my first attempt at my cover.

Just a quick word here: I remember being a little confused by what you were asking in that thread but now I see your cover, I realise what you wanted to know for.

Maths notation itself isn't copyrighted; but the work you've used on your cover will be, so unless that's your own workings you might well be in trouble; and if you found and used an image of someone else's workings, then that image will also be under copyright.

If you did use an image or someone else's workings without realising they were under copyright send me a PM, as I might have a good solution for you.

slhuang
06-25-2013, 12:46 PM
Just a quick word here: I remember being a little confused by what you were asking in that thread but now I see your cover, I realise what you wanted to know for.

Maths notation itself isn't copyrighted; but the work you've used on your cover will be, so unless that's your own workings you might well be in trouble; and if you found and used an image of someone else's workings, then that image will also be under copyright.

If you did use an image or someone else's workings without realising they were under copyright send me a PM, as I might have a good solution for you.

Haha, yes, *I* felt like my question was confusing at the time, but I couldn't figure out how to ask more clearly!

The definitions and equations are all real definitions and equations from game theory. However, I didn't copy any one textbook's variable notation or any author's way of writing the equations; I decided on my own variable notation and wrote out all the same *concepts* using the variables I had decided upon in a way that made consistent sense throughout the whole block I was writing (I mean, I understand all these concepts, so it was sort of like writing out my own definitions for English words "in my own words" except in math symbols) . . . but I'm still not quite clear whether it's okay. Because there is, of course, similarity between what I wrote and the notation in different books, as there are only so many ways one can write the exact same concept mathematically and still be correct . . . but to my knowledge I did not directly copy anyone's work.

From the feedback here it looks like the cover design will be changing significantly anyway, but I still greatly appreciate the feedback and I will send you that PM as it's possible I will run into the same problem with other cover design ideas. :)

Alessandra Kelley
06-25-2013, 03:06 PM
I think the silhouette reads as a man because of the forehead.

On average, women have smoother, rounder foreheads with very little brow ridge, and men have more angular foreheads with more of a brow ridge. It's one of the ways to tell the gender of a skull.

While this is only an average (and actually I have rather a high, flat forehead with a bit of a brow ridge myself), in images with so little to go on visually we use those clues to "see" which gender a figure is.

Cover the figure's forehead and imagine it a little more rounded and curved back from the eye sockets, and I think you'll see what I mean.

slhuang
06-25-2013, 03:22 PM
On average, women have smoother, rounder foreheads with very little brow ridge, and men have more angular foreheads with more of a brow ridge. It's one of the ways to tell the gender of a skull.


Wow, thank you! I didn't even think of checking how skull gender differentiates; that makes a lot of sense, especially if I'm going for an image like this. Thank you!

onesecondglance
06-25-2013, 03:33 PM
Hi,

Disclaimer: I know sod-all about graphic design

That said, it feels a little... cautious to me. Like it's holding back a bit. Look at other contemporary thriller covers and the text is right there in your face, with the images providing a backdrop to the title and author name. Here, the images have more than equal billing, but are also holding back - a silhouette is not a high impact image.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is to do whatever the visual equivalent of turning it up to eleven is. I'm not suggesting you add flourishes or additional elements - just make more of what you've got. Angus Young in front of a wall of Marshalls rather than Steve Vai with a practice amp.

slhuang
06-25-2013, 04:13 PM
Okay! So, I banged out a few concept sketches (very rough) according to the "person turning into math" idea. (I hope it's okay that I post them this rough -- I really want to get some feedback on matching the genre before taking the time to perfect . . .)

It seems like my main problem here is typing myself in the correct genre -- I definitely want it to read as SFF/spec fic.

Do any of these work better for that?

http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/tn_2013-06-25_04-32-44_560.jpg
Larger version here (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013-06-25_04-32-44_560.jpg)
#1) Vaguely more fantasy-looking, I think? Math pouring out of her hands, the symbols growing larger and larger, maybe looks sort of like "magical" math, which if it reads that way would actually match concept pretty well as I *think* the book reads a bit like urban fantasy . . .


http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/tn_2013-06-25_04-33-11_667.jpg
Larger version here (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013-06-25_04-33-11_667.jpg)
#2) Similar graphic to the first attempt, but the silhouette breaks up into lines of numbers & equations on the left side and with a more computer-y font. Looks more scifi, I think, but maybe looks too "cyber" genre? (Which doesn't fit.)


http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/tn_2013-06-25_04-33-35_877.jpg
Larger version here (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013-06-25_04-33-35_877.jpg)
#3) Here's my attempt at a more comic book-y feel -- it felt too busy at first (I added in some background elements) but the more I look at it the more I like it, and I think it might match the feel of the novel pretty well. The arm/foot would break up into mathematical symbols going up and to the right (where the scribbles are now :)). I do worry about the mathematical symbols competing with the title -- I actually worry about that for all of these . . .


http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/tn_2013-06-25_04-34-05_983.jpg
Larger version here (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2013-06-25_04-34-05_983.jpg)
#4) MC running and bursting out of the math -- mathematical symbols expand and grow larger toward the left. I tried a variety of different ways of titling here and the small/quirky lettering seemed to work best (otherwise I again had the problem of competing too much with the symbols). I'm not sure it matches the genre well enough, though . . . does it look like spec fic? (Or could it look like spec fic with tweaking?)

Thoughts, oh wise AWers? Do any of these work better? None of them? Mix an' match elements?

Thank you so much, all!! :D You've already been so helpful.

Polenth
06-25-2013, 07:03 PM
The one with the running person would help solve your person issue, as body shape is usually an obvious difference. It's hard to say about the science fiction elements, because you've been vague about what they are, but I'd say it's generally more SFF.

Putputt
06-25-2013, 08:48 PM
Ooo, I quite like #4! But the title would have to be bigger.

Toothpaste
06-25-2013, 09:28 PM
I like number 4 too.

But don't get too stuck on the human silhouette thing, don't let it blind you from other possibilities. Are you sure you even need one?

buz
06-25-2013, 09:37 PM
'Nother vote for 4. :)

onesecondglance
06-25-2013, 10:44 PM
4, but with the title covering the whole top third, and the author name the whole bottom third (so the image is the middle third and background to the rest of it). And in capitals.

slhuang
06-26-2013, 05:10 AM
Thanks, everyone! It looks like opinion is quite unanimous!

It will take me quite a while to do a mockup, I'm sure -- I'll post here for more critique when I get there. :D This thread has been INCREDIBLY helpful and I really can't thank everyone enough.


It's hard to say about the science fiction elements, because you've been vague about what they are, but I'd say it's generally more SFF.

Sorry, I wasn't intentionally vague about the SFF elements -- I think I am just bad at explaining the premise. I think the comparison to superhero universes is perhaps the best one. Some of the characters have powers, which will eventually be explained "scientifically" (science fictionally) but essentially work like superpowers, and include things like the MC's super mathematical ability and also things like telepathy and prophecy (essentially). There is also near-future tech like robots and fantastical biological manipulations and mathematical breakthroughs that haven't happened yet, though not so much in the first book. I think the best comparison I've managed to make so far is the one to the MCU, where Captain America has a super serum and the Hulk turned himself into a green monster chemically and Tony Stark has an AI with a personality and the villains turn themselves into monsters via technology, but otherwise it's still basically our world.


I like number 4 too.

But don't get too stuck on the human silhouette thing, don't let it blind you from other possibilities. Are you sure you even need one?

Oh, trust me, I've tried a lot of variations that didn't depict a person!

Part of the problem is that depicting mathematically-related graphics on a book with a mathematical name and without a person present makes it look, to me, like a nonfiction book about game theory. Even if I get casual or cartoony with it, it still looks to me like a popular science book about game theory or mathematical history. ;) So I think if I'm putting math on the cover -- which I do feel is important -- then I do need some indication of character, if only to make it clear that this is a fiction novel. (If there's something you think would work better, though, by all means let me know.)


Thanks again, everyone! I'm sure I will spend a good deal of time on the art before it's done, so if future people stopping by want to continue to add comments or suggestions, please feel free.

Toothpaste
06-26-2013, 08:09 AM
What about math equations that make the shape of a gun silhouette?


Btw, someone will tell you at some point here if I don't so I figured why not, but fiction novel is redundant. A novel is always fiction. "Fiction novel" is actually something agents and editors look out for as a sign of an author who is still green about the ears. Basically I'd recommend either referring to it as a fictional thriller about math or a thriller novel etc. I truly hope this doesn't sound obnoxious or condescending. I'm really sincerely just trying to be helpful :) .

slhuang
06-26-2013, 09:06 AM
What about math equations that make the shape of a gun silhouette?

Tried that; it made it look even more like a contemporary thriller than the original design I posted. (Which it's not -- you may have missed this up above; everyone *thought* the first design looked like a contemporary thriller but it isn't supposed to be. SFF readers are my target demographic; I think thriller readers would be very disappointed.) Thanks for the suggestion, though.



Btw, someone will tell you at some point here if I don't so I figured why not, but fiction novel is redundant.Yes, I know. I have an unfortunate tick of being overly redundant (<-- see there, I just did it again) on forums and in email because I am always so concerned about being misunderstood (a case, I'm glad to say, of code-switching between linguistic registers rather than learned writing -- if I wrote fiction the way I write forum posts I would be a terrible, terrible writer!). I'd never refer to a novel that way in a blurb or other "official" copy (and wouldn't even have done it here except for trying to emphasize the fictional aspect). Sorry if I stepped on a redundancy pet peeve there.

(Unless, wait, are you talking about my thread title? Because "mathematical fiction" is a descriptor the same way "science fiction" is -- I absolutely don't see anything wrong with saying, "science fiction novel;" "science fiction" is a genre descriptor. Mathematical fiction (http://kasmana.people.cofc.edu/MATHFICT/) is a very small niche genre of science fiction. But it's useful to know that such a phrasing might read as "mathematical [space] fictionnovel" rather than the intended "mathematicalfiction [space] novel" -- even though it amuses me greatly as a genre descriptor, it's possible I should only use the phrase "mathematical fiction" when I'm talking to people who already know what it means. I didn't realize it wasn't a phrase people would immediately figure out and parse correctly upon hearing, so thanks.)

Rachel Udin
06-26-2013, 06:25 PM
Though it's useless to vote now, I also vote 4. It looks fun to play with from an art POV. Also, it solves all issues with the type by making room for it.

The mathematical equations might be harder to type set correctly. You'll have to put some thought into the arrangement. (Just warning you ahead of time). There is bursting out, there is noisy and there is a gigantic mess. I'd aim for deliberate, but not too much so (such as straight lines all across). (You might want to do some roughs before trying to type set that monster. More to get a basic idea than say this is it... As someone who did take typography, I'd be scared without a sketch first...)

On 4, for the name/title I would definitely use caps, but a san-serif font. Don't go digital at all because the equations should do that work for you. Separation between the equation font and the san-serif font might work... but I'd experiment before committing.

For the equation font: You can try for very clear handwritten font (as in easy to read)/black boardish font. (as in schoolroom but without it looking like chalk) or a digital font. It's also worth using the same san-serif font. Be aware that not all fonts have created math symbols either.

The digital option you can look at Matrix. The black board idea I got from a Japanese drama about physics where a physicist often solves problems by writing out long formulas, so the opening and closing credits for both series have a sort of very clean hand written font. (It's well type set in both cases though also manages to look chaotic. I like the typesetting on that... also because the font looks very close to the actor's own writing.) (This is an Either/or... not an and situation.)

Now quite sure what's closer to concept, but I'd take a shot at all three before saying no.

slhuang
06-26-2013, 06:37 PM
Rachel, I was SO hoping you'd weigh in!! You have no idea how much I feel like I learn here every time I read one of your posts. :D

Thank you so much for all the input. Super, super, SUPER helpful!!!



For the equation font: You can try for very clear handwritten font (as in easy to read)/black boardish font. (as in schoolroom but without it looking like chalk) or a digital font. It's also worth using the same san-serif font. Be aware that not all fonts have created math symbols either.

Yes, that drives me nuts trying to do this. I've been using LaTeX to do the math symbols (which limits me to these fonts (http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/mathfonts.html) (and possibly fewer than that as I haven't read the licenses for all of them)), but now that I'm going more abstract rather than actual equations, perhaps I can find a font that has a limited number of math symbols included instead.

Just to make sure I'm clear -- by "handwritten font" you mean a font that looks like handwriting, right? Not trying to letter the math pieces myself? (<-- probably a dumb question)

Thank you again! I'm definitely going to take everything you said under advisement and experiment with it.

Rachel Udin
06-26-2013, 06:48 PM
Rachel, I was SO hoping you'd weigh in!! You have no idea how much I feel like I learn here every time I read one of your posts. :D

Thank you so much for all the input. Super, super, SUPER helpful!!!



Yes, that drives me nuts trying to do this. I've been using LaTeX to do the math symbols (which limits me to these fonts (http://www.tug.dk/FontCatalogue/mathfonts.html) (and possibly fewer than that as I haven't read the licenses for all of them)), but now that I'm going more abstract rather than actual equations, perhaps I can find a font that has a limited number of math symbols included instead.

Just to make sure I'm clear -- by "handwritten font" you mean a font that looks like handwriting, right? Not trying to letter the math pieces myself? (<-- probably a dumb question)

Thank you again! I'm definitely going to take everything you said under advisement and experiment with it.
Handwritten font as in someone else has created it for you. 'cause creating a font is difficult. TT OMG I had no idea. Before I thought 24 dollars for a font was expensive, but now I think 300 dollars for a full font is cheap. It took me two weeks to create my first font and it was painful. (And I was only doing A-Z). And it still ended up ugly.

Usually it's under "School" and "handwritten" fonts. But don't go with anything with fancy curls or leaning into cursive (more looks like print)... Also nothing with a chalkboard ragged effect. (It gets hard to read at small sizes).

ETA:
Arev
Computer Modern Bright
Iwona
Kurier
Kurier Light

from LaTeX would be good ones to try. The last one is more a reflection on your character. If you think they don't have much presence, then going with a lighter weight font might help. It might also work because font weight also influences importance.... but I'm not sure graphically. (My type prof was against artificial bold... going into why is a bit too technical though.)

I'd definitely sketch a few ideas of the pattern first though.

slhuang
06-26-2013, 06:58 PM
Handwritten font as in someone else has created it for you. 'cause creating a font is difficult. TT OMG I had no idea. Before I thought 24 dollars for a font was expensive, but now I think 300 dollars for a full font is cheap. It took me two weeks to create my first font and it was painful. (And I was only doing A-Z). And it still ended up ugly.

Usually it's under "School" and "handwritten" fonts. But don't go with anything with fancy curls or leaning into cursive (more looks like print)... Also nothing with a chalkboard ragged effect. (It gets hard to read at small sizes).

Copy that! Thank you again!! I think I'm going to organize all your suggestions into a list I can look at as I work on the design and play around with different ways of doing it . . .

And oh my gosh, I can't even imagine designing a font. It seems like there would be so, so many subtleties involved. Font design is so impressive to me; I just have no idea how you all do it!

slhuang
06-26-2013, 07:00 PM
ETA:
Arev
Computer Modern Bright
Iwona
Kurier
Kurier Light

from LaTeX would be good ones to try. The last one is more a reflection on your character. If you think they don't have much presence, then going with a lighter weight font might help. It might also work because font weight also influences importance.... but I'm not sure graphically. (My type prof was against artificial bold... going into why is a bit too technical though.)

I'd definitely sketch a few ideas of the pattern first though.

Oh my gosh, Rachel, thank you. You're my hero!

Toothpaste
06-27-2013, 12:45 AM
(my response to "fiction novel" was as you used it in your post, not the title thread, just to answer that question :) )

slhuang
06-27-2013, 01:42 AM
(my response to "fiction novel" was as you used it in your post, not the title thread, just to answer that question :) )

Okay, good. (Whew.) Like I said, sorry if I stepped on a redundancy pet peeve there! I have a few things myself that make me twitch when people use 'em, no matter the context, so I definitely understand that.

Tezzirax
06-27-2013, 02:20 AM
I am way outvoted here, but I like #2 the best. The big, strong silhouette is going to read better as it breaks away into numbers and equations. The other strong point is it brings us closer to your character, allowing you to show us some personality in the silhouette. The more distant images reduce the person on the cover to just a blank puppet with the personality of an action figure.

slhuang
06-27-2013, 02:25 AM
I am way outvoted here, but I like #2 the best. The big, strong silhouette is going to read better as it breaks away into numbers and equations. The other strong point is it brings us closer to your character, allowing you to show us some personality in the silhouette. The more distant images reduce the person on the cover to just a blank puppet with the personality of an action figure.

Thanks, Tezzirax! I still really appreciate the opinion -- no problem about being outvoted. :)

Toothpaste
06-27-2013, 07:31 AM
Lol, no worries. Just so you know, though, this isn't a pet peeve, a little thing that annoys me personally. I mentioned it only because it is a large industry wide pet peeve. And is seen as a sign that the author doesn't understand the meaning of certain words. Which of course as an author is the last thing you want thought of you. It's a warning sign. It's ultimately not a huge deal, but I wouldn't mention it if it was just some little thing that bugs me. It's big enough to matter.

Old Hack
06-27-2013, 09:56 AM
"Fiction novel" is definitely big enough to matter as a problem--thanks for pointing it out, Toothpaste.

slhuang
06-27-2013, 10:08 AM
Yes, thank you. I had no idea it was any more bothersome to people in writing/publishing than other redundancies, all of which I do try to avoid as bad writing when I'm not, y'know, writing forum posts. :)

slhuang
10-05-2013, 06:22 AM
I want to say a big THANK YOU again to everyone who critted me in the first round!!!!

Everyone agreed on liking a particular one of my concept sketches, and I tried, tried, tried to make it work. Unfortunately, every attempt ended up getting scrapped as totally crappy. I also discovered two things:

1) I suck at Photoshop. Takes me forever to learn new skills in it.
2) More importantly, it seems to be pretty much impossible to find out whether LaTeX math fonts can be licensed for commercial use. Even if you read through all the licensing. Even if you go to every single website imaginable. Even if you email the designers. :gaah

*puts head through a wall*

So even if I keep plugging away at Photoshop, which I AM willing to do, I'm not sure I'd even be able to use that idea anyway. :cry: And of course I don't want to put a ridiculous amount of work into chipping away at making something that I'm not going to be able to end up using . . .

But. BUT! In the depths of my cover-designing frustration I started idly paging through stock photos, and found out that . . . drumroll . . . there's mathematical stock art. WUT! This completely* solved my font worries!

* Well, I do wonder how the artist got permission for the fonts! But *I* don't have to worry about that if I'm buying the stock art, do I? . . . do I?

I was reluctant to veer from y'all's advice, dear critters -- I'm so indebted for all the feedback you gave me, and I want to apologize for not being absolutely sure I could use a math font before I posted in the first place. :( I was not meaning to waste anyone's time, and if I end up hearing back on the fonts I might go back to that design and still try to make it work.

But in the meantime, here's a try at something that uses the stock art:

http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/zsg16tn.jpg

Larger version here (http://www.slhuang.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/zsg16-624x936.jpg)

(obviously, the watermark will disappear when I buy the art, and the math symbols will also be a higher resolution)

To recap: The cover should read speculative fiction / gritty superpowers fiction. The premise is "mathematics as a superpower" (if you could do math--any sort of math--really, really fast, what COULDN'T you do?). Lots of gunfights and explosions and some people with impossible abilities fighting over the fate of the world. Plus the occasional topology joke.

I was going for a comic-y feel with the foreground (edit: as in, comic book / graphic novel-style art, not funny-comic), but I'm not sure it's coming off correctly (see "I suck at Photoshop" above). All thoughts welcome.

benbradley
10-05-2013, 07:00 AM
I recall posting in your earlier thread about math notation, but I don't recall where it is now. I only recall it was some obscure-to-me area of math, and it has its own notation. I was hoping it would be something I'm interested in and know something about, such as number theory (I at least know enough to be dangerous).

This cover looks substantially better than I recall of the older ones. You say you want comic-y, but this looks totally serious to me. There's a font that has a "comic-y feel" but I don't want to even mention it, because ... for many reasons, we just shouldn't go there! :D

Dunno about the comic/humor thing, but I have an idea, a symbolic thing of the title: In a quite large font, digit zero followed by the Greek letter capital Sigma, then followed by either a roulette wheel or a couple of "hands" of playing cards fanned out to indicate "Game." Perhaps each word of the title would appear under its symbol.

slhuang
10-05-2013, 07:32 AM
This cover looks substantially better than I recall of the older ones.

Thanks!! That's VERY good to hear!


You say you want comic-y, but this looks totally serious to me.Sorry, I should have been more clear -- I meant I was going for something that evoked comic book / graphic novel / superhero *art,* not something that was funny-comical. If that makes sense?


In a quite large font, digit zero followed by the Greek letter capital Sigma, then followed by either a roulette wheel or a couple of "hands" of playing cards fanned out to indicate "Game." Perhaps each word of the title would appear under its symbol.Hahaha I like it! It just . . . wouldn't have anything to do with the book. *mulls* (A later book is planned to have literal casino games in it, but in this one the "zero sum game" has to do with stopping a global conspiracy.) Thanks for the suggestion, though! *mulls more*

onesecondglance
10-05-2013, 12:29 PM
The background looks great. I am unsure about the foreground. It took me a while to realise it was actually a shape that the little figure was standing on, rather than just a colour block to make the title text stand out. I don't want to have a go at your Photoshop skills because mine are next to non-existent, but there's a quality gap between the stock art and your own additions, and unfortunately it's quite obvious. :(

I'd be tempted to ditch the current foreground and try to come up with some sort of abstract design that can sit behind the title text - perhaps some kind of modified sigma? This would provide the comic book / superhero-type element and also help the title stand out from the background.

I also have an irrational dislike of italics, so I would "un-italicise" the title / author font and put it in block white. That's just me, though. :)

RichardGarfinkle
10-05-2013, 12:51 PM
I agree about the background and foreground. The mathy area is good but the block and the figure need replacing IMHO.

I may be behind the times on this, but one concern I have is that right now this reads to me more like The Matrix or cyberpunk than superheroing since that sort of monochrome angled imagery with delineations has been used for cyberspace.

slhuang
10-05-2013, 06:41 PM
The background looks great. I am unsure about the foreground. It took me a while to realise it was actually a shape that the little figure was standing on, rather than just a colour block to make the title text stand out. I don't want to have a go at your Photoshop skills because mine are next to non-existent, but there's a quality gap between the stock art and your own additions, and unfortunately it's quite obvious. :(


I agree about the background and foreground. The mathy area is good but the block and the figure need replacing IMHO.

Oh dear, I was afraid of that. I was hoping I would get away with a "simple" feel rather than a "low quality" feel, but nope . . .

The block of color is supposed to vaguely evoke a building, but it clearly is not doing that. :gone: If it did read that way, would it improve the cover, or you guys think the whole foreground concept needs a redo?



I'd be tempted to ditch the current foreground and try to come up with some sort of abstract design that can sit behind the title text - perhaps some kind of modified sigma? This would provide the comic book / superhero-type element and also help the title stand out from the background.
I may be behind the times on this, but one concern I have is that right now this reads to me more like The Matrix or cyberpunk than superheroing since that sort of monochrome angled imagery with delineations has been used for cyberspace.Interesting! Thank you! I was going for the "person looking out over a city" feel, because I did a bunch more image research and the two main "superhero" images seemed to be that one and flying, BUT clearly I am not pulling it off correctly. Thanks, guys.

buz
10-05-2013, 07:02 PM
Oh dear, I was afraid of that. I was hoping I would get away with a "simple" feel rather than a "low quality" feel, but nope . . .

Mmm, not simple enough :D



The block of color is supposed to vaguely evoke a building, but it clearly is not doing that. :gone: If it did read that way, would it improve the cover, or you guys think the whole foreground concept needs a redo?


I don't the composition of it in general, tbh...:( the way there's a diagonal grey mass over the background stuff bothers me in that placement and color and everythang...

I think you can simplify further :)

Putputt
10-05-2013, 07:22 PM
Oh dear, I was afraid of that. I was hoping I would get away with a "simple" feel rather than a "low quality" feel, but nope . . .

The block of color is supposed to vaguely evoke a building, but it clearly is not doing that. :gone: If it did read that way, would it improve the cover, or you guys think the whole foreground concept needs a redo?

Interesting! Thank you! I was going for the "person looking out over a city" feel, because I did a bunch more image research and the two main "superhero" images seemed to be that one and flying, BUT clearly I am not pulling it off correctly. Thanks, guys.

I got that it's supposed to be a building, but the textures aren't at the right angles. Hmm, not sure if that makes sense...

The texture on the side of the building looks like it has lines, but the front side of the building doesn't, which throws me off. And then the top of the dark grey side isn't lining up with the top of the light grey one, so it makes the building look kinda off.

As for the person, the shape of the outfit isn't quite working for me because it looks like they're wearing bell-bottoms and a loose shirt, which makes me want to relax. It's also not quite clear what it is they're holding...is that a rifle? And I'd have the hair be less blown back.

Hmm, okay, I think that's it...I really like the layout though, so I think once you tweak the buildings and shit you'd have something decent.

slhuang
10-05-2013, 07:24 PM
Bu, you have that particular talent of being super helpful while also making me laugh. :D Thanks!

It seems everyone is in consensus, but at least it seems I'm inching in a better direction with this cover. *mulls on new foreground design*

I'm open to hiring a cover designer if I just can't improve it enough, but I've seen the improvements in some of the other cover design threads here and I'm hoping that if I keep pecking at it I'll keep getting closer. I couldn't do it without this feedback, so I really, really appreciate the help. :D

slhuang
10-05-2013, 07:41 PM
I got that it's supposed to be a building, but the textures aren't at the right angles. Hmm, not sure if that makes sense...

The texture on the side of the building looks like it has lines, but the front side of the building doesn't, which throws me off. And then the top of the dark grey side isn't lining up with the top of the light grey one, so it makes the building look kinda off.

That's cuz it was supposed to be a second building behind the first, not the side of the first one. :chair At least you got that it was a building, though! (small victories)

I did intentionally make the angles wonky because I was going for the comic-book-y feel, but that's not a style I have any experience drawing in -- I've always drawn realistic and struggled with comic-style (and clearly still do!). So I clearly failed at that!



As for the person, the shape of the outfit isn't quite working for me because it looks like they're wearing bell-bottoms and a loose shirt, which makes me want to relax. It's also not quite clear what it is they're holding...is that a rifle? And I'd have the hair be less blown back.Interesting! Thanks! I didn't even think about the clothing stuff.

(And it is a rifle, but I figured (perhaps erroneously?) that what mattered more with the cover was the feel of it so it didn't particularly matter if you could see what it was . . . but since you brought it up, maybe it does matter?)



Hmm, okay, I think that's it...I really like the layout though, so I think once you tweak the buildings and shit you'd have something decent.Thanks! That's good to hear. There seems to be some division of opinion on whether I should scrap the layout completely . . . maybe I'll see what I can do with it one more time. *more mulling*

Thanks again, everyone -- you guys are the best and I owe you big time for all the help. :e2arms:

usuallycountingbats
10-05-2013, 07:43 PM
I'm going to preface this with the fact that I have all the artistic ability of the average brick, so you're already streets ahead of where I'd be.

That said, I really love the stock photo, and I really don't love the figure and the grey block, though I also got that it was supposed to be a building. The figure looks too cartoony for me, and the building looks like a road a bit. I agree the angles on it are wrong.

I know you're worried that the image of maths stuff without the figure would look too non-fiction, but how about maybe either just the stock photo with a tag line under your title to make it clear it's not a book about game theory? Or, if you hate that, how about a silhouette down one side of a person, but only half of them. So them from head to foot, maybe holding a gun, but either side on and only their front half, or face on and only their left (or right, whatever). That should make it easier to show femininity, but would get rid of the massive block of grey.

Obviously, given the disclaimer at the top of the post, a 'thanks for the comment' response followed by some laughing and pointing behind my back is an entirely appropriate reaction :D

LetterBright
10-05-2013, 07:46 PM
I'm in agreement with others that the foreground is the biggest weakness on this cover, but I wanted to add my thoughts about the background, too. For me, as a "math person", it doesn't have enough math in it. When your cover is smaller, as it will be in a thumbnail preview on websites, I'm not sure I'd even be able to tell that there were equations there. I love the concept of math stock art, though!

If you have quick photoshop questions or need something fairly simple done, let me know. I'm not a graphic designer, but I am a photoshop expert.

slhuang
10-05-2013, 08:06 PM
That said, I really love the stock photo, and I really don't love the figure and the grey block, though I also got that it was supposed to be a building. The figure looks too cartoony for me, and the building looks like a road a bit. I agree the angles on it are wrong.

Woot! TWO people got that it was a building!

. . . but apparently it still needs to go.

(Despite the fact that you don't like it, I'm a bit chuffed you think the figure is *too* cartoony, as I was trying to draw cartoony and usually have no success at it. Clearly it still doesn't *work,* but still! Small victories.)



I know you're worried that the image of maths stuff without the figure would look too non-fiction, but how about maybe either just the stock photo with a tag line under your title to make it clear it's not a book about game theory?Like, "a novel"? Hmm. I think you're absolutely right that that would make a good cover, but the other thing I'm worried about is that it would come off as too contemp or thriller, and I don't think those audiences would go for it at all. But maybe I'll try one like that for kicks . . .



Or, if you hate that, how about a silhouette down one side of a person, but only half of them. So them from head to foot, maybe holding a gun, but either side on and only their front half, or face on and only their left (or right, whatever). That should make it easier to show femininity, but would get rid of the massive block of grey.Ooo, thanks for the suggestion!!!



Obviously, given the disclaimer at the top of the post, a 'thanks for the comment' response followed by some laughing and pointing behind my back is an entirely appropriate reaction :DBats, you know I love ya. :D Thank you.


I'm in agreement with others that the foreground is the biggest weakness on this cover, but I wanted to add my thoughts about the background, too. For me, as a "math person", it doesn't have enough math in it. When your cover is smaller, as it will be in a thumbnail preview on websites, I'm not sure I'd even be able to tell that there were equations there. I love the concept of math stock art, though!

Yah, that has been my eternal struggle with this cover -- making the math elements obvious while not overwhelming the title text with something else text-like. I think you could be right that it's not obvious enough in this version . . . thank you for pointing it out!



If you have quick photoshop questions or need something fairly simple done, let me know. I'm not a graphic designer, but I am a photoshop expert.Oh, thank you!! That is SUCH a generous offer, and I really appreciate it!

Welcome to AW, by the way. You'll love it here. :) :welcome:

Putputt
10-05-2013, 08:16 PM
Obviously, given the disclaimer at the top of the post, a 'thanks for the comment' response followed by some laughing and pointing behind my back is an entirely appropriate reaction :D

Thanks for the comment.

*points and laughs at bats*

usuallycountingbats
10-05-2013, 08:19 PM
Thanks for the comment.

*points and laughs at bats*

Was the part where you were to do that behind my back not clear?

Or was I just not supposed to check into this thread again? :Shrug:

slhuang
10-05-2013, 08:20 PM
Obviously, given the disclaimer at the top of the post, a 'thanks for the comment' response followed by some laughing and pointing behind my back is an entirely appropriate reaction :D


Thanks for the comment.

*points and laughs at bats*

No, Hippo, not cool. You're supposed to point and laugh BEHIND HER BACK. Get it right!

:D

edit: Dammit, ninja'ed!

usuallycountingbats
10-05-2013, 08:21 PM
No, Hippo, not cool. You're supposed to point and laugh BEHIND HER BACK. Get it right!

:D

edit: Dammit, ninja'ed!

Thankyou. And also thanks for remembering I am a girl, which also seems to confuse the hippo. What with the terribly masculine way I write and all. ;)

Putputt
10-05-2013, 08:22 PM
Was the part where you were to do that behind my back not clear?

Or was I just not supposed to check into this thread again? :Shrug:

Oh god, are you STILL here?

*waits for you to leave so I can point and laugh at you*

*still waiting...*

Putputt
10-05-2013, 08:24 PM
Thankyou. And also thanks for remembering I am a girl, which also seems to confuse the hippo. What with the terribly masculine way I write and all. ;)

Butbutbut...you are SO clearly a boy!! Clearly!!

usuallycountingbats
10-05-2013, 08:24 PM
Oh god, are you STILL here?

*waits for you to leave so I can point and laugh at you*

*still waiting...*

Ok, I am now leaving to go and write the report about the bats I did not count, which is what I should be doing rather than procrastinating on the net. Again. You have a window of several hours in which to point and laugh.

ETA: And I promise I am so clearly not a boy in any way. I am sure we've done the boobs thing.

slhuang
10-05-2013, 08:25 PM
Bats, you are always welcome in my thread. I will protect you from the big lumbering hippo! She's just mad because you're a cute li'l bat and she's . . . a big lumbering hippo.

*leaps in front of bats* I'LL PROTECT YOU WITH MY NINJA SWORD!

*wonders why threads always devolve when the hippo enters them*

:D

buz
10-05-2013, 08:26 PM
slhuang, I was thinking on this more (because I'd rather think about your book cover than all the crap I'm actually supposed to be doing, obvi) and, just to inform my cogitations--you are aiming for not thrillery, more comic book cover? Or like a sci-fi cover with comic booky elements? Is it comedic at all (like comic book satire)?

(forgive me if you've already explained this...as should be apparent from all the caramel tampon stuff, my cognitive state/memory is not good at the moment)

slhuang
10-05-2013, 08:27 PM
Ok, I am now leaving to go and write the report about the bats I did not count,

Bats you didn't count? Wuuut? Is that even possible?



ETA: And I promise I am so clearly not a boy in any way. I am sure we've done the boobs thing.Ooh, so that's why the hippo keeps calling you a boy. She wants to see your boobs again. It iz clearly her nefarious plan. :evil

Putputt
10-05-2013, 08:28 PM
Bats, you are always welcome in my thread. I will protect you from the big lumbering hippo! She's just mad because you're a cute li'l bat and she's . . . a big lumbering hippo.

*leaps in front of bats* I'LL PROTECT YOU WITH MY NINJA SWORD!

*wonders why threads always devolve when the hippo enters them*

:D

*sits on sword and squishes it*

*yawns*

Okay, back to your usual programming.

*lumbers away*

LetterBright
10-05-2013, 08:29 PM
Welcome to AW, by the way. You'll love it here. :) :welcome:

Thanks! I'm excited to be here. Writers make me happy. They feed my reading addiction. :D

slhuang
10-05-2013, 08:42 PM
Gawd, guys, it's Bu who's getting my thread back on topic. What is the world coming to.


slhuang, I was thinking on this more (because I'd rather think about your book cover than all the crap I'm actually supposed to be doing, obvi) and, just to inform my cogitations--you are aiming for not thrillery, more comic book cover? Or like a sci-fi cover with comic booky elements? Is it comedic at all (like comic book satire)?

The feel I'm going for (although it hasn't been through beta yet, and maybe my betas will tell me I'm wrongwrongwrong about the way I'm categorizing . . . er), is, you're right, not thriller. It's pretty action-packed, but to my mind the "thriller" genre is a particular kind of book (in particular, more plot- than character-driven) that this does not fit into. It's also first-person narration and almost urban-fantasy-esque in style (if not in subject).

The book is not exactly comic book-y, but to my mind it's sort of "gritty superpowers" in the way the rebooted Batman movies try to be more realistic and not campy at all. Definitely would not categorize it as comedic, though it's pretty light reading fair. In tone, I would say it's in the same vein as The Dresden Files -- action-y popcorn reading with some snarky humor, but not comedy.

Here are some covers that evoked what I thought was the same "feel" I wanted to. I haven't read the books -- I, er, should, as they might be close to what I'm doing and help inform me about the market -- but the blurbs are similar in feel also:

Vicious (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/03/cover-reveal-v-e-schwabs-vicious)
Seven Wonders (http://www.adamchristopher.co.uk/cover-reveal-seven-wonders/)

Again, I might have no perspective at all and my betas might tell me that my book isn't similar in the LEAST to these . . . maybe I should wait till it's through a few betas to post another design :gone: . . . but that's sort of the vibe I was going for. (I cannot come CLOSE to the art on either of those covers, though.)

slhuang
10-05-2013, 08:43 PM
Thanks! I'm excited to be here. Writers make me happy. They feed my reading addiction. :D

As you can see from this thread, we're all nuts. :D But friendly nuts!

I took a look at (and bookmarked) your website, btw. Whee!

ElaineA
10-05-2013, 08:51 PM
Hey, cool. I've never stopped in here before because I probably have even less artistic ability than Bats. (No pointing an laughing from me, Bats!)
But it's you, Lisa, and math, and all those squiggly lines and Greek letters and you know how I feel about those!

I'm only addressing the thumbnail because that's all I'd see if I was looking online. I love the background, agree with others on the foreground. It really drags the eye away from the equations and the dark feel. I found the font of the title/author created a disconnect for me. It feels very Space Mountain and far less sophisticated than the background.

I think the black/neon red of the background communicates gritty. I don't know how you'd get the superpowers in there except to just have your figure surrounded by equations. I like the idea of a person down the side, maybe in an assertive stance. (I have a goofy vision of stock down, hand on the end of the barrel. Is that a cowboy thing? :Shrug:) I also think your instinct to get some sort of "downtown" feel is right for superhero/graphic novel feel, but I kinda feel like it should be behind your figure, on the edge of the page.

Oh, for gawd sake, who am I kidding. I know nothing about this stuff. I LOVE your background. I shoulda stopped there.

ETA: OK, I know I'm pokey, but what happened here while I was typing??

slhuang
10-05-2013, 08:58 PM
ElaineA!!! So glad you stopped in!! :kiss: I was going crazypants with these people. :rolleyes:



But it's you, Lisa, and math, and all those squiggly lines and Greek letters and you know how I feel about those!

I DO. *strokes self and Greek letters*

er.



I'm only addressing the thumbnail because that's all I'd see if I was looking online. I love the background, agree with others on the foreground. It really drags the eye away from the equations and the dark feel. I found the font of the title/author created a disconnect for me. It feels very Space Mountain and far less sophisticated than the background.Copy that. Seems we have a consensus!



I think the black/neon red of the background communicates gritty. I don't know how you'd get the superpowers in there except to just have your figure surrounded by equations. I like the idea of a person down the side, maybe in an assertive stance. (I have a goofy vision of stock down, hand on the end of the barrel. Is that a cowboy thing? :Shrug:) I also think your instinct to get some sort of "downtown" feel is right for superhero/graphic novel feel, but I kinda feel like it should be behind your figure, on the edge of the page.Whoa, this is SUPER useful! Especially the stuff about the downtown stuff and putting it behind . . . must think . . . thank you!



Oh, for gawd sake, who am I kidding. I know nothing about this stuff. I LOVE your background. I shoulda stopped there.Whut! Shuttit! You know very well that you don't need to be any sort of expert to offer valuable crit, which this definitely, definitely is. Thank you so much!! :D


ETA: OK, I know I'm pokey, but what happened here while I was typing??. . . you really need to ask? ;) :rolleyes:

usuallycountingbats
10-06-2013, 02:26 PM
Bats, you are always welcome in my thread. I will protect you from the big lumbering hippo! She's just mad because you're a cute li'l bat and she's . . . a big lumbering hippo.

*leaps in front of bats* I'LL PROTECT YOU WITH MY NINJA SWORD!

*wonders why threads always devolve when the hippo enters them*

:D

She tried to tell me hippos were cuter than bats. I know, I know. . .


Bats you didn't count? Wuuut? Is that even possible?

Ooh, so that's why the hippo keeps calling you a boy. She wants to see your boobs again. It iz clearly her nefarious plan. :evil

Yeah, I didn't say it would be an interesting report. No bats here, nothing to see, move along now. It's ok though, everyone knows people only read the executive summary anyway ;)

I've tried to tell her the boobs was a one off thing, just to prove a point. But I think you're right. *shakes head sadly* And we both have husbands. Such a cliche.

buz
10-06-2013, 03:02 PM
Gawd, guys, it's Bu who's getting my thread back on topic. What is the world coming to.

I know. I'm sad.

Mkay, so, your explanation helps. The sorts of images I was cogitating over are, I think, a bit campier than you want :D

Maybe a lot campier. ;)

Maybe I will have all teh insightz after reading...:D [/useless]

JournoWriter
10-09-2013, 05:15 AM
I sort of thought that "for when" was part of a strange subtitle. That didn't compute as math in my head, and was a bit distracting.

slhuang
10-09-2013, 05:18 AM
I sort of thought that "for when" was part of a strange subtitle. That didn't compute as math in my head, and was a bit distracting.

Oops! Thank you; that's very helpful!

CerebralCovers
10-10-2013, 04:05 PM
Slhuang,

I will admit that I read only the description of your new book and did not read anyone's critiques so that I would not be influenced by their ideas. I personally really like the idea of a concept similar to the Blackbirds cover you linked. Of your sketches, #4 is my favorite and has some good use of white space. Of course, to make a quality version of this you will need to be very good at photoshop and illustrator to bring this together properly.

Another suggestion could be to use an important event within the book and translate this to the cover. This will reinforce the covers link with the story inside. Just like a movie preview that shows a vague description of its plot to create interest. The plus is that readers often find it entertaining to come upon the scene that influenced the cover and recognize their relation.

The most important thing to ask yourself is whether the cover you've created supports the themes of your book. If you we're to separate the cover from your book, do you think readers would be able to recognize it in a line-up as the cover that goes with your book?

If you have any questions, I would be happy to help.