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SBibb
08-14-2016, 03:16 AM
EDIT 7: Cover has been finalized. Thanks for the help! :-D

EDIT 6: Final Choices at Post #45. :-D

EDIT 5: Updated Proof (V6) at Post #36

EDIT 4: New Variations at Post #28

EDIT 3: New Variations at Post #23

EDIT 2: New Variations at Post #9

EDIT: I added a second variation, which has a bit more of a border around the top and a different font. Let me know which you like better, and your thoughts about each. Thanks! :-)

I've been working on a fantasy short story that's set in the same universe as my The Wishing Blade series (see my avatar), but it's a stand-alone, focusing on a different region with different magic.

I plan to publish it on Kindle.

This is the cover I've come up with this far, and I was looking for feedback. Does the font work (debating on changing it). Is the cover eye-catching? Does it feel "fantasy" enough? What does it make you think of?

The title is tentative, as is the wording about it being a short story.

V1

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW.jpg

V2

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V2.jpg

Thanks for any feedback! :-)

Southpaw
08-15-2016, 01:07 AM
I prefer version 1. I wasn't sure about the text, but the text in ver. 2 is too rigid and normal--if you know what I mean. I like the color gradient and the webbing. It doesn't scream fantasy.

Do you have a blurb, just so we can inundate you with suggestions. ;)

Loverofwords
08-15-2016, 01:25 AM
Is there any way you can get the text from Ver 1 onto the cover of Ver 2? I like that Ver 2 has darker colors and seems more ominous, but the text on it isn't the greatest.

SBibb
08-15-2016, 03:31 AM
This is what it looks like with the first font and the second background (with a tiny tweak to the brightness):

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V3.jpg

Blurb, uh... well, let's see if I can throw one together real quick. It's still in progress, but hopefully this will give you an idea of the story.


In the world of The Wishing Blade, everyone is born with two strings of magic. One strand is life, and the other is death. Very few can manipulate them.

Among the Cantingen Islanders, children are tested for that very ability during the first rites of magic, a ceremony which determines what magic they have and their future as mage. But when Edyli's little sister, Akymi, dies in an accident before those rites can occur, Edyli does the unthinkable. She uses word magic to return Akymi to the living, and subsequently finds herself in a land of web-like strings and a strange law of physics... the afterlife.

Edyli refuses to give up seeing her sister's first rites. With the help of a goddess and sheer determination, she has every intention of seeing her sister once more, even if it means incurring the wrath of the goddess of the dead.


Thanks for taking a look, both of you! :-D

Feidb
08-15-2016, 03:37 AM
To be honest, it doesn't look like a fantasy cover. It more resembles a general fiction, maybe a thriller or even a science fiction story, but not fantasy. Just my take.

Don't get me wrong, it's not bad necessarily, but it just doesn't seem to fit the genre very well. Neither the font style nor the graphic background.

On the other hand, for a cover and given the title, it kind of works. I favor the first one though, because the font is a bit less generic.

Southpaw
08-15-2016, 06:21 AM
I like the darker colors. I dunno how to make it more fantasy. I do like it as is, but I was thinking to push the fantasy a little you could add a few dew drops on the web--not a lot, and not very big, and then give them a slight sparkle or "sunburst effect." Or just make parts of the web a little glowy. There is a little of that in the top right corner. At least that's something to play with.

CathleenT
08-15-2016, 06:37 AM
What if you took your cover image from Magic's Stealing and got rid of the character? You could change the colors, maybe change the image size a bit, and have the version 1 font superimposed on top of it, perhaps.

Just throwing an idea out there. It might give it more of a fantasy feel, and it could possibly even help with branding. And you probably already have the image. :)

chompers
08-15-2016, 07:06 AM
It looks like a non-fiction book, like a medical book or something.

SBibb
08-15-2016, 09:28 AM
EDIT 5: Cover has been finalized. Thanks for the help! :-D

EDIT 4: Final Choices at Post #45. :-D

EDIT 3: Updated Proof (V6) at Post #36

EDIT 2: New Variations at Post #28

EDIT: New Variations at Post #23


It looks like a non-fiction book, like a medical book or something.

You know, someone on Twitter told me the same thing. So... this doesn't seem to be working.


What if you took your cover image from Magic's Stealing and got rid of the character? You could change the colors, maybe change the image size a bit, and have the version 1 font superimposed on top of it, perhaps.


Actually, the current image is pretty much what you're suggesting, minus the bowl and with the addition of the strings. I guess I could try it without the strings, but then I'm worried it would look even less fantasy than it does now.


I like the darker colors. I dunno how to make it more fantasy. I do like it as is, but I was thinking to push the fantasy a little you could add a few dew drops on the web--not a lot, and not very big, and then give them a slight sparkle or "sunburst effect." Or just make parts of the web a little glowy. There is a little of that in the top right corner. At least that's something to play with.

My attempts to do dewdrops failed miserably, but I did add a starburst/dewdrop effect to the web.


To be honest, it doesn't look like a fantasy cover. It more resembles a general fiction, maybe a thriller or even a science fiction story, but not fantasy. Just my take.

... I favor the first one though, because the font is a bit less generic.

All right, I think I need to try a different style. I am going to try using a less generic font.

So... Take two. This is what I've come up with. Changed the font a bit, and digitally painted the new figure. Not sure if it looks professional enough, but how's this?

Version A (colors based on previous cover)
http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_A.jpg


Version B

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_B.jpg

Version C (slightly darker version of B)
http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_C.jpg

or

Version 4 (different text and starburst effect on web)

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V4.jpg

Version D(same as Version A, but no facial features)

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_D.jpg


Thanks for all the help! :-D

CathleenT
08-15-2016, 08:34 PM
I actually like version D, but that's because the features make the protag look very young, like early teens. It does have more of a fantasy feel now. :)

SBibb
08-15-2016, 10:51 PM
I actually like version D, but that's because the features make the protag look very young, like early teens. It does have more of a fantasy feel now. :)

Thanks for the input! :-D

The character is actually supposed to be one of the goddesses that the protagonist runs into, but I can see how having no facial features makes it more ambiguous. I don't mind that at all, if it's not off-putting to readers. :-)

I also started wondering if the current face option looks too peaceful, where as the goddess in the story is far more stern.

Alary
08-15-2016, 11:00 PM
Personally, I like it much better without the character. But then again, I almost always think characters on the cover look cheesy, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. (If I had to pick one of the ones with the character, I'd pick C, but with the eyes, mouth and nose removed with the rest of the shading intact.) The font change between Stone and String looks awkward to me, though. I think you did it to give a stone-like effect to the word stone, but personally, I think it looks unappealing.

MaeZe
08-15-2016, 11:31 PM
Another vote for D. In the first one in the OP, I don't like the lettering because my eye reads 'siring' instead of string, the t and the i look too similar. So the lettering in your last batch is definitely better.

I prefer the character. A face would be fine but maybe not the one in versions A-C. Otherwise faceless is good. The character adds to the picture without being specific enough to imprint on the reader's mind, another argument for faceless. I agree with Alary that you have to be careful with characters. But for me, it's not cheesy so much as it gives me an impression sometimes as strong as the synopsis and it can be a turn-on or a turn-off.

satisverborum2003
08-15-2016, 11:39 PM
I like version 4 the best. It has a nice contrast and I like the starburst effect on the web. If I was to choose the one with the character, it would be D . However, I would like it if the face was a bit more defined.

Latina Bunny
08-15-2016, 11:52 PM
I really like version D the best, though I feel the "A short story" font text should either be a different font and/or be moved just a bit. Something feels a bit amateur about that part of the font.

To me, I think if that text part can be adjusted just a little bit, then it could look like it really does belong to the cover instead of clashing with the character. Or maybe shorten it to "A Wishing Blade novella" to help make more room.

Also, totally random and if you don't mind my asking, I'm wondering why is the goddess on the front and not the protag? (Maybe it's just me, but I usually see protagonists or love interests on the front of the covers that do have characters.) Is it a YA story?

ETA: Another vote for keeping it faceless, if you want to keep the cartoony character. The other versions with the faces don't look as professional.

chompers
08-16-2016, 12:08 AM
I don't like any of these, sorry. It definitely looks like Fantasy now, but it looks like it got thrown together on Paint. Sorry. But if I had to pick one, I'd pick A. The font is very strange though, how the font changed on the second and third row of the title. I know many titles use different fonts, but there's no reason for the change (no emphasis of a specific word, etc.), except maybe just because to have differing fonts. Try changing the ALIGNMENT of the fonts, so they're more overlapping, or changing font sizes of the words (like the first letter). I liked the Stone font, but the String font is not very flattering.

EMaree
08-16-2016, 12:21 AM
Have you considered using a stock photo of a brown-skinned woman in a similar outfit? The art isn't quite working for me (and obscuring a PoC character's face is a cover trend I have a strong dislike for) but the font treatment is strong, and I feel like it would go very nicely with a colourful stock photo. Ostill has a very nice stock photography (http://www.shutterstock.com/g/ostill?searchterm=arabic&search_source=base_gallery&language=en&sort=popular&safe=true) of Arabic models in belly dancing gear, this is a nice collection (http://www.shutterstock.com/g/Luna+Vandoorne?searchterm=purple+headscarf&search_source=base_gallery&language=en&sort=popular&safe=true) of an Arab lady in a purple headscarf, this has a nice (http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-90285505/stock-photo-muslim-young-woman-with-hennaed-hands.html?src=XStNHKTEYVzmglgZHAG0MQ-1-29) protagonist-y feeling, and you can find many more using keywords like "Muslim headscarf purple" (http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-146591438/stock-photo-portrait-of-a-beautiful-muslim-woman-isolated-on-a-white-background.html?src=bm2bT2ZgFJeGcslaY08G7g-1-10).

I do worry that, overall, focusing on the woman in your cover is going to send off the wrong signal about your book. Most readers will assume the figure on the cover is the protag -- is your main character a PoC, at least? If not, readers looking for PoC main characters might be negatively surprised.

Southpaw
08-16-2016, 03:08 AM
So, I like the direction of D, but I don't care for the image. It's doesn't match the style of the background, which makes it look pieced together.

gtbun
08-16-2016, 12:27 PM
Lose the image. The background texture is fine, though it could stand to be darkened some. Don't mix typefaces in the same series, i.e. two or three different ones within the title. I would stick with standard serif fonts, as you had in a previous iteration. It may not look like a fantasy book, but most fantasy books look pretty rotten. I would drop the size of the byline "short story from, etc" and place it at the top in one line. And have the same typeface across the board. Be careful of drop shadows, they rarely look anything but horrid. If you're losing definition in your text, consider making the shadow or using a glow that is the same colour as the background but slightly darker. I don't know whether you have the technical capability to do that, i.e. InDesign, but it's the option I would choose. Though darkening the background somewhat as I suggested might also relieve the need to a drop shadow on the text.

Cindyt
08-16-2016, 12:36 PM
The first one more vivid.
EDIT 2: New Variations at Post #9

EDIT: I added a second variation, which has a bit more of a border around the top and a different font. Let me know which you like better, and your thoughts about each. Thanks! :-)

I've been working on a fantasy short story that's set in the same universe as my The Wishing Blade series (see my avatar), but it's a stand-alone, focusing on a different region with different magic.

I plan to publish it on Kindle.

This is the cover I've come up with this far, and I was looking for feedback. Does the font work (debating on changing it). Is the cover eye-catching? Does it feel "fantasy" enough? What does it make you think of?

The title is tentative, as is the wording about it being a short story.

V1

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW.jpg

V2

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V2.jpg

Thanks for any feedback! :-)

Latina Bunny
08-16-2016, 01:27 PM
I also agree with Emaree about using stock photo imagery, since that is what many YA (and many adult SFF) tend to have when it comes to having a character in front, but I wasn't sure if the OP wanted that or had any stock photo images.

Thinking on it, Sibbib, isn't the Version D concept similar your avatar book cover? That avatar cover looks better than the cartoon image cover, and, it looks like it may have a photo image.

Like Emaree said, it would look better with stock image (or maybe an excellent realistic character painting).

I'm still curious why the protagonist is not on front. Like I said earlier, most YA and adult SFF usually have the protagonist or protagonists on from if they the types of covers to include any people on the cover at all.

gtbun
08-16-2016, 01:44 PM
Also, while we're at it. Lose the caps in the author name, have it all small caps (small caps always look better than their bigger counterparts for some reason).

SBibb
08-17-2016, 08:20 AM
EDIT 4: Cover has been finalized. Thanks for the help! :-D

EDIT 3: Final Choices at Post #45. :-D

EDIT 2: Updated Proof (V6) at Post #36

EDIT: New Variations at Post #28

Ooo, boy. There's a lot to go through here. O_O

All right. I've read through everything (though I'm sure I've missed something), and responded below under the new proofs (The +1 character mentions are notes for myself). I tried to pick out what to start with, and the result is several different cover variations. I took a few of these to my local writing group, got more feedback, and created one other variation.

Note: In the case where I used stock images, I used the comp images from Dreamstime. A licence will be purchased if I decide to use a particular image in the final cover.

V5

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V5.jpg

V6

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V6.jpg

V7

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V7.jpg

V8

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V8.jpg

V9

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V9.jpg

V10

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V10.jpg


Personally, I like it much better without the character. But then again, I almost always think characters on the cover look cheesy, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. (If I had to pick one of the ones with the character, I'd pick C, but with the eyes, mouth and nose removed with the rest of the shading intact.) The font change between Stone and String looks awkward to me, though. I think you did it to give a stone-like effect to the word stone, but personally, I think it looks unappealing.

+1 for no character. Also, I changed the font so it's all one way or all the other.



Another vote for D. In the first one in the OP, I don't like the lettering because my eye reads 'siring' instead of string, the t and the i look too similar. So the lettering in your last batch is definitely better.

I prefer the character. A face would be fine but maybe not the one in versions A-C. Otherwise faceless is good. The character adds to the picture without being specific enough to imprint on the reader's mind, another argument for faceless. I agree with Alary that you have to be careful with characters. But for me, it's not cheesy so much as it gives me an impression sometimes as strong as the synopsis and it can be a turn-on or a turn-off.

+1 for character, but better face, or faceless.



I like version 4 the best. It has a nice contrast and I like the starburst effect on the web. If I was to choose the one with the character, it would be D . However, I would like it if the face was a bit more defined.

I've redefined the face. Probably still needs work, but maybe it looks better? I tried merging some of the best of V-4 with V-D.


I really like version D the best, though I feel the "A short story" font text should either be a different font and/or be moved just a bit. Something feels a bit amateur about that part of the font.

...

Also, totally random and if you don't mind my asking, I'm wondering why is the goddess on the front and not the protag? (Maybe it's just me, but I usually see protagonists or love interests on the front of the covers that do have characters.) Is it a YA story?

ETA: Another vote for keeping it faceless, if you want to keep the cartoony character. The other versions with the faces don't look as professional.

+1 Faceless character, if keeping drawn character.

Moved "A short story font" in all cases. Also tried shortening it.

I think I chose the goddess initially because I could picture her looking more "fantasy" than the protagonist, and thus got the idea for her, first.

Magic's Stealing is lower YA/Upper MG, but I think the style of the writing in this story is leaning toward adult. I could be wrong, though, as I'm not the best judge of age category.



I don't like any of these, sorry. It definitely looks like Fantasy now, but it looks like it got thrown together on Paint. Sorry. But if I had to pick one, I'd pick A. The font is very strange though, how the font changed on the second and third row of the title. I know many titles use different fonts, but there's no reason for the change (no emphasis of a specific word, etc.), except maybe just because to have differing fonts. Try changing the ALIGNMENT of the fonts, so they're more overlapping, or changing font sizes of the words (like the first letter). I liked the Stone font, but the String font is not very flattering.

Changed the fonts so they don't change mid-title. Also played with the alignment and such. Did this for both the stone font and string font, though I focused on string.


Have you considered using a stock photo of a brown-skinned woman in a similar outfit? The art isn't quite working for me (and obscuring a PoC character's face is a cover trend I have a strong dislike for) but the font treatment is strong, and I feel like it would go very nicely with a colourful stock photo. Ostill has a very nice stock photography (http://www.shutterstock.com/g/ostill?searchterm=arabic&search_source=base_gallery&language=en&sort=popular&safe=true) of Arabic models in belly dancing gear, this is a nice collection (http://www.shutterstock.com/g/Luna+Vandoorne?searchterm=purple+headscarf&search_source=base_gallery&language=en&sort=popular&safe=true) of an Arab lady in a purple headscarf, this has a nice (http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-90285505/stock-photo-muslim-young-woman-with-hennaed-hands.html?src=XStNHKTEYVzmglgZHAG0MQ-1-29) protagonist-y feeling, and you can find many more using keywords like "Muslim headscarf purple" (http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-146591438/stock-photo-portrait-of-a-beautiful-muslim-woman-isolated-on-a-white-background.html?src=bm2bT2ZgFJeGcslaY08G7g-1-10).

I do worry that, overall, focusing on the woman in your cover is going to send off the wrong signal about your book. Most readers will assume the figure on the cover is the protag -- is your main character a PoC, at least? If not, readers looking for PoC main characters might be negatively surprised.

I considered using stock, but initially avoided it because I was trying to avoid putting much money into the story (since I'm not sure how much of a market there will be). However, I think I can find stock for under $15.00, so it is an option. I've started the search, and put together a couple covers, but I'm worried they lost the fantasy look and look more like they're specific to India. Also, I'm worried that the current model poses don't fit the tone of the book. I may continue the search, however.

Pretty much all the characters in Stone and String are POC, so I'm hoping that won't be a negative surprise.


So, I like the direction of D, but I don't care for the image. It's doesn't match the style of the background, which makes it look pieced together.

I attempted to smooth out the two images so that they mesh together better. Not sure it's quite the right effect, and I may abandon that image, but I also did more work on the image itself.


Lose the image. The background texture is fine, though it could stand to be darkened some. Don't mix typefaces in the same series, i.e. two or three different ones within the title. I would stick with standard serif fonts, as you had in a previous iteration. It may not look like a fantasy book, but most fantasy books look pretty rotten. I would drop the size of the byline "short story from, etc" and place it at the top in one line. And have the same typeface across the board. Be careful of drop shadows, they rarely look anything but horrid. If you're losing definition in your text, consider making the shadow or using a glow that is the same colour as the background but slightly darker. I don't know whether you have the technical capability to do that, i.e. InDesign, but it's the option I would choose. Though darkening the background somewhat as I suggested might also relieve the need to a drop shadow on the text.

Changed the title font to one single font. Tried a couple different image, but not particularly happy with either. May search for more stock options. I'm fairly certain I want it to look fantasy, though, so I'll probably continue playing with the different typefaces that have more of a fantasy look. I've tried a few covers without the drop shadows, and one with.


The first one more vivid.

I've tried playing with different color options, including a few more vivid, like the first.


I also agree with Emaree about using stock photo imagery, since that is what many YA (and many adult SFF) tend to have when it comes to having a character in front, but I wasn't sure if the OP wanted that or had any stock photo images.

Thinking on it, Sibbib, isn't the Version D concept similar your avatar book cover? That avatar cover looks better than the cartoon image cover, and, it looks like it may have a photo image.

Like Emaree said, it would look better with stock image (or maybe an excellent realistic character painting).

...

I've attempted to make the character in D more realistic, and played with making it more similar to the style of the book in my avatar (which does use a photo image).


Also, while we're at it. Lose the caps in the author name, have it all small caps (small caps always look better than their bigger counterparts for some reason).

Tried this, but one of the typefaces uses pretty much the same image for small and large. I did play with this idea on a couple of the covers, though.

*Flop.* Thanks for the help, everyone! If I don't respond for a few days, it's probably because I'm trying to wrestle with stubborn cover design. :-)

MaeZe
08-17-2016, 08:31 AM
In the new ones, the face looks worse and the character looks cheesy.

The lettering and the background work in the last one, but it also works in D from earlier.

EMaree
08-17-2016, 01:57 PM
Hmm. This is a tough one. Of the new batch, my favourites are V6 and V9 -- but I share you concerns that the stock images might be misleading about the tone, and they're definitely not hitting the 'fantasy' notes enough.

Out of all your options, V6 is hitting the right notes: it's one of the cheaper options, it signals 'fantasy' a lot more than the others, and it looks the most professional.

Considering your budget constraints (which I should have been more mindful of, apologies) I think you would be better sticking with a text-only cover like V6. But then again, you might be able to find some free stock that suits your purpose -- run a few searches on the Deviantart stock section, there are some very nice photos there. One example (http://lizzie-bitty.deviantart.com/art/Veiled-Stock-04-331748023)(free for commercial use but donations appreciated), another (http://desert-winds.deviantart.com/art/red-veil-hijab-stock-1-370305522) (credit required, no other restrictions). Be sure to read any rules by that artist and contact them if you're unsure. You can search the stock section here (http://www.deviantart.com/browse/all/resources/stockart/).

gtbun
08-17-2016, 02:27 PM
Version 6 is the best out these. The issue I think you're having with image and background is that it becomes too busy. If you look at books in the market, it is rare they will have a vibrant background with a detailed image in the foreground. So, while I think V6 is your best bet, if you have your heart set on having a character on the front I would lose the background - which is a shame because it's not a horrible background. In version 6, you could lose the italic text at the top and make it regular, thus allowing you to italicise the "Wishing Blade" part. Otherwise, it's a pretty good effort, one of the better covers I've seen put together by an author on here.

If you are looking for free stock resources, you could look at makerbook.net (http://makerbook.net/) - and this applies to anyone, I guess - they have lists of free sites for these things. I've not used their stock photography myself, but I have found them an excellent resource for other things.

Southpaw
08-17-2016, 09:57 PM
I like V6, but the the intense colors of V5. Though the "AND" should be straight, they drooping letters looks more accidental than deliberate. I do really like the font you've chosen! I think that is adding to the fantasy feel.

I see fantasy books with vibrant colors all the time, but the are dark vibrant often darker around the edges with it brighter in the middle almost like it's the "flare of magic". The thing I like about that color scheme is that is read more like magic and fantasy.

I agree the stock images don't fit, they read more like romantic comedy.

SBibb
08-23-2016, 12:33 AM
EDIT 3: Cover has been finalized. Thanks for the help! :-D

EDIT 2: Final Choices at Post #45. :-D

EDIT: Updated Proof (V6) at Post #36


In the new ones, the face looks worse and the character looks cheesy.

The lettering and the background work in the last one, but it also works in D from earlier.

Noted. I’m currently considering VD as an option, and scratching the updated artwork of that character.


Hmm. This is a tough one. Of the new batch, my favourites are V6 and V9 -- but I share you concerns that the stock images might be misleading about the tone, and they're definitely not hitting the 'fantasy' notes enough.

Out of all your options, V6 is hitting the right notes: it's one of the cheaper options, it signals 'fantasy' a lot more than the others, and it looks the most professional.

Considering your budget constraints (which I should have been more mindful of, apologies) I think you would be better sticking with a text-only cover like V6. But then again, you might be able to find some free stock that suits your purpose -- run a few searches on the Deviantart stock section, there are some very nice photos there. One example (http://lizzie-bitty.deviantart.com/art/Veiled-Stock-04-331748023)(free for commercial use but donations appreciated), another (http://desert-winds.deviantart.com/art/red-veil-hijab-stock-1-370305522) (credit required, no other restrictions). Be sure to read any rules by that artist and contact them if you're unsure. You can search the stock section here (http://www.deviantart.com/browse/all/resources/stockart/).

I hadn’t thought of looking at Deviant Art; thanks for the tip. :-) I did take a look at the ones you linked, and I liked the veiled look, but still wasn’t sure it was quite what I was going for. I did some more searching through Deviant Art, and while I found several stock photos I liked, none quite had the look I was hoping for. The good news, though, is that search gave me ideas of what sort of keywords to try, and I found another potential stock image (would cost me around $15.00, but I think it might be starting to get closer to the right “look” after I did some work on the image, and that’s within my budget).

And no worries about not thinking of the budget. I don’t think I mentioned that earlier when I was first creating the post. :-)


Version 6 is the best out these. The issue I think you're having with image and background is that it becomes too busy. If you look at books in the market, it is rare they will have a vibrant background with a detailed image in the foreground. So, while I think V6 is your best bet, if you have your heart set on having a character on the front I would lose the background - which is a shame because it's not a horrible background. In version 6, you could lose the italic text at the top and make it regular, thus allowing you to italicise the "Wishing Blade" part. Otherwise, it's a pretty good effort, one of the better covers I've seen put together by an author on here.

If you are looking for free stock resources, you could look at makerbook.net (http://makerbook.net/) - and this applies to anyone, I guess - they have lists of free sites for these things. I've not used their stock photography myself, but I have found them an excellent resource for other things.

Good point about the background seeming too busy when combined with a foreground image. I tried to keep that in mind with my latest cover proof. Even if I don’t use the background as it stands in V6 now, I might come back to it later. Thanks for the resource tip, too. I’ll need to take a closer look at it. :-)


I like V6, but the the intense colors of V5. Though the "AND" should be straight, they drooping letters looks more accidental than deliberate. I do really like the font you've chosen! I think that is adding to the fantasy feel.

I see fantasy books with vibrant colors all the time, but the are dark vibrant often darker around the edges with it brighter in the middle almost like it's the "flare of magic". The thing I like about that color scheme is that is read more like magic and fantasy.

I agree the stock images don't fit, they read more like romantic comedy.

Thanks for the feedback! I tried to keep that in mind with the latest proof, and I may try V6 with more intense colors, as well. (Also, I fixed the drooping ‘And’).

*

All righty! After a lot of tinkering with the covers, I’ve come up with another potential design. Right now I’m considering one of the new designs, V-6 (possibly with more intense colors?) or V-D (with updated text). I changed the colors on this particular proof to be more "peacock-like," since a peacock and it's colors play a role in the beginning and end of the story.

V11

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V11.jpg


V12


http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V12.jpg

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! :-D

gtbun
08-23-2016, 01:00 AM
Again, V6 easily the best. It just looks a bit naff with the image. What you really want to get away from is the "self-published" look, and random image or generic person screams self-published.

Latina Bunny
08-23-2016, 01:30 AM
While I do like your stock image, the image does look like it could fit in a story about India or a fantasy or magical story set in or influenced by India or someplace similar, and the overly detailed background makes it look too busy.

V6 looks like a good option, if the stock image is not working for you.

If you want to stick to the stock image ones (I love V8 and V9), I would simplify the background. I think it distracts my eyes away from the character and is kind of a bit much to look at. Of the stock image ones, V8 and V9 appeals to me, but they give different vibes.

V8 feels more lighthearted, maybe bubbly, and has a more "feminine" color scheme than the other one. It feels like my Sabrina the Teenage Witch books. Which I LOVE, by the way. However, that may not be the vibe you are trying to give, lol.

I really love the concepts. Very creative. :)

V8 appeals to me because I love the pretty, feminine look and overall color scheme (purples and pinks) of it. V9 has nice rich color scheme and the font is interesting.

V6 does feel the most like a general fantasy. :) I think V6 is your best one, for a general fantasy feel.

Latina Bunny
08-23-2016, 01:41 AM
Just saw the newest ones right now (V11 and V12).

I'm a bit confused on why the illustrated/cartoony character is appearing on the right, alongside the photo image. The two don't look like they fit together. It's distracting me so bad, lol.

Something about the photo image doesn't feel like it fit in, either. Can't quite put my finger on why, though. It feels like she's been just photoshopped/cropped into the cover. She doesn't feel like she blends in--at the moment. IMHO, of course. :)

Toothpaste
08-23-2016, 01:42 AM
Count me in as another V6. Honestly, the image is not working in any of them, and you've got a great cover without it. A lot of covers these days are going more typographic anyway, and considering everything people are saying they hate about covers now in the Pet Peeves thread, I think this will likely please the most number of people.

gtbun
08-23-2016, 05:05 PM
Really, if you're looking for the best looking cover, both objectively and from a designer's point of view, it's V6. I think the problem you may be having is that you are your own client. It is an issue professional designers have too - it is really hard to design for yourself. You are too prone to second-guessing yourself. You may be sitting there thinking "well other covers have a person on it, and look like this, and the ones I've made before look like this" rather than recognising what is best and what you need rather than want. You may want to have stock images on the front, to line it up with your other covers and to line up with the horrible covers in industry, but believe me the best and most professional looking out of your options is V6. And if I were to offer you anymore advice it would be this: stop picking at it. The image-based covers aren't going to get any better with different stock images or different arrangements, you're at a point when they're all going to have the same issue. So take in what we've all said and pick one, because more data will only encourage you to keep picking.

Southpaw
08-23-2016, 05:43 PM
I'm another stick with V6er. I just like it.

kevinwaynewilliams
08-23-2016, 06:29 PM
Here's another vote for V6: I'm a big fan of "simple done well", and that pretty much describes V6.

SBibb
08-27-2016, 08:29 AM
EDIT 2: Cover has been finalized. Thanks for the help! :-D

EDIT: Final Choices at Post #45. :-D

All righty-then. Looks like the decision for V6 is unanimous. :-)

I've started tinkering with that version and trying to refine it. Thoughts?

*Changed text position slightly
*Darkened edges and brightened center
*Attempted to make colors more vibrant
*Subtitle now only has "The Wishing Blade" in italics
*No more drooping "And"
*Cleaned up a few of the strings in the background. Brightened strings in foreground.
*Gave a slight fog effect over the edge text of "String"
*Applied a slight texture effect to sharpen the background. Not currently visible on the smaller size.

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V13.jpg

As a side note, I'm debating on whether the title will stay the same. I really like "Stone and String," and while the "string" reference is easy to pick up, the "stone" is not. But I'm not sure if that's going to be a problem or not.

Thanks for all the help, everyone! :-D

kevinwaynewilliams
08-27-2016, 09:43 AM
The one thing I would consider is truly arching the text: here's a tutorial in Inkscape (which is free), but the basic technique works in any good image processing program. Arched Text: An Inkscape Tutorial SixThings (http://www.brownbatterystudios.com/sixthings/2008/11/11/arched-text-an-inkscape-tutorial/)

Cindyt
08-27-2016, 09:49 AM
I like it, and I agree with Kevin, an arched font would make it pop.

kevinwaynewilliams
08-27-2016, 08:32 PM
An example of what I'm talking about, made with Bromwich Small Capitals from Greater Albion Typefounders. http://www.blog.kwwilliams.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/sstone.png

Southpaw
08-28-2016, 01:37 AM
It's good. You might want to try kevin's suggestion with the font arch. It might make it more dynamic. I like your font though, it looks stringy in parts that echo the title.

gtbun
08-28-2016, 01:58 PM
I agree, you might explore arching the text - though the arrangement, while a bit messy, is endearing as is - but after that, referring to my last comment, be satisfied, stop picking at it. You've put together a half-decent cover so be proud of that. You could present any design to a group of people and they would suggest things to tinker with, some may be viable some not, but eventually you have to say - I'm done, this is finished.

Southpaw
08-28-2016, 09:15 PM
Yes, I do agree with gtbun there, the arrangement as is, is nice. It has that hanging by strings feeling too. So, try the new idea if you want and see how it feels to you.

Zombie Fraggle
08-30-2016, 09:57 AM
Jumping in way late on this, but "A The Wishing Blade Short Story" subtitle trips me up. It strikes me like an editing artifact, where the author ultimately decided on "A Wishing Blade Short Story" and neglected to delete the word The. Maybe "Short Story" reduced to the same font size as the preceding "A" might help. Maybe. Otherwise, I love the cover in #36.

EMaree
08-30-2016, 02:44 PM
I really love the #36, I think it's spot-on now. Not a fan of the arched text suggestion, honestly -- it looks professional, and Kevin's mock-up is gorgeous, but I much prefer the way the current text hangs as if on strings.

SBibb
08-31-2016, 02:16 AM
EDIT: Cover has been finalized. Thanks for the help! :-D

All right. I've tried the arched font (using the Photoshop warp tool). To be honest though, I think I'm leaning towards the former version, for the reason that EMaree mentions: the way the text hangs as if on strings. But I'm torn. I do like the concept of the arched font, and how it looks on "String."

Regardless, I'll probably be using the style in future cover design concepts, even if I don't use it for this. :-)

I did go ahead and make "short story" in the subtitle smaller. Thanks for pointing that out. Something had been bugging me about it but I wasn't sure what until now.

These are the final two choices. What are your thoughts? :-)

V14

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V14.jpg

V15

http://www.sbibbphoto.com/clients/SBibb%20-%20CantingenShortCover_AW_V15.jpg

Thanks for the help, everyone! :-D

Southpaw
08-31-2016, 06:15 AM
I like the former version.

gtbun
08-31-2016, 05:54 PM
The more random arrangement of the text looks far better than the forced arching. It adds a bit too much order and shape to a pleasantly chaotic combination of image and text. Go with the original, not the arched.

Gale Haut
08-31-2016, 09:51 PM
Out of curiosity, what is the benefit of making a book cover for a short story?

kevinwaynewilliams
08-31-2016, 11:38 PM
Yeah, I think the arching was worth trying, but not better.

- - - Updated - - -


Out of curiosity, what is the benefit of making a book cover for a short story?

If you sell it on Amazon, it still needs a "cover".

SBibb
09-04-2016, 12:08 AM
Thanks for the help, everyone! I've decided to go with V15, the previous version. I did a little bit of retouching, and it is now the cover of the short story. Now we just have to see if it can attract the right readers. :-D

Thanks again!


Out of curiosity, what is the benefit of making a book cover for a short story?

Like kevinwaynewilliams said, since I'm publishing it through Kindle as a single story, it still needs to have a cover. Plus, I'm thinking of printing a few small copies of this to sell at a local street fair with my other book, so I needed a cover for that, too. :-)