PDA

View Full Version : Bookcover feedback - Magical Cozy Mystery



Sabrina Hartford
01-19-2017, 10:31 PM
I am planning on publishing my first book in the Cozy Mystery Animal Genre.

Here are some cover designs. I would appreciate some feedback, not just on which is best, but also on what works and doesnít work.

Cover 1: Rabbit
https://s6.postimg.org/x95k24zkd/Book_Cover5x8_cosy1b_03.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/x95k24zkd/)

Cover 2: Kitten
https://s6.postimg.org/t1artdy4t/Book_Cover5x8_cosy1c_03.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/t1artdy4t/)

Cover 3: Watercolor
https://s6.postimg.org/flschof0t/Book_Cover5x8_cosy2_03.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/flschof0t/)

Cover 4: Kitten Alt
https://s6.postimg.org/mrk3k4o3x/1c_alt.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/mrk3k4o3x/)


I know the subtitle and author name are very small, but these will be on the Amazon product page. (Amazon doesnít allow much room on the cover, so I want the title and photos to be bigger. I would actually omit the Author name and subtitle, but I canít include them on the product page if they are not on the cover). I've also misspelt cozy as cosy. Whoops!

Thanks!

veinglory
01-19-2017, 11:11 PM
I like the overall idea but it seems cluttered and sort of pasted together, it is clear the images are all from differnt sources and some are not photographs at all. This makes the eye kind of confused and uneasy.

My personal suggestion would be to winnow it down to one central image like a white bunny and a cupcake with a plainish or blurred background. The title and maybe a few sparkles would be enough to suggest magic.

Of course this is assuming I am correct in assuming that this is a humorous cozy in some way related to magic or stage magic.

Kayley
01-20-2017, 03:24 AM
Maybe it's because I love cats, but I am digging the second one. I'll focus on the second one because it's my fave, but most of the feedback applies to all of them.

It does seem a little cluttered as veinglory mentioned. I think this could be improved by editing the cupcake so it is behind the red banner, as to appear as if it's on the table, rather than in front where it seems thrown on top of everything.

I also get what you're going for with the font, but the "Fairy Cake" font seems a bit too kid-dish IMO. I would recommend a different font for that. The "Fatality" font seems good.

The red at the bottom is a bit much and I recommend cutting it off to make it equal with the top of the red bar as in this example:

https://s29.postimg.org/ld4zlgkgz/examplekittycover2.png (https://postimg.org/image/ld4zlgkgz/)

That looks more aesthetic and also allows you to give more of the focus to the main image (assuming you move the banner down to fit the cover size.)

Other than that, I think all four covers you have provided are a good fit for the genre and can be used after some minor tweaks.

Polenth
01-20-2017, 06:41 AM
You'd have room for a bigger author name and series title if you remove the other fluff. The line saying it's a cozy isn't needed, and could be replaced by the series name and book number. If you called it "Cake Fairy Mysteries" instead of "Cake Fairy Series" it'd be even more obvious it's a cozy without having to state it directly. Then if you remove the fairy and cupcake logo, you have a whole bunch of space for a larger author name.

The photo covers do look rather pasted together. Are you relying on stock, or would you be able to do some of your own photos? A cupcake themed to the story could make an interesting cover, and need minimal editing afterwards.

Sabrina Hartford
01-20-2017, 11:13 PM
Thank you veinglory, Kayley, Polenth. I really appreciate your feedback.

I have done some tweaking and I'd love to hear some thoughts. I originally wanted to have a badge as I am launching a cookbook that has the recipes mentioned in the story. I thought having the badge would help to show a connection between the two. But I am starting to think it would look better without it.

Version 2A:
https://s6.postimg.org/7gjhb05jl/Cat_Version_1.jpg

Version 2B:
https://s6.postimg.org/vvn3ybf2p/Cat_Version_2.jpg


The main thing I am struggling with is getting away from the "pasted together" look.

I need to keep the text about "Magical Sweet Cozy" because I want this on my Amazon page to help with keyword searching. But I have shrunk it down to make it less obvious.
Because I am an new unknown author, I don't think it's worth giving too much space to my name. But I don't know, maybe readers like seeing the name in big?

Marissa D
01-21-2017, 12:32 AM
I think that the magic wand could be left off--it's contributing to the "pasted together" look. I also wonder if changing to a more neutral background might calm the "busy" feel as well. Or changing from a gingham tablecloth to damask (that would also reduce the children's book vibe.)

Perhaps you could lower everything and use just the badge in the upper left corner? Or make it a little smaller and put it just below the left of the title? Having that for branding is great.

JulianneQJohnson
01-21-2017, 06:37 AM
Personally, I like the badge and the placement, and the purple is a better choice than the red. I think the main trouble is that the art is too busy. If you can simplify it, the badge won't be such an issue. Right now you have a checked tablecloth, kitten, cupcake, wand, bubble background, and sparkles. I'd take out at least two of those things. Just my opinion, of course.

Melanii
01-21-2017, 11:27 PM
I really, really, like 3. It seems more simple than the others, plus it's cute.

4 is a good one too, because of the simple background.

Also, bunnies and kitties are awesome! I want to read this book now. :P

Underdawg47
01-22-2017, 12:51 AM
Just my personal observation, I had never heard of cozy mysteries before. My very first impression when I saw the cover was that this was a cook book, or perhaps a cook book for children. But for a mystery book perhaps a hint of foul play like a partially eaten cupcake with a few crumbs, a knife, or maybe tone down the bright pastel colors a bit. Also the objects look copied and pasted together. The kitten or the rabbit need better shadowing to appear to be sitting on the tablecloth. Same with the cupcake. The cupcake appears to be lit in the front and doesn't look like it is sitting on the tablecloth. It is visually distracting, and the wand doesn't match the realistic look of the other objects.

Undercover
01-22-2017, 05:54 PM
I like the second one with the cat and the fairy with the cupcake in the middle. I like it in purple (in your next post) better.

Good luck with it!

Sabrina Hartford
01-22-2017, 06:57 PM
Thanks for all the useful feedback.

I've made some more tweaks. It's surprisingly hard to find decent table stock photos.

Cover 3A:
https://s6.postimg.org/k43u199u9/Version_3_A.jpg

Cover 3B:
https://s6.postimg.org/iqc75yakx/Version_3_B.jpg

I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions as while it's much better I don't think it's quite there yet. Thanks!

Southpaw
01-22-2017, 10:20 PM
I see the magical component, but not the mystery. Cozies are lighter and have an everyday so of look, but to me, this reads as a children's book rather than playful mystery. The contributing factors are the kitten with a wand and a pink background with purple accents. In all the covers except 3A I thought the wand was growing out of the cat's leg. Personally I would shrink the fairy logo and make the book tag bigger. In 4A the bottom part of the want looks off.

If you look at other magical cozies they tend to go darker. There are lighter colors covers, but they almost always have something sinister in the shadows.

Sabrina Hartford
01-23-2017, 11:23 PM
Thanks Southpaw. That's a big help, especially about the darker bit. I think I need to give it a bit more thought....

Sabrina Hartford
02-04-2017, 09:54 PM
I have been studying some of the most popular Cozy Mystery covers on Amazon:
https://s6.postimg.org/zfxe6yfil/Book_Cover_Research.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/zfxe6yfil/)


I noticed the books are divided into two types. Magic books are more dark. Where as cake based mysteries are more cute. My book is both cake and magic, so I am think I am struggling to get the right balance!

Here are some new drafts. I would love opinions. Thanks!

Cover 4A:
https://s6.postimg.org/54ztw8qoh/Version_C1.jpg

Cover 4B:
https://s6.postimg.org/5vsk20t1t/Version_C2.jpg

Cover 4C:
https://s6.postimg.org/459j0jbip/Version_C3.jpg

Cover 4D:
https://s6.postimg.org/szt0ulwcx/Version_C4.jpg

horrorchix89
02-04-2017, 10:05 PM
I personally like 4C

MaeZe
02-05-2017, 12:45 AM
I like 1 & 3 but the animal should be tied to the story. As for the subsequent versions, it depends on the story. Looks like a cute one. :)

Sabrina Hartford
02-05-2017, 03:37 PM
I like 1 & 3 but the animal should be tied to the story. As for the subsequent versions, it depends on the story. Looks like a cute one. :)

Yup it's a cute story (not a dark one). It's about a struggling cake shop owner who discovers she is fairy with magic powers. The cat is a key character (he is her sidekick) and he educates her in powers, while they both attempt to solve a murder.

remister
02-05-2017, 04:19 PM
At first I thought they were kids' books. I think the font of "Fairy Cake" plays a very big part in making it look like one.

I think 4C or 4D. But change the Fairy Cake font.

Hope that helps.

ETA: Try a font where there is no outline/border.

Sabrina Hartford
02-05-2017, 09:49 PM
Thanks for the useful advice remister.

Maybe something like this:

5A:
https://s6.postimg.org/hhcdkla8h/Version_C3.jpg

5B:
https://s6.postimg.org/8nlh3hn9t/Version_C4.jpg

5C:
https://s6.postimg.org/s6q2cum1d/Version_C5.jpg

5D:
https://s6.postimg.org/vrlxw2qkx/Version_C6.jpg

MaeZe
02-05-2017, 10:16 PM
Yup it's a cute story (not a dark one). It's about a struggling cake shop owner who discovers she is fairy with magic powers. The cat is a key character (he is her sidekick) and he educates her in powers, while they both attempt to solve a murder.

Then definitely choose the kitten over the bunny. It looks like you did that.

Sabrina Hartford
02-06-2017, 07:31 PM
I actually wrote two versions of my story. One with a kitten and one with a bunny (Both characters are written very differently, I didn't just find and replace). If the bunny cover had proved more popular, then I would have gone with the bunny version of the story. I'll probably save the bunny character for a different story, as he had some good moments!

Melanii
02-07-2017, 02:44 AM
I like 5A overall, but with the series name/your name of portion of 5B. I also think your name should be more prominent. :D

Sabrina Hartford
09-21-2017, 09:22 PM
I am about to publish my second book in the cozy mystery magical cat genre.

Here is the final cover for my first book:

https://s6.postimg.org/6bvfyzbt9/book-cover-small1.jpg (https://s6.postimg.org/f5mcg2ys1/book-cover-large1.jpg)


For the sequel, I want it to follow the design of the first book, but also to look different.

The new book is set in Hawaii, so I wanted to convey that as well. I tried various things including putting the cat in a garland of flowers, using more tropical looking cakes and adding Hawaiian tikis and artifacts, but they all looked too busy.

In the end, I went for this design:



https://s6.postimg.org/4u9znf72p/book-cover-small.jpg
(https://s6.postimg.org/s7815xn69/book-cover-large.jpg)

I know it doesn't say Hawaiian, but it does hint at a tropical setting.

Any comments? A second pair of eyes would be a big help!


Also, I know the subtitle and author name are very small, but these will be on the Amazon product page. (Amazon doesnít allow much room on the cover, so I want the title and photos to be bigger. I would actually omit the Author name and subtitle, but I canít include them on the product page if they are not on the cover).

narmowen
09-21-2017, 09:27 PM
I think it looks good for the second design. It's obvious that it's a series, but it ties the books together. It does say 'tropical', so I think that works for you, as well.

Jan74
09-21-2017, 10:47 PM
I think it looks good and it follows the first book. If you're looking to make it Hawaiian you could make the cupcake tropical, pineapple colors or something.

Southpaw
09-22-2017, 01:06 AM
I like that it's obviously in the series.

My only suggestions are to make that blue gradient smooth. It can go dark to light then to dark again but right now the line in the middle is clunky.

I know you need a contrast color for the cupcake to pop but mint green isn't quite right. Maybe a darker green (like palm or sea green). I also suggest removing the chocolate chips and adding a hibiscus (maybe red)--not a huge one, but more along the lines of the: https://i.pinimg.com/236x/ea/f5/5a/eaf55aeda0c413c671680b67d1a367dc--hawaii-cupcakes-tropical-cupcakes.jpg.

kevinwaynewilliams
09-22-2017, 08:39 AM
While I'm not a great fan of the concept, I will say that you shouldn't get too stuck on having the cat's head in exactly the same position on every book in the series. You could have it poke in from a different side or corner in each volume and it would still maintain the series appearance.

avekevin
09-22-2017, 11:03 AM
I'm not familiar with cozy mysteries, but the cover reads very young to me. My grade school daughter would flock to the book because of the cat alone.

Sabrina Hartford
09-22-2017, 09:56 PM
@narmowen, @Jan74, @Southpaw, @kevinwaynewilliams, @avekevin

Thank you so much for your feedback. It has been a big help.

I wish I could have found a cupcake like the one Southpaw suggested as that is excellent. Sadly it isn't on stock sites. I found one that had a smaller flower, so I recolored it pink to make it more tropical.


https://s6.postimg.org/gtq38h21d/book-cover-small.jpg
(https://s6.postimg.org/g5h8pj3bl/book-cover-large.jpg)

I think it looks much better now. It still looks a bit off, but I think I would probably have to rethink the concept to fix that.



I'm not familiar with cozy mysteries, but the cover reads very young to me. My grade school daughter would flock to the book because of the cat alone.

A lot of Cosy Mysteries look very cute. They often have beautifully hand drawn paintings of the pet and heroine. E.g.:
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81lO47DdGkL._SL500_UX300_PJku-sticker-v7,TopRight,0,-50_OU01__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_SR107,160_.jpg https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91QEzPtMjvL._SL500__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_SR100,160_.jpg https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91vCA44-6yL._SL500_UX300_PJku-sticker-v7,TopRight,0,-50_OU01__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_SR100,160_.jpg

However, I don’t have the budget to commission an artist!

avekevin
09-22-2017, 10:17 PM
A lot of Cosy Mysteries look very cute. They often have beautifully hand drawn paintings of the pet and heroine. E.g.:
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81lO47DdGkL._SL500_UX300_PJku-sticker-v7,TopRight,0,-50_OU01__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_SR107,160_.jpg https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91QEzPtMjvL._SL500__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_SR100,160_.jpg https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91vCA44-6yL._SL500_UX300_PJku-sticker-v7,TopRight,0,-50_OU01__BG0,0,0,0_FMpng_SR100,160_.jpg

However, I don’t have the budget to commission an artist!

Looking at your examples, you seem very much on-genre.

One more observation: When I first looked at the cover, I didn't see a beach initially. I thought I was looking at a 3 colored cover until I saw mention of a tropical scene.

You might consider using an image with a little more dimension.

Something similar to this:

https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/shoreline-wave-10889301.jpg

I'm sure you are trying to stay uncluttered, but I find the background too flat.

Kevin

Curlz
09-22-2017, 10:26 PM
https://s6.postimg.org/gtq38h21d/book-cover-small.jpg
(https://s6.postimg.org/g5h8pj3bl/book-cover-large.jpg)
I think it looks much better now. It still looks a bit off...
I'm not a reader of cozies but if I saw this on a bookshelf, I'd pick it up. It's cute and catchy, you just want to have it in your hands! :Jump:At least in the current size, I don't see anything "off".

Melanii
09-23-2017, 04:28 AM
It looks much better now!