Asking feedback for a fantasy book cover

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CathleenT

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*scatters acorns, chocolate, and bottles of liquor, orange juice, and iced tea*

There--I think I've got all the bases covered. :greenie

This is the second round of cover discussions with Deranged Doctor Design. Let me show you what I've got so far.

1. The original revision they sent me this morning.

to-the-victor-cover-bright-red-font3.jpg


It doesn't seem quite right to me, so I played around with it a little. Please understand: these are rough mock-ups. I don't have access to the font in layers. Note that the clouds go nearly to the top of the wing. Moving the font around will destroy that, and you'll have to add it back in visually.

2. The all-red font was bugging me, as was the placement. So I tried making the font less red and moving things around a bit.

to-the-victor-cover-less-red-title2.jpg


The sky is messed up on this fix (and on all the others). Please try to visualize it with a proper sky. Feathering everything back in is a whole lot of work. This is just to decide which option to pursue.

3. I tried a gold font (actually more of an orange).

to-the-victore-cover-dark-gold-title.jpg


I thought I would like this one more, but the primary red-yellow-blue triad is really getting on my nerves. Still, I include it here because you never know, and all of them have slightly different font placements.

4. I tried a blue font.

to-the-victor-cover-blue-title1.jpg


This one bugged me for one of the strangest reasons. Even though I used a blue that borders on purple, the whole thing ended up looking like it was patriotic to me. I'm actually concerned that someone will think that I'm a yee-haw Trump supporter with this thing. Please tell me I'm overthinking this. I wouldn't want it to be the case that Trump could screw up even my dragon book cover.

5. I tried combining red and blue.

to-the-victor-cover-blue-and-red-font1.jpg


I actually like this one the best so far. The blue font on the top and bottom seems to frame the whole thing to me.


On all of these, the title font ends up looking like it's sitting on a straight line of clouds. That will be fixed in the final version. I'm just trying to decide which one that will be. :)

So, which font placement and colors do you like best? Is there a clear winner, or should I make another mock-up?

Thanks so much in advance, everyone who responds.

ETA: This book has a subtitle: Fifteen Tales of Magic and Adventure. Does that have to go on the cover, or is it enough that it's on the title page?

ETA2:

6. Now, with added subtitle:

to-the-victor-cover-red-and-blue-font-with-subtitle1.jpg


ETA3:

7. Original placement with subtitle--subtitle font is a placeholder until DDD makes me a better one.

to-the-victor-cover-bright-red-and-blue-with-subtitle.jpg


ETA again :)

8. all-red title font with placeholder subtitle

to-the-victor-cover-bright-red-with-subtitle1.jpg
 
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CathleenT

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Never mind--I decided this would be better as an ETA on the original post. :)
 
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CathleenT

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Hmm...an interesting thought. Maybe the subtitle should be on the cover anyway.

*scurries away to go make new mock-up*
 

cmhbob

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I like #6, but it doesn't "WOW" me, and I don't know what will.

Looking at the other covers in your stable (and I know you may not have had much input in all of them), I really like Dragon Hoard, and I love Losing. But I'm horrible at telling you why I like something.

(I also feel like I'm monopolizing the discussion. :) )
 

CathleenT

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That's okay with me, Bob. If you hadn't shown up, there wouldn't be a discussion yet. Thanks so much for being here. :)

Dragon Hoard is the only one showing that's mine. I haven't been able to get my signature updated yet. I need to post about it because I got it all the way to an image saved and ready. I just couldn't get it to replace the one that's currently showing.

And I consider myself artistically articulate, and I can't tell you why I don't love the font in the subtitle. It's not quite right, but I'm not sure why. But perhaps DDD will have a better one. This is just about getting it all blocked in so they don't have to keep sending me draft after draft after draft. Enough of that and I start to feel like I should just pick one already, and maybe that's not the best mental space for decision-making.
 

Wanderluster

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*scatters acorns, chocolate, and bottles of liquor, orange juice, and iced tea*

Depending on the time of day, I'll take an Earl Grey tea or a glass of Syrah. Or a fifth of Baileys. But I'll also always accept payment in chocolate. *noms the chocolate*

Hey Red!

First of all, LOVE the cover image. Beautiful job with the dragon and the composition with the dominant left wing. It pulls the eye to the right which creates a subconscious temptation to open the book.

To be honest, I like the text placement on the original. Perhaps it's counterintuitive because it's not left-aligned with the dragon which should balance out the right-heavy image, but for whatever reason, the original feels better balanced to me. If I'm in the minority, ignore me.

I'm also fine with the maroon font color and I like what you did with the gold. Gold is a nice complement to red and fits with the magical theme. I definitely like the subtitle. Perhaps you could ask DDD to do a mockup with the title in red and subtitle in gold and another with the title in gold and sub in red? I think the former will look better with the red dragon directly beneath. If you're sold on the purple (it looks purple to me, not blue), then go with that - it looks good, too. *is the helpfulest* ;)

Congratulations on another book of shorts coming out! Can't wait to read it!

Lusty
 

shortstorymachinist

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Sorry I'm late! I also like the original colors with the placement of five. I wouldn't mind either way regarding the subtitles.
 

BradCarsten

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I think I like the original text layout, but I prefer everything else about number 6. I would need to compare them once everything else is added/adjusted though before making up my mind.
 

Toothpaste

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I'm another one who really prefers the text placement of the original. I know it's not usual, but there's something about it I find compelling and "right". In fact the only real issue I have is how dark your name is in that lower shadow. It's hard to read.

The added tag line is nice, but the font isn't quite right. Can you use a font closer to the one used for your name?
 

Tazlima

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I like the last one with the subtitle best, but I think it would look better with the blue-purple font for all the words. FWIW, I didn't think anything about the red, white, and blue thing until you mentioned it. The blue and white of the sky is just... the sky, yanno? If it was a dark blue night sky with stylized white stars, then you'd be getting into "patriotic" territory, but as-is? I think it looks nifty, and I think the darker lettering contrasts nicely with the rest of the imagery.

One caveat - if the dragon pictured on the cover is 1) a character in one of the stories and 2) actually named Victor, I could see maybe keeping that word a different color per the final version. I say this because if I saw that cover in a bookstore, that's what I'd think was being implied. The word Victor is closer to the dragon than rest of the title, and it's the same color as the dragon. The overall effect is that the word "Victor" sort of mirror's the dragon's right wing, making it seem part of the dragon.
 
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tiddlywinks

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I’m also with Toothpaste and Lusty I’m liking the original text placement and color, except your name is too dark. It creates more of a dramatic diagonal along the cover, like the sweep of the dragon. Adding the subtitle is cool, but I’m also wondering what DDD could do with that in gold. Having gold text might also be a continuity thing with your other covers not pictured in your sig. could be nice!

Good luck and it looks cool.
 

veinglory

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Of these the original is best -- but what it says to me is YA adventure with a cute dragon.
 

PastyAlien

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I like the original best, too. Colour, title placement, font: everything. The composition is striking and really catches the eye. Definitely would stand out for me among a pageful of amazon thumbnails.

I think the subtitle should be included to make it clear this is a short-story collection and not a novel.

Just my non-professional, largely clueless opinion. Congrats on another collection coming out!
aliendancetc.gif
 

CathleenT

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Wow! Thanks everyone.

I'm surprised the original placement got so many votes, but I tried it with the subtitle, and I like it a lot better that way. I've added it up above for those of you who liked it (Lusty, Ave, Toothpaste). Really glad you like the dragon, Lusty. :greenie

I'm surprised so many liked the bright red font, but thanks for chiming in, shortstory.

I'm pretty sure DDD can do a better job on subtitle font, Toothpaste. I'm just trying to block in basic colors and placements so we don't have to go through umpteen drafts. I like to be considerate if I can.

I'm relieved to hear it doesn't give out any kind of strange patriotic vibe, Tazlima. I kinda like the blue-purple, too. Maybe the red font will work better if it doesn't match the dragon so well.

I have an issue with the author name, too, Toothpaste and tiddlywinks. I think I'll ask DDD to remove some of the shadow on the bottom. I asked them to add it in for me because so often it's done in relation to font, so I don't have a layer to change it on this copy. (Transferring layered docs is a serious pain since they're too large to attach to emails--Dropbox takes hours sometimes.)

Thanks, Raellic, but painting my own artwork is important to me. And I really like this dragon.

My writing isn't particularly YA, veinglory, although there's nothing I write that's inappropriate for that age group. The subgenres I'm really aiming for here are fairy tales and noblebright fantasy. The first story is a funny dragon tale, though, all about how my plucky protagonist Rodor tries to beat his mate to a magic persuasive elixir, but she ends up out-thinking him. *insert sigh here* The story reads a lot better than that summary. Pinkie swear.

And I agree, Pasty, that the subtitle is probably needed. I'd basically wimped out on it before. Best not to. :)
 
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Masel

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I like the one with the subtitle the best. The composition made me look for something interesting in the clouds, like the dragon and the text were pointing me there. I mean, I do often have my head in the clouds.

The type design of the the original is best. The way "To the" lines up with "Victor" is perfect.

I do have a graphic design degree though it is quite rusty after all these years but here is my two cents - I think If the dragon were larger so that it was cut off by the edge and the title was inside the wings a bit it would look better. The dragon's tail and the wave in the type design would reflect each other. You'd see more of the dragon's cool face. There would be less of a cloudy hole in the middle of the composition.
 

PastyAlien

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I think the subtitle looks good (#7), but I wonder if it would look better with "To the" in red, as in the original. Can't tell unless I see it (another ETA? hint hint). Also veinglory made an interesting comment about YA. I assumed the dragon was a baby. Not sure why, maybe because his stomach is nice and plump and he just looks, well, cute. So I wonder if that might contribute to a YA vibe? I dunno. I just thought fantasy, but I did think the lead story would be about a baby dragon. If that's the case, then it's all good. :)
 

MaeZe

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Another vote for the font and composition in #6 including the subtitle. You need the subtitle so the reader knows it's an anthology.


Looking at 6 & 7 again, I change my vote to #7.
 
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Curlz

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I thought the original all-red was fine but maybe having the title in a different colour will set it apart better. I like the gold font best, it gives it a vintage look, quite fitting for fantasy. The blue didn't work for me as this particular shade seemed dull. And the one with half the title in blue and half in red makes it look like part of a series where there could be another book titled "To the Loser" or something ;)
 

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I love #7, actually. I was fine with the original. I like the placement of the title, but I feel like something about making the top line a different color improves it. I also like the placement of the title to the side with the subtitle on the other side.
 

Wanderluster

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Another +1 for the same font color for the entire title. It looks cleaner and more sophisticated. May I also suggest centering the two subtitle lines (so they are centered with each other) and left aligning the M in Magic with the V in Victor?

I'd love to see a mockup where the title is red and the sub is in gold - not sure how well the gold will stand out against the clouds in a smaller font, but if it does, I think it might look quite nice.

Okay, I just played with it in Photoshop (because it's not like I have anything better to do), and in theory I do like the gold, but it is a bit hard to read. It helps if the font is beveled a bit to give it dimension, and actually looks quite nice if the light source is around 38 degrees to mimic the light source of your painting. DDD will do a far better job with it than I, though.

You might also consider asking them to darken the sky to a deeper blue to lessen the primary color effect you've talked about; I agree that that's part of what gives the cover a more youthful appearance. I added 40% black and it helps make it look a bit older and actually makes the lettering pop more, imo.

Okay, I'm going to leave your cover in peace now. :)
 

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