How accurately does the book's cover need to convey the book's storyline?

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Gregg Bell

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I'm writing an over-the-top farcical series about Navy SEALs. (Think "McHales Navy" or "Stripes.") I've had difficulty doing the third cover in the series in that I haven't come up with anything that's funny and also conveys what's in the book.

This first cover, however, does convey it. (A lot of the book takes place in an abandoned mine shaft in Arizona and there is a brutal sun and all kinds of funky stuff--think ghosts--happens in the mine shaft.) But it's really not funny.

Yipee-Ki-Yay-ANavy-Mountain200-X302.jpg


The second cover is funnier and there's a lot of gun-play in the book but no bombs and certainly not in a situation like that. But it is a little funnier.

Yipee-Ki-Yay-ANavy-Two200-X302.jpg


And the third. Again, no bombs in the book and no duels. But to me this is the funniest of the three.

Yipee-Ki-Yay-ANavy200-X302.jpg


I am afraid readers will see the first cover and yawn. Or is the cover funny enough considering the title and tag line? Or maybe one of the latter two books would be better? I'm after funny. Maybe I'm wrong but I doubt readers would be holding me to the notion that "hey, where was the dueling scene with the bomb?". The books are just off-the-wall goofiness from start to finish and filled with implausible situations. The readers who've read the first two books won't care, but I don't know about new readers. And I'm really more concerned about having an appealing cover to them, than I am about the readers who've read the other books. And about sales of course. But I'm not sure so I'm asking here.

Thanks.
 

PiaSophia

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I think the first cover is fine, actually. The tagline makes it funny, so I wouldn't worry too much about that!

As for there being no bombs in your book and perhaps going for a cover that has a bomb on it, I wouldn't care as a reader. I think covers are mostly for setting a vibe, getting an idea of the book instead of showing exactly what will happen in it.
 

frimble3

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I think some readers would feel something is missing, if there's a bomb in the middle of the cover, and no bomb in the story.
And, if it's your Navy Seals in the desert, I'd play that up.
Why not replace the bomb with a cactus? Either your two figures (as shown) are sneaking away from the cactus, or there's one figure behind the cactus, (maybe only the hat and part of the body sticking out) and one, hand shading it's eyes, looking for the other? Or a ghost and the two figures looking for it?
But if there's no bomb, I'd leave the bomb off the cover.
(But the sub-title does a good job of being humorous and indicating that it's a Naval Western.)
 

PostHuman

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Why does the "-A-" have hyphens on either side? For me this is the most confusing part. Not sure whether to read it as "Yipee Ki Yay Navy" or "Yipee Ki Yay-Aaaa Navy" "Yipee Ki Yay: A Navy" etc
 

Gregg Bell

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I think the first cover is fine, actually. The tagline makes it funny, so I wouldn't worry too much about that!

As for there being no bombs in your book and perhaps going for a cover that has a bomb on it, I wouldn't care as a reader. I think covers are mostly for setting a vibe, getting an idea of the book instead of showing exactly what will happen in it.

Thanks for the feedback, Pia. I'm starting to see that the bomb bothers me more than most readers. And the first cover is kind of growing on me anyway. Although the mountain is not funny, it is bright and playful, and it seems to balance out the big title better, as well.
 

Gregg Bell

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I think some readers would feel something is missing, if there's a bomb in the middle of the cover, and no bomb in the story.
And, if it's your Navy Seals in the desert, I'd play that up.
Why not replace the bomb with a cactus? Either your two figures (as shown) are sneaking away from the cactus, or there's one figure behind the cactus, (maybe only the hat and part of the body sticking out) and one, hand shading it's eyes, looking for the other? Or a ghost and the two figures looking for it?
But if there's no bomb, I'd leave the bomb off the cover.
(But the sub-title does a good job of being humorous and indicating that it's a Naval Western.)

Hi frimble. Thanks. You've got me thinking. How about a cactus in the middle with a guy standing behind it (and his hat is a sombrero) and he has a pistol pointing at each of the duelers? (Not that that's in the story either! lol) I'll play around with it.
 

Gregg Bell

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Why does the "-A-" have hyphens on either side? For me this is the most confusing part. Not sure whether to read it as "Yipee Ki Yay Navy" or "Yipee Ki Yay-Aaaa Navy" "Yipee Ki Yay: A Navy" etc

Thanks PostHuman. I started with the first book as OOPS-A-NAVY. A pun on OOPS-A-DAISY. I'm pretty stuck with the hyphened A in the middle of the other titles now. I'll have to live with the potential confusion (to keep the branding going).
 

PiaSophia

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Thanks for the feedback, Pia. I'm starting to see that the bomb bothers me more than most readers. And the first cover is kind of growing on me anyway. Although the mountain is not funny, it is bright and playful, and it seems to balance out the big title better, as well.

Yes, I think so too. Now that I look at it again, I actually think the first cover is the best out of all three. But again, I'm a feelings-and-vibes kinda person, so I don't really have strong arguments for that statement other than the feeling it gives me.
 

Pastelnudes

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I liked the first cover best. But your latest idea sounds great!
 

Gregg Bell

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Yes, I think so too. Now that I look at it again, I actually think the first cover is the best out of all three. But again, I'm a feelings-and-vibes kinda person, so I don't really have strong arguments for that statement other than the feeling it gives me.

Thanks Pia. Feelings and vibes are as good as anything else. Like they say that's how most people buy homes. It just "feels right." Thanks for the feedback.

- - - Updated - - -

I liked the first cover best. But your latest idea sounds great!

Thanks Pastel. Yeah, and that idea sounds a lot funnier. I'll see what I can do and post back.
 

indianroads

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I think it's better to convey mood rather than some detail of the story line.

I like the first one.
 

Gregg Bell

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I think it's better to convey mood rather than some detail of the story line.

I like the first one.

Thanks indianroads. A lot of people like that first one but it just doesn't seem funny to me. (And the book, hopefully, is all about funny.) I'm going to post a new cover.
 

Gregg Bell

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Here's the new one. I think it's funnier. It needs some work. The guns and arms. The black lines on the cactus need to be toned down, but in general, do you think it's better, funnier, than the others? Any suggestions? Thanks.

P.S. And thanks, frimble3, for the suggestion to try a cactus!



Yipee-Ki-Yay-ANavydemo200-X302.jpg
 
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Pastelnudes

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Gregg Bell, you're so funny. It looks like a penis, now :D

- - - Updated - - -

* Clears throat *

OK.

That might be what you want. And I get why they're all shooting at each other, and why you made the changes.

Right. Bear in mind that I do like pretty much all of them!

So, the latest one has lost the visual gag created by the funny shaped cacti in the very first one you posted. They just look comical, for some reason.

Also, the pictures on this latest cover are now making a rectangle, rather than the appealing triangle you had earlier. It's harder to get drawn in, as everything is the same size.

Can I suggest that you keep the men as they are, and change the cactus back to the simple image from cover 1. But make it smaller. This will create perspective, as it will look as though it's far away.

Or, making it larger might be better still. Then you'd have the triangular shape again.

Sorry to confuse things further. Well done.
 
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The Second Moon

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I don't know if this is helpful or not but I learned that if you have a character on one book in the series then to have the character on the rest of the series' covers. I think I remember you posting some images of potential covers for a previous book in this series. I can't remember if you chose the one with the person on it or not, but if you did put a person on it , try and make this one also have a person on it as well.
 

Gregg Bell

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Gregg Bell, you're so funny. It looks like a penis, now :D

- - - Updated - - -

* Clears throat *

OK.

That might be what you want. And I get why they're all shooting at each other, and why you made the changes.

Right. Bear in mind that I do like pretty much all of them!

So, the latest one has lost the visual gag created by the funny shaped cacti in the very first one you posted. They just look comical, for some reason.

Also, the pictures on this latest cover are now making a rectangle, rather than the appealing triangle you had earlier. It's harder to get drawn in, as everything is the same size.

Can I suggest that you keep the men as they are, and change the cactus back to the simple image from cover 1. But make it smaller. This will create perspective, as it will look as though it's far away.

Or, making it larger might be better still. Then you'd have the triangular shape again.

Sorry to confuse things further. Well done.

Uh, no, lol, pastel, I was not after the NC-17 rating. Thing is if I had an uneven cactus it would be impossible to center the guy behind it.

It's interesting that you say the 'funny shaped cacti' in the first one. I think that's because they're clip art and most clip art is playful. I like what you said about the the first cover. The perspective and getting drawn in. I'm leaning toward using that one. Thanks.
 

Gregg Bell

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I don't know if this is helpful or not but I learned that if you have a character on one book in the series then to have the character on the rest of the series' covers. I think I remember you posting some images of potential covers for a previous book in this series. I can't remember if you chose the one with the person on it or not, but if you did put a person on it , try and make this one also have a person on it as well.

Thanks Moon. Great suggestion. I've already missed out on it though. The first cover in the series has people. The second not.
 

Pastelnudes

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That's very funny. A visual gag. He's holding someone at gunpoint, and hasn't noticed a mountain lion about to jump on his head. Like it!
 

Woollybear

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I love it. (I'm certain our local lion will get me on one of my hikes.)

Love it.
 

Pastelnudes

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Could you make the figure raising its arms a little smaller? Maybe on a level with the shooter's chin? I'm a graphic design grad, and seeing too many similar-sized items side by side is hard on the eye.

But, yeah. It's really good.
 

Gregg Bell

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I love it. (I'm certain our local lion will get me on one of my hikes.)

Love it.

Thanks Patty! And be careful hiking! We have coyotes around here and they've gotten pretty bold because they know they don't have to be afraid of humans. (At least not around here. My town basically encourages their multiplying.) I carry a cane and a knife just in case.
 

Gregg Bell

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Could you make the figure raising its arms a little smaller? Maybe on a level with the shooter's chin? I'm a graphic design grad, and seeing too many similar-sized items side by side is hard on the eye.

But, yeah. It's really good.

Thanks Pastel. Here's your smaller figure and I think it's much better. Thanks. And I'm going to post one more after this.
Yipee-Ki-Yay-ANavy3200-X302.jpg