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Cover Critique - Unleash and Refine Your Inner Artist

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  #31  
Old 07-18-2012, 11:50 AM
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It is the brooding, not happy that attracted me in combination with the title. It's probably right that for the general public it works different, but I like those kind of covers.

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  #32  
Old 07-18-2012, 12:54 PM
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Well, I don't know about "general", and if the cover's mood suits the content and audience, then it's doing its job.

I only meant that it's harder to do an appealing or attention getting cover with those factors as a starting point.
You' ll notice that it's the only one of the covers that drew negative comments.
And, again, given the set-up, it's a very attractive cover. It would be interesting to get data on reactions with the type values switched. Notice that both comments were not directed to the title, but the subtitle.
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  #33  
Old 07-18-2012, 10:33 PM
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That just shows how little I know about creating a cover. Never realised that you have to take in account the colour scheme and what it appears to do to the mind.

So you don't just have to get the cover you, as the writer, find most fitting but also have to take in account what the eye of your potential readers catch in respect to mood, font, placing of title and author.

Sheez, if I ever get to self-publish I will need help with this stuff.
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  #34  
Old 07-19-2012, 02:10 AM
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I think you're taking what said the wrong way.
I think those covers are a good indicator that can very possibly do your own covers.

Of course font and title placement is important. Somebody should look at your book and immediately see the most important things. And the title and'/or byline has got to be the most important items.
Generally. For some books a naked girl with a gun under a swastika might be the big message.
Much of this is just using your head.'
The idea of changing the values of the type on the "Ten Stories" cover is a subtlety, and one that might come to light when you show the image to others for input.
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  #35  
Old 07-19-2012, 02:14 AM
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Well, for now I'm just going to follow this thread closely, trying to learn a thing or two.
I'm glad I don't need to think about creating a cover just yet, I'm still trying for the traditional route, but when if I would want to self-publish it would come in handy to know what's been said here.
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  #36  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:17 AM
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My advice... self-publish first, then chase the trad dragon. But that's off the topic at hand.
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  #37  
Old 07-19-2012, 10:26 AM
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I appreciate all the comments -- and your thoughts too Lin. I have some stuff hitting the fan right now, but will come back to this later with some thoughts etc. Just wanted to say thanks and let folks know that I'm not ignoring everyone.
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  #38  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post
These look good to me, and more important, they look "typical", what is expected in that type or genre of book..
I agree with that, Lin. As a designer, I had to resist the urge to over-design or be different. They do look typical – but there is lots of opportunity to do something really nice within the boundaries of what is expected. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Originally Posted by Lin View Post
I think one way to deal with the objections people are mentioning here would be to reverse to coloration of the title type.
That’s right -- kind of what I did with the “The Big Weight.” These are sketches too -- once I settle on something, I'll refine it -- that's the time to do all the minor tweaks -- not when you're considering a bunch of stuff.

Thanks for all your thoughts and input.

Originally Posted by wyf View Post
Joe I love those, you have a real eye for this.
Thanks – I am designer – but given that you can do this without reinventing the wheel, I think most people could probably do a good job. I’d just suggest doing lots of versions with minor tweaks – you’ll see when it’s working. All it takes is time – and if it were my book, I’d spend as much time as necessary to get it right. And when you compare it to the time spent writing – it’s not really that much.

Originally Posted by luckyme View Post
That just shows how little I know about creating a cover. Never realised that you have to take in account the colour scheme and what it appears to do to the mind.
In this case it has more to do with the combination of the color and the image. A forest is green too – so it all depends. Thanks for the comments.

Originally Posted by Loz View Post
The Mill Falls is my absolute favourite of those covers. I like the angel and the snowman too. Well, I like them all, I just prefer those ones. I agree with Candra - don't like And ten more stories.
Thanks, Loz. I’m leaning toward the “…Snow” cover – if not that design – the story, because it’s one of my favorites.

Originally Posted by CandraH View Post
I don't think I have but I remember you posting a couple of photos of the place or somewhere similar and thought the cover had a similar vibe, if not actual similarity in colours or scenery etc.
You have a good memory. I wrote a poem called The Mill Falls -- it's a real place, an abandoned mill where we used hang out when I was a kid -- and I posted pictures along with it. The last part of the short story happens there. It's a park now -- all cleaned up with historical markers etc. No longer a good place to drink and smoke weed. Oh well.

Originally Posted by CandraH View Post
I also realised I havent read Happy Hour either.
I was sure you did. About a nurse addicted to pain meds who hooks up with a guy at a bar and it doesn't go well. Another really cheery story. Thanks for the additional feedback.

As a general comment, I spent most of the time on these looking at images, and visualizing the covers -- several hours -- while watching the ball game etc. I put the covers together pretty quickly -- but then again, I've had a lot of practice, looking at variations on the fly without doing much backtracking. I can also work in photoshop very quickly and alter an image in a matter of minutes. For example, on "The Big Weight" -- that was a horizontal pic -- I added all that sky and extended the road in the foreground to make that work.

I think for most people it will take a lot more time and patience and require more feedback. Not that I can't benefit from feedback -- as we've seen here.

Some people just won't have an eye for it -- and in that case, maybe you can find someone willing to help. A guy on another forum had a decent cover idea, but the type and colors were all wrong and I was able to steer him in the right direction with a few comments and suggestions and a little technical help. Maybe this thread can be a good place to do that.

Cheers all.
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  #39  
Old 07-20-2012, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
You have a good memory. I wrote a poem called The Mill Falls -- it's a real place, an abandoned mill where we used hang out when I was a kid -- and I posted pictures along with it. The last part of the short story happens there. It's a park now -- all cleaned up with historical markers etc. No longer a good place to drink and smoke weed. Oh well.
Heh. I don't know about that. I remember now that you posted a poem but don't remember the actual poem, just the photos. I think my mind runs better in visual mode. A shame they cleaned the place up by the way. Somehow, these places always work better for hanging out when they're dangerous and dirty.

I was sure you did. About a nurse addicted to pain meds who hooks up with a guy at a bar and it doesn't go well. Another really cheery story. Thanks for the additional feedback.
Now you mention it, I do vaguely remember a story along those lines but it was so long ago, I've forgotten what happens in it.See what I mean about selective memory?
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  #40  
Old 07-20-2012, 07:25 AM
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It ends very poetically, of course – which means nothing much happens. The guy she picks up is an out-of-work alcoholic copywriter who’s rationalizing his situation -- shitty apartment, drinking etc. But before he passes out, he says, “I wasn’t always like this.” She looks out the window and remembers something from her past -- before her addiction – and you get the idea that maybe she’s had enough. Not exactly sunshine and roses -- but maybe a ray of hope.
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  #41  
Old 07-20-2012, 04:45 PM
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The guy she picks up is an out-of-work alcoholic copywriter who’s rationalizing his situation
Cool! There's hope for us all. Maybe I can get a date with Dela
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  #42  
Old 07-22-2012, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
It ends very poetically, of course – which means nothing much happens. The guy she picks up is an out-of-work alcoholic copywriter who’s rationalizing his situation -- shitty apartment, drinking etc. But before he passes out, he says, “I wasn’t always like this.” She looks out the window and remembers something from her past -- before her addiction – and you get the idea that maybe she’s had enough. Not exactly sunshine and roses -- but maybe a ray of hope.
Heh. Thats a good description, and it's ringing a few vague memory bells, but I'd probably still have to read it to get a feel for it.

I figure you're capable enough though, to pick a suitable cover image for it so no worries. Basically, never mind me, is what I'm trying to say.

P.S. I always thought that no matter how bleak the endings in your stories, it's the small moments of optimism or humour or hope throughout that make them shine.
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  #43  
Old 07-22-2012, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by CandraH View Post
P.S. I always thought that no matter how bleak the endings in your stories, it's the small moments of optimism or humour or hope throughout that make them shine.
I couldn't ask for a better compliment. Thanks.

PS -- I didn't miss it -- so I'll be taking a dose of "Frankie's Medicine" at some point soon.
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  #44  
Old 07-23-2012, 02:22 AM
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Intentional or not that first time author made a smart move putting her name at the top of her cover in bold print...without looking back does anyone that saw it recall her name?

Cover art aside and that is not to discredit its importance, that author is selling a product, her writing. As with any product name recognition is a top priority in the future success of sales. After all is said and done writing is a business and should be treated as one. The work will stand or fall on its own merit but get your name in front of the buyer as often and as boldly as possible.
It works.
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  #45  
Old 07-23-2012, 12:06 PM
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You said it.
Regarding supremacy of title and author, it depends which is your brand.
And that can change.
Jackie Collins or Stephen King or Lee Childs is the important brand on their books, the title are almost meaningless except to tell you already read them or not.
A new author probably wants to emphasize the title, especially if it;s a good one.
A third element: series. James Bond or Travis McGee or Jack Reacher are the real brands for those books.

You put your emphasis where your money is
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  #46  
Old 07-23-2012, 12:14 PM
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Here's another of my screwups.
In my defense, this was for a paperback, my first published on this imprint. I wasn't even thinking about ebooks back in 2008.
And I had been given this gorgeous cover by my friend Victor Cauduro, one of Mexico' star painters. Looks beautiful in a bookstore.
So how could I go wrong?
Now, you see it on amazon or whatever and you can barely read the title, the author names are invisible.
I need to rethink this one.

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  #47  
Old 07-24-2012, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JoeMatt View Post
I couldn't ask for a better compliment. Thanks.

PS -- I didn't miss it -- so I'll be taking a dose of "Frankie's Medicine" at some point soon.
You're welcome and thanks, you fine southern gentleman, you.

Looking forward to it.
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  #48  
Old 08-25-2012, 12:54 AM
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Wow, what happened? Thread went dead. Anyone want to revive it?

Oh, wait. I just did.
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  #49  
Old 08-25-2012, 04:01 AM
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I wish I had the talent to draw my own cover. Not that I'm anywhere near having to worry about a cover, but I've already got a pretty good idea of how I'd like it to be.
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  #50  
Old 08-25-2012, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Devon View Post
Wow, what happened? Thread went dead. Anyone want to revive it?

Oh, wait. I just did.
Haha. Sneaky beggar.

I might throw something together with an old painting at some point, just for the experience and feedback.

It'll be a while though - I've got a lot of other stuff on at the moment.

Originally Posted by Lin View Post
Here's another of my screwups.
In my defense, this was for a paperback, my first published on this imprint. I wasn't even thinking about ebooks back in 2008.
And I had been given this gorgeous cover by my friend Victor Cauduro, one of Mexico' star painters. Looks beautiful in a bookstore.
So how could I go wrong?
Now, you see it on amazon or whatever and you can barely read the title, the author names are invisible.
I need to rethink this one.

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I really liked this cover when I got the paperback, but you're right about how it reads on a computer screen. Maybe just simplifying the font style and running a much bigger title right across the top would help with that.
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  #51  
Old 08-25-2012, 07:54 AM
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Yeah, it really needs a bolder title across the top.

And thanks again for getting the paperback, ya sweetie.
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  #52  
Old 08-25-2012, 08:08 AM
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You're welcome, Mr Robinson!
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  #53  
Old 08-31-2012, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Lin View Post

I'm going to have to disagree. I could care less about the authors name when picking out a book by someone I've never read before. If I saw this randomly searching for something new to read I'd pick it up in a heartbeat.
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  #54  
Old 08-31-2012, 08:28 PM
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Well, it's hard to beat a cover girl with a great ass and no mouth. :-)

The main thing is that the title needs to be pretty emphatic. It's good to have the bylines readable as "brand building"

Once an author brand is established, that becomes the most important thing really. People buy Steven King books: they don't care what the title is.

In some cases "branding" might actually be something else, like a character. Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, Travis McGee.
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  #55  
Old 09-01-2012, 01:27 PM
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Ha, re the names, I was too busy staring at the bum to notice anyway. Finally spotted those flowers.

If I saw this book I wouldn't necessarily take it home (note: I'm drawn to books with pictures of eery, abandoned houses on the front, so I guess i'm a bit of a genre whore) but I would definately turn to the blub upon seeing that.
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  #56  
Old 09-05-2012, 07:02 AM
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All right, well. I have several covers I need feedback on, but I'll start with the first one, in order of release. The picture stays (gotten permission from the photographer to use it, freely), though feedback on everything else is most welcome. Not thrilled about the font; still want a nice, "friendly" feel to it.

This is for the story about the woman who lost her Golden to cancer, plus three other Golden-related tales (bonus material).

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Last edited by Devon; 09-05-2012 at 07:16 AM..
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  #57  
Old 09-05-2012, 09:52 AM
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Right off the bat, I would put a border, at least a pixel or two wide around the photo to keep the white's separate.
I'd probably also put title up top and byline at bottom, but what the hell.

Personally I would go with a much less...well... sissy font.
I chose this one for Sara's Sleep I think it gets across the feminine literary thing, but is still strong and beats the stereotype of cursive faces like that one
One general tip... don't use fonts that come pre-installed on Windows programs.

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  #58  
Old 09-05-2012, 10:33 AM
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Cool. Thanks for the pointers, Lin.

I'd probably also put title up top and byline at bottom, but what the hell.
And why wouldn't I consider that suggestion? Lol. I'll likely rearrange it, and the others, as they're all set up that way.

Yeah, like I said, wasn't crazy about the font. Wasn't a pre-set, though. Can't remember where I grabbed it from.

Back to the drawing board, then.
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  #59  
Old 09-05-2012, 10:45 AM
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That Sara font is "Road To Perdition". I really like it. Not quite right for yours, probably, but you know... the general idea.

If you want something "scripty" but not that much, take a look at Lucida Calligraphy
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:58 AM
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Will do! Thanks.

Edit: Having a hard time trying to get my covers not to look "flat." Like the example cover you put up, doesn't feel as flat. Not sure if anyone knows what I mean. I want more depth, but don't know how exactly to achieve that.
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