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Wanderer’s Diary: Daydreams

The author says:

Wanderer’s Diary: Daydreams is a collection of emotions, friendship, and practical life. The book includes sketches, short stories, an essay, and poems by Qumber Rizvi. A few of the contents are detailed here.

 

1. Just To Hold Your Hand (Sketch): She fulfills his dream suddenly when she holds his hand and walks with him. He experiences what he had never dreamed of. Or, perhaps, dreamt everyday. Don’t put it down before the climax. There is a BIG twist.

 

2. Imperfect Us (Sketch): John Smith has a big crush on his classmate. She is the most perfect person he ever met. Even perfect that himself. But what happens when she rejects him? 3. The Best Buddies (Story): Three friends, classmates are the weirdest buddies in the school. They, together, can do what others won’t even think of. A humorous collection of their crazy deeds in their high school.

 

3. Change In My City (Story): Author returns to his city after six years. Many things are changed there, but what change he observes is what others won’t really see as significant as he does.

 

Three poems in Wanderer’s Diary: Daydreams are: 1. Forgery 2. I Was Blind, But Now I See 3. Park Bonus Read (Essay) – Internet Is A Boon

Wanderer's Diary Daydreams Large

Wanderer's Diary Daydreams Large

Nathan says:

The great thing about single-author collections with varied content is that the cover doesn’t have to represent any single theme; it just needs to be visually intriguing.  I think you’ve got that here.

The tweaks I would look at are these:

1. The dimensions are a bit elongated — not necessarily a problem, but given that a lot of ecommerce sites such as Amazon create their thumbnails by defining a maximum height, your cover will look smaller in thumbnail and be that much harder to see.  It may seem like a little thing, but of such little things are big things determined.

2. There’s no indication on the cover that this is a collection. In fact, the tagline at the top makes it seem that this is definitely not a collection, but a single story.  (The tagline is also hard to read at normal size, a combination of the irregular typeface and the color behind it that reduces the contrast.)  It seems that both 1. and 2. (partially) can be improved with one edit: Chop the cover down to a 2×3 proportion, sacrificing that blue area at the top of the artwork and the tagline over it.

3. Your name being as unusual as it is, it won’t strike readers immediately as a name.  (I’m not saying that Stephen King’s success comes from being named “Stephen King,” but it didn’t hurt.)  But you can improve this, and solve the other half of 2., by adding “Stories and Poems by” or “A Collection by” above your byline, which will both identify your name as a name and give more of a clue to the contents.

4. Even if we cut off the tagline at the top, that still leaves us with three different fonts on the cover, and all three of them are serif fonts, which tend to clash with each other.  (That’s why you see so many book covers that use two fonts — one serif, one sans serif).  Since the byline is far from the title, you could use a single serif font for both parts of the title (maybe with “Wanderer” in regular weight, and “Daydreams” in bold) without much danger of clashing.  I would definitely remove the italics from “Wanderer’s Diary.”

Other ideas?

 

 

Water Pearl

The author says:

In this fantasy, a magic pearl made of water by a forest sprite serves a major role throughout the story. A youth “borrows” it and aches to return it, but circumstances prevent him until the end.

for-waterpearl-4-png[1]

for-waterpearl-4-png[1]

Nathan says:

The more I do this, the more I become convinced that the two most basic parts of any book cover are:

  1. Color scheme
  2. Typeface(s)

In other words, it would be possible to create an acceptable cover for a fantasy novel using nothing but this photograph, with color manipulation and appropriate fonts.

First: The photograph is too “blah.” It looks like exactly what you’d see if you, well, took a photograph in the forest.  But fantasy needs to be more intense.  What colors could suggest a magical forest? Or magical water?

Second: Neither font you have here is terribly evocative. The Rosetti font you use for the title is ornate, yes, but gets no support from layout or color, and the Comic Sans… Sorry, there is NO appropriate use for Comic Sans.  It’s so overexposed and hated these days, I wouldn’t even use it for a coloring book.

Third: There’s no detail in the background image that you need to be sure not to cover, so the off-center placement of both title and byline accomplish nothing.  You may be trying to achieve a bit of visual interest by breaking the byline into two lines, but its off-centeredness just makes it look haphazard.

Fourth: The “water pearl” doesn’t look much like a pearl. What it mostly looks like is an afterthought.

Now. The good news is that, as this isn’t a complex cover, the fixes don’t need to be time-consuming.  I did an image search and couldn’t find the exact stock photo you used, but I grabbed a more-or-less similar one to do a “five-minute fix” demo for you.

waterpearl

Definitely not the best cover for this, but it’s a quick sketch showing you what I’m talking about.

Anybody else have thoughts?

The Invisible People

The author says:

Genre: Horror Synopsis: Nobody saw them. Nobody cared. They were the perfect camouflage. It used them to hide in plain sight as the world walked on. Dan saw them. He looked up and saw the invisible people, and when he held out a helping hand, It latched on.

Tip2.3

Tip2.3

Nathan says:

Conceptually, it’s a very strong cover.  I think some fairly minor tweaks could yield huge dividends.

  1. Think about small revisions to the layout. If you concentrate on the thumbnail instead of the full-sized image, some of the weaknesses jump out at you: There’s an awful lot of black space that isn’t doing anything, the gray tones in the central graphic tend to merge together (you can’t even tell that the chin is there under the tagline), and the byline is awfully small for no good reason. If you enlarge the face (and let some of the forehead slip under the title to give room for the chin at the bottom), increase the contrast especially on the chin area, and double the size of the byline, I think the cover will have twice the “first glance” impact.
  2. I don’t think the horizontal blur on the title has the effect you want it to have. My first reaction, and I’m pretty sure this is common, is to rub my eyes in case my danged allergies are clouding my focus.  I’m also not sure the red splatters work well — they make it harder to immediately read the title, which already has a creative but counter-intuitive layout working against easy readability. (Speaking of that layout, it places an inadvertent emphasis on the “IS” of “INVISIBLE.” There are also some kerning issues.  One thing I would try, to see if it’s easier on the eyes, is reducing the “I” of “IS” to three-quarters its current size, anchored along the bottom baseline, and then do the same to the “S” but anchor it at the top. Just a thought.)
  3. Also, regarding the tagline: I think the phrase “Looks can be deceiving” is more familiar to most people.  When I tried to figure out the word behind “fatal,” I read it as “Looks can be defective.”  Red against black is surprisingly difficult to read.

(As an aside, I think your synopsis tries to hard to be mysterious that it ends up being too fragmentary to be enticing. But this site isn’t really for criticism of synopses.)

Other comments?

The Burning of Cherry Hill [resubmit]

the author says:

I hope that it’s okay that I’m submitting the THIRD version of this cover! I’ve been working hard on it, and got help from Katie Miller who posted on this site and has been absolutely priceless. I love all y’all’s help, thank you!

AmazonCover

AmazonCover

[previous submissions and comments here and here]

Nathan says:

Definitely more creative and less generic.  Anything I saw from here on out is not so much “stuff to be fixed” as “stuff to consider”:

If you make the silhouettes larger, to take up more of the cover space, you can increase the size of the type proportionally. I’d especially experiment with overlapping the silhouettes of the two figures — as long as the presence of two separate people is readily seen, you can overlap and then make them bigger, taking up more of the background.  the fact that this would increase the size of the type seems like a plus to me.

Do you really want “OF” to have that much emphasis in the title? I’d definitely tweak it and see if reducing the size of that one word makes it flow better. The same with the byline; maybe reducing the size of “AK” and shifting it upward will allow “BUTLER” to grow into the arm space and thus get bigger.

Other comments?

Shopping Survival Guide For Men

The author says:

A frank and hilarious guide to every man’s mind-numbing nemesis: Shopping. Guys: spent one too many Saturdays marooned at The Mall? Rejuvenate your manhood with the Shopping Survival Guide for Men. This indispensable sanity-saver exposes the hidden history and insidious psychology of shopping (Hint: it’s crazy), plus cool-headedly guides you through the treacherous, credit card-melting mazes of shoes, handbags, lingerie, fitting rooms and more.

shopping-survival-guide-sm

shopping-survival-guide-sm

Nathan says:

Witty and engaging!  Only two thoughts:

  1. Go ahead, make your byline bigger. You’ve got the space.
  2. The smiling head with a pipe immediately makes me think of “Bob” from the Church of the Subgenius. If that’s a conscious reference, great; if not, you may want a slightly different image — say, with a hat?

Other comments?

Blackest of Lies

The author says:

Blackest of Lies is set in 1916. It aims to suggest an alternative view of Lord Kitchener’s death at the hands of the German Navy in the cold waters off Orkney. There were many questions raised concerning the security of his journey which started immediately after the tragedy and have rummbled on until the present day. This book suggests that Kitchener was murdered in his house by the IRA and follows the efforst of the security services to keep the murder a secret by employing a military doctor as a resonable stand-in to fool the public at a distance. But, when he is sent to Russia via Scapa Flow, it is in the interests of friend and foe to ensure he does not return. It is left to Lt Hubert, the man who suggested him, and Anne Banfield of Special Branch to race after him to prevent his death in the coled waters of the Pentland Firth. Thsi book is aimed at those who are interested in espionage, the security branches and the Great War.

blackestOfLies_Cover

blackestOfLies_Cover

 

Nathan says:

Very confident in its use of images, a muted color palette, and type.  Here are tweaks I would recommend:

  1. I don’t know about most people, but I know I’m not history-savvy enough to instantly grasp the setting from the images shown.  Perhaps a subtitle/supertitle giving just a smidge more info — “A Conspiracy of the Great War” or somesuch — would be appropriate.
  2. I can’t tell what exactly I’m supposed to pick up from the upper image. If it’s the military imagery, it might be worthwhile to move that photo up so that the medals are more clearly seen, and make it a bit less transparent. That would also help the train tracks be more easily recognized as well; readers would benefit from instantly understanding “military” and “railroad” than “what am I looking at?” in that first three-quarters of a second.
  3. I’d probably also try a bit more space between the title and byline, but maybe that’s just me.

Other thoughts?

 

Logoons

The author says:

The title is a portmanteau of logo and cartoons. I wrote (and hired a cartoonist) 120 single panel gag cartoons. The cartoons are built around a word and its definition. Not multi-syllabic words no one cares for or could ever remember (except for a couple I couldn’t pass up), nor highly technical jargon, but interesting words rarely used in the banter of daily conversation. Readers expand their word knowledge and get a good chuckle at the same time. The prospective cover, for instance, is of one of the cartoons (attached to this email). I’m attaching a couple more cartoons to give you a better feel of the book.

 

I would be very interested in hearing other voices ( bad choice of words there) in hearing other people’s opinions of the book cover. I truly appreciate the help you and your group offer.

 

(I’m thinking of putting in a splash of color – perhaps yellow on the feet of the chicken patient and pale blue coverings on the chicken surgeons.)

Furcula copy

Furcula copy

 

Nathan says:

Thanks, Dennis. I hope our comments are as helpful as you expect. (Bring your A game, folks!)

I definitely agree about the color. In fact, I’ll go one further: I think you should fill that big white background space with color, maybe a light blue.  Even the covers of books of entirely black-and-white cartoons should be colorful. (Look at the covers of any of the Dilbert books.)  And the black border? Make it a color — either a darker version of the light blue, or maybe a burgundy.

While you’re at it, you don’t have to put the text entirely outside the borders of the cartoon; that’s a lot of wasted space.  there’s plenty of room beneath the end of the bed for the byline, and the title could even drop until it starts to overlap the medical monitor.

Anyone else have thoughts?

Trial by Fire

The author says:

Trial by Fire is the first of three contemporary fantasy novels, also known as the Road Trilogy. In a world of swords, steam and sorcery, powerful individuals known as adventurers roam the lands. Some of these have become stone-hearted mercenaries, holding nothing more sacred than the gold in their pockets. Some adventurers have taken a darker path, sowing pain, strife and discord for their own nefarious ends. Amidst these are the adventurers of heroic renown, giving their all to make their world a better place. This is the story of one of the greatest adventurers ever to walk the Road.

 

With the soil atop his father’s grave still fresh, Virgil Irons now stands alone, preparing to step out on the Road. Intending to be an adventurer like his father – the famous and revered fist-fighter Rufus Irons – he must deal with the pressures of his lineage, the expectations of his peers, and somehow carve out a life for himself. Virgil is a deadly foe, but it will take more than a quick fist to survive on the Road. First he must hone his skills at the secretive Duskshield Academy, a training ground for adventurers, under the expert tutelage of those who have walked the Road and lived to tell the tale. Virgil and his companions, Monty and Ari, are hurled into a dangerous world that they are not ready for, and that none of them fully understand. Fear and mistrust are rife and the three young initiates will need every ounce of training – and each other – if they are to survive.

 

The story should hopefully appeal to anyone who loves JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books, as well as the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and is also inspired by D&D and traditional fantasy, with a gritty edge. I’d like to think it’d appeal to those in the young adult category and upwards, though writing for an audience is something I’m yet to master – I kinda just write what I want to write. Thanks in advance for the critiques!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00042]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00042]

 

Nathan says:

You’ve got a good, strong fantasy-appropriate color scheme. A lot of people don’t understand how important that is, but color is the FIRST thing people will see — before text, before any specifics in the images.

Now, after we get past the colors, I see a couple of problems (or, if you prefer, “opportunities”).

First: As colorful as the flame texture to the title is, it’s still hard to read because of lack of contrast.  Look at the thumbnail: The byline is more easily read, despite being at a smaller character size.

Second: The bracers are… well, bracers.  They’re just kind of there.  Even if bracers figure in the story prominently, they’re just a thing on the cover.  They don’t tell the reader anything except “yup, medieval stuff.”  They’re nice and all, but…

Anyone think otherwise?

A Dodge, a Twist and a Tobacconist

The author says:

This story teams up better and lesser-known literary characters in Steampunk alt-Victorian London. They seek to uncover and overthrow a rising slave empire setting England on its ear and threatening to turn the social order on its ear. From the Indian jungles to the New England countryside they come to end a nightmare of disappearing souls. Lovers of Victorian Literature and movies like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and recent Sherlock Holmes movies will enjoy this airship ride to adventure.

new font dodge 25

new font dodge 25

Nathan says:

it’s certainly got the Victorian/Steampunk vibe going on!

A few things:

– While the way you’ve arranged the words in the title is clever, it crosses the line into making it difficult to decipher. The eye naturally flows from “Dodge” to “Twist,” then has to go back to catch the “a” before “Twist.” The same thing happens with “Tabacconist” — the “a” gets left out.

– Even with the filters on the main image, it’s pretty apparent that it’s a touched-up digital picture. Filter harder!

– At thumbnail size, most of the image elements that say “steampunk” get lost.  We see the face, but not the hat lost behind the type, and the Victorianity (is that a word?) of the type is less recognizable. What can you do to make the genre more immediately identifiable from the thumbnail?

– Given that the face is one we (presumably) aren’t expected to recognize, you could reduce the space the head takes up, leaving you more room to space out the words of the title and make it more readable. Just a thought.

– The readability of the byline fades out in the middle (because of the gentleman’s white shirt behind it). If you’re not moving things around on the cover, then I think the byline needs more of a border or outline.

Other thoughts?

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