Before commenting, PLEASE read the commenting rules. It will make us both happier, you and me. Especially me.

Hunger – A Thrilling Suspense

The author says:

HUNGER -A Thrilling Suspense

Adam was a satisfied New Yorker until he receives a suspectable letter of his grandmother from Pakistan, requesting him to visit her to know the truth about his thrilling past, his insatiable Hunger begins. Will he satisfy his hunger?

Iman is dejected by her life, yet she wanted to save her marriage. will she be able to save it? or a new chapter in her life awaits?

It’s adventure, drama, thriller and suspense plus with a little hint of family and love. Target audience is everyone who lovery thriller with travel and adventure. My primary objective to write the book was to tell the world positive aspects of Pakistan. As I am a proud Pakistani myself. At the beginning it’s set in new York where Adam finds our about his grandmother travels to Pakistan to meet her. Then it goes back to his parents story connecting Adam himself with it. at the end the story takes a seven year leap and the action thickens.

Nathan says:

All automatic cover generators and their templates have problems, and this one is no exception.  Here are the main problems with this template:

  • There is a metric ton of wasted space.  Look at the thumbnail; we can barely read the title, and the subtitle and byline are only a few pixels each, but golly do we see a lot of blue-gray background!
  • I assume that the font is one of only a few options given for this template. It’s completely wrong for thrilling suspense.
  • Coming back to the byline; seriously, who would want their name to be so small?

Those are all complaints directly related to the template itself.  Now here are some complaints about your use of it:

  • “A Thrilling Suspense”?  Yes, “suspense” is technically a noun, but as a descriptor of a book it functions as an adjective.  It should be “A Thrilling Suspense Story” or “A Thrilling Suspense Novel” or something.
  • Blue-grey, and more blue-grey, are not thrilling colors.  Look at how other suspense novels broadcast their genre: Lots of high-contrast color and strong type.  (And no frames.)
  • On the other hand, the story you describe on the back cover isn’t a thrilling suspense story. It’s a family drama.  You either need to change the subtitle on the front, or include the actually thrilling parts of the story on the back.
  • If all of this is about Pakistani heritage, why is there no hint of it in the imagery?  A guy sitting in a tree isn’t specifically Pakistani. (Also not thrilling.)

I think you’d be better off by scrapping this and starting over from these questions:

  1. What do I want my potential audience to comprehend in the first split-second of seeing the cover?  (I think the answers are “suspense” and “Pakistan,” unless you decide that “suspense” is really not a primary descriptor of your story, in which case “drama” and “Pakistan” would be the answers.)
  2. How do you visually say “suspense” to potential readers? (Again, look at the covers of other successful suspense novels to see how readers of suspense novels are used to being marketed to.)
  3. How do you visually say “Pakistani” to potential readers who will likely not be Pakistani?  (I’m assuming here that your target audience is a broader one than simply Pakistani-Americans.) A Google image search for “pakistani culture” shows me lots of bright colors, intricate designs, and Islamic imagery. If you’re not using some combination of those elements, you’re not telling us about the book at all.

I think the evidence says that thinking in terms of visual design and impact is not your skill set.  There’s no shame in an author admitting that they don’t have experience in design, and instead turning to someone who does have that skill set.  You should probably look around for a designer to work with.

Other thoughts?

Sax Club

The author says:

Historical fiction of the tough times in Detroit in the 1970s. A poker group meets once a month at the Sax Club and always stops for a dink and view before heading up to the poker room. Members of the group including a police sargeant, are key players in confronting the mafia’s strong hold on the city. They are the “Thorn Birds of Detroit.”

Nathan says:

So is it a crime novel? A buddy novel? I can’t tell from the description whether the main story takes place inside or outside the club (the cover definitely wants me to believe “inside”).

And is the title “Sax Club”?  Or is it “Sax Club: Thorn Birds of Detroit Confront Mafia”?  I would strongly advise the first, and then just dropping (or at least both downplaying and rewriting) the subtitle, as it confuses more than it elucidates.

It’s obvious, and thus detracting, that the neon font has been “squished” to fit in the space… and it’s then confusing that the “Thorn Birds of Detroit” logo also glows just like the neon.

I think that, with a stripper photo, your cover will get a lot of second glances. But then your potential customers will come away without knowing what story you’re telling, and move on to the next book instead of reading the back cover copy.  You need to remember the most essential part of designing a cover: Remember who your target audience is, and concentrate on letting that target audience know that this is a book aimed at them.

(This is a side note, but I don’t know if a ’70s setting qualifies as “historical.” “Period,” yes, but most people don’t consider living memory to be “historical.”)

Other comments?

 

One Nation Under Debt

The author says:

Set in remote mountains of Nevada and travels around the US and abroad in current time.

Book 3 Die-Hard Patriots, a Political thriller Series.

Audience: Conservative men with interest in politics and preppers. Vince Flynn, Brad Thor.

Fearing his life is in danger, Cal Stockton seeks refuge in the remote mountains of Nevada. His future looks bleak until he inherits a sizable sum of money, followed by a visit from the former Secretary of State, Claire Haskett. She’s preparing to make a presidential bid for the White House. Fearing the United States is on the verge of bankruptcy and the dollar is in danger of losing its status as the world’s reserve currency, she wants to abolish the Federal Reserve and issue a new interest-free United States Note—a note backed by gold, yet owned by the People. All she needs are a few noble patriots willing to acquire that gold. Patriots willing to break a few laws and a leader willing to die for the cause.

Nathan says:

Series novels present their own problems; you want to maintain consistent branding across installments.  For reference, here are the covers of the first two novels:

  

Good covers, if slightly inconsistent.  Of the three, the third volume is the weakest, for a number of reasons:

  1. The title taking up roughly half of the cover makes it look like a nonfiction book.
  2. Couple that with a plain picture of currency, and it looks like a personal finance book, or a polemic against the Federal Reserve.
  3. In contrast to the first two volumes, in which the illustration extends out under the type, the third volume has the type completely separate from the single image element.
  4. Also in contrast to the first two volumes, the deep red of the byline blends into the background in thumbnail size.

Here’s what I’d do:

  • Place the title on two lines, not three:

ONE NATION
UNDER DEBT

 

  • Fill the cover with the image of the hundred-dollar bill, at an angle and with some texture. Darken it under the text, and see how that looks.

Other suggestions?

Joy After the Pain

The author says:

A 12 month guide of devotionals. The devotionals were written to encourage women that have been through a lot of pain from breakups and/or divorces based on my personal experiences from both.

Nathan says:

I can appreciate the motives that inspired the design — something soft and non-confrontational — but I think the type treatment is too underwhelming.

Italic fonts don’t work well with excessive spacing between the letters.  Using a slightly stronger font at a larger size for the title will make it more visible and readable in thumbnail.

The subtitle is written in a font that doesn’t seems “chosen” so much as it just happened.

Is there really an apostrophe in your surname?

The way the image is cropped, there’s a shadow all the way down the left edge; it makes it look as if you scanned the image from a book.

Other comments?

Loveweaver [resubmit]

The author says:

I have made this new version of Loveweaver to replace the previous cover I sent a couple of months ago. This cover is a still a wip.

About the book: The year 895. Slayde’s job as an top military leader of Kent is to rid England of the last of the Viking raiders. But Llyrica is no ordinary Viking. She’s a beauty with a mysterious past … and a talent for weaving song spells. Even as Slayde saves her from drowning, he knows Llyrica will be a dangerous distraction. Llyrica is now a stranger in a strange land on a mission to fulfill a deathbed promise. But she must also find her missing brother. This man, Slayde, known as The StoneHeart in his country, seems determined to block her at every turn. And yet she can’t help but be drawn to the affectionate, loving side of him that awakens when he sleeps – The sleepwalker. Unknown to both Llyrica and Slayde, each will use the other to accomplish their quests. Both will also fall under the song spell that she wove into the braid of his tunic. Will her Lovespell ensure a happily ever after for them? Or condemn them to a love that was never meant to be?

[original submission and comments here]

Nathan says:

A much more respectable collection of elements this time out; good work! All my comments are tweaks to this design.

  1. I would make the model’s head larger, so that the title overlaps onto the shoulder and hair beneath the chin (it’s not like there’s necessary detail there). In addition to enlarging the focus of the image, it would also put a little bit of a darker background behind the title, which would help it stand out more at thumbnail.
  2. The middle line of the cover blurb (specifically, the ellipsis) goes way too far to the right. Bring it back so that no character is further to the right than the last letter of “heart” in the line above.
  3. Move the byline down so that it’s got solid trees behind it; that will improve readability immensely at thumbnail size.

Any other suggestions?

A Change in Crime

The author says:

When you lose everything, who are you? In November of 1929, the last autumn leaves started a domino effect in Fall River. At a time when most give thanks, others lurk at society’s fringes, waiting for a shot at revenge. Power. Redemption. A Mafia hit leaves Leo Riley homeless and at the mercy of Oguina, a powerful monster under an ancient curse. A hunter with skin in this game stalks the streets, playing cat-and-mouse with the creatures he’s sworn to eliminate. The capo di tutti capi with a secret gazes into a moral abyss, threatening to take his men with him if he falls. All struggle to hold on to humanity. Unlikely allies join forces, fighting for their rights to Fall River’s streets and their very survival. Some will fall, some will rise, but can there ever be a winner when crime and change come to call?

Genre: Alternative History, Speculative Fiction
Setting: 1929 New England
Target: Adult readers

Nathan says:

So what I’m getting from the description is a Depression-era urban fantasy/crime drama. However, I’m seeing not seeing the urban fantasy part from the cover, just old-timey crime.  I think that if you’re going to go for one or the other on your cover (crime drama or urban fantasy), urban fantasy is the way to go, because readers looking for urban fantasy are more likely to accept a historical crime setting setting than readers looking for crime drama are willing to accept urban fantasy in the story.

(I’m not saying you’ve GOT to choose one or the other; I’m just saying that, of the two, an urban fantasy cover would probably attract more interested readers than a crime drama cover.)

Other thoughts?

The White House Files

The author says:

A long buried secret. A persistent archeologist. And a dangerous covert organization…

Smithsonian archaeologist, Roslin Williams gets an amazing opportunity to excavate the site where the White House once stood hundreds of years ago. When the excavation begins, Roslin stumbles upon a shocking find—the Air Force One plane containing human remains and a mysterious briefcase, which only leads to more questions than answers… The televised dig immediately attracts the attention of a powerful shadow organization intent on ensuring the secrets contained within Air Force One remain buried, and a hitman is dispatched to eliminate Roslin. After she is attacked, Mark Appleton, a former Secret Service Agent, is hired to watch over her, but Appleton realizes with Roslin’s life in danger, there’s no one they can trust.

As the layers of betrayal and deception are slowly peeled away, a scandalous cover-up is revealed that will have worldwide repercussions. Together, Appleton and Roslin embark on a perilous journey to outrun the evil forces allied against them in order to unravel this ancient conspiracy. And unless they can avoid the sinister adversary who shadows their every move—this volatile, ancient truth will remain hidden forever.

Nathan says:

The biggest issue I see is one of mis-branding.

Your description says that this is hundreds of years after the White House and Air Force One are destroyed. By definition, then, you’ve got a science fiction novel.  But your cover sells it as a straight (contemporary) political thriller. That means that the people who pick it up/click on it looking for a political thriller are going to be turned off by it actually being science fiction, and the political science fiction readers who would enjoy the novel won’t pick it up, thinking it’s a contemporary thriller.

 

Astrologer’s Proof

The publisher says:

Astrologer’s Proof features a clandestine group of people who have all the money, connections and computing power to decide whether Astrology is real. Using elaborate hacking schemes, they secretly obtain massive amounts of data on the American people to perform a grand astrological experiment. The story takes place in present day America over a two year period.

Genre: Science Fiction

Target audience: Readers of soft science fiction, contemporary fiction, techno-thrillers. Astrology lovers.

Authors’ readers Astrologer’s Proof may appeal to: Kevin Wignall, Michael C. Grumley, Douglas E. Richards, Adam Fawer, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut.

(We are trying to decide if the silhouette man helps the layout or not.)

Nathan says:

Of the two, definitely the one with the silhouette. Without the awareness of scale that the human figure brings, the shapes along the side aren’t immediately recognizable as computer banks.

I will note that the man’s shadow doesn’t seem to match the single light source visible.

Some of the words you use to describe the story, as well as authors you cite like Kevin Wignall, Michael C. Grumley, Douglas E. Richards, etc. definitely puts this book into suspense-thriller territory.  However, I don’t think the cover supports that. There’s not enough foreboding to it; it’s too centered, too clean, and the title doesn’t “loom” enough.  You should look at the covers for the authors you list and see how to signal to readers that this book is for them.

My five-minute redo actually took 10+ minutes; I recently replaced my computer, and hadn’t restored all my fonts.  But you can see where I’m heading here:

Other comments?

Aesir Ascendant

The author says:

The Reigns of the Marshal Kings continues with Aesir Ascendant. It is the story of the great, shining king and the dark history which surrounds his rise, his voyages of exploration, and his ultimate fate beyond the edges of the world. A dark fantasy and cosmic horror novel, book 2 in a series that began with Vandal Valkyrie, critiqued earlier on this site. This book has a heavy nautical bent, will be darker, and suffers from the mid-trilogy ‘depressing’ ending. Original Cover Art by Chris Garrett, http://chris-garrett.deviantart.com/, and is used with permission.

Specific concerns: I have added a thin white drop shadow to the upper left of the text to lend the letters a glow. Does it work? Would a black shadow for darker contrast be better? I added some simple texturing to the letters for visual interest. Does it detract or is it not going far enough? The art is practically perfect for this specific book. Is it adequate for the genre? Also, how is the font? I seem to have a particular weakness with fonts.

Many thanks all. I hope what I’ve learned here so far has yielded a somewhat less amateurish result. I’ve sent along a current version of the first book’s cover and an early mock-up for the third’s to allow comparison across series. Art for the first is by Alex Ruiz, http://www.conceptmonster.net, and used with permission.

(The final version of first cover, for comparison:)

Nathan says:

Good work incorporating our comments on the first cover (visible here), and also on maintaining both the typeface and type placement for the second cover; a lot of people don’t understand the importance of type placement as part of branding.

However, before we get to your questions regarding drop shadows etc., I have some concerns about the artwork on the second cover — not in itself, as it’s unquestionably good artwork, but again in terms of branding and series continuity.  You gone from an image on the first cover in which a human figure is the central, dominant part of the layout, to an image with no human figures; on top of that, it’s a layout with no dominant single element (certainly not in comparison to the first cover), and literally nothing in the center.  I think that’s definitely a series branding mistake; having established a “series look” on the first cover, you should do all you can to tie the first book to the second, and I definitely think that having a central human figure is a big, big part of that.

I would also say that the difference in art and stroke style between the covers (scribbly “speed-painting” vs. smooth and refined) works against you.

What says the collective?

Apologies.

Sorry for the sparse posting here.  I’ve spent the last couple of weeks deep in preparation for a comic con over this last weekend, and then the time since fighting through my stacked-up email, and putting in some extra hours on the day job.  Regular posting will resume soon.

Contact Form Powered By : XYZScripts.com