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Paladin’s Odyssey [resubmit]

The author says:

Resubmit number three. A change of direction as I found an image that I think better conveys the story. It keeps the torn flag imagery but creates a new focus on the character and his odyssey.

PaladinCoverSample-2

 

PaladinCoverSample-2

Nathan says:

[Note: You can see the previous covers here and here.]

It’s a terrific cover. One thing I would experiment with is deepening the saturation at the very top and very bottom — enough to give the cover a bit of eye-catching color, but not enough to overpower the post-armageddon vibe of the rest of the color scheme.

Other ideas?

Saraphympire: Guardians of the Gateways [resubmit]

The author says:

The last and final re-submit, you all must be sick of my covers by now, but I greatly appreciate the feedback, and I do listen, I don’t know if you received my last cover, I have changed the positioning of the catch phrase, the last one I sent had blood on the ‘PHYM’. This book has adult content, it’s about Makayla Uriel, a vampire seraphim with a split personalty and a group of elite fighters known as the Shadow Seekers that protect hidden gateways on Earth, that lead to other planets in the Multiverse.

blended cover darker hair with TITLE skull moved

blended cover darker hair with TITLE skull moved

 

Nathan says:

[You can see the previous versions here and here.]

I think you’re getting it about as good as you’re going to get it. My only suggestion would be to move the tagline a little further to the right so it’s not crowding right against the sword.

Other thoughts?

 

 

 

The Magician’s Horses [resubmit]

The author says:

I’m resubmitting a new cover for my Young-Adult Science Fiction novel. Although the cover design doesn’t suggest science fiction, I feel that it captures the spirit of the novel more closely than my attempts at a more SciFi oriented cover. The Magician’s Horses is a time travel story, but the underlying theme involves shedding material possessions and returning to nature. It is a story about coping with death and being alone. It is a story about survival, friendship, and new love. How I’m going to word that in a blurb, I have yet to determine.

tmh

tmh

 

Nathan says:

Note: You can see the two previous iterations of this cover here and here.

The typeface chosen here definitely sells the “sf” vibe better than the original.  I would call this a good sketch for what you want to do. Now you need to roll up your sleeves and bring the magic.

– Look at the thumbnail. The horse silhouette gets lost, and the placement of type and other elements against the dark background seems arbitrary.  Perhaps a top-to-bottom fade of color in the horse silhouette (maybe the red from the second cover?) would give it some visual distinction.  The thumbnail comes across as monolithic gray.  Coule upping the color and saturation in the sunset (sunrise?) add some appeal?

– What detail can you add to the large version which doesn’t distract from the clarity at thumbnail size, but rewards the browser for looking at it larger?  (That’s one of the loose principles I’m seeing coalesce out of my exploration of good cover design: The full size version should give the viewer something beyond what can be seen in the thumbnail.) Could a slight bevel, glow, or shadow on the type make it more interesting (without reducing readability, especially in the thumbnail)? How about a subtle texture or pattern in the blacks and darks?

Other ideas?

 

Seraphympire [resubmit]

The author says:

KILLING IS HER SPECIALTY. LEGEND HER REALITY. BLOOD HER DRUG OF CHOICE. Makayla Uriel is a Vampire Seraphim with a split personality. Her first impulse upon meeting her new partner is to bleed him dry. Her second is unthinkable. Humans no longer need to be bitten to become Vampires. London is burning. The Trinian Globe, an ancient artefact, has been stolen. Makayla is the one being who can prevent the inevitable apocalypse and the one least likely to. Is trust possible when you must sacrifice everything? Will the Shadow Seekers save Earth and its Gateways? Can the global distribution of V5 be stopped? Who will triumph? SERAPHYMPIRE.

Createspace_Final_NEW_21.9

Createspace_Final_NEW_21.9

Nathan says:

Incrementally better, but most of the complaints I had about the previous cover are still present: The text is too small, the tag line covers an active area in the artwork instead of that open space on the right, and the neologistic title is still ungainly.

Other opinions?

Right Your Resume

The author says:

“A textbook guiding jobseekers how to write the content of their resume, which provides in-depth instructions to help those needing to write or fix up their own resume to make decisions on what sections and details to include and exclude and where included details should be positioned along with a professional resume writers techniques that can make hiring managers to view the person as potentially suitable.” As a professional resume writer and jobsearch trainer I understand that jobsearch can be a long and frustrating process, especially for those who struggling financially and the process is prolonged. So, I wanted the cover of my non-fiction book to convey the emotions underlying that frustration and struggle, in particular the nervousness that some people have from viewing hiring managers as fearsome, mean and scary bosses with the power to make or break their future with little care or thought for their feelings. But, because jobsearch can be tedious, I also strove to soften that element to try making the topic less boring.

Proposed Book Cover_Design 1_Front Only

Proposed Book Cover_Design 1_Front Only

Nathan says:

Golly, I’ve got no comments about this. It looks just fine to me.  On the other hand, nonfiction (and especially how-to books) aren’t a specialty of mine.  Anyone else have something insightful to say?

Valor’s Worth

The author says:

Valor’s Worth is a medieval fantasy novel of the sword-and-sorcery vein, appropriate for older teens and adults. Those who appreciate books by Terry Brooks, RA Salvatore, and Weis/Hickman will find Valor’s Worth provides a similar brand of adventure. It’s the story of a surly elf military officer trying to come to grips with a destiny to establish the first airborne cavalry for his people, while he battles emotional wounds that threaten to cripple him from within.

9780984020973-Perfect.indd

9780984020973-Perfect.indd

 

Nathan says:

Nice use of photography instead of illustration — especially because so much indie-published fantasy uses amateurish art.

My first thought is, More contrast!  I immediately want to add a deep green tone to the background (especially in the photographic tableau, but also in the backgrounds to the title/byline and series title to connect them) to contrast with the red in the type, and to make the objects in the tableau “pop” more.

Other ideas?

Seraphympire: Guardians of the Gateways

The author says:

KILLING IS HER SPECIALTY. LEGEND HER REALITY. BLOOD HER DRUG OF CHOICE. Makayla Uriel is a Vampire Seraphim with a split personality. Her first impulse upon meeting her new partner is to bleed him dry. Her second is unthinkable. Humans no longer need to be bitten to become Vampires. London is burning. The Trinian Globe, an ancient artefact, has been stolen. Makayla is the one being who can prevent the inevitable apocalypse and the one least likely to. Is trust possible when you must sacrifice everything? Will the Shadow Seekers save Earth and its Gateways? Can the global distribution of V5 be stopped? Who will triumph? SERAPHYMPIRE.

FINAL_COVER_SERAPHYMPIRE_15...2

FINAL COVER SERAPHYMPIRE 15...

FINAL_COVER_SERAPHYMPIRE_15...2

 

Nathan says:

Note: This is another cover that got a working-over in its original form at lousybookcovers.com; this is a revised version.

The artwork is certainly fine for the genre; I’ve got no complaints there.  I think you’ll be able to predict everything I’m going to say from looking at the thumbnail: The text is too small.  I’m not just saying that it’s unreadable at thumbnail size (readability is desirable but not absolutely necessary, and obviously big words like “seraphympire” are going to be a challenge) — there’s too much wasted space.  You’ve already got a big chunk of space to the right of the sword; this should keep you from feeling too crowded as you play with the rest of the cover. The bloody drips above the title really don’t need to be seen unimpeded, nor do the rocks under the byline.

Also, speaking of that space on the right: Move your tagline over there and put it in a simple, readable font. Its current placement make it look like the “crazy” comment only applies to the author. :)

Unfortunately, I think the biggest hurdle is still going to be the title, which is both (a) a neologism with which readers won’t be familiar, and (b) long and complex enough not to be easily intuited.  the best I can come up with is something like this:

SERAPHYMPIRE

But that still seems too ungainly to me. Anyone else have ideas?

Many Worlds Trilogy: Book 1

The author says:

A science fiction writer struggles with his sanity when the parallel worlds he creates collide with reality. Theme: The observer effect from quantum mechanics. Conscious thought creates reality. Yes, I am a amateur attempting to design a book cover because my funds are going to a professional editor. Looking for input on title and pen name. I plan to republish a refined product on Smashwords in the near future.

Many Worlds Book Cover

Many Worlds Book Cover

Nathan says:

Note: An earlier version of this cover ended up at lousybookcovers.com, where it got solidly punched around. This version lacks some of the main offences.

I’m formulating a new dictum for indie publishers designing their own covers (I hope to be presenting on that subject at an upcoming writers conference).  It’s this:

“The two most important parts of your cover are (1) typeface and (2) color scheme.”

Looking at this cover in light of that advice, the first thing I see is that the typeface is common — “vulgar,” if one can be so bold.  There are plenty of sci-fi/futuristic/mechanistic free fonts out there (make sure the one you choose is readable!), and it would only take a very slight texture or other distressing effect to give the “shaky sanity” vibe I get from your description.

Also: If I understand right, one of the central themes you’re trying to portray in the cover is “single observer/multiple realities,” yes? If so, then I submit that the various eyes actually work against that since they imply many observers.  Something like a single person or head, overlapping as it looks in several directions at once, might convey the appropriate concept better.  But doing that well might be beyond your technical skill.

Remember, the point of your book cover is to attract the readers who would enjoy the book.  So what would tell the appropriate audience, “This is a book I want to read?”  How do other books about fractured reality present themselves?  That can be your best guide.

Other ideas, anyone?

Gemworld

The author says:

Gemworld is an epic fantasy novel, the first of three books set in a world of magic. It features a US Navy SEAL who finds himself in this world, and follows his adventures as he goes from displaced soldier to magic user and rebel leader. Target audience ranges from young adult to adult, Christian to secular, hardcore fantasy to easy reading.

gemworld final centered (1)

gemworld final centered (1)

Nathan says:

This is a very strong cover design.  I’d only tweak a few things before calling it finished:

  1. The sparkle around the left eye seems oddly dull.  I’d make it a whole lot brighter.
  2. The fade from left to right in the title makes the latter half of the word blend into the background. Maybe you should keep the green-to-blue transition but step back on the light-to-dark transition.
  3. I have an aversion to the Flair Roman font you used for the series title. Others may not have the same reaction, though.

Overall, very strong. Other thoughts, people?

Chrono Crime

The author says:

YA urban fantasy, set in modern-day Phoenix, AZ. Summary: Indal, chronomancer werewolf, is dragged home from exile, because Michelle, his would-be girlfriend, has discovered her own dead body, sent back from the future. But the body is actually a deathless killing machine, and Indal’s investigations reveal smugglers, alchemists, and a far-reaching plot that will shake the entire multiverse.

chronocrime-cover-mockup2

chronocrime-cover-mockup2

Nathan says:

It’s got a good thumbnail, which is important; book covers need to be engaging at small size these days.

A few things crop up at full size:

  • Trajan is a great workhorse font, but it’s also overused these days, and one of the consequences of reader familiarity with it is that little boo-boos about its use stand out. For instance, the spacing between the two lines of the title crows the “C” of Crime against the “H” of Chrono.  I’d also play with the kerning to make the letters look like they hang together better.
  • The male model’s head obviously doesn’t belong to that body (or maybe it’s his face that doesn’t belong to that head). Either way, it’s disconcerting.
  • The wolf silhouette seems cartoony in comparison to the human.  (And you’ll probably get a ration-o’-crap from the commenters here about “Wolfie,” because wolves show up so darned frequently on the covers of run-of-the-mill urban fantasies and paranormal romances.)
  • The hand with lightning seems crowded by the byline.  One suggestion: Move the title to the top (where the series title is), shift the male model up a big to give the hand more room, and fit the series title under the book title on the left on two lines, in that space above the wolf and to the left of the model.

One other thing: It sounds like a nifty feature of the book is mixing urban fantasy with sci-fi, and that’s missing from the cover.  Could there be cogs/circuits/something indicative of technology in the background clouds, maybe at the top behind the title, to give some of that science-fantasy flavor?

Other ideas, people?

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