You remember those Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ads where two well-meaning klutzes accidentally combine their peanut butter and chocolate? (I never figured out, in one of them, why a robot was eating peanut butter, but there you go.)
I think neither of the cover you’ve shown us individually work as well as you want. But if you mash them together — if you add the biohazard symbol of this one in behind the torn flag of the previous one, and similarly if you add an orange tone from this one to the cloudy texture of the previous one — I think you’ll really have something.
I think you’re just exchanging your old problems for new ones. Is there any reason that the white rectangle isn’t centered inside the borders? Of that the title is confined in that white space? Expand it out! The flowers on the right aren’t going to feel bad if you cover them up. The title’s important; the flowers are background.
I understand what you’re trying to do with the gold ornamentation and gold flax, but this “gold” looks like dull brass, especially against that white background — not the impression you want to make. In fact, the flowers on the border are a lot more eye-catching than the brassy flax-blob (which is what it ends up as in the thumbnail).
My first inclination would be to start over from scratch, but if I were to work from these elements, I’d:
- eliminate the white rectangle entirely and fill the background with the flowers;
- enlarge the title to fill the cover almost from edge to edge, and put it in white with a darker border to help it stand out from the border;
- enlarge the byline and put it in a better font;
- turn the flax bundle on its side and make it really stand out as golden — I might even experiment with it becoming more golden from left to right, with a full glow on the right instead of random sparkles.
I know I’m going to hurt some feelings here, but it has to be said: The art doesn’t meet the standards for a professional cover. It just doesn’t.
On top of that, the Verdana font used for everything except the initial “R” in “Rumpelstiltskin” is leaden and unexciting, and the plain brassy border and dark navy background are just boring. This is a book about a fairytale world — it should be lively and visually exciting and magical.
Everything could be fixed except that artwork. There’s just no recourse for it except to start over again — either with a different artist, or with the same artist after three to five years of hard practice and the commensurate increase in skill.
Anyone think differently?