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Month – February 2015

Dover Park

The author says:

This is a proposed cover redo for my already published mystery novel “Dover Park.” I’ve never really been satisfied with my current cover. My redo is utilizing a picture sample (hence the watermark), so the finished product will have better resolution. The current cover can be found at: Here’s the blurb: “In the waning days of spring, in a quiet suburban town, the Moreau family prepares for another busy summer. But a stormy night brings strange calls from an enigmatic young woman. Her claims are perplexing, and her very existence is a paradox, but the evidence she brings is conclusive. She harbors a long hidden secret that threatens to upend their idyllic suburban life. A terrible tragedy occurred in Dover Park many years ago, but what really happened is not what everyone thought.”


DoverPark2014-3Nathan says:

The redo certainly has a more suspenseful vibe!

I like most of the elements, although the man’s silhouette looks too stiff, like it’s a mannequin.  the bigger problem for me is that blank space above the park bench, and I’m not sure what to do about it. Maybe a very short, stark declaration:


 (Obviously not the right one for your book — just an example.)

Otherwise, it looks like you have the makings of a professional and genre-targeted cover. Congrats.

Anyone see something else?

The Hunt

The author says:

The Hunt is the second book in a fantasy series. This one is based on the varied legends of the Wild Hunt. The main character, after suffering a betrayal by her fiancé, is found and enslaved by the Hunt and forced to labor while trying to stay alive. She eventually forges a life with them, thanks to an elderly pair of slaves and one particular hunter, Zephyr, who at first seems annoying and later, more than appealing. Set in modern times, it is part of a five book series dealing with different myths that tie together in the last book with a fight to keep magic itself alive.

The Hunt Ebook remake-001

The Hunt Ebook remake-001Nathan says:

It’s certainly a dynamic image. I’m at a little bit of a disadvantage here, in that it’s the second volume of a series and I don’t know what design elements are common to both covers.

[searches Amazon]

Oh. Eep. I’d say forget the cover to Book One, finish the cover to Book Two, and go back and redesign Book One to match it.  Because ew.

So anyway, blank-slating for Book Two:

The biggest problem I see is that, while the image is eye-catching and energetic (by definition), it doesn’t tell us anything about the book: genre, setting, etc. I’m assuming that if the books revolve around the Wild Hunt, there’s at least a bit of celtic folklore to the books, right? Why don’t we see that?  Even just a knotwork border (or even a semi-transparent border that disappears as it gets behind the firewood) would help.  Same with the text; maybe you want to leave the title as is because it’s easily readable, but how about something uncial-flavored (while still easily readable) for the byline and/or series title?

The placement of the tagline bothers me — it seems to be moved over so as not to obscure something noteworthy in the cover image, but what’s beside it isn’t really that noteworthy; why not have it run the width of the cover?

Other comments?


My Nerdy Werewolf

The designer says:

Usually I do horror pieces, so this is a bit outside my experience. This is for a humorous paranormal romance aimed at the YA market (think the “Teen Wolf” tv series) and also have appeal for older paranormal romance readers with nostalgia for 80’s comedies. The directions were to make it look like a retro-80’s movie poster, and to keep the werewolf character appealing. The tag line probably isn’t the final choice.



Nathan says:

Boy, this seems like fun.  I think most of my suggestions stem from the fact that, aside from the big word “WEREWOLF” in the title, most of the rest doesn’t suggest there’s a werewolf in this book, especially at thumbnail size.

For one thing, the background looks like a clear mid-afternoon sky. Unless he’s a werewolf who transforms in daylight (and even if he is), I think the background should say “night.” It doesn’t have to be much — just darken the gradient a lot, especially at the top, and maybe stick a part of the full moon into the upper right.

For another, the nerd could as easily be taken for a vampire as a werewolf. (Yes, I know, yellow wolf eyes, but that’s still kind of subtle.) Maybe some hair growing up his neck, and sticky-out tufts from the points of his ears?

The font treatment is fun.  I’d pull the slant off “WEREWOLF” so it stands up straight.  I also think that using upper and lowercase for “My Nerdy” would look better than “MY NERDY.”  Maybe even add a slight (slight!) arch to it.  (If the gradient behind it ends up dark enough, you may need to reverse the blue and white on “My Nerdy” to make it pop.)

Those are my thoughts. Others?

Diamonds & Quicksilver

The author says:

Silver Tation is on his way to a diamond mine on Titan to exact a little old-fashioned revenge…and a few diamonds for his troubles. Set in a colonized solar system, Diamonds is the first in a series of novellas inspired in part by the “boys’ adventure” pulps of the early twentieth century.




Nathan says:

It’s well-composed, and looks good at a second glance. (That’s not the backhanded insult it sounds like.) Let’s try to get it looking good at first glance.

If you look at the thumbnail you can see that Saturn gets lost entirely in the murk, and the diamonds aren’t recognizable as such.  The only visible cues left to the reader as to genre, etc. are the color scheme and the font — and I don’t think those give enough of an “SF” vibe. One might even assume “Western” at thumbnail size.

My advice would be:

– Add some black/blue to the color scheme.  That’ll help with the “space” vibe, and it will also help the diamonds be seen for what they are.  Heighten the contrast for both the diamonds and Saturn so that they’re instantly recognizable as such from the thumbnail.

– Think about changing the font to something that can’t be mistaken for a Western.

– While you’re at it, make the type bigger — there’s no essential detail in the image elements of the cover that you don’t want to cover up, with the exception of Saturn.

– Play with the diamonds. If you can’t make them instantly recognizable as diamonds, maybe you should move the enlarged title and byline down and let the diamonds be their backdrop.

You’ve got a good start. Let’s bring the awesome now.

(Other ideas?)

Irreversibility [resubmit]

The author says:

The newlywed Don and Denise Richards get their minds swapped with those of his son Jackie and her daughter Jaymee respectively while their Caribbean honeymoon cruise is lost in the Bermuda Triangle. No matter what they try, they can’t seem to find a way to swap back! Now what will they do? This is a paranormal romance novel. Again, this is just a scratch cover. After all the helpful suggestions for the first scratch, I’m very nearly committed to hiring a professional to draw the final product.

Irreversibility Scratch Cover

Irreversibility Scratch Cover

[original submission and comments here]

Nathan says:

It’s certainly a much clearer and easily read image this time, and I think it will avoid the “creep vibe” that so many commenters were getting from the original cover. (I didn’t get them myself, but it might be because I’m as pure as the driven snow.)

I think you can more easily see from the thumbnail the issues that remain:

1) Having the title slightly smaller than the byline seems odd. Obviously the length of the title word determines some of the sizes used; I’d try using exactly the same size of type on the byline, thus making it slightly smaller, and see if that looks better.

2) The Caribbean islands become nothing but a confusing green blotch in the thumbnail, and the Bermuda Triangle is lost completely.  I’d say there’s no benefit to leaving the starry sky to the left and right of the islands unused; expand the map and thicken the lines of the triangle.

3) The contrast is kind of murky at thumbnail size; I know it’s a night image, but you can still accentuate the brights and darks more to make it more easily readable.

Of course, this is a cover that will probably receive plenty of divergent opinions in the comments. Have at it!

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