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Month – November 2017

Witchy Wickedness

The author says:

young adult urban fantasy

Nathan says:

It certainly hits the spot for the genre.  Here are the refinements I’d make:

  • The title font is a little hard to read because of the ornamentation.  I wouldn’t swap it out, but I’d enlarge it so that the curlicues on either side of “Witchy” extended off the sides — that would focus attention on the actual letters.
  • In fact, most of my refinements would be “make it bigger” — there’s no reason that the byline shouldn’t go from side to side, and if that crowds the reviewer blurb, that’s fine; it could move down to the space beneath her left hand (and move to a bigger font size itself).
  • Speaking of her left hand… That’s my one real complaint. Aside from the book’s lack of shadow, I have no idea what’s going on with that book.  Is she using a steaming Halloween wig as a bookmark?  It may be something that makes sense once I read the book, but this is the wrong place for that.
  • The only other thing I’d play with is the glow around the figure; it looks too “out of the box.” I’d play with either reducing it to the bare minimum I need to separate her from the background, or adding a texture to it.

Other comments?

The Maiden Seer

The author says:

The genre is historical romance.

Konnar doesn’t believe in the power to tell the future or to see into the unknown. But that changes when Amber comes into his life. Amber, known in her homeland of Wessex, as the Maiden Seer, seeks refuge from her dark foretelling dreams of war. The rune readings she gives to her followers have also become too much to bear. But this can only happen after she fulfills her blackest dream … one in which she foresees herself killing a man. Konnar hopes the violent memories of his life as a Viking raider and tragic losses will be quieted when he leaves England forever. This upcoming task will pay for his future and provide for the village that depends on him. But, abducting the Maiden Seer and delivering her to the wealthy client goes wildly awry. Amber seems to know Konnar’s painful secret and claims to foresee a solution. While it enrages him that she negotiates her freedom with this knowledge, should Konnar dare believe the prophetess can help him? He is her captor, but hiding behind his might and violent history, is a man in need of forgiveness. It is that vulnerable side of him that she learns to love, as she enlists him on her dangerous mission to help the king of England. The Viking and the Maiden Seer journey throughout England to carry out her prophetic vision. Yet, they struggle with their mutual passion for each other, each unsure of the others true intentions. But what could it mean, Amber’s dark dream that began it all?

Nathan says:

Really, my only complaint here is the awkward edge of her wispy hair against the background.  Hair is hard to photoshop around, and it might be best simply to erase the hair down to where it becomes a solid mass.

Other than that, well done! Any other comments?

Signs of War

The author says:

Softcover non-fiction book providing a photo study of road signs in use by 21st Army Group in Northwest Europe during the Second World War.

Nathan says:

Well, that’s definitely niche.

I think I would up the historical/vintage character of the photos — instead of pristine back-and-white photos overlapping at perfect right angles, I’d have photos on yellowed paper with quarter-inch borders showing scratches and foxing, placed as if they were physically arranged on a background of khaki canvas or worn leather.  Similarly, the stenciled letters of the title wouldn’t be stark and perfect black-and-white, but a greenish off-white on a dark painted wood surface (or the same khaki or leather extending from beneath).  You would still be showing off old images, but you’d do so in a way that also gives your cover some warmth and character.

(And chop the number of images on your cover in half, at least.)

Other comments?

China – dating, marriage and living in the Middle Kingdom [resubmit]

The author says:

Attempts has been made to redesign the cover to take into consideration the comments of those that gave their time and advice. Thank you.

[original submission and comments here]

Nathan says:

I’d say it’s a definite improvement over the first version, but it still has significant problems.  One of the commenters here often proposes this test: If this were a foreign edition of the book — i.e., if all of the text were translated into a language that the observer does not speak (in this case it would obviously be some other language which uses the Latin alphabet) — would the observer know anything about the book?

In this case, the answer is most definitely NO. The only actual image on the cover is the yin-yang symbol which, once one knows the book is about cross-cultural marriage, makes some sense, but that’s putting things in reverse order.

In addition, the punctuation and capitalization isn’t consistent with common use in book titles, and the “Care about me” (which I assume is a translation of the characters directly above it) is an odd phrase in English which doesn’t convey romance.

If someone were to come to me with this book and ask me to design a cover, my strongest impulse would be to find a stock image of an Asian woman in a smiling but chaste embrace with a Caucasian man, and crop it so that the woman is the clear focus of the cover (just enough of the man would show to indicate his presence and race/ethnicity).  The clear image of cross-cultural romance could then be reinforced and clarified by the text.

Any other comments?

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