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Month – January 2018

Venia Online

The author says:

It’s in the Cyberpunk/ LitRPG genre, the setting is in the medieval times. Already published, but something feels missing.

Full Summary: What would you do if you woke up in a strange world which has three moons? What if you had no memory of how you got there? And what would you do, upon realizing that you are in a world manifests itself to you in the form of a videogame? The World of Venia promises action, adventure, mystery, intrigue, and danger at every turn. With the Dread King rising, the knights tired of fighting, the rogues resorting to kidnapping, and the mages rapidly declining, it is up to a modern day young man to navigate through this mad world of magic and beasts and deception – whether he wants to or not.

Nathan says:

I will admit, the LitRPG genre bewilders me — but apparently I’m not alone, as the story you describe sounds in all particulars like straight-up fantasy, with nary a whiff of the cyberpunk you cite.

My comments assume that the fantasy setting you describe really is the main flavor of the book; if the cyberpunk elements are stronger than they appear from your description, I disclaim what comes after.

We’ve seen several “here’s a weapon” fantasy covers at LousyBookCovers.com, but their problem lies not in the weapon itself, but that the presentation is so boring.  You, at least, have a weapon integrated into the background, and not just at a straight-up-and-down angle. The problem is that the image doesn’t “pop” — there’s not much contrast; everything is overwhelmingly gray.

How about put the sword hilt against a background of rich maroon velvet or brocaded cloth? For a bonus, I’d put spatters of blood or grime across the cloth toward the bottom.  The final result with have more color and more dynamic contrast to help it grab the eye of the Amazon shopper.

Other comments?

Stax Encyclopedia

The author says:

A non faction book that is something of a companion volume to The Motown Encyclopedia, this book contains 650 entries connected to Stax Records. These range from the label imprints (Stax, Volt, Enterprise, Hip etc), the artists (Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Staple Singers, William Bell etc), key musicians (Steve Cropper, Booker T Jones, Wayne Jackson), executives (Al Bell, Jim Stewart) and background stories to every record to have reached at least the Top 20 of the R&B chart. The cover attached is pretty much the finished thing.

Nathan says:

I have a technical comment, and a genre-specific comment:

Technical: The letters of “Encyclopedia” need to lean slightly to the left so that the upright strokes are parallel to the vertical gridlines on the marquee.

Genre-specific: Readers expect a non-fiction book to have more explanation on the cover, telling them exactly what the book is about.  You have that wonderful open space above the marquee that’s just begging for something like “The Definitive 40-Year Story of the Legendary Label That Brought Us Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, and the Staple Singers.”

Other comments?

Waiting in the Tears of the Moon

The author says:

After waking up in a past life, Kara Walker must find the Moon Princess and prevent her murder.

Nathan says:

I have absolutely no complaints about the technical aspects. Well done.

So the setting is… sometime in the vague past?  Unless what you’ve got here is a so-far-into-prehistory-it-counts-as-fantasy setting, it’s probably going to appeal to the time-travel drama crowd (Outlander and such), but only if you give some indication of setting.  Different people are drawn to different eras, and those people need a “flag” on the cover to attract their attention, whether it’s a tartan, hieroglyphics, a toga, etc.  Otherwise, it’s a very generic cover, with a slight “magical” vibe, suitable for use with any low-intensity urban fantasy or paranormal romance.

Other comments?

Emotions Over Time

The author says:

Not too sure yet but it’s something like a coming-of-age adult drama thriller thingy, mostly the first part of what I said. I thought the people in the picture represents someone growing older in just a short while. Idk, thoughts?

Nathan says:

It sounds like it’s still a novel in process, and you’re not too sure what it’ll end up being. Aside from any problems that may present in novel-writing itself, it makes it almost impossible to put on your marketer-hat and figure out the audience you’re trying to attract — you don’t know what your product is yet.

As far as the cover image simply as a concept, I like it, although I would recommend a number of changes (change the top photo to something in color, make the three words in the title all the same size, move the interstitial byline to a single line at the bottom, and give the author a REAL name), but it’s hard to focus on the number one purpose of a cover — attracting the attention of the readers who would like the novel — before we know who those readers are, and we can only know that once we know what the novel is.

Conflicted Heart

The author says:

The story is a Urban Romance Fiction which targets Females 25-35. The story is about a female and her longtime boyfriend. Secrets are revealed that rips their relationship apart. As a possible knee jerk reaction she winds up falling in love with a new man. She has to try and resolve her conflicted feelings and decide who she is love with and wants to be with.

Nathan says:

From my perusal of the genre online (since I’m doubly not the target audience), I’ve seen that the covers of urban or African-American romance are generally more color-crowded than for Caucasian audiences.  That’s fine, but even within that framework, I think there are things that you could do to make the image “pop” more.

  1. The figures don’t have enough contrast with the background — the poor fellow on the right gets lost in the wallpaper. Dimming the background, even just immediately behind the heads, would help the people stand out.
  2. In the same vein, the title lacks contrast from the background, especially the word “Conflicted.”  Yes, they are different colors, but the values (light and dark) aren’t contrasting enough; in fact, the variations in color tend to camouflage the word instead of helping it stand out. You can see that more clearly if you see it in monochrome:

    I would lose the gradients in the title, and darken the image ever-so-slightly from the woman’s shoulder on down to let the title stand out.

  3. The other problem you can see in the title, especially in the word “Conflicted,” is that the letters aren’t quite linked. This is a cursive font; the tails of each letter should run into the next letter completely, instead of having those itty-bitty breaks.

Other comments?

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