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The Arctic Deception

The author says:

In the Arctic for a mundane protection detail after a failed rescue mission in Afghanistan, US Army Sergeant Kieran Blackwell and his elite Special Forces unit known as the Dragon Taskforce are looking forward to the quiet. But when a group of highly trained commandos attack the research facility and kill one of the scientists they’re protecting, Blackwell and his team discover that the “real” research being conducted has nothing to do with the effects of global warming, but something much more sinister. Blackwell and his team must use all of their skills to fend off the enemy and escape from the hellish Arctic landscape alive.


Arctic-DeceptionNathan says:

A lot of good elements here, and the dragon image is both simple and striking.

My concerns lie almost exclusively with the type. As someone with a similarly uncommon name, I’ve found that the more unusual your name is, the more clearly you have to render it on the cover to make it readable. If the you’re using has lowercase characters, try using them at least for your surname; if not, I’d seriously consider using another font.

Also, the way the title is scrunched at the bottom makes it look like it’s an afterthought and you don’t want to cover up any of the cover art — which is striking and all, but not so amazing that you should feel bad about intruding on it. I’d let the title and subtitle take up the area at least to the dragon’s knee.

Other suggestions?



  1. I’d give the dragon a little breathing room – some more space between it and the text. Maybe make the title a bit larger.

  2. I like it, I want to read it.
    Except it is unclear to me whether the three words on top are all your name since they are different sizes. It throws me off a little and makes me think about that rather than the book.
    I like the simplicity of the art.

  3. Very nice artwork, but I agree that the font is a bit off. Not only does the blue splotching make it harder to read the author’s name, it could use some more space between letters. Widen the kerning and let the letters breathe a little.

    Overall, a good cover that works well even at thumbnail size. It just needs some fine adjustment.

  4. Happy New Year!

    So, I am the only person who does not like the dragon? I find the pose odd, is he exercising or dancing? The neck looks odd as well, though who knows how an ‘anatomically correct’ dragon looks like.
    It is not a horrible dragon, still, so I would do as suggested and cover him more with the title. It does look like the writing was shunted to the edges. I do like the font, you could of course experiment with others: to me it suggests scifi, which may or may not be a good fit, judging by the plot description.

    1. My first thought was that the Dragon was doing the limbo.

      If it is a dragon I think the legs should be behind the shoulders. If it is a man-dragon then they should be under the shoulders.

      Making the entire dragon smaller, for more space for the title, will give enough room to help stretch it out I think.

  5. I agree about the blue splotches on the text and spacing between characters.

    Would J.P. Middaugh be an appropriate pen name? It would get the author’s name all on one line. I’d rather text crowd the dragon’s legs than his head.

    I’m also inclined to see the title and sub-title reverse positions.

    But overall, a very good cover.

  6. Am I the only one who thinks the dragon… could be better? The pose is sort of awkward and the neck is odd – not that I know what an ‘anatomically correct’ dragon would look like.
    All in all though, the dragon and the blue texture are quite pleasing to the eye, but I would not be shy at covering more of the dragon with the text. It does look like it has been forced away from the centre.

  7. Is the aspect ratio for the dragon correct? When I first glanced at it, I thought that it had been stretched horizontally. Looking at it again, I’m not sure. But anyway, the dragon could be tweaked into a more natural position.

    Good cover overall, though.

  8. Just a couple of comments…

    I presume from the subtitle that this is one book in a series. If so, then I presume the dragon would have some relevance. However, it is not very meaningful to the uninitiated. I get no sense whatsoever of what the book might be about or what sort of book it is.

    You are a little too much in love with the artwork. Since not enough room was left for the text (a sadly all too common failing in DIY cover art), it has been crowded into the top and bottom. Unfortunately, this not only makes the title of the book look like an afterthought, it draws attention to the relatively bland art and there just is not very much there that is interesting or informative.

    Finally, am I to assume from the title that the art is depicting ice? If so, it does not do that very well.

  9. Interesting sketch you’ve got there… and a bit familiar when I go running it through tineye. I’m guessing your background is also a stock texture, though having so much of everything else overlaid on it is keeping tineye from finding anything quite like that.

    As long as you’re borrowing your dragon symbol, why not mash it up with the numerous other dragon tattoos and emblems available on those stock sites to make it look more original? I presume if this book is part of a series, you’ll be reusing your symbol on the cover of the other books, so make your symbol unique to ensure no one else coincidentally uses the exact same symbol on something else.

    Also, as long as you’re using an essentially stenciled piece of artwork, why not make the font some kind of stenciling to match? Various branches of the military use stencils to label their cargo and equipment, so doing the same here will give your book an appropriate military tone right from the start.

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