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Breakers of the Code

The author says:

A virtual world perverted. An ancient threat looming. A spunky elf pantsless. Industry giant Tornado Tech Games has just released their latest masterpiece, the massively multi-player online role playing game Annals of Gentalia and Anders, the honest elf Night Ranger is pumped to explore its most secret depths. But things are not always how they seem in the virtual world and when the elf accidently breaks into the hidden code of the game, his play experience is forever altered. Adapting to a game world where the once normal monsters have become charged with sexual energy, Anders sets off on an epic journey to save his own ass. As the world quickly plummets into chaos around him, a vital question lingers over the world. What kind of avatar would willingly release a horde of sex crazed monsters into the world? More importantly to Anders though is his own personal question, when am I finally going to find some new pants? Title: Breakers of the Code Genre: Elfrotica (A mix of fantasy & gay sexyness that does not take itself seriously) This is one on my cover ideas for this book. It is at a publisher right now and I am waiting to hear if it will be published by them, but I still am working on ideas for the cover anyways. I am not sold on the ‘Book one’ part. It may not be needed. This cover does contain one element that must be on any final cover though. A key plot point: Elfbutt.

Breakers of the code - Cover

Breakers of the code - Cover


Nathan says:

It’s a technically good cover, but it just looks like a straight (in at least two senses) YA fantasy. It’s missing two elements that need to be there in much greater quantities according to the description:

  1. Funny!
  2. Sexy!

I mean, come on — “Elfrotica”?  This is way too reserved for that! Accentuate that elfbutt — I should be able to see the buttcrack in the thumbnail! Go all out with the exaggerated fantasy font! Make the monster a lot more obvious and cheesy!  Turn it up to 11!

(Unless everyone else says I’m wrong, of course.)


  1. Oy vey, definitely not my genre. This is the kind of story I’d expect to see sold alongside the likes of Taken by the Triceratops and The Space Lord and the BBW. I can’t really help you with your target audience.

    About all I can recommend for this cover is to be a little more obvious about the subject matter. As with a certain bar The Onion noted was in need of a clearer name, everything about this cover should be flamboyant. The “Annals of Gentalia” sub-title is a step in the right direction, considering that a letter more or less here and there makes it look like the “Anals of Genitalia” to the casual browser.

    While the association between green coloring and computer code is appropriately relevant to a secondary theme of your story, you might want to go with a lavender or hot pink color scheme instead to be relevant to its primary theme. The vines and tendrils around the character look kind of questionable already, but you might as well just break out some naughty tentacles. As for the main character, why bother with a silhouette? If this character and his surroundings are supposed to be a computer simulation, now’s as good a time as any to slap a naked pseudo-human in obviously simulated surroundings on the cover and throw in lots of phallic-looking scenery.

    In short, forget subtlety: pull out all the stops, and make it look like the protagonist is in serious danger of being raped by everything on the cover. Retitling it Code Molesters would not be too over-the-top.

    1. Even though this isn’t your cup of tea RK I appreciate the help regardless.

      First thing though, this is a full length 3 part fantasy series. With full length novels, an actual plot, and so much more than just a 3000 word quickie with a billionaire dinosaur. (For one thing, it has dragons and not dinosaurs) I wanted to make the cover look a little more mature, sophisticated, and advanced than those covers, and the others we have seen over at LBCs! 🙂

      I am glad you got the not so subtle quick glance of the series name. That is exactly the phrase that I want people to see.

      I forgot completely that green was the colour of code. Wow. The main character just is associated with green in the book. I had considered pink, but only because that slime monster is pink in the book.

      Gay things should look more obviously gay… I suppose that helps with identification, I just am not a lavender effeminate homosexual (unicorns! rainbows! glitters!) and it really wasn’t written for them, it was written for geeky people (the super twink in the book is actually a super jerk). The straight boy that beta-read it did quite like it, but he… uh… skipped some bits.

      As for the pseudohumans, this would be one of the rare books in the world where that would actually be appropriate. There are two problems with that –
      1. there are so many horrible books with pseudohumans on them that I don’t want to be associated with them.
      2. I have no idea how to use those programs so I feel like the final product would be sub-standard.

      Also, as the protagonist DOES get pseudoraped by everything on the cover, it makes sense to add a few less subtle nods to that.

      Right now the three books are
      Breakers of the Code
      Fighters of the Code
      and Redeemers of the Code. But I must admit, Molesters of the code is pretty funny.

      Thanks for the help.

  2. That is true Nathan, the book is at an 11 as it is, so the cover should be as well.

    I am surprised how much smaller that elfbutt is in the thumbnail. It is supposed to big bigger than normal, bubbly, and legitimately magical so I can make it a little more prominent I think.

    I think I will make the monster a bit more obvious. It is a little better already with the tagline gone, but a few more ‘features’ would be helpful to get the point across… or points, whatever.

    I wouldn’t mind if straight people buy this (girls have taken a liking to it as expected), but I could make this a little less straight looking.

    Thank you for the advice!

  3. Yeah, this cover is way too tame for the description. As Nathan says, it looks straight in more than one sense. Granted, I couldn’t tell you how to make something look ‘gay,’but I know that the rainbow is associated with pride. What if, instead of that yellow-gold background of “The Annals of Gentalia,” you used a rainbow gradient? I think that the rainbow would visually look nice with the green, and it would be a subtle change that would communicate more effectively the book’s contents.

    And make that elfbutt bigger! 🙂

    1. Your cat is dressed as Wonder Woman. I think that makes you very qualified in how to make things more fabulous ASwan.

      Thank you for the helpful advise! 🙂

  4. I agree with everyone else: I looked at this cover and thought it was a regular fantasy novel with a tasteless butt on the cover. It doesn’t have to be covered with rainbows and sparkles and pink stuff if you don’t want, but maybe move away from the standard fantasy stuff towards something a bit sillier, cartoonier, and more explicit. A more explicit title might help, to: I looked at Gentalia and went “…was that inadvertent?”, and you never want your potential readers wondering that.

    This is the weirdest advice I’ve ever given, but you might make that title banner more phallic.

    1. I enjoy your strange advice, so thank you!
      annals of gentalia is the ‘franchise’ name, like Dragonlance would Be.
      I was attempting a different book title, as Breakers of the Code is accurate to what happens in the book (they break the game code), but isn’t particularly sexy!

      1. annals of gentalia is the ‘franchise’ name, like Dragonlance would Be.

        Yes, I know, but the thing is I looked at it and without reading your description I couldn’t tell if it was an appropriate name for an erotic novel or a really unfortunately chosen name for a non-erotic novel.

    1. It was supposed to be a butt disguised as a heart. 😀 hence the big shaft headed towards it, but I will experiment with it.

  5. I find too-obvious stuff like slapping rainbows and sparkles all over everything trite and practically to the point of being offensive. This was just subtle enough it took me a second to get it and go, wait, back up, did I just see what I thought I saw? And then give it a second look. I like this, it’s cheeky* and clever and I wouldn’t be ashamed to read it in public.

    *please forgive me

    1. Thank you! (For the joke as well as the advice)

      I wanted it to be more subtle than poke your eyes out with rainbow gayness. It might be on the edge of too subtle though, so a few kicks will help! I dob’t think any rainbows are going to show up.

  6. It does need to look more gay, but unicorns and pink glitter don’t portray homosexuality — they are just a caricature of effeminate manhood (or six-year-old girlhood) and will probably alienate the target audience. It needs to look more gay in that it needs to have two identifiably male characters on the cover, and there needs to be something to suggest humour. Perhaps draw googly eyes and lecherous grins on the tentacles?

    1. I think the grin is a good idea.
      I’m working on a new version of the monster, giving it more personality, so I will use this.

  7. The anals of WHAT? LMAO.

    I love this cover. It’s beautiful. But Nathan might be right. When I first saw it, like Katz, I was also wondering if the author knew what he put on the cover. I also showed it to hubby and I had to point out that it does NOT say genitalia, because he read it wrong XD Don’t know if that’s a good thing or not XD

    But I also agree with Viergacht. I like subtle. I think you might need more subtle elements. Like the phallus shaped arrow head. The rainbow on the logo doesn’t have to vomit rainbow, it could also be subtle. The monster is grabbing for the elfbutt, nice and subtle, but it’s not really looking like a monster, more like some big mist or something. A pair of glowing eyes lurking from the darkness might be a clue. Cliche, yes, but a very effective one. And I don’t think you need to be worried at all about cliches on something like this. You might consider adding enough subtle little details that would make a potential reader study the cover trying to spot them all, which would make him stick around a bit longer, and of course the longer he stays, the chances of purchase are higher. And definitely make the elfbutt bigger. It needs to be EPIC.

    I wouldn’t go with something 3D, I think your illustration style works perfectly (even the dreaded silhouette works! I think this is the fourth cover with the silhouette in the last what, 30 days?), but if you do decide to go that way, you’d do better with something cutesy like this and this than something realistic like this (or downright awkward and ugly like this). You could probably find some free or cheep models for blender, but, I think it would be too much trouble for not enough gain.

    The only technical issue with the cover is that the author’s name is very small. Not readable on the thumbnail. Is it a pen name? You are aware you have an archer and an Archer on the cover? That might just qualify you for the om-nom-nom-de-plume on a certain site we know. Was that intentional?

    Did I say I love this cover? Oh, OK. Then I have nothing more to say. Which means I can go read that first chapter now. Bye bye!

    1. Yes, I was watching the covers that came up when I was waiting for mine on this site and there was a lot of silhouettes! It made me quite nervous, but I had sketched out a few cover ideas and loved this concept when I had sketched it out and it was off to cover critics within minutes! I also knew that the style wasn’t mixed, and it would fit together.

      I am also more into the subtle needing to take a second look at the cover Idea. That is why the series name is supposed to be mistaken for Anals of Genitals. I wanted someone to read that and say ‘wait, what?’

      Adding and refining is what I’ll work on. I want the slime to look more like a slime, and less like a tentacle beast.

      I was so focused on the butt in the thumbnail that I didn’t see the name. It is too small, thank you. Yes, it is a pen name, and it was on purpose. I would happily take that tag from Nathan at any time! (but here, not there. Which is why I’m here!)

      Thank you for the comments, they made me smile!

      1. Well, I’m glad I was helpful at least on the name issue, since everything else is more-less already addressed by everyone else. Looking forward to the new version 😀

  8. Nice artwork, but if this is supposed to be gay erotica maybe the elf should be a little more masculine? I thought it was a girl elf at first. I like how the shape of the arrowhead suggests another pair of buttocks.

    1. Making his butt bigger will only hurting his masculinity. I can see how his feminine side will blossom if I don’t address this with the revision.

      Thanks, I would have missed that otherwise!

  9. About the art: I like the idea of an ass-grabbing ooze, but I didn’t see that at all when I looked at the cover. I originally just thought that stuff was a decorative frame and not part of the same scene as the elf (a hazard of the silhouette style). Looking closer I can see that it’s interacting with him, but it just looks like it’s curling around his leg; I wouldn’t get an erotic vibe unless I already knew that’s what it was.

    Part of the problem is that a blob or ooze doesn’t suggest intelligence to me, and intelligence is a presumptive prerequisite to ass-grabbery. Putting eyes on the tentacles would help a lot, and/or giving the elf a surprised expression with an eye looking down at the tentacle.

    FWIW, the art is great on a technical level. I don’t see a lot of really good vector art.

    1. Thank you katz, I really appreciate it!

      I especially don’t want this to be mistaken for the wrong genre! I can tell now that I was too subtle with the imagery and that it needs a bit more punch!

      Adding more character to the slime monster will go a long way towards helping the overall visual message of this image, and as the Slime is intelligent and has ulterior (sexy) motives and I want to convey that. It also grows arms and a head, so I am going to incorporate that portion as well.


  10. Hello everyone!

    I just wanted to say a great big thank you for all of the help on this cover so far. I will admit, I was a bit nervous to post this here, due to the unique subject matter, but my apprehensions were blown hard by you all! (wait… I mean my apprehensions were blown AWAY hard by you all. Whoops!)

    Thank you Nathan for this site, it was a great help and I love being a part of it and coming back to help others. It is truly an amazing resource for anyone looking to make a cover.

    I am already far into version two of the cover and happy for all the help.

    I am so happy that I released Chapter two as well on my site. Because honestly, I’ve never seen that kind of traffic before and I got all giddy!
    If you read the first one already, I ♥ you so much, but… your literary life simply isn’t complete until you meet Roodg in Chapter 2! 😀

    Thanks again!

    – CB

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