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The Invisible People

The author says:

Genre: Horror Synopsis: Nobody saw them. Nobody cared. They were the perfect camouflage. It used them to hide in plain sight as the world walked on. Dan saw them. He looked up and saw the invisible people, and when he held out a helping hand, It latched on.



Nathan says:

Conceptually, it’s a very strong cover.  I think some fairly minor tweaks could yield huge dividends.

  1. Think about small revisions to the layout. If you concentrate on the thumbnail instead of the full-sized image, some of the weaknesses jump out at you: There’s an awful lot of black space that isn’t doing anything, the gray tones in the central graphic tend to merge together (you can’t even tell that the chin is there under the tagline), and the byline is awfully small for no good reason. If you enlarge the face (and let some of the forehead slip under the title to give room for the chin at the bottom), increase the contrast especially on the chin area, and double the size of the byline, I think the cover will have twice the “first glance” impact.
  2. I don’t think the horizontal blur on the title has the effect you want it to have. My first reaction, and I’m pretty sure this is common, is to rub my eyes in case my danged allergies are clouding my focus.  I’m also not sure the red splatters work well — they make it harder to immediately read the title, which already has a creative but counter-intuitive layout working against easy readability. (Speaking of that layout, it places an inadvertent emphasis on the “IS” of “INVISIBLE.” There are also some kerning issues.  One thing I would try, to see if it’s easier on the eyes, is reducing the “I” of “IS” to three-quarters its current size, anchored along the bottom baseline, and then do the same to the “S” but anchor it at the top. Just a thought.)
  3. Also, regarding the tagline: I think the phrase “Looks can be deceiving” is more familiar to most people.  When I tried to figure out the word behind “fatal,” I read it as “Looks can be defective.”  Red against black is surprisingly difficult to read.

(As an aside, I think your synopsis tries to hard to be mysterious that it ends up being too fragmentary to be enticing. But this site isn’t really for criticism of synopses.)

Other comments?


  1. First Thing: When I took this into photoshop to try and change the contrast I instantly noticed that there are two big bars of black on the top and bottom that do not match the rest. Those need to be fixed! If you send this to a printer then those might show up on the final product.

    I do think it is an interesting combination of images, but I have to agree it is simply too dark. Computer screens are back-lit and paper is not. If you printed this image I am willing to bet you could barely see it. Lighten the image and get more contrast, and more pop, (and more readers)!

    Speaking of contrast. Red and black do not have any. Please make a mental note of that and never do it again with text to help graphic designers everywhere sleep better at night! 🙂 If you convert this to gray-scale (like certain ebook readers only have) then you are not going to see any of the red text.

    I see your point though, red is the colour of blood. Well, Red has great contrast with white! You could try that.

    I think you would be better served to have Deceptive crossed out, and fatal under or beside it. It is too hard to read like this.

    Fun Fact: I was playing around with this to fix the contrast with red. You can see the ‘black’ bars I was talking about easily now. But… Look at how neat it got when I inverted it!×701.jpg

  2. I thought it said “looks can be detective.”

    That bit is really my only complaint; the rest is super creepy and cool. But I’d either just stick with “looks can be fatal” by itself or do what Waffles suggested and cross out Deceptive.

  3. I’m sorry that I don’t have anything new to add to what’s been said. I guess you can consider my comment to be a “me too”.

    I strongly agree with Nathan regarding the blurry title. At this point in my life, stuff that hurts my eyes makes me look away or reach for my reading glasses, but since my glasses are on my nightstand and I’m at my desk…

    I thought that Waffles’ inversion of the color scheme was a very good alternative approach. The red pops out on the white background. And maybe it’s just me, but it seems like black backgrounds for horror novels is over done. I get it: fear of the dark. But here, with the face fading into the white background, it works. At least it does for me.

  4. Love the concept. Wish it were larger, easier to see more detail. Would play with the deceptive/fatal combination; seems like an alternative effect may work better here.

  5. Thanks guys. Perfect feedback and just what I needed. It’s all too easy to become one eyed when working on your own cover hey.

    Love the inverted look. I did have a play with that on a previous concept (different graphic) so I’ll definitely have a play with that again.

    Maybe I’m trying to be too clever with the title. I was also trying to get “the NV is people” as the story touches on that emotion, but clearly that’s just trying too hard hey.

    Also point taken with the blur.

    Thanks guys. Any more feedback hit me. Gloves off and shred.

    Cheers. Al

    1. I definitely 2nd or 3rd the inverted treatment by Waffs. It’s about 1000% better. The black is just too dark. If you’ve read Derek Murphy’s blog article (8 Cover Design Secrets that Publishers Use to Manipulate You Into Buying Their Books, or something close to that), over on Creativindie, you’ll see that contrast is a BIG DEAL.

      And, sorry, but that horizontal blur’s GOTTA GO. I had the same reaction as everyone else–“what’s wrong with that?”

    2. I agree that the original needs more contrast, but I still prefer the original to its inversion. Perhaps that color scheme and darkness are more suggestive (but somehow some brighter touches need to attract attention).

      I never would have studied the cover enough to see the NV is people. It’s pretty cool once you point it out and then it becomes a conversation piece, something you can talk about in person to try to stir interest in your book, or something fans in the know can speak about to build buzz, potentially. But don’t expect these things to happen on their own on a large scale. If you have the marketing knack to take advantage of this, it’s a card you can play. But if like most authors, you’re mostly counting on strangers to make your book, an effective title will trump this (even if you can tap into the marketing potential of this effect). (Well, you can still mention this cool touch to fans and in conversations, even if it’s just in your draft, and not the final. The card is still there, in part.)

  6. The inverted version is nice but for the fact that you pretty much lose the small, groping figure…which is one of the most striking parts of the original.

    Otherwise I can only second most of the other comments and suggestions.

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