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Valkyrie’s Vengeance

The author says:

Valkyrie’s Vengeance is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the modern era. Best read by those interested in urban fantasy and Norse mythology. Fans of C. Gockel, Neil Gaiman, and Jim Butcher would enjoy it.

Valkyrie's Vengeance 750

Valkyrie's Vengeance 750

Nathan says:

I think the biggest thing we need to discuss here is the overarching concept.  By that, I mean: I can see the Norse mythology.  But modern-era? I don’t get that from the cover.  Albuquerque?  I don’t get that either.

If the New Mexican setting isn’t terribly important (just an “everything needs to take place somewhere, so this happens here” thing), then concentrate on how you can indicate a modern timeframe.  A city skyline? Cars? Cellphones?  If the New Mexican setting is specifically important — if it adds a distinctive flavor that can’t be transported to Chicago or New Orleans or Seattle — then get that in there too — desert or mesas or New-Agey ex-hippies or Los Alamos or… If it’s important enough to mention in a one-sentence description, it should at least be hinted at one your cover.

Once you get a cover concept that more clearly portrays your novel, then we can talk about color and type and whatnot.


  1. Was the font done by a professional? It looks rather unpolished to me. The LV of “WOLVES” and the VA of “VALKYRIE’S” should be kerned closer together, but the IE and VE pairs seem to need more space — they’re running into each other. The S and R also need some kerning work, and the curves in these letters don’t look right. I’ve tried designing typefaces myself as an amateur, and it’s quite difficult to make a book-cover quality font if you’re not a professional typeface designer, or at least a graphic designer who has studied typography.

    I also spent a moment wondering what letters the ᚺ and ᚾ were supposed to be before realizing they are runes. Presenting them vertically might make their identities more clear.

    The wolf head seems too small to be noticeable, especially on the thumbnail.

  2. Well, as a resident of Phoenix for some decades, I feel compelled to point out that the doodah in the middle is highly reminiscent of the Phoenix (both bird and the logo for the City itself). I’m not feeling the Valkyrie; I’m feeling the logo for the city of Phoenix, instead.

    I get that you’re trying to convey the SW feeling with the Hopi Mesa/Navajo background; the Norse mythology with the 3D runes; the wolves with the title and the wee logo… but it’s both too busy and too plain at the same time. There’s not enough contrast to attract a stranger’s eye to the cover, and it’s not carrying your theme adequately.

    I also concur with Eli about the font. It’s kerned very, very badly, and even if it’s an inexpensive font, it ought to have kerning pairs that should kern automatically with any regular layout program. There are some really excellent Nordic Rune-esque fonts out there; you ought to investigate those. If you do that, ensure that you use a simple sans serif for your name and the series title.

    I’d investigate swapping the colors–use the bone/beige as your background, use a bronze/brown for the lettering (with a better font), and then ram it home with a revamped Valkyrie drawing with some strong color. (Or consider bronze/copper for the Valkyrie, and something else–red, maybe? Something else?–for the title and author lettering).

    I think that idea-wise, it is headed in the right direction (the symbol thing–very popular now a la The Hunger Games, GOT, etc.), and that as a conceptual cover, it’s good. But it needs that little extra bada-bing that you’ll get with a better Valkyrie image, improved fonts and stronger colors/contrast. I really want to emphasize that the colors, as-are, aren’t helping. If you view the cover in thumbnail, you can see that the Valkyrie image literally disappears into the background; only the title and your name are visible at that size.

    Hope this helps.

  3. I can’t add too much to what Nathan has suggested. I think your cover might be another case of an author being too close to their book to be really objective about its cover. All the elements you have included may be meaningful to you…but would only puzzle someone who is not familiar with the novel. For instance, looked at cold there is no way anyone would be able to know that the story “is set in Albuquerque, New Mexico in the modern era”…or, for that matter, what the story is even about. That’s one of the problems with using nothing but symbols on a book cover: unless they are universally recognized (the Star of David, the dollar sign or the British flag would be examples of such symbols), they are meaningful only to the initiated.

    A cover should not be puzzle: it needs to be read and understood at first glance. I would suggest thinking of a cover that is much more immediate…perhaps something that more specifically gets across the time and setting, as well as possibly one or more of the central characters.

    Beyond all of this, the colors are much too bland with the cover having a monochromatic effect overall.

  4. The runes have me confused. I took them as the letters N and X, but if you treat them as I did, it looks like the x is rotated into the third dimension while the N is rotated within the plane, i.e. the rotations seem inconsistent. If they had been such common symbols that everyone would identify them, then if they are rotated consistently, nobody would doubt it; but since they can be misconstrued, you want to present these in a way that won’t make potential customers doubt that the cover is correct.

  5. My first impression was that I was looking at a video game splash screen featuring a brand name logo for… something. It’s not bad-looking, but it doesn’t tell us much about what’s actually in the book. Neither, for that matter, does your description give us any helpful pointers about what’s actually in the story you’re telling and what you want your prospective readers to know about it. The only potentially fascinating quality your description even suggests is the interaction between Norse mythology (coming from people who live in a colder and wetter climate) and New Mexico (a place with a rather hotter and drier climate). Ice creatures/gods/other mythological beings in a completely unfamiliar environment? Well, it worked for Marvel with its Thor comics, I suppose.

    Right now, all your prospective readers see is an interesting-looking logo which, however, they don’t know enough to associate with anything. You’re going to have to tell us what you want them to see before we can tell you much about what to do with your cover. As it presently stands, your readers may linger over your book a while to stare at your fascinating logo, but they won’t actually decide to buy it just for that. They need to see some people, or a setting, or something important to your story before they’ll consider picking it up for themselves.

    In short, “needs more information” is how I’d describe your cover so far.

  6. Hi everyone,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to critique my cover.

    I’d like to respond that I was following the submission criteria when I provided the paragraph quoted above.

    “3) Include a paragraph about the book. Give us the elevator pitch, but not the sales pitch: Tell us where and when it’s set, what the genre is, who the target audience is (including whose author’s readers it would appeal to).”

    The information RK is asking for is in the book description (sales pitch) posted on various retail sites.

    Thank you,

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