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Oliris [resubmit]

The author says:

Senana Sa’z Rays has always been angry. Since the day he hit puberty an unholy rage festers in him threatening to destroy everything he loves. It ultimately gets him imprisoned on planet Indiku for a sentence of five years to harvest in the Leeri flower fields. Sena didn’t expect to be taken by a blue dragon, or what they would end up meaning to each other. There is a race against time for the two, and they’ll have to find a way to survive when everyone is trying to kill them.



[original submission and comments here]

Nathan says:

Well, the dragon pretty definitely isn’t a horse this time. That’s good.

However, it looks like you traded some old problems for some new ones.  As is especially noticeable in the thumbnail, the two image elements — “dragon” and “torso” — are just hanging there separately.  If the torso were larger and was more clearly behind the dragon head, not only would it attach the two elements, but it would get rid of the problem of the male figure not having any body below the belt.

I don’t think it works to have the title nudged over ever-so-slightly to the right; just center it and be done.  And I don’t know why you insist on having having the byline so faint that it’s almost invisible.

Other comments? (Not about bestiality, thanks.)


  1. I second Nathan’s comments about moving the torso behind the dragon’s head, to resolve the floaty-torso issue. I also second his question: what’s the issue about the byline? Why is it disappearing into the Mists, as it were?

    Are the tattoos on the torso necessary? The feel sort of ironed-on; I’d remove them if you can, or…not sure.

    Now, about the dragon head: I feel vaguely guilty, as if I played a part in this, but now the head looks goofy to me. It’s reminding me of some character, in a movie or TV that I saw, some guy with buckteeth. And it’s not channeling a masculine hunk, I’m sorry to say. I think it’s some take on one of the bucktoothed Carradine characters–the younger one, in one of those National Lampoon movies, I think. Is anyone else here seeing that? The proximity of the turned-down mouth corner, near the blue eye, is contributing to this, I think.

    These are two male characters, right? So both ought to be hot and hunky?

    Then I think you may have to break down and head over to DA (Deviant Art) and see if someone there will provide you with a stronger Dragon’s head. I suspect that one of the real artists that comes here will be able to assist on how to make the dragon’s head sexier; but that definitely needs to happen. Either strength, or handsomeness, or fierceness–something.

    Hope that’s remotely helpful. I strongly urge you to not be so shy on the byline.

    1. He makes me think of Errol, from Guards! Guards!

      There is an issue with the floating body parts, definitely, and to me it seems the dragon’s head is a puppet – I can sort of see an arm and a wrist supporting it. I am may be the only one, but in case I am not, I notice that the dragon’s long nostril has no hole in it, too.

      It also bothers me the way the hunk is off centre, what with his very symmetrical pose he should be in the middle, symmetrically, even if some of his torso is obscured by the dragon. He is symmetrical after all, his left side will be much the same as his right so it is not like some essential details are lost.

      While it could be tweaked to fix the issues, and there are elements that are good, replacing the dragon with something more heroic looking is already a lot of work, so why not just go to eg. Deviant art and have an artwork of a handsome man interacting with a nice looking dragon? It is in the end hard to get a composite of two images to look like anything but a composite of two images, even if it otherwise looks good.

    2. Agree about the dragon – he looks kind of *sadface*, in that comedy-Disney way. And unless the guy behind isn’t standing waist-deep in some sort of fluid it looks odd to have him cut off like that. I appreciate you probably didn’t want him getting his tackle out on the front cover, but like Nathan and Hitch say you could shuffle him down a bit so that part is hidden behind the dragon’s head.

  2. I don’t know if I’d say this is an improvement. It seems more like a lateral move.

    Compositionally, the original was better. Artistic choices aside, the general arrangement looked nice, and so did the palette. This one has the same basic elements, but they feel much more haphazard. I wasn’t super sold on the headless torso, but if you’re going to use a headless torso, the original was better: It looked like it was hanging out beside the dragon in a sexy manner, while this one’s pose is a lot more forced.

    Your photoplasty is a little better (and it was pretty good before), but still dodgy on the close-up. The letters on the torso still look like photoshop instead of tattoos and still give the impression that they’re part of the byline. Nice job on the dragon scales, but the trim lines are still too visible, the black doesn’t match, and it just looks too pensive, like this book is going to be a total bummer.

    But this cover doesn’t fix–indeed, exacerbates–the main problem I had with the original: It’s still awkwardly unclear whether this is a Sexy Book or not, and that needs to be like 1000% clearer.

    What I’d like to see is a traditional steamy m/m romance cover with two dudes, modified as needed to make it clear that it’s fantasy: Make one of the dudes a half-dragon or Fantasy Dude (blue hair or whatever) as appropriate, and/or make the background a silhouette of a dragon or some such.

  3. Well, this is an improvement: that’s definitely a dragon there, and judging by your decision to keep the blue-tinged-with-green color scheme, a sea dragon. Whether that’s a sexy sea dragon… I don’t know; that question’s above my pay grade. You’ll have to go ask some scaly fans what they think about that.

    While the online outlets’ classification of your book should make the subject matter clear, you might want your characters to demonstrate a little emotional bonding on the cover. Hugging is a nigh-universal sign of affection: you might want your beefcake to have an arm wrapped around the dragon’s neck to demonstrate that they’re… close. How close they are, the reader can then discern from the “erotica” tag the seller will have on your book.

    Apart from that, two problems remain: the beefcake still needs a distinct lower body, and your title and byline are difficult to notice and read. To solve the first problem, bring that guy closer in to the camera and make the trousers he’s wearing distinct enough from the background to be visible. As for the title and byline, swap them: put that dark title up against the lighter background at the top, and that light byline down in those darker depths toward the bottom. That should make everything a lot more visible and legible.

    Beyond these problems, those tattoo letters are bound to clash with any lettering you put in front of them. Therefore, either change the tattoos to something more pictorial than linguistic, or ditch them altogether. If those letters are in any way important to the plot, you can always just pretend to your readers that the pictorial tattoos actually depict those same two letters in an as-yet-unknown-to-us alien alphabet.

    With this new cover, you’re getting where you’re trying to get, but you’ve still got a ways to go.

  4. A lot of problems.

    1. The cover is too clearly made up of separate elements. This is underscored by the cut-off torso of the figure. It all looks too much as though it is a cut-and-paste job.

    2. There is no apparent relationship between the dragon and the figure. They are just there.

    3. The title and author’s name are crowded into the top and bottom of the cover. The name is unreadable.

    4. The initials “RL” have no meaning and are all too clearly pasted on.

    The cover art needs to be cohesive: the elements need to work together. As it is, the cover looks like a random collage of unrelated images…worse yet, images that are patently the result of a cut and paste effort.

  5. This cover needs contrast. 🙂
    Orange is the teal/blue ideal contrast colour, so making the title in orange would make it pop out something fancy.

    Blue also contrasts well with Caucasian. What better way to show the two characters contrasting, yet fitting together than by having the beefcake in skin tone! (unless they are not that colour of course!).

    The dragon looks better this time around, but that jawline just blurring into nothing is very distracting. That should be sharper.

    The characters don’t really look connected though. Separate elements on the cover. Can they be connected in a way that helps tell the story? A gentle hand caressing a dragon neck perhaps?

  6. Yeah, I think at this point the dragon is a lost cause – I actually liked the original version better.

    Also – is this heterosexual romance (female human and male dragon?) because right now I’m getting a gay paranormal erotica vibe. I think it might be better to show the female lead character rather than a floating male torso, and suggest the dragon instead of showing it.

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