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First Epiphany of the Time Vandal [resubmit]

The author says:

Dr. Elijah Snow wanted to record history, not become a part of it. But after stealing the T714 time-displacement craft from his US Air Force benefactors, he quickly found out that witnessing an event without participating in it was easier than it sounded. Accompanied by his quirky A.I ‘Fuzzy’, Dr. Snow sets out to document many of the major historical occurrences which had always intrigued him. From the Mongol Invasion to the crowning of the Danish king Harald Bluetooth, Elijah does his best to record without getting involved. But invariably he ends up embroiled, time and time again, in these events, never failing to leave his footprint on the pages of history.



[original submission and comments here]

Nathan says:

A much stronger design concept this time out. Now we can get down to fine-tuning.

First: I like the idea of the echoing silhouette, but not THIS silhouette. His foreshortened limbs look odd, and he’s in an unnatural stance.  I also suggest rotating the successive silhouettes, which will give a more “out of control” impression.

Second, you have too many fonts.  Unless there’s a compelling reason, I always advise to use at most two fonts on the cover. What I would suggest is using two-and-a-half fonts, as it were; I know a lot of stencil fonts come in more and less distressed varieties; if this is one of those, use the less distressed version for “First Epiphany of the” and save the more distressed version for the big words.  Then use the tagline font for both the tagline and the byline.

A final word; from the original description (and somewhat from this description, though less so), I have the impression that this is at least partly a humorous story.  If so, then you need to find some way to indicate that on the cover, which is pretty humorless.

Other comments?


  1. There’s an increasing trend back toward the classic look of bookcovers, which I suspect is the push of Indies, trying to ensure that their covers don’t brand them as Indies. That would include using a single font on the cover. Now, with this book–and I want to commend you on the progress, from the original submission–much, much better–that might be too much, if you used the distressed font with both author byline and title. Plus, you have the logline, so…do what you can to minimize the font usage. It’s particularly tough because you’ve skewed the distressed font.

    I would also second what Nathan mentioned, about the humorous element. My initial belief about the book was just that–more of a lighthearted romp (his quirky A.I., “Fuzzy”). Is that right, or is the line misleading? If it is a lighthearted or somewhat humorous romp, I would agree that this cover absolutely does not convey that. It’s pretty dark and serious-looking. More “save the world from toxic death” than “To Say Nothing of the Dog…”-ish. Can you enlighten us on that front?

    And yeah–that silhouette has to go. IIRC, you had another silhouette on the former cover, right? I think you can do a LOT better than this one. It’s just a really jarring note on what is otherwise, a very commercial-looking cover. Have you tried or one of the others, for a more suitable running man (as it were)?

    I thought–I realize that this isn’t quite right, but that something like this: would be more appropriate, IF the inferred light-heartedness is correct.

    That’s my $.02.

        1. Yeah, isn’t it? I thought it would really evoke the idea of traveling through time, too…sort of like the Star Trek “transporter.” I’ve been sitting here trying to think of which client of mine could use that, because I think that image is really strong. Mighty Cover Fu.

  2. I agree with Nathan: it’s a strong cover but the silhouetted figures don’t work at all.

    I would also use fewer typefaces. Right now you have three, which is at least one too many. I would save the decorative type face for “Time Vandal” and use one other typeface for the rest…though there would be no reason to not use variation on the second face to set the different lines apart.

  3. Hm. Well, this cover looks more professionally done, but it’s awfully generic. As I believe I stated for the first cover, why not show us one of these acts of temporal vandalism? A shot of e.g. Danish King Harald Bluetooth sporting a… Bluetooth would just make the whole concept of the story.

  4. Nathan,

    Thanks for the feedback! I agree with rotating the silhouettes, thats a great idea. I’ve already done it. As far as finding a different silhouette, I’ll have to work on that. Also, I’ve changed the font of the logline to match with the Author name. It looks much better

    ”’A final word; from the original description (and somewhat from this description, though less so), I have the impression that this is at least partly a humorous story”’

    Yeah its not really a humorous story, not like in the vein of Hitchhiker’s Guide. I changed the blurb to read ‘stubborn A.I.’ instead of quirky. There ARE a few humorous moments, but the bent of the story is serious, not comedic.

    ”Running Man”

    I’m going to go through those more tonight after work, to see if I can find a better silhouette. Thanks!

    Ron, Thanks for the comments!


    ” As I believe I stated for the first cover, why not show us one of these acts of temporal vandalism? A shot of e.g. Danish King Harald Bluetooth sporting a…”

    Well, I’m not really sure how to convey that. Harald does have a 20th century spyglass that he carries around (a gift from the time vandal) so maybe some viking with a spyglass?

    BTW, this is where I currently am, after changing a font and adding a slight rotation of the silhouette. I havent had a chance to make any other modifications yet.

    New Cover

    1. A Viking with a spyglass is the right kind of idea, but that might not be enough of an anachronism to get your prospective readers’ attention: not everybody these days knows that the Vikings didn’t have spyglasses. All you need is some egregiously obvious deviation, such as (actual example) Civil War General Robert E. Lee holding an AK-47. Any doctored drawing or painting like that, from an Egyptian hieroglyph showing a pharaoh using a modern grill to barbecue his meat to a painting showing a medieval knight hurling a (holy?) hand grenade should do the trick.

      I wish I could see that new cover; evidently, the page you linked for it has expired.

    2. Hi:

      You know, sorry, but I don’t love that silhouette. No matter how much tweaking or rotating of it you do, it’s still going to look like a mutant, because the arms look so peculiar. No chance I can interest you in a different silhouette?

      Stubborn AI still, somewhat, sounds humorous to me. At least, the potential for humor. Maybe you can find a better word to convey that it’s not always helpful, but simultaneously, it’s not humorous. Broken, antique, partly-functioning…something.

      Good luck. I think you’re headed in the right direction.

  5. Hi everyone,

    So here is my latest. I got rid of the motion-trail guy flying through space, and replaced him with the Time Vandal looking down on the earth, ostensibly from the cockpit of his craft.

    I gave him a smock, to give the impression of some kind of monk/old guy, which fits the character.

    New Cover

    1. I certainly prefer the bald-head guy over the weirdo silhouette. It reminds me of…oh, yeah. Remember the telepathic alien race, in the original Star Trek episode, The Cage? the one with guy in the futuristic wheelchair? The alien guys had big heads, and big collars on their robes, too. So, there’s that.

      I’m really unsure about bifurcating the cover with the first part of the title. Any of you other guys have thoughts about that?

      Hope the link comes out right. Nathan, can you put the preview in over here, too, pls? Thx.

      1. Ahem. Next time, I’ll speak more clearly. What the captain meant to say was: Nathan, can you add the “preview comment” functionality over here, too, please?

        That being said, thank you for adding the cover over here. Seriously.

    2. This is looking really good. The image doesn’t suggest time travel particularly, but since the word “time” is on the cover in enormous letters, I think it’ll be OK.

      I have some quibbles about the typography: The first line of the title is kind of hard to read with the distressed font at that size; I’d prefer a less distressed font. And I’m not sure why “EPIPHANY” is the only word in all caps.

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