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Dazzled by Darkness

The author says:

What happens when a book-smart Jewish girl who haunts museums falls for a street-smart Latino guy who creates radical in-your-face artwork? Author Erica Miles invites you to take a trip back in time to the 1960s art scene in Brooklyn, New York, to find out.

DazzledbyDarkness_EBOOK (1)

DazzledbyDarkness_EBOOK (1)

Nathan says:

If I were to see the cover without the description, I’d assume it was a paranormal romance.  (Not the kind with alpha wolves and shifter bears, but still.)  The color scheme and sparkle definitely buy into that otherworldly vibe that the “reincarnated psychics in love” novels cultivate.

Where’s the ’60s in this?  Yes, he’s got a peace sign around his neck, but it doesn’t really draw the eye, and it’s invisible in the thumbnail.  But you could do so much with the color scheme, the font choices… Heck, it’s a book about a radical artist.  Show me some radical artwork!

(Also: The guy’s hairline makes it look like his ‘fro wig is sliding off his head.)

Anyone think differently?


  1. The art is gorgeous, but yeah, I also thought PNR. I completely agree with Nathan, for once: Brighten it up and put a funky 60’s font on there and some awesome artwork. At that point, you can lose the tagline because the cover will tell it all.

  2. It’s a beautiful cover.

    Technically, the only thing that bothers me is the sparkle on the title, cause the letters sort of melt into it and that makes it hard to read–impossible in thumbnail. I’d tone it down a bit. What is that round thing behind the title? It looks like a giant cog or a car wheel, but from the blurb I don’t see how either ties into the story. It looks nice, though.

    Thematically, now that Nathan mentioned it, yeah, it does have a paranormal feel to it. And none of the 60’s feel. Which is a shame, cause the cover is really beautiful. As for the radical art feel… I can’t tell if it’s a painting or a heavily photoshoped photo to make it look like a painting (I’d say photoshoped because the girl’s hair doesn’t look painted), but while it does have a painted look, it doesn’t feel ‘radical’. I’m not even sure what went as radical in the 60’s (psychedelic pop-art?), but pushing it even more towards painterly look might be a good idea.

  3. Is that a camera lens at the bottom? I had to look a few times to see it, but if you’re implying that the radical artist is a photographer, it’s too subtle.

    This is a good start, though.

  4. Wow, these covers have been rolling through here awfully fast. The queue must be pretty full right now. *Ahem* Back to the subject at hand.

    Well, as Nathan says, this does look a lot like the cover to a paranormal romance. If you mean that part of the description about how the Jewish girl “haunts” museums literally (i.e. she’s a ghost), then this is the right kind of cover for that story, other than needing to make her look a little more transparent. If not, you’ll want to go with more of a soft pink-and-lavender scheme in place of the cool blue-and-cyan scheme you’ve got right now.

    Either way, to get more of the sixties feel, a nice fruity tie-dyed rainbow background might help emphasize the era. Also, I can believe that the guy and gal on the cover are Hispanic and Jewish, respectively, but my first impression of him was that he looked kind of blackish, while she looked like she might be of just about any race. Modern Jews usually have curlier hair, and while Hispanics can sport an Afro, another hairstyle might distinguish this one better; maybe some Inigo Montoya-style shoulder-length locks?

    That circular thing down front is a car wheel, right? I was thinking it might be a vinyl record, but on closer examination… Anyway, if you want to show us some of this guy’s radical in-your-face artwork, that might be the place to put it, especially if he’s doing the artwork for album covers. (There was a lot of wild artwork on those in the 1960s.)

    Basically, you’ve got the right elements assembled for a romance. Now you just need to mix and match to make sure they accurately reflect what kind of a romance it is.

  5. This is a competently put-together cover with each element given space to breathe, and only that glint on the title of any real concern… but like everyone else, I think it fails to convey the setting or genre. At the moment the readers who would enjoy your book mostly aren’t going to give this cover a second look, because it doesn’t look like what it is.

    The 60s offers so much art and design inspiration choices its a shame not to use any of that! Imagine a pop-art inspired cover, or something that reference 60s romance novels (

    Of course, those imply quite a light tone, and perhaps your book is more serious – but there’s still plenty of scope for a more 60s-ish flavour there. Jazz album artwork of the time is worth checking out. Something like that (or something vaguel Saul Bass-y) will give you a lovely period vibe while still maintaining a restrained cool if that’s what you’re after!

    Oromething as simple as changing to a more 60s font will make all the difference, e.g.

    1. I couldn’t resist having a play around with this!

      So doesn’t take much to pull the look towards a more 60s vibe. It doesn’t have to be over-the-top to reference that psychedelic album cover look.

      You can see that your layout is good – I haven’t repositioned anything. It’s still got the intense-romance-vibe via the brooding couple but the treatment around that image clues us into the setting much more.

      1. It does say 60’s, but… It doesn’t look serious. From this cover I would assume the book is a lot lighter than the blurb suggests, if not downright comedy.

        1. Yeah I figured it probably looks lighter than the author probably wants to go, it was just to demonstrate how easily you could start to change the existing work to reflect the setting better.

      2. I wouldn’t use that particular font for the tagline — I keep reading it as “a story of ant and desine”. Nice job otherwise!

  6. Certainly not the worst cover in the world, but Nathan is right in saying that it fails to evoke the period setting of the book. Worse yet, the colors make the book exactly like an urban vampire story.

    I also worry about the typography. You already have typeface that is not the easiest to read, then make it worse by placing a starburst and glow over part of it (apparently in the belief that the word “dazzled” should look dazzling).

    I have no idea what the concentric circles are supposed to accomplish.

  7. How about taking it into another direction? When I hear street-smart and art, my first association is street art or graffiti. Even if the artist in the book is doing something completely different, it still might be an interesting way of presenting the story. So, here’s an idea:

    It’s sloppy and not nearly pretty as the original, but you get the idea. Instead of the peace signs (that I just swiped from google and they shouldn’t really be used ^_^;) you could put something more relevant to the story–more dark, if it fits better. And something that makes the title easier to read than it is now.

    1. I like that direction a lot, Catie. I’m just not wild about the monochrome approach.

      Also, as one who lived through the 60’s-please, peace symbols, headbands (don’t forget those!), and some anti-war graffiti would go quite a way in establishing the era for even the least-historically-knowledgeable reader.

      1. It’s hard to make it look like a graffiti without the original file :(. Looks too much like “layers upon layers”. I could’ve made the couple look more painted with some artistic effects, but then it would probably look “filterific” :/.

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