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Bloody Night

The author says:

An adult paranormal romance set in present-day USA in which a vampire assassin and the prince of the werewolves fight their desire for one another while trying to prevent a war between their clashing factions. It’s the first book in a series aimed at women over the age of eighteen. It’s in a similar vein as Kresley Cole and Sherrilyn Kenyon.

Bloody Night 500px

Bloody Night 500px

Nathan says:

Nice cover for a steamy romance — but where’s the paranormal?  Nothing on this cover indicates “werewolf,” “vampire,” “supernatural,” or anything but two hot people getting groiny. Far be it for me to defend the “photobombing wolf” we see far too often on covers at LBC, but at least they serve the purpose of letting potential readers know that the book isn’t just 100,000 words of standard hookups.

What can you do with the color scheme to make it look not just warm and fuzzy?  If you make the figures smaller, could you put something in the background, like crypts or vaulted cathedral ceilings?  Could you convey something in your fonts — old Germanic, or clawed scratches?

Other ideas?


  1. I agree with N. on this, it is a serviceable cover and that’s it. It seems safe and cozy, even.
    Nothing wrong with the picture as such, but maybe some blood would help? Bats flying over the couple? Shadows? Cobwebs? Ominous trees? (not perhaps all at the same time…)

    Both the font and the nice, neat placing of the title says more Barbara Cartland than vampire assassin – nice title, from a purely aesthetic point of view – dressing that up with some gothic font made from bloody knives and/or teeth could do the trick; since the title is quite prominent, that could even be enough. I would still add a midnight-blue background, perhaps, with or without gothic graveyard landscape, just for a bit of colour contrast.

  2. Actually, when I first saw the thumbnail, I kind of figured this was another one of the several thousand or so books of vampire erotica we’ve been seeing ever since Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series made her loads of money and writers across the nation said “I can write sexy vampires better than that!” From your synopsis, I was apparently half right; I’d forgotten that Stephenie Meyer also inspired a fair number of people who thought they could write sexy werewolves better than she did as well. You did do a nice job on the title, by the way: it’s very readable even in 100X150 resolution.

    All you’re missing here, really, is something indicating that one of these amorous lovers is a werewolf, along with any indication as to which is the werewolf, and which the vampire. Given the way this kind of thing usually goes, my guess would be that the woman’s the vampire and the man the werewolf, though maybe you’ve decided to shake things up by making her the werewolf and him the vampire. Whatever; either way, unless you’re wanting to keep which is which a secret from your prospective readers for some reason, you really should clarify who’s who on your cover.

    For werewolves, the obvious distinguishing factor is that in human form, they’re still a lot hairier than most ordinary humans. This is also why, in a vampire/werewolf pairing like this, it’s typically the man who’s the werewolf: fewer readers have a fetish for hirsute women than for men with a carpet of virility. If you give the man lots of hair and just a hint of his fingernails transforming into wolf’s claws, everyone in your target audience will instantly recognize him as the werewolf. If the woman is the werewolf, however, your job is even easier: the fur alone will identify her as a lycanthrope, though you can still change her nails too if you want.

    For vampires… well, I’m noticing both of these lovers here are awfully well tanned; too well tanned, really. Someone who can’t stand to be out in the sunlight obviously ought to be a lot paler, even if you’re not going with the usual idea that vampires are undead and therefore ought to be as pale as a corpse. One way or another, whichever one of these two is the vampire ought to have skin as ghostly white as someone who’s been out of the sunlight for all of his/her life.

    As for the background, I get that you’re trying to convey a bloody red kind of atmosphere, but that is a mighty comfortable-looking soft red glow. In the synopsis, it sounded like the characters necessarily live rather violent lives, and their uneasy romance is the old love-and-hate Batman-dating-Catwoman kind of belligerent relationship. The background shouldn’t be so soothing: try contrasting these two lovebirds with some bright arterial-red diagonal slash marks across a pitch black background instead. That’s a bit cliche, I know, but it works.

    You’re well on your way to what you’re trying to accomplish here; just make sure to finish the job.

    1. Addendum: looking back over your synopsis, I suddenly realized you mentioned this was a belligerent romance between a vampire assassin and a werewolf prince. Unless this is some kind of tranny story in addition to everything else, therefore, I’ll assume the guy’s the werewolf and the gal’s the vampire. You should hairy him up and pale her down accordingly.

    2. Fun fact of the day:
      The actual historical physical identifiers for werewolves:
      – Meeting of both eyebrows at the bridge of the nose
      – curved fingernails
      – low-set ears
      – a swinging stride
      – No tail when in wolf form

      Some media may show them as more hairy, and while it is a easy physical trait to show (especially on a book cover), it is more a product of Teen Wolf than actual history.

      Even in Dungeons & Dragons the werewolf is the one lycanthrope that doesn’t have any physical identifiers in human form making them better at infiltrating society, unlike the werebears, which are indeed hairy.

    3. Here is a revision I’ve done of your cover using the resources available. Other than making the guy hairy (which I couldn’t manage without it looking really fake), this has pretty much all the recommended changes. All it took to make the gal look a bit sunlight-deprived was to reduce the color saturation on her by half.

      1. Whoa, she makes that guy look orange now.

        I’m on the side that would prefer a moody blue-palette background to suggest PNR, rather than red.

  3. The cover is indeed showing the reader that they are in for some sexy times, but everyone is right. The really could do with adding some hints of the supernatural.

    Making the vampire more ‘pale’ as RK suggested is a great idea for making her look more vampiresk, providing that is how vampires look in your novel. The werewolf is also… waxed. Werewolves might not be any more hairy than others, but personally I don’t think that they would wax themselves. (That would just make all the sudden hair growth… itchy and unpleasant.)

  4. It’s a good cover, but you really might want to consider using it for a different book altogether.
    It’s worth noting, the authors you cite as comps have some pretty good paranormal covers, which might illustrate the necessary changes.
    To run down my impressions, they seem to not exhibit an embracing couple on the cover. Often it’s just a face, sometimes with inhumanly-colored eyes, and surrounded by a lot of high-contrast background. There are of course several other varieties, that was just the one which stood out to me.
    Remember you’ll want your book to resemble theirs, so it may be in your best interest to do a quick image search and tailor your cover to them a little more closely.

  5. Very professional looking, but could use a hint of the paranormal aspect. I like the idea of giving her a bit of fang with a drop of blood on her lip or rolling down her chin. Wouldn’t have to be a lot.

  6. Yeah, the paranormal is missing. Making the color palette red might seem logical considering there are vampires there, but honestly, red gives me a more of a hot, sexy vibe than paranormal, and paired with the sexy couple, it takes it away from paranormal and all the way into romance. A blue color scheme gives a more paranormal vibe. There was recently another cover here: that had the opposite problem, it had the paranormal vibe but the novel wasn’t paranormal. So, making the color scheme blue might give it that paranormal vibe, a full moon in the background would suggest werewolf (yeah, I know it’s a cliche but it’s a simple cliche that works), a gothic font would suggest vampire, and romance is already handled very nicely.

    1. Here is a further revision using color channel swaps. After the swap, the guy looked as deep blue as Beast of the X-men, so I also desaturated the couple a little further. The contrast between the shadowy blue kissing couple in the foreground and the bright red-orange slashes in the background with the blazing red byline, I think, continue to speak to the tension in the couple’s romance while the couple’s color scheme that several others on here have recommended gives it a bit of that paranormal feel we’ve been wanting.

  7. Hmmm, I would have loved to have seen these revisions RK. I must be missing something.

    Ditto all the comments about needing a “paranormal” element. But I just wanted to point out the elephant in the room… Without something to indicate paranormal, the title could just lead us to believe that the tryst between these two fell at a particularly bad time of the month, but they went for it anyway. Just sayin’ (Eeeeewwww)

    (sorry. I had to go there. It had to be said.)
    Graphic Designer

    1. Well, you’ve heard the one about what lezzie vampires typically say shortly after a feeding, right?

      “See you next time of the month.”

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