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Face Lift

The author says:

Face Lift is an urban fantasy set in a near future where there’s still a bit of magic in the shadows. Gregorios, a rare facetaker, infiltrates an island medical compound in search of his missing wife. The “doctors” claim to possess the scientific secret to eternal youth, but Gregorios discovers instead old enemies, old magic, and a plot of astronomical proportions.

Face Lift

Face Lift

Nathan says:

Zzzzzz… Sorry, what?

Okay, that was uncalled for. But it seems that everything about this cover is intended to be innocuous and deferential.  The color, what there is of it, doesn’t stand out from the monochrome image, which is all shades of gray instead of having any clear blacks or whites.  The fonts are thin and indecisive.  There’s nothing here which tells me what the genre is, who it appeals to, or whether this book has any adrenaline or “juice” to it.

You could take several corrective actions here — add a color overlay to the background image after you’ve played with the levels, make the fonts bolder and more decisive — but this cover could probably best be served by going back to square one.  Really, you could go to a free image site like or, find the first image that captures your attention, and work from there to create a better cover… because “captures your attention” is what this cover is lacking.

Am I wrong? Anyone else?


  1. I’m sorry but this monochrome cover does nothing to compel me to investigate further. Color would help A LOT. However, while adding color would compel me to look further, my first guess was that this was a sci-fi thriller about genetic engineering or some other form of Island of Dr. Moreau type story from the 60s-70s. Something clinical. It could even be a forgotten set from Lost (though that might be subliminal suggestion from “island medical compound” in the description). I don’t get urban fantasy or magic or magic-realism when I look at this cover.

    The byline font works for me, but the title font just strikes me as dated.

    I guess you have to ask yourself, “Is this a medical thriller with a touch of magic or is it an urban fantasy novel whereupon an important part of the plot takes place on an ‘island medical compound’?” Your answer will determine if you have to start over or find someone to assist you in making this cover work.

  2. There is absolutely nothing about this cover that suggests what sort of book this is or what it might be about. It certainly doesn’t say “urban fantasy.” I really can’t think of any way in which the present cover could be adapted—I think you should start over entirely from scratch and rethink this.

  3. It looks more like a nonfiction book cover as is. It might work to manipulate the photo of the hallway a bit. Make it darker as it turns the corner? Add color there. Get rid of the diamond shaped whatever in front. Otherwise, I agree with everyone above, start over.

  4. I suspect that the hallway curving away, the polished wooden floor, the diamond shapes all mean something to the author–but unfortunately, they mean nothing to us, or to any prospective reader. The byline font is okay, although the F is kerned weirdly against the r…but basically, the rest needs to go. The title font is simply awful because it’s so blandly unevocative. It doesn’t say “sci-fi,” or “fantasy,” or anything.

    To refresh my brain, I went over to Amazon–>Kindle Store and did a search on “urban fantasy.” Not “paranormal romance,” or any of that–just straight up urban fantasy. Those books–which, after all, are the same books that your prospective buyer is looking at–look nothing like yours. The general rule seems to be that the cover needs to be strongly-colored; a character needs to appear on it, and some kinda magical thing needs to be seen, or be happening, replete with something glowy. The fonts are as you’d expect–the titles are quite large, and they are (by and large) serifs with swashes, or something similar. In this, The Dresden Files stand pretty much alone, using a blocky sans serif for both title and byline.

    I think that you need to start over. If you are determined to keep the hallway, then some shading as suggested by Lydia (have the hallway go into the black–or maybe a fade into a blood red background?), strong red fonts for the title (if no red in the image), and omitting the diamond thing should all be strongly considered.

    Sorry–hope that helps.

  5. I actually really like the off-center diamonds framing the title. I think it’s visually interesting.

    But it is really uninspiring beyond that. And the font pairing of the san-serif byline and the serif title is not attractive.

    As others have said, it does nothing to really indicate the genre in any way.

    I still think the diamonds look cool, though.

    Note: I’m not a designer, just a book-lover.

  6. My initial impression was that we were peering into an underground bunker of some kind, but then I saw that wooden floor and thought maybe this hall leads to an opera house stage or something. Regardless of what this picture is, I’m not getting any “urban fantasy” or “island medical compound” from it. At thumbnail size it’s confusing, and at full size it’s just bland; clearly, this book cover needs a new approach.

    From your synopsis, this sounds like it actually starts off as more of a science fiction story and then gradually introduces us to more fantastic elements. Whatever the story starts out to be, that’s what we should mainly be seeing on the cover. We’re going to an island medical compound? Sounds like a perfectly good science fiction setting to me. Never mind that later we’ll be introduced to some vampires or a magical ceremony by the Illuminati or a faerie granter of wishes or something; up until we run into the fantastic elements of this story, it’s a science fiction novel.

    For best results, I’d recommend showing us something that might credibly be from inside that island medical compound. Staring down a hospital hallway from a gurney someone is wheeling along? That could work. Throw in something that looks like it might be from science fiction, but can turn out to be a fantasy element instead, and you’ve got your readers where you want them: expecting and getting a science fiction story, but ready to be pleasantly surprised when you throw in a fantasy twist. “Whoa, didn’t see that coming… though maybe I should have; it was right there on the cover the whole time.”

  7. Not to sound harsh, but I hate everything about it. It’s painfully uninteresting and lacks any connection to the story, in my opinion. I think you need to start from scratch and if you lack any inspiration beyond this submission, I suggest you hire one of the pros from Nathan’s list. The cover of your book is what will or will not sell your work. This cover will not sell your book. Sorry.

  8. Not to sound crude or anything, but my first thought when seeing this was, I really don’t want to read a book about a hallway. Visually, the photo is really good. But as a book cover? There’s nothing really there that makes me want to walk down that hallway and see what’s on the other end. There’s nothing here to tell me what the book is about–I doubt it’s really a book about the hallway. But what is it about, then?

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