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Wolf’s Cross

The author says:

Wolf’s Cross is an urban fantasy novel rooted in Norse Mythology. The series unfolds as the doom of the gods onsets. It will appeal to fans of Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00033]

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00033]

Nathan says:

It’s a very eye-pleasing cover. I don’t know, however, if it’s going to strike your target audience as something aimed at them.

My first thought when I look at this cover is that it’s a straight historical novel, a la Bernard Cornwell — not a mythologically-influenced fantasy, and certainly not something that belongs on the same shelf with Ilona Andrews…


…or Patricia Briggs:


Does your book look like it would be brought to the Barnes & Noble counter in the same armload as these books?  If not, how will your target reader be able to determine — in the split second that he or she will see your cover before flicking his or her eyes to the cover next to it — that it’s meant to appeal to them?

You may think that getting more targeted cover art is gonna cost you an arm and a leg, but really, all you need (judging from these examples) is a colorful valkyrie. In fact, we recently had a cover here on featuring just such a character; the author had paid a small amount to use an artist’s pre-existing artwork. A quick search for “valkyrie” on DeviantArt gives me over 98,000 results. A lot of them are manga-influenced, and I’m sure a goodly proportion are artwork that was produced as work-for-hire and is just reproduced on DeviantArt as a portfolio piece, but there will also be plenty which the artist produced for the heck of it, and most of those artists would be happy to get fifty bucks for the right to use artwork that they had made in the first place for free.

Remember: Your book cover is a marketing piece. You gotta go after your market.


  1. Well, for this cover, if it isn’t getting replaced…

    The gradients make the text on the spine a bit hard to read. I would tone those down.

    I would remove that lens flare thing going on in the ‘ss’. I have no idea what it is, and it only confuses things.

    The back text is probably fine. It is hard to read here, but I don’t know if it would be on a full sized print. Still, taking down the gradient on it completely would be a good idea. gradients on thin text can make it hard to read… perhaps just one gradual gradient if you really want it.

    I really do not mind this cover as a whole though. I think it could be tweaked to show a little more about the book, but I don’t know if it needs to be redone.

    Side Note: Patricia Briggs, please buy your cover models longer shirts. It is an epidemic.

  2. I find this cover extremely confusing when taken in the context of the other books in this series, all of which basically follow Nathan’s advice for valkyries (warrior women, really) on the covers: and . (The “valkyrie” term having run afoul of pop culture to essentially mean warrior women, rather than, well, something that’s a cross between a ghoul and a reaper, really, with an upside to the delivery end of the trip.) ANYWAY…

    I don’t understand, unless it’s a budgetary move, why this cover would go sort of historical-fiction-literature-ish, as compared to these other covers, which DO fit with Ilona Andrews and Briggs and the rest. UNLESS, of course, this volume is supposed to stand out from the rest. I can see that purpose.

    I also don’t object to this font, but again: why change it from the Norse Runes-ish font/medieval font that was working before? I can only assume that this particular book is either a sequel, prequel, or a branching intended to go in a very new direction, whilst keeping the same fans.

    I don’t like the rear cover’s panel. I find it difficult to read, and dark. Perhaps a golden wash, with black font? I realize that’s not what you’re going for, of course. Or bring up the yellow, from the gold, to make it easier to read? I’d also justify the text. (P.S.: typo alert, “worshippers,” not “worshipers.” As this is a draft, no harm, no foul, but have your designer triple-check spellings. Also, hyphenate “war-riors,” please. I know that this isn’t, but we try to give all-round service!)

    That’s my $.02. As the author obviously already has a following, this cover likely won’t hurt her, but it’s not channeling the same feel, for me, as her previous covers in this series. I think that those, by and large, were more effective for the given genre.

    1. Hitch,
      The coves you’re linking to are the ebook covers. The one being evaluated is paperback only. Thank you for alerting me to the typo. I do appreciate it.

      It’s fair to call it “GoT-esque” epic urban fantasy. I haven’t quite gotten to the Ragnarok setting Martin uses yet.

      I’m unsure whether it’s appropriate to respond to the cover discussion so I won’t. I just wanted to clarify those two points.

      1. Hitch,
        Having double and triple checked, “worshiper” is an accepted US spelling. “Worshippers” appears to be proper British English. (Right now my spellchecker is tagging the double-p as incorrect.) I’ll be leaving it as is but I did want to let you know I followed up on it.

        Thank you again.

  3. UG, I had such high hopes for this one on first glance. The font treatment is LOVELY. Though, if you are going to accent a character, it typically helps if it’s slightly larger than the others. (author name) and the affectations on the spine make it hard to read.

    Having said that, it’s beautiful and contrasty, detailed but not busy, and I LOVE the back…. but… ACCKKK, Nathan’s right! It doesn’t match the typical market genre. *crushed*

    You’ve got a great eye though.

    Cover Designer

  4. A stunning cover, but…does it really say ” urban fantasy novel”? I don’t think so.

    I would strongly suggest that you rethink the cover imagery and consider, perhaps, more illustrative artwork. Something that either emphasizes characters (as Nathan suggested) or the background theme of the gotterdammerung.

    The medallion is nice in itself , but requires a close look to make out what’s going on…something many potential readers may not do—and certainly not anyone looking at just the thumbnail. (And the yin-yang design may even be potentially confusing to someone not knowing that the theme is Nordic.)

    I also question the need to have the first word in the title fade off and the addition of the flare to the second word. I don’t think these add anything and instead only make the words a little harder to read, especially when the cover is in thumbnail form.

    I’m not particularly concerned with the back cover since someone would have to be sufficiently intrigued by the front cover to get that far.

  5. To its credit, this is a rather nicely made cover; it particularly reminds me of the covers to a number of my college texts containing classic writings from Greece and Rome, such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, some of the plays of Aristophanes and Euripides, and some other plays by the Roman playwright Plautus. Such a style could be appropriate for Nordic mythology as well, so I suppose extending it to that is not such a stretch either. Nothing about this suggests anything particularly modern and urban, however; my initial impression was that your book would be some kind of “re-imagined” mythology set back in the times when people basically considered those mythologies their history.

    Believe it or not, I still believe this might be a good cover for your book, but only if you’re specifically planning to target an edition of it to the U.K. market, where minimalism and symbolism on the cover are more highly valued than detailed drawings and photographs. If you’re planning to sell to an American market too, however, you need an alternate cover for your American edition. For best results, put your protagonist(s) on the cover, and make it look something like all the covers Nathan has shown you here from those other authors whose fans you’ve indicated are also in your target audience.

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