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The author says:

Elevator Pitch- Geo (a rock) and his friends (also rocks) leave their underground city for the first time to try their hand at camping. After proving themselves to be utterly incapable of such a task, they end up lost in a wilderness full of strange beasts for which they are ill prepared. As they struggle to find their way home, some long-held secrets make Geo wonder if he even wants to go back.

Setting- Remote island with uncommon levels of biodiversity. Present-ish day.

Genre- Middle Grade Adventure

Audience- 8-12yrs



Nathan says:

So… when you say that he’s “a rock”… I mean, you realize that what’s on the cover isn’t just “a rock,” right?  it’s a mostly-cubic rock-creature, I guess, but…

Actually, I like it. I like the cover a lot more than I thought I would when I read the description.

I may not be competent to judge the cover of a book in which the protagonists are rocks, but there it is. I like it as it is.

I’ll leave it to someone else to say something of possible use.


  1. Hmmm. Yes, well… The character, while decidedly un-rock-like, is charming. The cover is clean and simple. Colour story effective. Seems it could be age appropriate (perhaps). I’d make the author name a bit larger for sure and probably give the title the same shadow treatment as the character.

    But something doesn’t seem right. It feels a little flat, and I’m not getting anything that connects it to the elevator pitch. No camping/wilderness/beasts/etc. Perhaps bits of other illustrations could be ghosted in behind the title to give a hint? Or a ghosted mountain range? Or a prop of some sort… Camping gear/hammoc/pup tent/ – I’m grasping here.

    Not much to go on, but I hope that’s helpful.
    Cover Designer

  2. Hmmm… Well, from a distance (i.e. in the thumbnail), this looks like a poster for a Pixar movie. Up close (i.e. looking at this post), it looks a bit more like an advertising panel for one of the many cheesy children’s animated series available on Netflix these days. On the whole, either appearance is fairly appropriate for your target audience; wherever possible, however, looking like a poster for a movie from Pixar is preferable to looking like a cheesy children’s animated series from Netflix.

    As mentioned in my suggestions for the previous post, Pixar always tries to render things in its animated movies more realistically heavy, rough, and dirty; this in conflict with the graphics-rendering computers’ tendency to make everything look weightless, smooth, and clean. Your rock/crystal/robot protagonist thingy looks sufficiently heavy and substantial, but also just a little too smooth and clean-cut for what he’s supposed to be. For extra impact, I’d recommend having whatever graphics program you’re using add a little texture to his surfaces to make him look a bit rougher and make him a bit translucent (like smoky quartz) to enhance this effect further.

    Rendering some scenery for the background might work if you can likewise make the scenery look substantial and rough and gritty, but chances are you’d need a lot of the same talent and equipment as Pixar has to make that work; and if you can afford that kind of service, you’re already rich enough that you hardly need our advice. Assuming that like other indie book producers you’re working on a shoe-string budget, you’d probably do best to stick with enhancing what you’ve already got. While you’re at it, that title font is just as appropriate to the cover as your character, but it looks a little flat; you should probably enhance it the same as your character in order to add a little matching depth and grit.

    Actually, as I say, this cover is already pretty good as it is and should be able to draw plenty of prospective buyers. I’m just thinking that if you enhance it further, you can probably boost the number of buyers for your book substantially. After all, plenty of parents would happily buy a book for their kids that reminds them of those Netflix animations they enjoy viewing; but by the same logic, even more would eagerly buy your book if it reminded them of those Pixar movies they enjoy taking their kids to see.

  3. Nice cover, but as Nathan pointed out, that D&D die with legs is no rock. So, if it’s not a rock, then it’s a win. If it is a rock, you need to fix it and resubmit. Other than that I think it’s great, which would of course means it is.

  4. The comment that it looks like a Pixar poster illustrates what I see as the problem with this cover: It looks like a cover for an existing franchise. That is, it looks like it expects us to already know what it is.

    It’s cute and professional and attractive and colorful, but there’s nothing to hint at what it’s actually about and whether it’s something I’d be interested in. I might actually mistake it for a tie-in book for some cartoon I’d never heard of and pass for that reason.

    That said, it really is nice-looking, and if you decide to keep it and just hope the attractiveness overcomes the non-indicativeness, I wouldn’t blame you.

  5. I agree with all of the above. I actually like the cover, but if you were thinking of putting in a mountain background, or something else I would try and make the title look as if it’s coming out of it. The title seems flat for a 3D object. Even if you turned it slightly to show some depth to the letters, that might even work. Good luck with your book.

  6. This is super cute. The colours are great. The character is charming. I like the minimalist approach. Since the name is Geo I like that the character is multi-faceted like a geode and not just a rock.

    100% love.

    1. Me, too. I admit it, the homage to Pixar gets me in all the right ways. I’m ambivalent, now, about the background idea. Hmmm…I’d definitely try it, at least to see if it’s headed in a good direction. If not, I think it’s still pretty darn great.

      I would, however, balance it a skosh more by making the byline larger, and NOT BLACK.


  7. This cover is great! I think the illustration is very cute (I don’t have a problem with the shape of the character) and the type treatment is a good fit. With just a few adjustments, however, I think it could go from great to amazing.

    I would experiment with adding a simple background. Perhaps some mountains and trees, like the other have suggested. Nothing too complicated, I would use silhouettes, and make them a similar color to the background, maybe a bit darker shade of the top color. This would just give the cover a bit of depth and texture.
    I agree with Hitch that the byline should be bigger and not black. Right now, your eye travels down from the title, over the character, and right off the cover. Someone looking a this cover will instinctually give it a glance and then move on to the cover below it, since that is the way the eye travels. What you want is for the eye to travel down from the title, over the character, to the byline, and then bounce back up. This keeps the viewer’s eye contained within the cover.
    I think you can easily accomplish this by making the byline slightly larger, and making it one of the white or yellow shades that appear in your title.

    Overall, though, a very nice cover!

  8. It looks fab in thumbnail. I might tweak the ‘rock’ as a bit larger – but maybe not. The way the cover is nnot busy like a lot of children’s books I think may work more for on its favour – it stands out, without being just weird and wrong for the genre.

    On close up, it is still good, but the rock-character looks a bit like those ‘making of’ pictures showing half-finished CGI monsters and greensreen: the little fellow needs just a a bit more texture, or something (those actually in the know of computer graphics might be better at describing what). The angles look too neat, as do the eyes.

    The shape is not very natural rock-like admittedly, but some subtle granite-like pattern plus texture could fix that without going full pet rock.

  9. As a design, I like the cover a lot. But I’m afraid the depiction of your character is very misleading. He looks like a robot, not a rock. In fact, that’s exactly what I thought it was until I read your description.

    And an anthropomorphic rock would make what is already a nice design a really outstanding cover.

    (And make the body a real rock and not merely a geometric shape with a rock texture applied.)

  10. Really appreciate everybody taking the time for this, lots of very knowledgeable people and helpful suggestions on here.

    I made a few changes to the title and byline text, and roughed the character up to make him look less artificial.

    Again, thank you all.

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