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Jon

The author says:

Genre SciFi

Audience 15 to 70

Jon

Escaping from his home world he crosses through the multiverse to hide on an obscure planet. Jon is arrogant and believes he can do anything that he wants including influencing the events on that planet. His android is the most advanced of its kind as well as being illegal on his planet tries to control Jon with mixed results. The bounty hunters are on his trail and if he doesn’t listen to the advice from his android he is likely to get caught. Jon rarely listens to anyone.

joncover-500

joncover-500

Nathan says:

So, is that Jon on the cover? The android?  A random alien who looks cool?  Why are we looking at what we’re looking at?

I very rarely find “portrait of a person” covers engaging, because they don’t show the character doing anything.  I get no insight into the character, and thus into the book, by his presence.

Also, everything is so dark, including the title and byline blending into the illustration. Even just reversing the colors in the type — orange characters with a deep blue border — would make it more readable and eye-catching.

Anyone else?

Comments

  1. I agree on the with Nathan on reversing the color of the type. I also agree that if we don’t know who the character on the cover is, it’s hard to give suggestions. I can say that the face seems too close, almost uncomfortably close. In the thumb nail it seems fine, but larger it is overwhelming.

  2. That is such an impressive cover. I,automatically, want to know more. The unusual spelling of the name, “Jon” instead of “John” intrigues and the face immediately says here is a story about an android/alien who doesn’t belong in our society. Covers should cause the browser to stop his browsing and pick up the book and think…”Do I want to know more…?” This cover does that.

  3. Agreed on the text being hard to read.

    Also, since this is a self-publish project, you really need to make sure you have an editor for your book. Your blurb is not well-written at all.

      1. That isn’t necessarily the final blurb. It’s just a line on a submission form that you fill in when asking for help with covers. It is called ‘description’ on the form, it isn’t even called the blurb there!

        At this point the blurb might not even be written yet, that is one of the last things done after all.

        Authors want help with covers here at cover critics, not to be told that a line on a submission form isn’t edited well.

        If that was shown written on the back cover then it is relevant, otherwise it really isn’t unless it is so incomprehensible that we can’t understand what the book is even about.

        Otherwise can we stop doing this to people asking for help? It’s in the Rules about comments after all, talk about the covers, nothing else.

        Sorry, I needed to say this. It, and a few other things, is really souring this site for me.

        1. Maybe it would help if the form field was changed from “description” to “book blurb”. This way, critics could decide if the cover and blurb match. After all, the blurb is on the cover, just on the back. Obviously with ebooks that isn’t quite true, but the blurb will show up next to the cover on whichever retail website the book is sold.

          1. Nathan, are you on board with this change? After all, it’s your site. If not, is there a chance that in the instructions you can add text asking the author to specify if the description is the book blurb or not?

            1. I shall consider it. In the meantime, I think it’s perfectly fine to remind authors that they should display their professional skills at every occasion. Their elevator pitch (which is what the submission form instructions specify) should be cogent, polished and professional.

  4. I find it a rather intriguing cover that spurs curiosity. Whether that’s enough to get it off the shelf and through the check-out is the question, but I think this cover could work with some tweaks. I would definitely work on your fonts, both in style and color. “Jon” should be in a more modern techno font, unless there’s a reason to be using the contemporary to classic font you did in this version. Also, Nathan is right in that you should play with the type colors to make the letters pop.

    If you get the fonts squared away, I think you’d have a workable cover that’s thought provoking enough to prompt perusal. From there on it’s up to your writing skill.

  5. There’s a lot here that is very, very good. Top-drawer illustrations.

    My recommendations are to significantly lighten up the skull/head, to perhaps a silvery grey, or a purply-gray, like the lightest part of the background gradient. This would make it POP, in a way that it’s not doing now.

    Ditto, ditto, on the lettering. FAR too dark. I think you could do nicely with an orangey-yellow shade that is keyed from the skull’s glowy eyes.

    I agree that sci-fi/adventure needs a more modern font treatment. Plus, even though you have such FREAKING AWESOME cover art, it never hurts to reinforce the buyer’s instant impression: “sci-fi!” Now, you don’t have to go to the nth extreme, with a font like Star Jedi, or Transformers (heaven forfend), but what about…let’s see…Coalition? That is nice and blocky, for a nice short title, and it has a grunge thing, too, if your book has that sort of post-apocalyptic or grungy underlying texture. (In that same line of feel, I am dying to find a book that can use Outerspace militia. That might work for you.) Ethnocentric says “sci-fi!” too. Plus, for the grunges, you could bleed two colors in.

    Guardians might work. You’ll note that I’m leaning on the blockier fonts–one of the nice advantages in Sci-Fi is that you can use blockier fonts to make the titles stand out, and readable in thumbnail. It’s a great leg up, over other genres, so, hey, take advantage of it! I think that Starcraft can be very nice, but the J isn’t quite as clear as some.

    Earthkid is also very cool. I haven’t seen it used much, so…that’s an advantage, too. New and eye-catching is always desirable. Especially if it ALSO conveys the genre nicely.

    Lastly, 13Misa is a nice one to try. It’s also definitely not common.

    You’ll note that I’ve only listed fonts that you can find in the typical free-ish or affordable font spots, like Font Squirrel, DaFont, etc. You are, intelligently, expending money where it matters, when it comes to sales. However, there are plenty of good sci-fi branding fonts available without spending a fortune, and you should try swapping those around, to see what might suit you and the book best.

    With regard to the byline: If you find a nice science-fictiony title font, I’d go to either a less overtly serif serif–something classic–or just do a plain sans-serif font in a light yellow or light orange color. Don’t use the blue/purple/orange coloring you have there. FAR FAR too hard to read, even at more than fullsize.

    I do think that this is one of the best covers I’ve seen this year–not merely here, but everywhere. This is damn good. You simply need to give the cover a bit more “pop,” which it currently lacks (which I think you can do by lightening up the skull’s tones a bit) and make the fonts appropriate, and readable. You’ll be home free. EXCELLENT artwork and conceptual work. Really.

    1. P.S.: Whoops, I meant to say–if you could lighten up the background items (buildings?), instead of the head–that could work too. It’s just a bit too monochromatic, right this second. You need more contrast, between the background buildings/items, and the skull. As the skull is SO cool, I’d go with putting the pop into the skull, by contrasting it against the background–but if you can’t bring yourself to lighten the skull, doing it to the buildings could also work.

  6. I don’t think that the art is awful, in spite of my prejudice against pseudohumans. As is too often the case, there are problems that need to be addressed even before talking about the art itself.

    The dark on dark type isn’t working well…as you can see in the thumbnail. I think you can retain some of the dramatic effect while still increasing the contrast between the type and the background. The dimensional effects on the title work, but they only serve to obscure your name. I would not use them there.

    Your name is also very badly placed. It would be much better placed above or below the title rather than superimposed over the character’s chin.

    Regarding the art itself, I have to agree that it really tells me nothing at all about the book, other than that it is broadly science fiction. It certainly doesn’t reflect anything of the story you are talking about. The large android-like head and futuristic city background are nice, but you might want to consider the addition of another element—say, a running figure, for example—something to get across the story you describe. As it is, the novel could be a psychological drama rather than a story with any sort of action or suspense in it.

    1. In looking over the art again, I think you might want to give some thought to backing away a little from the android character. The head is not only overwhelming, it’s impossible to tell whether it is a monument, one of the buildings or something alive. Showing more of the character would at least give him a sense of scale, as well as provide a little more information about who or what he may be. Showing a little more of the figure might also enable you to give him a pose that suggests that he is not a static figure, such as sculpture or statue.

  7. I agree with the criticism regarding the font. Neither the color scheme nor the font itself work.

    The artwork isn’t bad at all, but my first thought when seeing your blue guy and the title, Jon, was that this was Watchmen fan fiction. Because if you look at Jon, aka Dr. Manhattan, there’s a strong resemblance.

  8. Indeed, my first reaction on seeing the thumbnail for this cover (once I worked out the title; the J in Jon was difficult to see) was “What, someone decided to do some Watchmen fan fiction?” It wasn’t until I got about halfway through the description that I realized this wasn’t a story about where Jon Osterman (a.k.a. Dr. Manhattan) went after his final departure from Earth near the end of Watchmen. While I don’t think DC or Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons would slap you with any lawsuits over this book and its cover, you’re likely to take a fair amount of flack from Watchmen fans for what some are likely to perceive as a lame attempt to associate another author’s popular work with your own as-yet unknown creation; at the very least, I would recommend changing the title to prevent this unfortunate misunderstanding.

    Concerning the artwork, while “pseudohumans” are a common feature on a lot of book covers over at Lousy Book Covers, your description at least suggests that you may be making legitimate use of a computer-generated character here. The strange alien city behind Jon (or his android?) also does at least indicate this book to be some kind of science fiction about extraterrestrials, if not much more. The artwork is therefore mostly acceptable as it is, though if you can think of anything to help clarify further whether the story is mainly about the characters, the setting, some kind of agenda, or the conflict arising from some unusual situation, I’d recommend adding that as well.

    The main visual problem I’m seeing with this is fairly obvious from the thumbnail: your title is difficult to see, and your byline is almost entirely swallowed up in the background. When searching through Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any other reputable bookseller displaying lists of books with thumbnail images of their covers, people’s eyes will tend to wander right past your cover to others with clearer titles and bylines. Mostly-dark-blue lettering on a mostly-dark-blue background just isn’t doing the job.

    Whatever other modifications you make to your fonts and artwork, I recommend putting both your title and your byline in primarily bright bronze-to-golden lettering (something like the glow in your character’s eye) to help them stand out better. Teal-and-orange is already a fairly winning combination on movie posters, so it should work just fine to make your cover “pop” too. That should help lay to rest any of this cover’s readability issues.

    Once you’ve got the lettering fixed? Well, you’ll have a decent science fiction cover, but an awfully generic one. Mainly, what you’ve got to do then is ask yourself “What makes my story different from all the others in the same genre?” If you can figure out what that difference is and how to draw attention to that point of interest through some visual gimmick on your cover, then you’ll have what you need to get your target audience’s attention.

  9. I’m not as enamored with this one. The art isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s good, either. (The lighting is particularly noticeable because of the dark edge of the head right against the lens flare.) The elements look nice individually, but they all have different lighting, and the rendered head…well, it’s a rendered head. It tells us nothing about the story except that there’s a guy who has a head. (Generically alien/robotic people, like generic planets and generic spaceships, often show up on covers that have nothing to do with the contents, so I don’t have much of an “ooh, why is this guy blue?” reaction.)

    I know this is Cover Critics, not Title Critics, but Watchmen aside, “Jon” is a bland, common name that tells us nothing about what happens in the story. So overall I don’t take anything away from this cover except “It’s science fiction.”

  10. Well with the suggestions in
    The cover has been changed to the font in a more or less orange that matches the eyes.
    The android has been lightened.
    I will repost it here soon

    As for the blurb for the book:
    The book itself is not fully written yet and when that is done, the blurb will be written to reflect the finished product.
    As for the name Jon , it is of Scandinavian origin . Jon from the watchman is a shortened version of Jonathon. It will be clear from the blurb that it has nothing to do with the watchman series.

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