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Gift of the Master [resubmit]

The author says:

Tommy is a 15 year old recluse who’s only friends are the characters in his books. On his birthday he is suddenly pulled into the World of Books and he quickly finds that reading about a battle and trying to survive one couldn’t be more different. Artwork is by Edouard Noisette.



[original submission and comments here]

Nathan says:

This is custom artwork, yes?  I think it’s terrific.  No complaints there.

I think your type treatment has swung to the other end of the pendulum from your previous version.  It’s very clear, but it’s awfully small, and pretty dull. Trajan is still a workable font, despite its overexposure, but it needs to be spiced up a big, especially as the title itself.

Your artist left plenty of space for the title, as a good cover illustrator will.  Don’t be afraid to fill it more — there are no essential details you have to worry about covering.  Here’s a starting point:


I think I’d continue to play with edge shadows, to make the text more distinct where it overlaps on the bright sky at the edge of the sail.  (And I’d similarly make the byline larger.)

But I think you’re almost there!  Other comments?


  1. Very nice, and Nathan has covered my thoughts so I’ll not repeat them. The only thing I’d like to add is related to content which I rarely comment on. It is the use of the words “book(s)” and “master”, which each appear twice in your cover text. Perhaps it’s just me, but I find such repetitions awkward from a stylistic standpoint. I simply point it out as constructive criticism for you to take or leave.

    Nice artwork!

  2. This artwork is great. I love the Dutch angle, and it fits the space much better than the sea monster. But it still has nothing to do with the story as described in your blurb, which is disappointing.

  3. I agree about the font, but the art looks fine to me. I also agree about the word repetition. Your blurb sounds like it’s a book I’d like to read.

  4. Thanks everyone. Each of the books in this series will include “of the Master” in the title. Do you think I should just scratch The Master of Books Series altogether? Perhaps just have book 1 and that’s it? I am really happy with the artwork so I’m glad everyone feels the same. No doubt you get what you pay for.

    1. Agreed, and I’m not sure that you can improve on a fundamental yellow for the font color, either. Nicely done, Nathan!

      Another vote for “Volume 1” in lieu of “Book 1.”

      WELL DONE on this, Robb. Seriously. It’s great to see such a product,from your own efforts, with some help (hopefully!) coming from our small contributions to your process. 🙂

      1. Thanks Hitch. You guys really helped me to raise my sights. And I can’t say enough about Edward Noisette who did the artwork. He is working on the changes Nathan and others suggested so I’ll put up a link here when the final is up on Kindle. Thanks again to this great site. I have book 2 soon to be released. When it is ready I’ll be sure post it here first.

        1. If he’s tweaking the artwork anyway, it wouldn’t hurt to make the lightning REALLY bright and vibrant to give the image a stronger focal point and make it more obviously fantasy. Right now I only noticed it after looking closely at the image.

          (But that would just further improve an already good image.)

          1. Huh… I don’t remember your ever mentioning this was a revision of a work that had already been published. While I’m sure Mr. Shumate appreciates your adoption of the revisions he made to the title on your cover, I also recommend revising the byline to make it a good deal larger the way he told you to as well. Since I don’t see any hard copy version on sale, you can always revise it further than you already have, you know.

  5. Judging by both this cover and your previous submission, am I right in presuming the “battle” mentioned in the description is a naval battle? Of course, any kind of battle in all of its complexity might clutter a cover too much, so you probably do better to leave that off unless showing it is absolutely necessary for some reason. The guy with the power emanating from his hands and the crazy diagonal tilt of the picture add a nice dynamic energy to the picture, leaving just enough mystery to intrigue your potential readers.

    Apart from your titling, most complaints I have at this point are nitpicks. The word “who’s” is a contraction of “who is” while “whose” is the proper possessive form of “who” you should have used in your description; if you tend to trip over homonyms like that very often (as a lot of people do), be sure to run your book by an editor who’s an old-fashioned hard-nosed stickler for good spelling and grammar. While I like the subtle glow of power in the robed guy’s eyes (some kind of sea mage or wizard, I presume?), that green glow in his eye is almost impossible to see until one gets a look at the cover at full size; you might want to ask your artist to saturate his eye and make that glow “flare out” a little more so that it’s more immediately visible to the naked eye.

    As for your titles and byline, Adrian is right about not using too many redundant words, so “Volume” is definitely the term to use here. I also can’t help noticing that your title and sub-title each reference a “thing of nouns” (as the Honest Trailer for Game of Thrones puts it) and that this makes them a little wordy. Sure, The Master of the Books and Gift of the Master sound all ponderous and old-timey and literary and all that good stuff, but are you absolutely sure you shouldn’t shorten one or both titles into possessive and descriptive forms to remove a little article clutter from your cover (and future covers, for that matter)? Why not go with The Book Master and/or Master’s Gift instead? Just a thought.

    Trajan might still be a workable font for some things (such as movie posters), but slapped on dynamic art like this, it’s just plain boring! Hitch can doubtless recommend several more interesting fantasy fonts; something a bit more curvy and swirly would probably work better. One delightfully curvy and swirly font I’ve recently discovered that might also interest you is the Black Chancery font, which brings to mind both European and Middle Eastern calligraphy with all of its sweeps and flourishes. Throw in some bright blue-and-green naval-looking gradients, and you might have some really exciting-looking titles and byline to complement the rest of the cover’s energetic qualities.

    With a little help from my graphics editors, I’ve scratched out your current titles and byline and replaced them with my own for this mockup of your cover using the Black Chancery font. Have a look, and see if you can’t just feel the magic of the cover tingling through your nerve endings and (more importantly) those of your prospective readers as it grips them by their eyeballs. Then see if you can top it; I’m not exactly a professional calligrapher or anything, and it’s just a mockup.

    1. RK: My impression is, this is pretty much done, but if the author wants some fantasy font suggestions, I’m always happy to pitch in. Robb, if you do want those, just post back here.

      1. I am done with this and very happy with it. I am sure there are more tweaks I could make but like a manuscript, there comes a time to quit messing with it and call it good. I am now editing book 2 for release next month so that has all my attention. Thanks again to everyone here for your help. I’ll be putting up book 2’s cover when I get closer. It’s done by the same artist.

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