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The Promised One

The author says:

Javin Cox has a special ancestry which makes him the ‘One’ (or maybe One of Two) who can save all the races in the galaxy from being snuffed out. The problem is he knows nothing about it. And the Guardians who are supposed to watch over things can’t tell him anything because they’ve got troubles of their own.

Nathan says:

I know this is not what you want to hear, but there are more problems than successes here.

  1. Pyramids and planetoids don’t tell me anything about the setting.  Does this take place on Earth?  Other planets?  Vessels out in space?  Is it the present or the future?  Is is a sfi-fi-flavored coming-of-age story, military SF, mystical science-fantasy?  Dunno.
  2. Why is all of the type in italics?  It doesn’t accomplish anything.  The typeface is also very nonspecific; given that the image isn’t pulling its weight, the font needs to do more.
  3. Why is the series title so much larger than the book’s title?
  4. “Bestselling Author” — the fact that you don’t give a specific venue sets off bullshit detectors.  NY Times bestseller? USA Today?  Amazon overall?  Amazon itty-bitty category?  Given that the cover definitely isn’t what you would see on a “real” bestseller (NY Times or USA Today).  A laudatory quote or a tagline can do a lot more good than a vague “bestselling” claim.

Other comments?


  1. I wholeheartedly agree with everything Nathan has pointed out here. I am curious about the Italic font too, I’ve seen you use it on all your books, just wondering why, your reasoning behind it? Was it a branding thought? Also, he’s right about the label ‘Bestselling’ was that once or are you on this list a lot and whose list.

  2. It’s our second cover that looks like an old-school video game! But if you’re going to use a rendered cover, it needs to look like it was rendered now, not rendered 20 years ago. It’s also too low-res for the size of your cover.

    Technical problems aside, the imagery isn’t bad if you’re shooting for the Stargate audience, although it’s too dark and murky at thumbnail. But, coupled with your ultra-generic description, Nathan’s right that it doesn’t give your audience much to go on.

  3. I was impressed by it, though I agree that the type should not be all in italics. I thought it was flashy and compelling. I did not mind the fact that I couldn’t figure out the objects behind the type; it really wasn’t that important because the cover would draw me to click on it in an Amazon page, assuming I was in the market for fiction, which I normally am not. “Guardian War 1” worked for me, because it implies I am going to get the first book of a series. It’s an enticing title, too.

  4. I could hardly agree more with the others. The cover absolutely conveys nothing whatsoever of the book’s themes. You should probably have a professional designer do this for you.

  5. When I saw this cover in thumbnail, about all I could determine from it was “It’s a space opera.” Looking at it closer, that’s still about all I can say for it. From the ziggurat in front, I might also figure this particular space opera is based on speculations about South American natives or pre-Abrahamic Mesopotamians having been in contact with extraterrestrials.

    Aside from the rather low-resolution rendering others here have mentioned, your main problem is just that this is all so generic. Like your font (for which I’m sure our resident font aficionado Hitch will be along to recommend a replacement at some point), it makes a statement, but not a very interesting one: it states the genre and setting, and nothing else. As for the plot of this space opera (what little of it you gave in your pitch), none of that seems to have made it onto the cover.

    Basically, considering that the Star Wars and Star Trek and Stargate franchises (to name just three) have already vacuumed up a great many of the more casual readers of space opera novels, you need something on your cover that will stand out and get your target audience’s attention in the crowded and highly competitive genre you’ve chosen. A cover as generic as this, even supposing it were more expertly rendered, just isn’t going to do the job. You need to think of what sets your particular story apart from all the others of its kind, and then find some way to portray that on your cover.

  6. Generic imagery on a sci-fi cover is not really that bad of a thing in and of itself; Shadow Run has a super generic image on the cover and it’s doing just fine. But Shadow Run has an intriguing title. (Are the shadows running? Are we running from the shadows?) It has a logline and it has really slam-dunk back cover copy.

    But what does your title tell us? “Chosen one has to save the world.” What does your copy tell us? “Chosen one has to save the world.” And you’ve got no logline. So it’s entirely up to the cover image to give us any idea why we should choose this out of the other 9 million SFF books where chosen ones save the world. That’s why your imagery is inadequate.

  7. Let me preface this with I’m not a designer just a reader of science fiction with a largish library.
    This cover reminds me of my old sci-fy books. Not a bad thing except if I were browsing books I wouldn’t buy this because I would assume this an old book by an author I’ve never heard of therefore it mustn’t be any good.

  8. Thanks so much for all your comments and suggestions. It will be helpful in the extreme. I appreciate your time and interest.

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