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Joy After the Pain

The author says:

A 12 month guide of devotionals. The devotionals were written to encourage women that have been through a lot of pain from breakups and/or divorces based on my personal experiences from both.

Nathan says:

I can appreciate the motives that inspired the design — something soft and non-confrontational — but I think the type treatment is too underwhelming.

Italic fonts don’t work well with excessive spacing between the letters. ¬†Using a slightly stronger font at a larger size for the title will make it more visible and readable in thumbnail.

The subtitle is written in a font that doesn’t seems “chosen” so much as it just happened.

Is there really an apostrophe in your surname?

The way the image is cropped, there’s a shadow all the way down the left edge; it makes it look as if you scanned the image from a book.

Other comments?


  1. I have to underscore all of Nathan’s comments.

    The image is certainly soothing enough…but does it really convey the essence of the book? I would suggest that it does not. The lack of contrast and the low relative values—the effect of greyness (there are no whites)—makes the cover look a little bland and dreary as well. This is especially true at thumbnail size, where it combines with the unreadable type.

    I think that the very first thing you need to do is reconsider the cover image.

    The subtitle is an example of one of those times when one needs to be careful with how a line is broken. It would look and read better as

    Devotionals for breakups
    and divorces.

  2. Except for the weird line at the left side, and the somewhat feeble font, in thumbnail it look OK. Full size though, what is that, a carrot in a tutu? In general the picture looks to me quite sad, what with the darkness and the washed-out colours. More pain than joy; I am not sure that would entice a potential buyer. Not that I want (again) the woman jumping ecstatically in a field of daisies, but something that brings to mind devotion and joy, more than moping in a dark room? Flowers and a cup of tea is not thematically off, but colours and setting could be more joyful. While the cover is not by any means terrible, I would still start again from scratch, with a new picture.

  3. I agree with Tuula. Begin again. Ms. Mone’t’s book cover image was found at Pixabay, so it was free. But there are many sites where you can shop for photos and find a great selection, and only spend a few dollars. is a good example.

  4. I’ll second what Tuula’s said, but I would like to strongly recommend that you rethink the font treatments. The fonts aren’t doing you any favors. Not killing the cover–but not really helping it either, unfortunately.

    There are thousands–thousands–of beautiful fonts. Many are free or cheap to use. If you spend a few minutes, (okay, maybe a few hours), you can find some fonts that really speak to the book’s content.

    Good luck.

  5. The problem as I see it is that everything about this book is so generic that doing anything exciting and eye-catching with the cover is bound to be difficult right from the start. Self-help guides and devotionals, of course, are commonly expected to use generic stock photos from nature (usually something involving flowers) on their covers; and coming up with a clever original title for a book on such serious subjects without sounding too flippant or saccharine is always a massive cerebral chore. Not too surprisingly, you’re having all the same difficulties any of us would have with making up a cover for this.

    In view of these limitations, this first draft’s actually a decent effort: I did get a comforting “tea and sympathy” impression from the thumbnail, even if (as others have already noted) the grays make it rather drearier than it needs to be. However, themes of comfort and sympathy are better saved for the book’s interior; for prospective readers, you want the cover to advertise more the end results involving (presumably) a triumphant recovery. A cover that says “I’m down there in the depths of your misery suffering right along with you” may seem rather comforting and empathetic initially, but what you really need to close the deal with your target audience is a cover that says “I’m going to show you how to get out of this misery the same way I did.”

    As such, my recommendation is to replace this “comfort” picture with some kind of “triumph” picture. Considering how flowers are so overused (and tend to make people think of funerals and sympathy gifts and other things more associated with defeat than victory), maybe you could do something with a human hand instead? While a raised fist might be too over-the-top and brings to mind a very different kind of triumph from the one you have in mind, I nice open hand (preferably a feminine one) raised to the sky with golden beams of sunlight shining through the fingers might give the proper impression. (For best results, I’d recommend taking the picture for yourself rather than using a stock photo, however; it’s not that complicated a shot, and being original is very nearly always a good thing.)

    As for the title, well… a good font (as Hitch is always recommencing) can help spruce up anything, but do try to think of something a little more original than just Joy After The Pain: as one of my links above should clarify, that kind of title has already been overdone. Normally, I’d suggest something drawn from the lyrics of my various favorite sympathy and relationship-on-the-rebound songs, but a brief survey of Amazon reveals that variations of just about everything that has occurred to me so far (After The Rain and The Sun Will Shine Again and Coming Home) has already been done to death as well. All I can suggest, therefore, is that you try looking up some of your favorite lyrics and words of comfort to see if any of them would make a creative and unique new title for your book.

    Just out of curiosity: is that apostrophe in your name meant to be an actual guttural stop, or is that actually supposed to be an accent mark on the “e” before it? If the latter, a lot of fonts come with special characters including accented vowels. For those that don’t, you can always draw one onto them separately.

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