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Hunger – A Thrilling Suspense

The author says:

HUNGER -A Thrilling Suspense

Adam was a satisfied New Yorker until he receives a suspectable letter of his grandmother from Pakistan, requesting him to visit her to know the truth about his thrilling past, his insatiable Hunger begins. Will he satisfy his hunger?

Iman is dejected by her life, yet she wanted to save her marriage. will she be able to save it? or a new chapter in her life awaits?

It’s adventure, drama, thriller and suspense plus with a little hint of family and love. Target audience is everyone who lovery thriller with travel and adventure. My primary objective to write the book was to tell the world positive aspects of Pakistan. As I am a proud Pakistani myself. At the beginning it’s set in new York where Adam finds our about his grandmother travels to Pakistan to meet her. Then it goes back to his parents story connecting Adam himself with it. at the end the story takes a seven year leap and the action thickens.

Nathan says:

All automatic cover generators and their templates have problems, and this one is no exception.  Here are the main problems with this template:

  • There is a metric ton of wasted space.  Look at the thumbnail; we can barely read the title, and the subtitle and byline are only a few pixels each, but golly do we see a lot of blue-gray background!
  • I assume that the font is one of only a few options given for this template. It’s completely wrong for thrilling suspense.
  • Coming back to the byline; seriously, who would want their name to be so small?

Those are all complaints directly related to the template itself.  Now here are some complaints about your use of it:

  • “A Thrilling Suspense”?  Yes, “suspense” is technically a noun, but as a descriptor of a book it functions as an adjective.  It should be “A Thrilling Suspense Story” or “A Thrilling Suspense Novel” or something.
  • Blue-grey, and more blue-grey, are not thrilling colors.  Look at how other suspense novels broadcast their genre: Lots of high-contrast color and strong type.  (And no frames.)
  • On the other hand, the story you describe on the back cover isn’t a thrilling suspense story. It’s a family drama.  You either need to change the subtitle on the front, or include the actually thrilling parts of the story on the back.
  • If all of this is about Pakistani heritage, why is there no hint of it in the imagery?  A guy sitting in a tree isn’t specifically Pakistani. (Also not thrilling.)

I think you’d be better off by scrapping this and starting over from these questions:

  1. What do I want my potential audience to comprehend in the first split-second of seeing the cover?  (I think the answers are “suspense” and “Pakistan,” unless you decide that “suspense” is really not a primary descriptor of your story, in which case “drama” and “Pakistan” would be the answers.)
  2. How do you visually say “suspense” to potential readers? (Again, look at the covers of other successful suspense novels to see how readers of suspense novels are used to being marketed to.)
  3. How do you visually say “Pakistani” to potential readers who will likely not be Pakistani?  (I’m assuming here that your target audience is a broader one than simply Pakistani-Americans.) A Google image search for “pakistani culture” shows me lots of bright colors, intricate designs, and Islamic imagery. If you’re not using some combination of those elements, you’re not telling us about the book at all.

I think the evidence says that thinking in terms of visual design and impact is not your skill set.  There’s no shame in an author admitting that they don’t have experience in design, and instead turning to someone who does have that skill set.  You should probably look around for a designer to work with.

Other thoughts?

Comments

  1. I’ll leave the cover critiquing to the experts, although I also think the cover needs a complete do-over.
    My concern is with the myriad grammatical errors in the author’s description. This does not bode well for the writing within the book itself.

  2. It’s not an ugly cover, a bit too simple, a bit too empty, but its absolutely major problem is, as has been mentioned, that it doesn’t tell anything about the genre nor the story. If I was to make a guess from the current cover alone, I would say “solitary journey of self-discovery”.

    Reading the description makes it sound to me like a family drama, which honestly might be a good thing to push for (if it takes center stage in the novel). Focusing on the family and love aspects is very humanizing and would go hand in hand with the stated goal of showing Pakistani culture in a positive light. In which case I might suggest choosing a peaceful picture of a home or a landscape in Pakistan, or something to showcase the idea of family. An example of a novel I came across that has that kind of vibe is “The Secret Sky”. I haven’t read it but thought the cover had the right kind of mood (though more centered on romance, with the couple on it).

    However, if the thriller part really is what takes center stage, a dynamic image of the setting could work, although I don’t know what exactly the conflict is about so I cannot make precise suggestions. The main character could also be shown on the cover, front view, close-up, with the goal of making the reader connect with him right away.

    So there are a few ways to develop the cover, depending of the genre that is most dominant in the story.

  3. I can only second the other comments. The cover simply does not work as is and the only solution I can see is to start entirely from scratch. You need, right at the outset, to find an image that conveys the sense of the book: what it is about or what sort of book it is. This is an example I have used many times in the past: imagine the title of your book in a language the reader would be unfamiliar with. Would he or she be able to get some inkling of the nature of the book from the cover design alone? Is there anything that says “adventure, drama, thriller and suspense plus with a little hint of family and love”? If the answer is “no,” then you need to do some reevaluation.

    So far as I can tell from what I am seeing, the image on the cover may not be too bad…but it is lost in a sea of blandness. Fill the cover with the artwork and you may be on the right track. And certainly give more thought to your choice of typefaces.

    By the bye, “A Thrilling Suspense” is an incomplete sentence. A “Thrilling Suspense” what?

  4. In a way I should not say anything, as I am looking at the image in somewhat bad light conditions. Enough light to see what I type though – so I will say this: I can barely see anything. It says Hunger, A thrilling suspense – so it might be vampires? Or maybe bridge engineering? The font treatment does not enlighten me either. The rest of the cover is a soup of greys and greyish blues. I have no idea who wrote it, as I can see there is a title at the bottom, probably, but I can’t read it. So, to not rehash what is already said – I agree with the remarks Nathan already made. At the very least, the cover should generate some interest, even in thumbnail, and even when sitting on a page with many more enticing covers for the browsing potential reader to pick from.

  5. Judging by the syntax of the descriptions on both this submission and the back cover, I’m guessing English is probably not the author’s first language. Like our host, I presume this book is intended for a much broader audience than just Pakistani immigrants to North America, so the wording both here on the cover and in the book itself will have to be fixed at some point for the final draft. Fixing the writer’s grammar and spelling is rather out of our jurisdiction here, so all I can recommend for the book’s contents is that the author get a native English speaker to edit the entire book for clarity and professionalism’s sake.

    That said, it might have served us better if the author had submitted this cover to us with everything on it in his native language (presumably Pashtun or Arabic), as that would drive home to everyone our point that the imagery has to sell the book on its own merits. As our host and numerous other commentators here have already stated, nothing about the muted imagery on this drab grayish-blue cover does anything to suggest this book is about Pakistan, or that it has any of the action, drama, and suspense mentioned in the description. In its present form, all this cover does is demonstrate what happens when you don’t follow the classic “show, don’t tell” rule of writing for your cover as well as your content: if you’re not showing all this suspense and thrilling action on your cover, telling your prospective readers it’s a “thrilling suspense [story/novel/whatever]” in the title is not going to help.

    While I’m not sure what kind of thrills and suspense this book is supposed to contain (since the description really doesn’t say), that action imagery needs to be in the picture on the cover. Whether the “thrill” and “suspense” in question comes from a car chase or a cliff-hanger or explosions or a haunting or a shootout or even a sex scene (you know, anything you might see in a typical Michael Bay movie), we need to see that on the cover. For best results, use some of the “bright colors, intricate designs, and Islamic imagery” our host mentioned to give the action scene that exotic Pakistani (or at least Middle Eastern) feel your target audience is going to want to see.

    Basically, you want something like the imagery of Osama for your cover, except in a more… you know… positive way. (Osama being about a girl suffering under the Taliban’s brutal repression of Afghanistan, it’s not exactly a very flattering portrait of the culture there.) Try to show us something thrilling and suspenseful about the protagonist’s reunion with his grandmother in Pakistan and his learning about his family’s history there.

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