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Resurgence: Embers of Teleev

The author says:

Sci-fi novel and series debut. In a galaxy struggling to rebuild after an interplanetary war that ended with the destruction of the neutral world of Teleev, a task force is formed to apprehend the vengeful survivors of the shattered planet. This is the final draft of the cover.

Nathan says:

Aw, don’t tell us that it’s the “final draft,” because that means all you want to hear from us is, “Good job, don’t change a thing.”

I think it’s a solid foundation, but it looks awfully murky thanks to the color scheme.  Giving a deep navy tone to the non-explody parts would lend some much-needed color contrast.

I don’t understand why both the title and byline are so small — there’s so much space to play with (see what I did there?), and it’s not like you’re in danger of covering up an important detail like a character’s face.  And that would help with readability; a relentlessly square font like this is in danger of causing eyes to skip across the letters.  Not that you have to change to something with upper and lowercase, but even some space between letters might help slow down those skipping eyes.

So the byline is “Fen and Frances Ixx”?  That’s… an awfully hard surname to read, and the size doesn’t help.  You might want to change that font to something that (a) has upper and lower case, and/or (b) looks less like a Roman numeral.  Unless that’s supposed to be a Roman numeral, in which case I’m hopelessly confused.

Other advice?


  1. If you have a higher resolution image of the explosion, I’d consider making it a bigger part of the cover. With the added contrast that Nathan mentioned, it would give the cover a much stronger focus.

  2. I totally agree with making the lettering bigger. The art is fine, but it’s not SO awesome or detailed that it needs to dominate the cover like this. Making it clearly readable in thumbnail is more important.

    I’m also confused by Ixx. If that’s not your real last name, I would choose a different pseudonym, probably one that sounds like one person (like F.F. Lastname).

  3. It simply is not meaningful. It may perhaps illustrate some key element of the story…but you would have to have already read the book to realize that—and that is putting the cart before the horse.

    The monochromatic color scheme also very off-putting

    If the idea is to illustrate the destruction of Teleev, then I would make it center stage and a great deal more exciting than what you have shown here. As it stands, the cover image is simply boring and unattractive. You need something that explicitly conveys something about the story.

    Yes, there are some issues with the typography, but I think you need to worry first about the imagery.

    1. I don’t know, I see what you mean Ron but also feel like this is common of SF book covers. It immediately reminds me of the Iain M Banks covers ( I’ve got to admit I haven’t paid much attention to SF space opera covers for the last ten years so maybe my info is outdated, but to me the above feels solidly genre-appropriate.

      However, covers that do this compensate for generic imagery by really shouting with their titles (or, if the author is famous, byline). Plus when the elements on a cover are so simple and sparse, they need to look really polished.

      The title and series name should certainly be much bigger. Also brighter, possibly with a bit of a gradient ‘shine’ on them.

      (Can I just congratuale you on having a font with a grungy texture where the repeated letters don’t have the exact same grunge pattern on them? Its such a common mistake, I even see it in professional graphic design, so well done!)

      The byline though rings of self-publishing, both because of the unusual names and because I think self-publishing is the only place I ever see people bottom/left-align bylines. I don’t know why.

  4. I hate to climb on and “me, too,” but…me too. The monochrome isn’t helping you. It’s dull, which is the kiss of death in cover design. I always recommend that authors/designers read this: , which is the best thing I’ve ever read, on cover design in the modern era. Humorously, you’ll see that the first cover is, as it happens, monochrome. But it also POPS. Why? Contrast.

    Of which, you have none. You badly need that. And you need color. You’ll see that, in that article, also.

    The cover font isn’t my favorite, but it’s not awful. If you could bring some color and contrast to the cover art, you could lighten it significantly (the text) which will pop it off the page. Depending upon which way the cover color goes, you could go with yellow–always works, and has a lot of variations so you can find one that will work–or you could do a light blue, or even a hot pink, possibly. Obviously, not with the OD greeny-brown, but…

    You know, the art’s not bad; if you bring it up (color/contrast) and make it larger (use up some of that space), it’s good. Then bring in some color in the text, and you’d have a pretty damn good cover. You should make the cover text and byline bigger.

    And yes, the others are also right about the byline. It’s confusing to the rest of us. Title case would help, e.g., Ixx. OR, if it’s a pseudonym, yes, I’d consider changing it. Even the great Jackie Ickx didn’t spell it Ixx. You know?

    Good luck. You have a great start, but it needs some zipitty-do-dah. Some flash. Zest. Make people WANT to pick up the book. Unable to flick past it. That’s what matters.

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