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Monok’s Bones: Discovery

The author says:

This is a fantasy story with wolves as the focal point. Monok is the dead wolf god. They have been separated from humans for a long time and suddenly a ship lands on their island and what everyone knows as ‘history’ begins to unravel. “Watership Down” meets “David Gemmell”. Book 1 of 3, other 2 will be called Transgression and Redemption.





Nathan says:

The cover art is professional, but unremarkable. I don’t know what details of wolf culture are in your book, but if there is any detail you could add to help distinguish it, that would help.

And with the art being fairly generic, the text needs to carry more weight.  I’d pick a font with more character. Instead of using italics to set the volume title apart from the series title, I’d use either a different font or style treatment, or a line or some other simple ornament.  And lose the “by” on the byline; it’s unnecessary.

Other ideas?


  1. I rather like this, other than the fonts. (funny, it’s always the fonts that get people in trouble)

    I would raise the horizon line a tad to give the author name a bit more breathing space (both above and below). Then, I’d bring the title down a smidge to help fill/balance the blank gap above the moon. But all in all, with a better font choice, it works for me.

    Because the series title is too like in size and font to the title, on first glance its reading Monok’s Bones Discovery (as if Mononk is discovering bones). Ditto what Nathan said on this point. It needs something to set it apart from the title.

    And finally, I agree that “by” is unnecessary. I don’t know that there is a hard and fast rule about that, but it’s really just not done.

  2. It’s not that the “by” is unnecessary, but that many customers see this “by” and think “amateurish.” Don’t include anything that might deter sales; you need every one you can scrape up.

    The image is pleasing to the eye. There is nothing about the image that would make me NOT buy the book; but the image also doesn’t grab me and interest me in the content.

    The title font is clear, but too plain. There is a lot of potential for this font to help grab the reader and clarify the genre, while still remaining clear.

  3. Font suggestions? I had actually read a little on this page before I made that and thought the font’s might do me in. Wife was pushing me to get something up so I could at least finally get it done. I did not want my cover to be too busy, hence the simplistic image. I just chose something that was quick to get going, and would still be easily read in the thumbnail.

    Details on wolf culture: Well, thats a little hard. Basically the island is split into 4 with different season, and different wolves. The summer and spring section are based on Japanese shinobi beliefs, basically the wolves are like ninjas. The winter section will be a norse styled one, and the autumn section is going to be an egyptian styled one. I did not want the island to be the focal point, which is why I went with a wolf.

    “By” is simple enough to rmove and what happens when your wife is rushing you to get something up around midnight and you are not really thinking straight.

  4. As for the art, IMHO, simple works better than something complex that looks really bad/pasted on/whatever – esp. when you’re not a graphic designer ::raises hand::.

    Agree about the text. I always like to suggest Font Squirrel for fonts because 1) Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer suggested that site as being particularly good when it comes to free fonts; since he’s been a designer for quite some time, I figure he knows a thing or three :-), and 2) it saves money – tho you have to be careful and read the licenses (most, I think, are free for commercial use; some are not). But I think the author can do a search for fantasy-ish fonts and come up with something stronger than what he has right now.

    I just did a very quick search and came up with 2 fonts right away: Almendra and Ceviche One. Almendra looks like it would be clean enough to use on the cover but still distinct enough to suggest something in the fantasy genre.

    I’d like to make one more suggestion. Since this is a series, I think you should put the series name on the cover as well, so your potential readers know there’s more to come (and to let them know this is the first book). It should be as simple as this: Monok’s Bones Book 1. I have a fantasy trilogy out (they’re premades, so didn’t cost too much to buy), and the series info is in smaller print than the book title and my name.

    Oh, one other thing that I took away from looking thru The Book Designer is that you shouldn’t use more than 2 fonts on the cover; and please don’t use any typical fonts you’d find in Word (like Times New Roman or Arial) on the cover, because those scream amateur.

    I hope this helps.

  5. Hey Scott! (I love it when the author chimes back in. It’s great to read how the critique is for them. I’m always worried that they’ve died of personal pain and anguish after we’ve had our go at their babies.)

    Don’t let that wife bully you Scott. 😉 You did a great job.

    Nancy’s right. No more than two font families or it starts to get messy.

    Font recommendations: It’s hard to say without trying them on for size but of the font squirrel options, Almendra isn’t bad. IMHO Ceviche One is a bit too kitchy. Leander isn’t bad either, but I’d play with all caps or small caps to see if that worked better. I’d also try Yatagan (but be careful. it might be too much.) or Yellow Magician.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Now, I agree with the font discussion above, and ‘by’ so couple of other things:
    Commonly the name of the book is large font and the name of the series a lot smaller. It might also look more striking if the word you see, especially thumbnail size, is Discovery and not three words. Secondly, is that not a lot used image?

  7. Ok, I had a bit of a look around. Had a bit of a play with fonts. Made sure to check licensing first before using anything, pretty sure I am in the clear with these. Had my wife look at them to get her opinion because it matters. And have 3 I made which I believe are an improvement on the first but outsiders opinion would be handy.

    Tell me if you think these are improvements, if any of them work, or suggestions to get things right.

    And if it wasn’t for my wife pushing me I never would have published the book, self-published or traditionally, been sitting on it for about 5 years now. Hopefully she can continue to push me so I write more.

    1. Cover 1: Doesn’t seem to me to match the description of the novel that you gave.

      Cover 2: I like the volume title font, but not the sketchy series title/byline font.

      Cover 3: Definitely don’t like the series title/byline font either.

    2. #1 – Not loving it as much as the original
      #2 – Discovery looks good. And I like the shape of the other font if it was filled solid instead of hollow and hashed.
      #3 – This one is just a bit too out there, but I like how it fills the space better.

      But now I’m a little confused. Is the title Monok’s Bones or Discovery?

      And, no offense meant to your wife Scott. I was just teasing. 🙂

    3. #1 isn’t doing it for me. Sorry.

      #2 isn’t bad.

      #3 is okay.

      If I had to go with one, I’d pick #2. And I wanted to reiterate what I wrote above – since Monok’s Bones is the series, I think you should include Book 1 so readers know it’s the first in the series. Something as simple as, “Monok’s Bones – Book 1”.

  8. I’m trying to think of how I want people to view the book. Do I want them to think of it as a book in itself or as just a small part of something bigger. I went and looked at the covers of a number of series I have read and enjoyed and was getting some mixed messages.

    Officially, when I uploaded it on Lulu, the title is Monok’s Bones: Discovery. So Discovery is only a subtitle I think.

    I am thinking I would prefer the book to be known as Monok’s Bones, and for people to see it as a book divided into 3 parts then release an omnibus edition kind of thing with Discover, Transgression and Redemption.

    My thoughts personally on the covers.

    1. Grabs my attention, if in a bookstore I would probably pick it up and read the back, but not really lending itself to fantasy. Could lend itself well to a series though in the way mentioned above as I could just change the rotation and colour of the writing in the middle, keeping everything else the same, and then release the omnibus with all 3 labels on the cover.
    2. I feel the way Discovery is written, while people like it, actually makes me think Sci-fi instead of Fantasy, I almost expect to see a spaceship landing. Feel I would need to adjust/change the image itself for the next book. Or how would you work this into a series?
    3. I adjusted the picture as suggested previously. I agree that the Monok’s Bones bit looks a little wishy washy, and the sketchy one doesn’t look that great but I don’t mind it. Feel I would need to adjust/change the image itself for the next book. Or how would you work this into a series?

    I have found, from reading a lot of things about making covers (I tried to find some good info about making series covers) seems to not be so much about how to make a good cover, but more how to not make a bad cover, which I suppose is probably better in the long run.

    Sorry if I am going a bit further than people usually do with this site, but I just want to make sure I can sort out a decent cover so I can change the release. It’s not available on ibooks or nook just yet, so I think I can still change this before it is.

    1. Making a cover mistake can kill sales, and you have to avoid the mistakes in order to make a good cover. But there is a marked difference between a highly effective cover and one that simply isn’t bad. The highly effective cover really draws in the target audience. They see it and feel compelled to check it out. It just speaks to them. Now a lousy blurb, poor writing in the Look Inside, a story problem leading to bad reviews, etc., can offset the effect of the cover, but a highly effective cover can make a big difference over the life of a book (and if you have a series, the more people who try book 1 and like it, the more of books 2 and 3 you sell, too). It’s harder to “describe” how to make a highly effective cover. The more covers you study (a large sample in your subgenre, plus many effective covers from a variety of genres), the more you can develop a feel for it. Trying to make a variety of covers can help you learn some of the subtleties that you might otherwise miss. Good luck.


    Have a look at “For Humanity” and “The Emmisary.” Even though there are many covers on the page, and these two are not sitting next to each other, (because they were created and uploaded at different times) you can clearly see that they are sequels. Note the repetition in shapes (objects at the top of the cover) and font treatment and colour story.

    The same holds true for “The Great White Space” and “The Vast Dark Nothing” at

    Note the font treatment, and the eye drawing element (ladybug and super nova) in the similar spot. Even though the colour story is completely opposite, you can still tell they belong together.

    To me, the key to creating an effective sequel is repetition of elements.

    1. This. 🙂 Try to get the fonts the same, in the same places, so you can brand the series and yourself (the author).

  10. Cover 1. An improvement graphically (even if, so far as I can tell, the book is about wolf hunters) but the main font seems mismatched and I’m not at all sure what the relevance of the labeler font is. The cover fails to convey the idea that this book is a kind of Watership Down fantasy. Instead it looks like the cover for some sort of backwoods thriller.

    Cover 2. All the same main problems as the original cover in which the choice of font was only a secondary issue.

    Cover 3. Ditto above. In both of these it is really the image that is not conveying anything at all about the book. The font used is not going to change that.

    Your description of the book says “This is a fantasy story with wolves as the focal point. Monok is the dead wolf god. They have been separated from humans for a long time and suddenly a ship lands on their island and what everyone knows as ‘history’ begins to unravel.”

    You need to find an image that gets that idea across. The main characters are wolves whom you have given personalities, character traits, a religion and a language. You should try to convey some of that in the cover art. Perhaps an image of a wolf that is a character study of the main protagonist–an image that suggests that there is something more than just an animal being portrayed–rather than a generic image of a wolf. Since you have compared your book to Watership Down, perhaps take a clue from some of the imagery used in the film version in which aboriginal-inspired art was used to convey a sense of fantasy and mythos

  11. I don’t think cover 1 is better as it doesn’t lend the mystical fantasy vibe I think your book is about. Cover 2 is okay but the font the author title is in doesn’t look very good in my opinion. Cover 3’s book title font is cool. The other font is the same as cover 2’s. I suggest use use the book title of cover 3 and use the book title of cover 2 for the subtitle.

  12. I’m with Ron Miller above. The illustration just says “wolf”, and suggests a general concept of wilderness. It doesn’t say “intelligent wolf-people”. The title gives me a meaningless name (“Monok” is just two empty syllables to someone who hasn’t read the book) and the idea of bones.

    The main selling point of the book/series is that it’s a fantasy set in an alternative world, featuring sentient wolf-people with a sophisticated culture and religion. This is the idea the cover needs to convey.

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