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Something Taken

The author says:

In constant conflict with her family, Terry leaves home to prove she can make it on her own. Arriving in Denver, her plans unravel quickly and her drinking lands her in trouble. Then all her plans collapse when she is stopped by the police and the officer intimidates her into submitting to his pleasure. The cop isn’t content with one encounter and pursues her relentlessly. The only one Terry can depend on is her pup, Sprout. But the escalating pursuit is about to reach a deadly climax. SOMETHING TAKEN is a urban crime drama set in the 70’s. It’s graphic realism is directed to an adult audience.

something taken city cov

something taken city cov

 

Nathan says:

I think this cover suffers from the same thing that the previously posted one does: it doesn’t convey the genre that the blurb describes.  Seeing a city from far away doesn’t say “urban crime drama” to me; there’s no indication that this is a story involving police, or non-consensual (semi-consensual?) sex, or the ’70s (that last might not be a bad thing, but…)  If I had to guess, I’d assume that the cover shown here is about a woman taking a self-discovery road trip away from the city with her dog.

If you want your audience to think “urban crime drama,” show me city streets at night. Show me police lights. Show me a face with heavy chiaroscuro shadows. Show me a bold, blocky typeface.

What does everyone else think?

Comments

  1. The title is a bit disjointed being so far apart. There is plenty of room in the blue space for the word ‘Taken’ so that the title flows better.

    That is a bit of a moot point however, as I have to agree with Nathan. This doesn’t fit with that book blurb at all. You would get a lot of people buying that book and they would certainly not be expecting what looks like a tale of a woman and her dog to turn into something ‘sexy’ with the police.

    The crumpled paper is a bit of a waste of space, I think the space would be better used with more picture, to tell more story.

    Finally, I am sorry, but I can tell that is a city photoshopped pasted behind the hill. There is something about the colours that don’t mix. They need some adjusting to make it look like the same time of day as the sky wouldn’t be that dark in the field was that bright.

    The Silhouettes are rather striking though. If you plan to use them on the next version I might suggest a quick trip through the live trace in illustrator to take off some of the magic wand scragglies. It would do it wonders.

    An idea may be to have a dark city scene as Nathan suggested and then use the silhouettes in a different colour than black. Either Just subtle enough to be seen, or completely stark white. Sort of a reverse silhouette.

  2. Nathan’s comments are, as always, spot-on. The font certainly should be revisited.

    I want to add that the silhouette effectively conveys the “sexual objectification” implied. Consider a silhouette in a more active or expressive pose. A full profile would make the dog look less like its face got chopped off.

    Finally, I’m not a fan of the crinkle paper. It’s just personal preference, but to me, it’s distracting. This is the kind of comment you get when you crowd-source.

  3. The over-all composition is poor. The picture of the city is of low quality, and adding a shadow image and background doesn’t help it in any way. And on what was it set upon? Looks like a cd box or something. My eyes keep being directed to that bit of shininess on the right and to the awkward cropping of the image.

    I don’t know what software was used to design this cover but it just screams cheap. There are very good Gimp and Inkscape tutorials on YouTube.

    But first, I would start over with a good quality picture that represents the content of the book better and doesn’t need so much additions to try to make it look good. Then add to it better fonts and font treatment and you’d have a clean and pro looking cover.

  4. To me, the crumpled paper is wasted space that would be better used for a picture…but not the one that is currently used. Without the blurb, I would have thought this book was about someone leaving the city. Even just the light bar of a police car at night and, as Waffles suggested, the silhouettes in white, would convey urban crime better.

  5. I agree with most of what’s been said about this cover already, but I’ll add a couple of points that struck me.

    It seems to me that the gender of the central character is something that you’d want to get across with this cover, and that didn’t happen with me. I took a long look at the image before reading the blurb, and I assumed the figure was a boy or young man.

    Secondly, “distraction” is an issue that a couple of others have mentioned. The frame around the central image is the worst offender; is it supposed to look like something, and if so, what? (I suspect it’s actually just a picture-border option that came with whatever software was used to make the cover.) So it draws attention to itself, but to no purpose or effect other than confusion. That’s pretty much the definition of “distraction.” Similarly, the crumpled paper draws the eye, but to no purpose. Blank space in a cover design is not at all a bad thing — the whole cover doesn’t have to be filled up with graphics and text — but blank space should be blank; usually a solid, muted color, rather than something that’s busy and says “hey, look at me!”

  6. The cover looks more appropriate for a farming drama, like “the damn city bankers hung us out to dry and took our farm” sorta thing.

  7. I agree with Nathan’s comments about the cover not having the right atmosphere for the genre. The border and the font do not help, and the pixellation on the silhouettes needs to be cleaned up.

  8. Also, you’ve set this novel in a specific place and time. Therefore, people who lived in that specific place at that specific time (like I did) are going to be looking closely at the cover details.

    So while I think the photo of Denver has been aged to make it look older…but it includes buildings that weren’t built until after the 70’s. Like DIA and the convention center.

    But yeah. As other commenters have pointed out, this is probably a moot point, since nothing about that photo says “urban crime drama” to me. If it weren’t for that, and the photoshopping issues, I do like the overall composition of the cover. I’d probably move “Taken” closer to “Something, and move both of them up a little. But I like the silhouettes framing the landscape.

    I don’t suppose you’re writing another novel featuring a girl and a dog… 😉

  9. Why is the dog’s gender abundantly clear, but not the human’s? I’d put the girl and cop in the cover photo (not as silhouette), but not the dog (even if the dog has a prominent role; it will just seem out of place).

  10. Thanks everyone. In truth, I agree with everything everyone said. The photo wasn’t photoshopped though, I actually took that from Lookout Mountain. But I also gave the person better pics of downtown Denver. However, in the end, as much as he wanted to do it, and I wanted to give him a chance, none of the ones he presented worked for me, they all looked too ‘nice’ for the story.
    So I did my own. If you can stand a second go round for the same, maybe you can let me know if what I tried to do worked better. I would appreciate it, and I really appreciate your comments. Its all new and confusing, and unfortunately most of my money went to the editor. I hate to say it, but I’d rather do a not so great cover than cheat someone who buys it with a poorly written novel full of errors.

    1. Why rush it? Unless it’s time-sensitive nonfiction content, wait until it’s really ready. If the content and blurb are worth it, so is the cover. It could make the difference in several extra sales per month… after several years, that’s a big difference. It’s not just that, but branding, building your reputation, more sales now means more recommendations later. Every indie author seems to be in such a hurry, but the wait may be well worth it. You say you don’t have money, but the asset you do have is time, if only you would take it.

      1. gp,

        I agree, when you don’t have money and you work cheaply (free is cheap, right?), its better to take the time. I just appreciate everyone’s willingness to give some feedback.

    2. Take your time and, believe me, we’re more than willing to stand as many rounds as you need to get it right. 😉

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