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Something Taken [resubmit]

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 take cover A2 dark

something take cover A2 dark

Nathan says:

Definitely better at advertising the genre here. I can instantly tell “cops and a non-cop woman,” which is what I need to know.

From a design standpoint, the bottom half of the cover looks very plain compared to the top half, with too much of the unbroken red background.  I would scrunch the title, the silhouette and the byline further toward the bottom so there’s not as much empty red space to draw the eye.

Anyone else?


  1. One problem, at least to my eyes: There are a lot of details about the silhouetted girl that make her look about 10 years old to me: the ponytail, the general proportions of her body and head, the lack of visible bust, the small nose, high forehead and rounded chin, even the sitting-on-the-ground pose — a lot of little things that add up. And given what happens in the description text, this makes for a very creepy vibe.

    This points out a problem with the book description too: This would be a VERY different story depending on the age of the protagonist — 10? 15? 20? I think the description should include that key piece of information.

    Other than that, I think it’s a pretty good cover.

    1. Carl,

      See how nice it is to have a another set of eyes. I never even realized that. The girl is seventeen, turns eighteen, so it is a little creepy. But I see that the silhouette conveys someone younger. I wonder if adapting her would work better or if I should find a different pic. I used some website and put in depressed woman, and that was one of the selections and one that seemed to show the right mood, so I apparently missed a more critical element. Thanks.

  2. I’ve been sitting here looking at this cover for a while. Because I really don’t want to discourage this author: the fact that she’s asking for help and willing to get criticism before publishing is amazing.

    Like Nathan said, the bottom and half are not balanced. This is a mistake that happens often. You want a consistent treatment to prevent the ‘2 book-covers-in-one’ effect.
    OK I’m not a designer, far from it. But I tried my hand at a cover I would want to buy. Took me 5 minutes to do, so I would use another font and colours and tweak it way more. I was just aiming to convey a 70’s vibe with the font. I used the policeman’s flashlight as a focal point and the darkness of the windshield tells me something dark is hiding.

    As I grabbed your image and enlarged it, pixelation warning. The goal was just to show you what works for me. (I had no idea how to share it, so I’m linking to my website. No spamming intended.) I’m using Inkscape.

    Tell me what you think?

    Please, please, get rid of the crinkled paper effect, dear. It does nothing for you. 😉

    1. Thanks, Lucie and Nathan, I can see some ways to work with it now with your input. I do appreciate it, so I’m back to the drawing board for a bit. I haven’t used these graphics programs since I first took some classes in computers, back when Windows was still something you looked out to check the weather. I have a bit of learning curve to overcome. I have been trying to use the covers from the hundreds books laying around and they have such a huge range, I more baffled than anything. It’s hard to know what to make the focal point, the girl or the menacing cop or how to bring them together. Thanks Lucie for the visual, it helped.

      1. You’re welcome, Jerry. The important thing is that you’re willing to learn. 😉 Don’t try to go too literal with your cover. Suggest emotions and genre instead.

  3. This cover definitely conveys the genre, though the crumpled paper texture on the title font is distracting. I do like the black to red gradient that draws attention from the cop to the silhouette.

  4. Yes, better. I find myself agreeing with Nathan. I certainly agree with Karl regarding the silhouette. And I agree with Tia regarding the black to red gradient and crumpled paper texture on the font. I’m sorry that I don’t have anything to add other than “me too” comments.

  5. I’d like to suggest that instead of having the shift between the picture of the cop and the red background happen right in the middle of the page, it would feel more dynamic if that switch occurred further down. If you need to pad the top with a little black space to make that happen, that’s okay.

    Once you’ve done that, you could play with putting the title at the top just to see how it looks.

  6. How about a dark, gritty picture of an evil-looking cop? Reading the description this book sounds like it is meant to be sinister, and I think depicting the antagonist would portray that better than the protagonist.

  7. This is indeed much better…

    I’m not too keen on the spacing between the lines of the title and don’t entirely understand what the wrinkled paper texture is supposed to convey.

    Black on red (and vice versa) is never a very good idea. The two colors are too close in value to readily separate design elements…and in B&W red and black tend to blend together.

    Neither am I very keen on a mix of silhouette and photo…I’d rather see one or the other. For one thing, mixing a silhouette shape and photo as you do tends to separate the elements instead of making them relate to one another, which is what I believe you wanted them to do.

    The photo you chose is striking, but it needs more clarity: at first glance all one sees is bright spots of light.For one thing, I take it that the cop is supposed to be “menacing.” I don’t get that. I suspect one needs to know the story first in order to realize that the cop’s a menacing figure and not one setting out to perform a rescue or stop a crime.

    I think the problem is that, like many authors, you forget that you know the story and that the potential reader doesn’t.

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