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Chrono Crime

The author says:

YA urban fantasy, set in modern-day Phoenix, AZ. Summary: Indal, chronomancer werewolf, is dragged home from exile, because Michelle, his would-be girlfriend, has discovered her own dead body, sent back from the future. But the body is actually a deathless killing machine, and Indal’s investigations reveal smugglers, alchemists, and a far-reaching plot that will shake the entire multiverse.



Nathan says:

It’s got a good thumbnail, which is important; book covers need to be engaging at small size these days.

A few things crop up at full size:

  • Trajan is a great workhorse font, but it’s also overused these days, and one of the consequences of reader familiarity with it is that little boo-boos about its use stand out. For instance, the spacing between the two lines of the title crows the “C” of Crime against the “H” of Chrono.  I’d also play with the kerning to make the letters look like they hang together better.
  • The male model’s head obviously doesn’t belong to that body (or maybe it’s his face that doesn’t belong to that head). Either way, it’s disconcerting.
  • The wolf silhouette seems cartoony in comparison to the human.  (And you’ll probably get a ration-o’-crap from the commenters here about “Wolfie,” because wolves show up so darned frequently on the covers of run-of-the-mill urban fantasies and paranormal romances.)
  • The hand with lightning seems crowded by the byline.  One suggestion: Move the title to the top (where the series title is), shift the male model up a big to give the hand more room, and fit the series title under the book title on the left on two lines, in that space above the wolf and to the left of the model.

One other thing: It sounds like a nifty feature of the book is mixing urban fantasy with sci-fi, and that’s missing from the cover.  Could there be cogs/circuits/something indicative of technology in the background clouds, maybe at the top behind the title, to give some of that science-fantasy flavor?

Other ideas, people?


  1. It is an interesting blurb, certainly not run of the mill, so I like that.

    I do like the purple, it looks good on the cover, and it certainly is not overused. That does help make this look more unique. I do agree that maybe some gears or tech could help the background, just do not remove that purple!

    Is that wolf his shadow, or his girlfriend? Given the blurb, I am not positive. Not that is is a dire problem or anything, but if it is supposed to be her, they need to be separated.

    Also, yes. I agree with everything Nathan said. Please, please change that font so that it doesn’t look like every movie poster ever made. Make it as unique as your book. Side Note: Bleeding Cowboys, and P apyrus are not not unique.

    I am also interested in what the original model’s face looked like. Was it that different for the vision of the character that it needed to be changed?

  2. I agree the font is wrong and the use of small caps is not appealing in the byline because of three upper case letters (initials).

    The top line is way too close to the top! Also, the case is inconsistent and I would take it out of small caps because the word “book” looks odd all lower case. Maybe this could be stacked type by dropping Book 2 to a separate line? Maybe change to Book II?

    I do like the purple and the wolf isn’t so bad :-).

  3. Fix the head on the character. I like Nathan’s suggestion about re-jigging the text positioning. I like the purple clouds and personally have no problem with the font. While wolves on covers are something of a cliché, books about characters turning into wolves are also something of a cliché, and if the book is of this ilk, some sort of indication on the cover is probably called for to attract its intended market. The wolf doesn’t look shitty or badly rendered, so I don’t think it’s an issue.

  4. It’s pretty good. It’s worth improving the things on the list, but I think it’s good news that most of the points seem fairly minor. Another minor thing is the lightning doesn’t quite seem right, though it’s close enough that it wouldn’t be a deterrent for me. That brings up another important point: Don’t make any of these ‘minor’ things worse in the process of ‘fixing’ them.

  5. This is a pretty cool cover. The head is the only thing I don’t like; aside from clearly not belonging to the body, he looks bored or stoned. But get a head that fits properly and has a nice intense expression and I think you’re good to go.

    Nathan is probably right with all the font tweaks, but all that will just make an already strong cover even better, IMO.

  6. Rather than go with a list of “fool-proof fonts,” find one that actually works with your book. I am sure you will get many suggestions

    That being said, there are some issues which may or may not have already been covered (such as the misplaced head).

    The art is static with really no center of interest. The entire center of the cover is pretty much empty What little there is to suggest a fantasy novel–the bolt from the figure’s fingertips–is relegated to the bottom right-hand corner…and half-buried beneath type at that.

    The wolf’s head is almost irrelevant: it is too dark to be easily read–at first glance it might be the figure’s shadow–and, not matching the style of the rest of the art, seems pasted in as an afterthought.

    I would redo the art from scratch. When thinking about imagery, ask yourself: “What sets this book apart from other novels on a similar subject?”, “What set-piece or scene best represents what this book is about, or would attract a reader’s eye away from another book?”, “What image best illustrates or compliments the title?”

  7. Ron: After experimenting with the changes suggested here, I decided to do just that and rebuild from scratch. I found a better model, and I’m re-painting everything. Thank you all so much for your time!

  8. I like the wolf silhouette. If I wanted to read werewolf novels, it would catch my attention. I like the way it seems to be his shadow. I love the colours. The font and head could be improved but don’t throw away everything!

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