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Many Worlds Trilogy: Book 1

The author says:

A science fiction writer struggles with his sanity when the parallel worlds he creates collide with reality. Theme: The observer effect from quantum mechanics. Conscious thought creates reality. Yes, I am a amateur attempting to design a book cover because my funds are going to a professional editor. Looking for input on title and pen name. I plan to republish a refined product on Smashwords in the near future.

Many Worlds Book Cover

Many Worlds Book Cover

Nathan says:

Note: An earlier version of this cover ended up at lousybookcovers.com, where it got solidly punched around. This version lacks some of the main offences.

I’m formulating a new dictum for indie publishers designing their own covers (I hope to be presenting on that subject at an upcoming writers conference).  It’s this:

“The two most important parts of your cover are (1) typeface and (2) color scheme.”

Looking at this cover in light of that advice, the first thing I see is that the typeface is common — “vulgar,” if one can be so bold.  There are plenty of sci-fi/futuristic/mechanistic free fonts out there (make sure the one you choose is readable!), and it would only take a very slight texture or other distressing effect to give the “shaky sanity” vibe I get from your description.

Also: If I understand right, one of the central themes you’re trying to portray in the cover is “single observer/multiple realities,” yes? If so, then I submit that the various eyes actually work against that since they imply many observers.  Something like a single person or head, overlapping as it looks in several directions at once, might convey the appropriate concept better.  But doing that well might be beyond your technical skill.

Remember, the point of your book cover is to attract the readers who would enjoy the book.  So what would tell the appropriate audience, “This is a book I want to read?”  How do other books about fractured reality present themselves?  That can be your best guide.

Other ideas, anyone?

Comments

  1. I’ll probably be back later with thoughts on the design, but something that leaped out at me was that word “Trilogy.”

    It implies that all three books are in this one volume, yet lower it says “Book I.” That’s confusing. There’s nothing wrong with large type for the title and/or author name but font size has to be balanced; it also must help the reader locate what’s important. Is “trilogy” as important as the actual title? Usually not, and since this is the first book, and it says Book I, I’m not sure trilogy needs to be there at all. Since this is technical sci-fi, you may want to consider simply, “Book 1 of 3” or something. Or, certainly, do trilogy smaller, tucked beneath the word Worlds, perhaps, so it’s like a secondary art element. Let the typography play with the graphics; right now it’s just running over the top like a rubber stamp. (Except there in the middle, where the title overlaps the white radiance, it makes the O an R almost disappear in thumbnail size.)

    Also, make your name a bit larger and drop “By”–you see it on pro pubbed books sometimes, but it’s not common and not needed.

  2. I like the background image (and the multiple eyes don’t bother me), although if you refined it so that all the objects have the same lighting, it would be better. (It looks fine at first glance, but looks more cut-and-pastey the longer I look at it.)

    But the main thing is the fonts. You *must* pick a nice cool sci-fi font and then color and/or shade it in a more nuanced way than solid primary yellow with a solid primary red drop shadow. Soft gradient, embossing, soft glow, metallic, anything really.

  3. Good for you for learning, coming here, and trying again! It can only help book sales and it already looks much better.

    As it stands, your red (& blue) drop shadows are not consistent. That is a problem, because it does not look like it was done on purpose. Honestly though, you just don’t need them, they don’t add anything. Toss them.

    One thing you could do…
    Find a nice unique but easy to read futuristic font:
    http://www.fontsquirrel.com/ is a good place to look
    Find a nice free to use, high resolution texture of some kind.
    If in photoshop Place the texture layer above the text.
    Right click the layer
    Select make clipping mask.
    Done. Or at least almost done. You can add a few textures, and change some of the layers to be ‘multiply’ or other types. Layer masks are a great way to add interest and make things look professionally broken (if you don’t overdo it). It is especially great if you use a slightly broken font already. (Which will work as no letters repeat in Many Worlds, so no one will see the pattern of the broken font).

    I realize that the book is called too many worlds, but I think there may be too many worlds on this cover.

    I also think that only one eyeball would be better, it would make it just that much more creepy. I also am missing the ‘white’ of the eye. Which would make the eye look more like a real eye, and ‘feel’ more round. Bonus points if the iris is a strange colour.

    A good way to reduce the ‘cut and paste’ on the image would be to find an image, like space mist, or a nebula, or something and place it over the top of what you have, then change the mode to multiply or overlay or something. It will soften the edges, make it share some of the same colours. Or take the planet layers and ‘hue and saturation / level’ them a bit to make them match the rest more, as I believe the base image is mostly grays, the earth could be unsaturated just a bit to make it fit better with the rest.

    Lastly, remove that… uh… that… take out the… *blush* well… uh… I’m not going to say what it looks like, but that ‘object’ in the sky needs to go.

  4. I think one eye may create a bigger impact, and with just one eye, it could be much larger, so as to be easily interpreted in the thumbnail. The cover may also be less busy that way. You want one focal point. (Besides, all these eyes are looking in the same direction.) I would also reduce the number of planets shown on the cover. This may in turn free up some natural space for the title.

    Then the planets that are shown, their light/dark sides need consistency. Whatever light source(s) there is(are), it needs to be consistent with respect to the various planets shown. (And if something in the book can explain why it’s okay for them to have what seems to be inconsistency, it doesn’t matter because customers don’t have any idea what’s in the book. If it doesn’t seem right, they simply walk away.)

  5. My first impression is that it looks like a low budeget pamphlet cover rather than a book cover. I think that the covers of popular books in the genre should be looked at to get a feel for sells and also what other artists are doing for inspiration. This design just lacks inspiration to me and comes across half-hearted. Also, the advice about fonts is good advice. There are so many to choose from now that it makes no sense to settle for something common. In short, imitation is not a bad thing if you are imitating success.

  6. The artwork is nice (though a word about that later)…it’s in the typography where you’ve fallen down most.

    The font you’ve chosen is a little overused, as others have pointed out, but it could have been used more effectively.

    The title would have worked better with the lines centered and a little closer together. I would center “Book 1” and your name as well. At the moment there is really no apparent reason for the placement of the type. The lines are all over the place.

    Having the type react in some way with the central light source might be nice.

    And speaking of the title of your book…it needs one. Does each volume of your trilogy not have its own title? Calling each one “Book 1,” “Book 2” and “Book 3” seems a little unimaginative…and hard on your readers. If the books do have individual titles (and if they don’t, I would seriously consider given them ones), use those for the main text, beneath which you can put “Book 1 of the Many Worlds Trilogy.”

    Now, regarding the art…
    I do like it—it just needs a little more thought. It’s hard to tell, but all the elements need to be of the same resolution. Otherwise you are not going to be able to avoid a cut and paste look. I think you might want to make a few of the eyes larger—at the moment they are all too much the same size. And both the eyes and the planets would probably look better if they were illuminated consistent with the light source.

  7. Since you asked for input on the pen name as well…I’d have to say I’m not wild about it. I scan it as “Cutie Monk.” Which…well…it may be shallow of me, but I tend to associate cutesy pen names with either a) comedy, or b) low quality writing. It would be fine if this was a parody or other comedic work. But that’s not how I’m reading your blurb.

    My best advice is to choose a pen name that doesn’t look like a pen name. Or even use an alternate form of your real name, if that works. (Like using your middle name as your surname, or swapping the order of your names, or using your initials instead of your name.)

  8. The aspect that is the most immediately jarring for me with this book cover is the font colors – they are just too bright and bold against the pastel toned background image, causing a clash rather than contrast. The type size is also overly-dominating the cover instead of blending in.

    I’m not a designer, but I have studied book covers for the last few months in preparation for designing my own and feel there needs to be one focal point at either the one third or two third ‘fold’ mark to draw your eye into your design. The cover as it currently stands has the typography grabbing all the attention, and the image that is supposed to be the focal point is secondary.

  9. The cover seems too static and Newtonian to me for an SF book based on a theme from quantum mechanics.

    Keying on the description (“A science fiction writer struggles with his sanity when the parallel worlds he creates collide with reality”)—and knowing nothing else about the book—I think it could benefit from having a “crazy” influence of some kind, something unexpected to tweak the viewer. The first thing that comes to mind is the tip of a pool cue sticking in from one side just enought to hint that it’s going to shoot an eyeball into the side pocket (a black hole).

    “The Eye” at the top is a strong feature. I think it should be complete (therefore lower). A piercing stare would be a plus.

    For the title, I’ll suggest something like “The Parallel Worlds of S.F. Writer”.

  10. Hey dude. I was procrastinating at work and stumbled across this site. I thought I’d give your cover a quick go as a way of avoiding work (it comes to something when you avoid designing by designing something else…).

    Feel free to use it. If you want the layered file or a bigger version, drop me a line at krmiller8uk@gmail.com, it’s all yours.

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