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Seraphympire: Guardians of the Gateways

The author says:

KILLING IS HER SPECIALTY. LEGEND HER REALITY. BLOOD HER DRUG OF CHOICE. Makayla Uriel is a Vampire Seraphim with a split personality. Her first impulse upon meeting her new partner is to bleed him dry. Her second is unthinkable. Humans no longer need to be bitten to become Vampires. London is burning. The Trinian Globe, an ancient artefact, has been stolen. Makayla is the one being who can prevent the inevitable apocalypse and the one least likely to. Is trust possible when you must sacrifice everything? Will the Shadow Seekers save Earth and its Gateways? Can the global distribution of V5 be stopped? Who will triumph? SERAPHYMPIRE.





Nathan says:

Note: This is another cover that got a working-over in its original form at; this is a revised version.

The artwork is certainly fine for the genre; I’ve got no complaints there.  I think you’ll be able to predict everything I’m going to say from looking at the thumbnail: The text is too small.  I’m not just saying that it’s unreadable at thumbnail size (readability is desirable but not absolutely necessary, and obviously big words like “seraphympire” are going to be a challenge) — there’s too much wasted space.  You’ve already got a big chunk of space to the right of the sword; this should keep you from feeling too crowded as you play with the rest of the cover. The bloody drips above the title really don’t need to be seen unimpeded, nor do the rocks under the byline.

Also, speaking of that space on the right: Move your tagline over there and put it in a simple, readable font. Its current placement make it look like the “crazy” comment only applies to the author. 🙂

Unfortunately, I think the biggest hurdle is still going to be the title, which is both (a) a neologism with which readers won’t be familiar, and (b) long and complex enough not to be easily intuited.  the best I can come up with is something like this:


But that still seems too ungainly to me. Anyone else have ideas?


  1. Is the church in the space to the right significant enough that you don’t want to fill it with the byline? If so, unshroud it.

    Good luck!

  2. I’m going to disagree with Nathan. There’s something wrong with the artwork: the treatment given the female character. Or not given to it in this case.

    Everything on this cover is either foggy or bloody. Except for her. She just sits on the artwork like she’s not a part of it. And her heel keeps dragging my eyes to it. The perspective of the heel doesn’t match the perspective of the terrain.

    And you have a big piece of art, something that seems to be more than relevant to the story, that is hidden under the blood: The Trinian Globe. Or is this a moon? The way it’s been laid out, it’s really unclear what it is.

    I do love the background image, though, and I think that with a bit of tweaking you could make everything elegantly fit together. Right now, all I can come up with as a sentiment towards this cover is: annoying. Too many things are trying to grab my attention at once. And none of them is the title.

    1. True, it could probably do without the blood splatter on the top. That is the most distracting part for me. She is already pale, there is a lot of red as it is, and ‘mpire’ is in the title, so ‘vampire’ is implied.

  3. Renee! So glad you decided to be brave and come over here! This new version is already heads and tails over the last.

    A few things I have noticed, all pretty minor, but they could punch it up just that much more!

    Guardians of the Gateways is not centred under the title exactly, and all of the text of the front is not centred on the page. The text on the back suffers a similar fate, but these problems might be because this is the version of the cover with bleed, I am uncertain.

    Nathan is right, it does look like the only crazy choice is Renee Spyrou. I also like the way he is playing with the title, If you can get Seraphympire to read naturally with use of subtle size changes like that, it would be a great benefit.

    Hmm… I also think that hint of shadow on the ground could do wonders under Makayla. Even though she is often transparent, it would make her appear more solid here, and help with that heel, which seems to draw my attention the longer I look at the cover.

    Otherwise, it is very striking now.

    1. Hey Guys,
      Thanks again for the feedback. There are some really great ideas, the print isn’t centred because I’ve purposely done it that way, but I will fix up the Guardian text below the title, correct, it is for printing and the bleed is taken into consideration, I will move the catchphrase up so it doesn’t look like the author, me, is crazy, although sometimes crazy is good, and I could be described as a little nuts, but in a good way. What’s Seal’s song say, you’re never gonna survive if you don’t get a little crazy, ha ha
      Okay the church is a nest full of vampires, the red moon symbolizes the moons on her home planet Evron, the blood is symbolic, she’s a vampire, that hasn’t drunk human blood for over four Centuries, I like the idea about the fangs on the H, but it is a little cliche`, I have her not quite blended with the overall image on purpose it’s symbolic of how ostracized she feels, not really belonging, I think if you read the book you would understand the symbolism of the factors on the cover, If you’d like to check out my website go to and and get the first 9 chapters for FREE.
      My last cover, I had all the writing in the middle and people wanted to see the image, I actually paid someone to do my book cover, but I wasn’t happy with it so I did it myself, (pretty good for someone who has no photoshop experince what-so-ever) the cover I paid someone to do was just dodgy, the red moon was so big it looked like it was balancing on top of the church spire, I’ve had really good feedback for this cover, I will do the tweaks you mentioned though, because now that you’ve mentioned it, it’s sticking in my eye too, the shoe heal especially, it’s funny how you become blind to the mistakes until someone points them out to you, any way I will re-post when I’ve made the tweaks I don’t want change it too much because, as I said I’ve had great feed back,and I have to keep getting it approve by the printing company which can take up two days looks like I’m going to have to update it again, any ways it’s 1am in the morning down under and my eyes are bugging out, have a great weekend all, and thanks again, I really appreciate all the valuable feedback you’ve given me. Cheers Renee

      1. With respect, there’s a bit of a trap people can fall into when responding to constructive criticism, and I think you’re perhaps at risk of falling into it. It goes like this: “The thing you brought up as not working was intentional for reasons xyz or is symbolic of such-and-such.” Sometimes these considerations are valid, and the author or the publisher has to make a reasoned decision taking this into account, but quite often they are the result of the author/ designer failing to translate their vision of their work into how consumers are likely to interpret it.

        It might well be that you did not integrate the image of the protagonist into the background better as a conscious decision, because you saw it as a metaphor for your protagonist not fitting into her world. The red things at the top and their positioning may be special to you because of the meaning you attach to them. However, the purpose of a cover is to attract an audience. The audience as I see it is very unlikely to see the cover and think, ‘This cover means the story is about a person who doesn’t fit into her world and symbolises teetotal alien vampires.’ It is far more likely they will think, ‘Here is a book with some interesting aspects to the cover, but with cut and paste artwork, with a title that is a new word made difficult to read by a distracting dollop of red behind it.’

        I think I speak for everyone who comments here that we want to help you make your cover the best you can make it. 🙂 Putting too much significance on symbolism as you see it will be an impediment to that. I would at the very least just try getting rid of the drippy blood (and keep the moon) and blending the character and the moon a little so they integrate with the background, and see what you think of the cover after that.

  4. Could the H be modified a bit so that it suggests fangs? Maybe by making the stems sharp at the bottom or doing something else fang-like? It’s smack dab in the middle and it would be an ideal spot for something like that. The title and author name could also use a little space between the letters to improve readability.

    Agree about moving the tag line. Matching the text color to the red of the hair might also help make it clear who it relates to. I don’t much like the blood at the top, it competes too much with the other elements and reminds of the label on a used paint can.

    The main character may be slightly too small, she doesn’t seem to control the space quite enough.

    On the back cover, the text in the upper half looks kind of artificial. Maybe combining the first two sentences, separating the third and fourth (for emphasis).

    (And what is V5?)

    Otherwise I like this.

  5. I think the spine text and the back cover work pretty well. Overall this has promise, but I have problems with the layout and the images themselves.

    None of the text is centred. Centre it and move the top portion with the title up to the top and make the title bigger so it fills all the horizontal space available to it. Nathan’s suggestion is also more legible. Move the bottom part with the author name down to the bottom of the image.

    The image of the woman’s back and the blood and dollop at the top are not gelling with the background. The background is atmospheric and done in an artistic sepia style. The image of the woman is in garish colours and looks like a modern photograph. I would suggest using photoshop filters and transparency settings to make it blend better, and make the image slightly larger so the heel is off the image, as Lucie said it doesn’t look right. I would just get rid of all the red stuff at the top TBH, as it makes the image too complicated and doesn’t help with the legibility.

  6. The problem with the art is that everything interesting–including the title and author name–is crowded into the edges and corners–leaving the center of the image, where the eye naturally goes, virtually empty of anything really significant.

    By cropping the girl where you did, it’s not immediately apparent that we are looking at her from the back: her hair has been reduced to a rectangle of orange in the upper left corner. By what I can tell of her stance, she is facing something threatening or challenging…but all there is is a slightly bored-looking raven.

    In other words, every place there should be something interesting or significant is empty.

    I have no idea what’s going on in the upper right-hand corner, other than that it appears to be utterly irrelevant.

    The figure of the girl, by the way, is all-too-obviously cut-and-paste.

  7. My biggest problem is the cut-and-pasted girl. She doesn’t look like she’s part of the scene with the raven at all: The lighting is different, the color balance is different, the angle is different, there’s no shadow where her heel meets the ground, and–this is the clincher–the background picture appears to be a digital painting, while the girl appears to be a photograph. Either find a girl who can blend seamlessly with the background image or lose the girl entirely and make something else the focal point.

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