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Valor’s Worth

The author says:

Valor’s Worth is a medieval fantasy novel of the sword-and-sorcery vein, appropriate for older teens and adults. Those who appreciate books by Terry Brooks, RA Salvatore, and Weis/Hickman will find Valor’s Worth provides a similar brand of adventure. It’s the story of a surly elf military officer trying to come to grips with a destiny to establish the first airborne cavalry for his people, while he battles emotional wounds that threaten to cripple him from within.




Nathan says:

Nice use of photography instead of illustration — especially because so much indie-published fantasy uses amateurish art.

My first thought is, More contrast!  I immediately want to add a deep green tone to the background (especially in the photographic tableau, but also in the backgrounds to the title/byline and series title to connect them) to contrast with the red in the type, and to make the objects in the tableau “pop” more.

Other ideas?


  1. This is so nice compared to many other covers that I hesitate to say anything at all!

    The image is a little monochromatic, but it doesn’t bother me overly. I do rather wish that the solid color behind the objects didn’t have such an abrupt edge at the top. (It would a nice touch, for instance, to have something break that line–say, by having the curl of smoke from the candle continue on up over the manuscript.

    And speaking of the background manuscript: perhaps a simpler sample could be found. At the moment, it comes off pretty much as little more than a slightly confusing pattern.

    While I am sure that readers of parts 1 and 2 may understand the significance of the objects in the photo…they don’t convey much to me, other than a vaguely medieval/fantasy connection. Otherwise, they are little more than a random collection of antiques. Even if they are meaningful to previous readers, there are going to be people who haven’t had the advantage of prior knowledge. If it is at all possible, you might want to try to find some imagery that conveys a better idea of what your book specifically is about. I think at the moment what you’ve chosen is far too general.

    Here’s an experiment: Imagine your cover with different titles. Say, “Beowulf,” or “The Once and Future King,” or “Gormenghast,” or even “Game of Thrones.” The cover would work pretty well for all of these. And that kind of underscores the problem.

    1. Thanks so much for the excellent comments, guys. Applying your thoughts to the existing art should be very doable, since I have all the components on hand, even if I had to start from scratch with another photo. (Building the chalice was one of those projects where friends were like “And WHY are you attaching fangs to that goblet?”)

      I completely see what Ron is saying about the objects themselves not being significant to the uninitiated reader. It may be that I can work in more mood of foreboding and visually layer mystery and significance into the composition. Or it may be that I need to scrap the cover and get more specific about the action of the book. I’m open to either.

      But the sense I’m getting is that the execution of this cover isn’t screaming “You and your team are hacks!” so that’s encouraging.

      Thanks again.

  2. I think this looks very professional and my suggestions are minor. I suggest removing the pale area at the top where the series title is, and just having the series title against a plain background or a darker gradient, so the cover is not so much a ‘picture sandwich’. I would also consider different ways of showing the number 3, since as gp says it is a bit pedestrian.

    1. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I do notice the sandwich. I noticed that the layout was odd when I first looked at it, but it had so much visual appeal to me, that thought didn’t hold. I love the way that the top/bottom background pattern matches the main image; I think it’s very strong. At the top, the candle smoke almost blends into the top background pattern. Maybe I’d have to see the top part plain to see how important the sandwich is.

  3. I agree with most of the suggestions but I like the monochrome look. I wondered if having the papers with writing and the top and bottom background with writing made it look a little cluttered. Readers are going to focus on the fanged goblet so it should be in the story and be significant.

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