cover of Spiffies and Loonies, volumes 1 & 2

Last year I made two separate editions, one in English, the other in French, of my bilingual sitcom in two volumes Extrapolations. To avoid confusions, the title of  the English version is Spiffies and Loonies, while that of the French one is Fringues et Dingues. Each was in two volumes.

Now, while the original bilingual edition is left as it is, I think it preferable to make a single volume of the two of each of the monolingual editions. 

Here is the front cover of the English one. Do you like it?

 

S&L-1&2-2016-04-30-B-b-5x10.jpg

 

Comments

  • Eye catching! Good use of space and brilliant use of color. Might want to go in close on the cut out and take some of the white edging out.  A three or four pixel feather on the edge can help a lot once you get rid of the white.

     

    Gut feelings when I see this cover:

     

    A playful story of family 

    Light "feel good" reading

    Hope and Wellness

     

    Is that what you are going for?

     

     

  • I think it's a little too generic. From the art alone I would have no idea what the book is about. Imagine the title in Urdu or some unfamiliar language....would you have a clue as to the nature of the book or what it might be about? Even "Spiffies and Loonies" doesn't add much at all, since it is pretty idiosyncratic (what is a "spiffy"?). Nor does the cover suggest anywhere that the book is a screenplay, let alone whether it is fiction or nonfiction. For all I can tell, it might be a self-help book about family relationships.

     

    First, I would find art that better reflects what the sitcom is actually about, specifically. Perhaps something reflecting a special incident or key scene. Second, I would add a subtitle that would help explain the nature of the book, i.e., that it is sitcom in the form of a screenplay.


  • WWDowd a écrit :

    Eye catching! Good use of space and brilliant use of color. Might want to go in close on the cut out and take some of the white edging out.  A three or four pixel feather on the edge can help a lot once you get rid of the white.

     

    Gut feelings when I see this cover:

     

    A playful story of family 

    Light "feel good" reading

    Hope and Wellness

     

    Is that what you are going for?

     

     


    Thanks a lot. Yes, this is exactly what I meant. My purpose is to entertain readers with the encounters of this happy family and their friends with quirky people or picturesque criminals. Without such episodic characters, there would be no story.

     

    Yes, you are right, the cut-out of the models' picture is not perfect. I'll try and crop some hair jutting out on the right of the man's face, and correct the white stain on his shirt sleeve.


  • potetjp wrote:

    WWDowd a écrit :

    Eye catching! Good use of space and brilliant use of color. Might want to go in close on the cut out and take some of the white edging out.  A three or four pixel feather on the edge can help a lot once you get rid of the white.

     

    Gut feelings when I see this cover:

     

    A playful story of family 

    Light "feel good" reading

    Hope and Wellness

     

    Is that what you are going for?

     

     


    Thanks a lot. Yes, this is exactly what I meant. My purpose is to entertain readers with the encounters of this happy family and their friends with quirky people or picturesque criminals. Without such episodic characters, there would be no story.

     

    I think you might try to get across the theme of "encounters of this happy family and their friends with quirky people or picturesque criminals" since that is the unique aspect of the stories.

     

    You also might want to think about getting rid of the black panel and simply place the type in a contrasting color against the background.  This will not only make the title easier to read but by getting rid of the large black shape you might increase the feeling of lightness and playfulness you are after.

     


  • Ron Miller a écrit :

    I think it's a little too generic. From the art alone I would have no idea what the book is about. Imagine the title in Urdu or some unfamiliar language....would you have a clue as to the nature of the book or what it might be about?

    Thanks a lot for your opinion. The title is in English, and is meant to intrigue the potential reader. 

     

    Even "Spiffies and Loonies" doesn't add much at all, since it is pretty idiosyncratic (what is a "spiffy"?).

    "Spiffy" means "neat, stylish, and attractive". I turned this adjectivbe into a noun for the sake of my title.

     

    Nor does the cover suggest anywhere that the book is a screenplay, let alone whether it is fiction or nonfiction. For all I can tell, it might be a self-help book about family relationships.

    People interested will have a look at the blurb, won't they?

     

    First, I would find art that better reflects what the sitcom is actually about, specifically. Perhaps something reflecting a special incident or key scene.

    I tried to draw a cartoon showing a scene, but dropped the project when I found this photograph in the Fotolia collection. I printed it, and showed it to several persons, and all found it beautiful, attractive, with plenty of positive vibrations. So there was no reason not to use it.

     

    Second, I would add a subtitle that would help explain the nature of the book, i.e., that it is sitcom in the form of a screenplay.

    The best titles are always the short ones. The first one I had in mind was "Brad and Dolly". Unfortunately it was also the name of two US singers. There is no need for a subtitle; the blurb says it all.

     

    Again, thanks a lot.


     

  • Here is the blurb.

     

    "Spiffies and Loonies is a situational comedy developed into 88 episodes. It departs from the typical ones, in which the plot hinges on the emotional and irrational decisions made by the lead characters. The opposite happens here. First of all, Brad and Dolly meet, fall in love and marry. To make things worse, they become rich after a few episodes. They are therefore geared to lead the eventless life of the happy few. Fortunately they are surrounded by misfits warped by one big deviant trait. When these do not bump into Brad and Dolly along the way, they will come and knock on their door – thus a turmoil of events running from the amusing to the fantastic, with a lot of absurdities in between.You will soon be captivated by the antics of these cartoon-like characters, and will ask for more. Several passages are spoofs of literary works. Each episode is independent enough from the others to be read or performed for its own sake."


  • potetjp wrote:

    Here is the blurb.

     

    "Spiffies and Loonies is a situational comedy developed into 88 episodes. It departs from the typical ones, in which the plot hinges on the emotional and irrational decisions made by the lead characters. The opposite happens here. First of all, Brad and Dolly meet, fall in love and marry. To make things worse, they become rich after a few episodes. They are therefore geared to lead the eventless life of the happy few. Fortunately they are surrounded by misfits warped by one big deviant trait. When these do not bump into Brad and Dolly along the way, they will come and knock on their door – thus a turmoil of events running from the amusing to the fantastic, with a lot of absurdities in between.You will soon be captivated by the antics of these cartoon-like characters, and will ask for more. Several passages are spoofs of literary works. Each episode is independent enough from the others to be read or performed for its own sake."


    That all sounds very good! But the idea of a cover is to get someone who is casually browsing to stop long enough to want to read the blurb. If the cover is vague or suggests something other than what the potential reader is looking for, they may well simply pass on to the next book.

     

    You are right about the qualities your cover photo conveys...but these are very, very general. The photo by itself could work just as easily on a dozen other books, both fiction and non fiction. It says nothing specific about "Spiffies and Loonies" or what it might be about or what sets this book apart or what makes it special. Since the title is difficult to read (the typeface is a thin one, in color and against a black background), that makes two hurdles for the potential reader to get past before they read the blurb.

     

    Here is the size it may appear in many places online. You can see how difficult it is to read the title.

    spiffies.jpg 

    There are many venues in which your book might appear in which a potential reader may have to click on a thumbnail cover before they can read the description of the book. All they will have to go by is this image.

     

    I kind of figured that "Spiffies" was something you invented, but using a coined word on a book cover makes it even more imperative that you make it clear what your book is about. 

  •  

    Ron Miller a écrit :

    I think you might try to get across the theme of "encounters of this happy family and their friends with quirky people or picturesque criminals" since that is the unique aspect of the stories.

     

    You also might want to think about getting rid of the black panel and simply place the type in a contrasting color against the background.  This will not only make the title easier to read but by getting rid of the large black shape you might increase the feeling of lightness and playfulness you are after.

     _________________________________________

    Do you mean a title like "Jerks and Quirks"? 
    I think the black banner and the green title add a touch of mystery.

     


  • potetjp wrote:

     

    Ron Miller a écrit :

    I think you might try to get across the theme of "encounters of this happy family and their friends with quirky people or picturesque criminals" since that is the unique aspect of the stories.

     

    You also might want to think about getting rid of the black panel and simply place the type in a contrasting color against the background.  This will not only make the title easier to read but by getting rid of the large black shape you might increase the feeling of lightness and playfulness you are after.

     _________________________________________

    Do you mean a title like "Jerks and Quirks"? 
    I think the black banner and the green title add a touch of mystery.

     


    It only makes the text difficult to read. As you can see in the thumbnail example I posted a moment ago, the title (let alone your name and the subtitle) all but disappears at that size...which is the size the cover will appear in many places online.

  • As regards the clarity of a title, I don't think a title should be crystal clear. For example I remember being puzzled and attracted by "Soul on Ice" by Eldridge Cleaver. That was over half-a-century ago. The cover picture didn't help either. Eventually, I learnt that "soul" meant "Afro-American", and that "ice" was slang for LSD.

  • I'm not at all sure why you wanted to know whether or not people like your cover. It's pretty apparent that you are in love with it and aren't particularly open to contrary opinions or any suggestions. So...I suppose if you are happy then that's pretty much the end of the discussion.

  • Yes, Ron, you are right about the thumbnail.I'll have to reconsider the colours of the banner and the title.

  • I admit I hadn't thought about thumbnial effects as I was looking at it as a book cover.  Everyone has an idea of a perfect cover style and they all differ in style. The cover is what draws the eye to your product, hopefully bringing the buyer in for a closer look.  For that, it is often good to glance over the psychology of color reaction for the general populace. Bright rainbow colors are usually related to happiness and joy.

     

    Most people's first reaction is to the graphic because it takes a few microseconds to actually read the title.Will this get a book sold? Not by itself. Depending on where in the lists this book goes, it will be competing with other books of the same type. The idea, I believe, is to draw attention to your book as a possibility for purchase.  Once that attention is garnered then you want the title to intrigue them and the blurb makes the final sale... hopefully.  That is why millions of dollars are spent in advertisement just to get you to step in the door.

     

    This  cover would not compete in a horror listing (Dark and errie feeling) a western (Lots of earthy browns and a sense of open vistas) or several other genre's but the prospective reader shouldn't be looking in those areas if they want this style of book. To my understanding this book is geared toward readers that want to go out on a lark, hence the colors seem fitting.  Perhaps the best test would be to screen capture a group of books of the same type and overlay a thumbnial to see how well it stands out.  Personally I believe it would do well, but I am not an expert in this matter.

     

    I would like to mention that just because advice is asked for and recieved does not mean a person has to automatically make the changes suggested.  Ultimately advice is usually appreciated but it is up to us to make the final determination.  It does not mean the advice is ignored, it simply means the advice may not fit with the creators vision.

     

    Probably every single person on these forums supercedes my knowledge and the advice I have gotten has been excellent.  That does not mean I will relinquish the wheel to advice I am given for a project simply because advice was offered.  

  • You are right, WWDowd; there is no need to change everything.

    To remain in the spirit of my project, I have only modified the title banner, as suggested by Ron Miller, although I had a hard time finding the right colour. Thanks a lot to you both for your advice.

     

    S&L-1&2-2016-05-01-G-b-5x10.jpg

     

     

     

     

  • Gosh that background is far too in your face. It looks a bit like a book for kids. I would prefer plain white to that.

    Those people look far to, well, as if cut from an advert. From a Realestate banner advertising a new housing estate, for example. Or even toothpaste, or the kind of stock images they put in magazines.

     

    And did you mean Spiv? 

     

    Spiffie is not a word I have heard, but Spivs were smartdressed men who operated in the blackmarket in the UK during WW2.  "Pssst, wanna buy some nylons darlin? A pound of sausages? A gallon of petrol?"

     

    220px-James_Beck-1973.png (220×218)

  • The title picture does convey "This is about a family ..." but it doesn't say, "... Who know many strange and quirky folks."

     

    If you are using your own photos, or photos taken to order, is it possible to have the family sitting innocently, perhaps at a table in a cafe, surrounded by strange folks, perhaps at other tables?

     

    Then it would convey, "This happy family is surrounded by weird people."

     

    Just a thought.


  • kevinlomas a écrit :

    Gosh that background is far too in your face. It looks a bit like a book for kids. I would prefer plain white to that.

    Those people look far to, well, as if cut from an advert. From a Realestate banner advertising a new housing estate, for example. Or even toothpaste, or the kind of stock images they put in magazines.

    My characters are closer to comics characters than true-to-life ones. This sitcom is meant to entertain, without any deep intent. It is neutral enough to be adaptable to many other cultures than Europe's. Readers and directors can fill them with their wants and desires. They are a bit like Dickens's "cardboard" characters. Yes, the picture could be found in an advert, etc. It is indeed a stock image.

     

    And did you mean Spiv? 

     

    Spiffie is not a word I have heard, but Spivs were smartdressed men who operated in the blackmarket in the UK during WW2.  "Pssst, wanna buy some nylons darlin? A pound of sausages? A gallon of petrol?"

    Not at all. I mean spiffy. The term in is the dictionary, and I heard it myself a couple of times, although it is not a common one.

     

     


     


  • Skoob_Ym a écrit :

    The title picture does convey "This is about a family ..." but it doesn't say, "... Who know many strange and quirky folks."

     

    If you are using your own photos, or photos taken to order, is it possible to have the family sitting innocently, perhaps at a table in a cafe, surrounded by strange folks, perhaps at other tables?

     

    Then it would convey, "This happy family is surrounded by weird people."

     

    Just a thought.


    One of the principles I learnt from Ron Miller several years ago was to avoid the "kitchen sink cover" cluttered with all your good ideas of how to represent the whole contents of the book. One has to pick a single feature, and enhance it. As you guessed, this sitcom spells "we are family". Anybody can read it. The weirdos are surprises that provide food for comic anecdotes. They are not shown in the cover because they are too many. It would be different if the play were actually performed, and the book were reprinted after its success. I suppose the producer would have the lead actors and actresses in the foreground and many of the secondary characters in the background.


  • Ron Miller a écrit :

    I'm not at all sure why you wanted to know whether or not people like your cover. It's pretty apparent that you are in love with it and aren't particularly open to contrary opinions or any suggestions. So...I suppose if you are happy then that's pretty much the end of the discussion.

    _________________________________
    Anybody designing a cover eventually reaches the point when he is satisfied with it, while wondering what others might think of it. I do appreciate your opinions, and, like everybody else, take them into account if suggestions are feasible, and fit my purpose.

     


  • potetjp wrote:

    Skoob_Ym a écrit :

    The title picture does convey "This is about a family ..." but it doesn't say, "... Who know many strange and quirky folks."

     

    If you are using your own photos, or photos taken to order, is it possible to have the family sitting innocently, perhaps at a table in a cafe, surrounded by strange folks, perhaps at other tables?

     

    Then it would convey, "This happy family is surrounded by weird people."

     

    Just a thought.


    One of the principles I learnt from Ron Miller several years ago was to avoid the "kitchen sink cover" cluttered with all your good ideas of how to represent the whole contents of the book. One has to pick a single feature, and enhance it. As you guessed, this sitcom spells "we are family". Anybody can read it. The weirdos are surprises that provide food for comic anecdotes. They are not shown in the cover because they are too many. It would be different if the play were actually performed, and the book were reprinted after its success. I suppose the producer would have the lead actors and actresses in the foreground and many of the secondary characters in the background.


    Well, I'm flattered that you took my advice, but I'm afraid it was taken perhaps too literally!

     

    You don't need to include every character in your book. Just one of the "weirdos" would have been sufficient to get the idea across, which is all that would have been necessary. The problem I---and some others---have had with your cover art is that it is much, much too generic and non-specific. Yes, it does say "we are family"---but that applies to scores of other books and not just yours. What makes your book different from every other book that is about "family"? That is the quality your cover needs to convey.

     

    You kind of hit the nail on the head when you said " One has to pick a single feature, and enhance it." The problem is that you did indeed pick a single feature---the family group---but didn't enhance it. The addition of just one strange character would have made the cover unique...and said something about your stories that makes them special. The contrast between the happy normalcy of the family and some oddball lurking over the shoulders would have been really striking.

     

    The fact is that your book is (apparently) not actually about "family" per se but rather about a family's interactions with a bunch of strange characters. You put the "spiffies" on the cover but you neglected to include a "loonie."

     

    PS

    The new typeface looks much better!

  • I was looking at the new cover and was wondering...

     

    If you have this in layers in Adobe, have you thought about shaping the solid band like a Racoon's mask with slight adjustments to the font of the Title to flow with the new shape while having the other lines ride along beside the edges?  Don't know if it will work but it looks cool in my head.... 


  • Ron Miller a écrit :
    The fact is that your book is (apparently) not actually about "family" per se but rather about a family's interactions with a bunch of strange characters. You put the "spiffies" on the cover but you neglected to include a "loonie."

     


    Visually speaking, there is a loonie that looms large and could be put in the background - Mrs. Van Moo. She's overweight, wears pink tights and a yellow jacket. She's one of Brad's neighbours, and has been hopelessly in love with him for donkey's years. She could be his mother, so has appointed herself as Brad's protector. 

    I am unable to represent her, although she is fully fleshed in my mind.

  • Not at all. I mean spiffy. The term in is the dictionary, and I heard it myself a couple of times, although it is not a common one.

     

    Yes, I looked it up and many places say it's a mispronunciation of the word Spiv. But would it not be best to use a common word in a title?

  • My characters are closer to comics characters than true-to-life ones.

     

    Should that not be on the cover then?

     

    This sitcom is meant to entertain, without any deep intent. It is neutral enough to be adaptable to many other cultures than Europe's. Readers and directors can fill them with their wants and desires.

     

    Everything in it? Is that not the writer's job? Usually only the place where the scenes take place is left with little description for the stage designer and director to fill in.

     

    They are a bit like Dickens's "cardboard" characters.

     

    I have no idea what that means

     

    Yes, the picture could be found in an advert, etc. It is indeed a stock image.

     

    They are far too stereotypically the 'modern happy family.'

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