"Iliad Books" is either something the author invented or it was a service she used to format her book. The fact that there is no publisher credit within the book itself is a major indication that it was self-published.
Just because it is something I naturally zero in on, one real clue to the book's self-published nature is the cover, which could not possibly be less appropriate (let alone poorly designed). A glamor portrait of the author?
Your comment---"had I not read the sub-title I would not have known the horrors the author endured"---hits the nail on the head.
I like your cover, but I do think that perhaps it might be a little too subtle. I know where you are going with the blonde eyebrows and blue eyes, but you might want to think about trying to convey a little more of the girl's situation...which I take it is something she herself is not very happy about. As you suggested with the "Girl, Taken" cover, would just the cover art all by itself convey what your book is about, or what its theme or idea might be? It might be something as simple as making the girl's eyes shifted to the right or left, as if she were wary or looking out for something.
You can pretty much discount the old "book covers aren't everything" argument, which I have replied to more times than I care to remember (let alone all the times I had to remind people that I never said that book covers were the be all and end all). They certainly aren't the sole marketing tool---but they are an immensely important one. For one thing, a book cover has a great many uses other than being a thumbnail in a catalog. They accompany reviews, they can be used as posters and in promotional materials...etc. etc. In way, they can become the book's outward identity, like a logo.
As I have said many times before, a book cover is packaging, in exactly the same way that the label on a can of peas is, or the design of a box of frozen pizza. It needs to attract attention among hundreds of similar products and it needs to convey, in a glance, something informative about its contents.
While a subtitle/tagline or a blurb can inform a potential reader about the nature of a book, they need to want to get that far first. That's perhaps the major goal for the cover. If it has managed to catch the potential reader's eye and suggested something significant enough about the book to make the reader want to look further, then it will have done its job.
The thing is that everything needs to contribute to selling a book: the title, typography, blurb, synopsis, cover art...everything. Each element needs to carry its full weight because there may be---probably will be---only one chance to attract attention before a potential reader moves on. So everything needs to work together.
By the way, I think that the art you create for your books is really nice! But since a book cover has such a specific purpose and because every detail counts, there are things to be aware of that might not occur to you otherwise. For instance, making the foreground girl look more worried or frightened. This is really just fine-tuning and no reflection on your art!
That's a very nice piece! Actually, there is no particularly compelling reason for book cover art to be realistically rendered. It depends entirely on the nature and subject of the book. I've done covers in any number of styles, depending entirely on what was required...
Here are a few examples of what I mean. You can probably easily imagine how the type of painting you did might very well fit the right kind of book!
Just FYI: Nights at the Circus was a linoleum block print, Typee a pen and ink drawing, The Painted Bird was done with inks and colored dyes and Madame Butterfly (which was actually done for a poster) was watercolors. The remaining two were drawn digitally.
The Painted Bird review – savage, searing three-hour tour of hell Apparently there is a film made this year based on the book, the headline above refers to the film. Your cover Ron does suggest a bad situation involving death of something or someone who is different.
Had no idea there was a film! It's almost hard to imagine how one could be done! It's an astonishing book (one of my favorites), but pretty grim and pretty unrelenting. (The "painted bird" of the title refers to the description of a bird that is painted so that it doesn't resemble its companions, who then peck it to death because it is different.)
Just Kevin said:
And what do you see on line where most books are now bought. Just as I said in my previous post here. Just about everything, including often 100s of opinions under it. What's that saying? You cannot tell a book by its cover? Even more so now, there's no need to, which is often just as well.
Type in any book subject or genre in Amazon and what do you get? An endless stream of well-displayed book covers. In fact, do this with any online book retailer and you get exactly the same thing: a display of covers. One catches your attention and you look to see what reviews it might have or what its blurb might be.
Unless you are suggesting that it would be just as effective to get a bare list of titles...and nothing else?
Besides, as I have said repeatedly, a book cover serves many more purposes than just being on the front of the physical book. It appears with reviews, it can be used as a marketing tool and in advertising, etc. Even the self-publisher can take advantage of their cover in a similar way: for instance, having postcards printed with the cover on one side and a description of the book on the other, or the cover blown up as a poster for display during signings or at book fairs.
Ron's cover sold me "The Painted Bird." I am very interested in how people are treated when they are different and it was clear from Ron's cover that the painted bird was different and was killed because of its difference. I think we all agree it's not the only factor in sales but initially the cover can often catch the eye and sell a book
You are absolutely right. The cover is an important marketing tool but it is not the only one.
I just finished a cover for a traditional publisher (a large house that specializes in science fiction) and a good deal of time was spent in making sure that the cover conveyed exactly the right impression about the book, so that it both attracted and informed the potential reader.