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New Covers! What do you think?

Well....I like em :)  But I'd like your thoughts too.....(maybe :P)


  • I think that the concepts are nice, but there might be a few improvements.

    First off, the black is really overwhelming. I kind of wish that it wasn't quite so dominant. This might be alleviated to a degree by making the graphics larger.

    What also might help is giving the trees and standing figure much more contrast. For one thing, they disappear almost completely even at the fairly large size I am seeing them here on my home screen. It's hard to imagine them holding up on a smaller screen or at thumbnail size. (And for another thing, it does seem to be a little odd to have "White Tree Chronicles" as the series title and represent this with a dark grey tree.)

    Finally, the covers really aren't terribly informative. It's not too hard to tell that the novels are probably fantasy...but beyond that generalization they really don't say much at all about the books specifically.

    Black Cat Studios
  • I like that they are thematic, that is, they have a common theme. I also like that they are very distinct: No one picking up the sword book would think it was the necklace book, or vice versa. The artwork is very well done, from a technical standpoint, and the tree contrasts nicely with the sword / necklace. The monochromatic palette suggests a certain austerity and solemnity. Nice art, very nice.
    With that said, the series title is extremely large compared to the book title. I would reverse that. I might even increase the author's name by a few points.
    I would like to see a front cover version in which the tree in the background stretches from bleed edge to spine edge (that is, fills the background)
    Also, Ron is right that the cover doesn't give much of a clue. I am having to rely on the words to know what to expect. Still, it could work.

  • Skoob_ym is right in saying that "the cover doesn't give much of a clue. I am having to rely on the words to know what to expect. Still, it could work."

    In order for someone to read the back cover blurb, they are going to want to be interested enough to get that far. I just don't think that these covers would draw that much attention...especially, as I said, most of the artwork being so murky and low in contrast (in fact, I had no idea that there was a small figure on the back cover of "Oval" until I blew the cover up to nearly full-screen size). At thumbnail size, the grey imagery disappears almost entirely.

    Black Cat Studios
  • BksOfBrownBksOfBrown Creator
    edited November 2019
    I appreciate your feed back.  My idea was to keep it clean with a slight change per book while keeping the black background, if even for intrigue.  (I like different) Though I see I need to cater to others.  Anywho, below is a possible front cover with some of the suggested changes.
  • I am afraid these are really not very much better. The backgrounds come off as not much more than dark, amorphous blobs. At thumbnail size, there is essentially nothing there at all (see above). Even the logo comes off as grey and you even begin to lose readability in the type because of its relatively small size within the cover.

    You are headed in the right direction, however, in making the imagery fill the front cover: you just need to make the background images readable at a glance...which is all that a book cover may ever get. A cover needs to attract attention, not be a puzzle for the potential reader to figure out. It is one thing to intrigue, quite another to have someone say, "Huh?"

    It's perfectly OK to be different...but it shouldn't be done just for its own sake. The difference needs to serve a purpose. Your book is going to be seen in the midst of hundreds of others and while the nearly solid black covers might draw attention for a moment I think that attention will be fleeting since once they have caught the eye...there is nothing else.

    If your books are in fact fantasy adventures, the covers need to reflect this quality which, I am afraid, they are not doing.

    Black Cat Studios
  • BksOfBrownBksOfBrown Creator
    edited November 2019
    OK taking a step back.  Just added a info line.  I like the black background, gives it a punch.  I like this simple look.  I took out the fade on the tree to full white view and put a slight shadow on the Celtic Oval to make it pop a bit from the White Tree.

  • I liked the second examples best, the first examples second, and this third. In fact, I think that this is too monochromatic. It would probably not catch my eye.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited November 2019

    I agree with Skoob.

    I have no doubt but that you like the "simple look," but I think that the old bugaboo of subjectivity is getting in the way, which is a stumbling block for a great many authors creating their own covers. The cover works for you because you are intimately familiar with the book.

    There are a couple of problems with going the route you have chosen. The first has already been addressed several times and that is the lack of information the cover provides. I realize that you try to deal with this by adding a tagline...but a potential reader is going to have to want to stop and read that...and I don't know if this cover is compelling enough to make that happen. Too, the tagline will disappear at anything like thumbnail size. Besides, a cover should not depend on a written explanation to succeed.

    Another problem is the layout and design itself. The text floats around in an overwhelming sea of black, with very little tying any of the graphic elements together. Each block of type---title, series title and author name---has almost equal emphasis. This not only dilutes any visual impact the blocks of text might have, the strong vertical symmetry makes the overall effect of the cover one that is extremely static.

    Finally, the cover is relentlessly monochromatic.

    Any "punch" that the stark black might have created is negated by the symmetrical, static design.

    The net result of all of this is a cover that suggests very little about the nature, subject or themes of your book, with the starkly static, monochromatic design doing very little to convey any sense of fantasy or adventure.

    For instance, the graphic device you use on each cover---the tree and sword, the tree and the decorative ring---are all well and good, but they do not suggest a story. For example, simply putting a sword on the cover of a novel---and displayed with such perfect, static symmetry---really doesn't say a great deal, other than that perhaps somewhere in the course of the novel a sword appears. That just isn't enough. The ring is even less engaging and informative (largely since much of its significance requires prior knowledge of the story).

    It is perfectly possible to create a design that is graphically very simple (and with only spots of blue and black very nearly monochromatic) but energetic at the same time and  suggestive of a story...

    Or take this case of this cover. It, too, is a simple image on a flat black background. The image of the briefcase by itself might have been static, boring and uninformative...but the addition of the bullet holes and blood suggests not only the nature of the novel but that there is a story behind the cover.

    Black Cat Studios
  • I don't actually mind the designs. I bought some books from Waterstones because they had Waterstones exclusive covers (apparently!)

    Example > >>  
    As you can see, mostly black, although there are bits of colour.

    However, what I would say to Mark is, try to keep your cover content away from the edges or it may be trimmed off or in the case of hardbacks, folded over the cardboard, and note that it's not always printed central.
  • Ok, here's a little change up.
  • I don't mind them at all. In fact I quite like them as they now are. It's just a matter of opinion.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited November 2019

    Well, certainly a marked improvement! The artwork is certainly much better-looking and much more dominant, though the three blocks of text are probably too much equal in weight. This, combined with the strong vertical symmetry, gives the covers a static look which belies their (I assume) adventurous, fantasy nature. I think that both the art and the book titles could definitely be larger than they are now. At the moment, the covers are still overwhelmingly black...making the art and titles larger would help relieve that.

    When everything is too close to being of equal weight, then there is no one thing to attract the eye.

    The taglines are difficult to read even at the size they appear's hard to imagine them holding up at any smaller size. (And they seem kind of weird grammatically. Using initial caps and periods would help them read better. For instance, the tagline of the second book seems to read "return to the ancient past as a new threat awakens it is time to enter the tree once again.")

    Here is a quick and dirty example of what I am talking about...

    Black Cat Studios
  • Well no offence but I like them just they way they now are, and can read the tag lines perfectly. They may work better in white though.
  • I liked your covers. I could tell right away what the books were about. The hooded figure in armour and the sword in the tree symbolizing. I think they are fine the way they were. But as for of the changes you made later, color really made them pop out. That helps with the book being seen better on Amazon. I would suggest watching Derek Murphy on Youtube. He gives great advice on books covers. Most of his are gothic or supernatural romance. Beautiful covers. But again nice covers, better than any of mine but I'm getting better. 
  • In another thread (I think it was) I was arguing that there's more to the selling of a book than the cover. An example of one of  mine was pasted in. Ron pasted in a mock up of a blank cover with just the title of that book and name on. I believe to say that is all I believe is required (so why do I do cover art? Because I can?) But all I can say is, even with my, in my view, good cover art I do not sell many, and the reason is simple. I do not do anything to market my books.

    The old saying, "build a better mouse trap and people will flock to you door," is not true.

    Or you would not get this >>>
  • Well, you have really underscored the point I have tried to make all along: that a book cover is an important (but not, I emphasize, only) tool in marketing a book. Being able to show a product, rather than just describe it, being able to distribute advertising and promotional materials, from post cards to posters, being able to establish a brand if necessary, being able to make your product distinct among hundreds of similar products...all of these things and more are only possible with a book cover being available.
    Black Cat Studios
  • Back to the topic...

    Whenever anyone posts a cover in here for comment, I look at it exactly as though I were the art director for a traditional publisher.

    Black Cat Studios
  • I think it looks great!  This is the kind of thing the forum is known for. Sad to see it go. But yes the cover looks awesome :)
  • LarikaLarika Bibliophile
    edited December 2019
    What do you think? it's quite an eye-catching cover, but I do believe that most people would have to read the blurb at the back to see what the book is about.
  • Larika said:
    What do you think? it's quite an eye-catching cover, but I do believe that most people would have to read the blurb at the back to see what the book is about.

    I agree. The cover probably does convey a broad sense of genre. That is, I think that most anyone would probably think that the book is probably fantasy...but that is not nearly enough. The cover needs to say something specifically about this book and what sets it apart from every other fantasy novel.
    Black Cat Studios
  • Whenever anyone posts a cover in here for comment, I look at it exactly as though I were the art director for a traditional publisher.

    I look on it as a potential customer.
  • It's almost impossible to bottle down an entire story in to just a cover. All that can really be done is to make it attractive while depicting the type of story, which a sword often does. Then there's the title which helps greatly. Thankfully, on line, the blurb is usually displayed at the side of the cover image, so there's no need to pick up the book to read the back  :)
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