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Input on a possible Cover Design
Posted: 26 August 2012 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Greetings all. I would like to get some input/feedback on my latest idea for a cover design.

This is primarily planned for an eBook novella (shorter than a novel but longer than a short story) featuring one of the sidekick characters from my Sci Fi novel ‘The Last Spartan: Different Paths.’ I’m putting the finishing touches on this story before it goes to editors and test readers next week.

Since I am a self-published author with limited funds, I’ve had to create my own cover designs. The first cover below, was the one I created in Photoshop using purchased items from Dreamstime. It is for my novel which came out in March (how I wish I had found DAZ back then). The cover isnt perfect but then, I wasn’t using DAZ and had to cobble it together. I might re-work this cover soon but atm it is still selling well. And as the old saying goes, if it isn’t broke, don’t touch it.

The second one, ‘The Last Spartan: DJ’s Tale’ is the new cover. Looking for input and suggestions for it.

Thanks.

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Brotherlobo aka A.E. McCullough
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Posted: 26 August 2012 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hello A.E


I like the first cover.
In The second cover, the characters don’t stand out. They are too dark and blend in so much they really don’t catch my eye.

If you want, PM me. I can make a nice cover for you and won’t charge you (especially if I have what I need already on my computer).
Yep. Free.
All I ask is you give me credit for the work.

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Posted: 26 August 2012 07:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I think that it would be more compelling if the characters popped more. A bit brighter lighting and a bit more specularity on their armor. You could also pull the moon and the fighters in a bit closer to brighten the overall cover.

Since it looks like this is a part of a series I’d also suggest you use the same font and text layout. Perhaps without the shadows since the cover is not as bright color wise.

That is my totally uninformed take on it.

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Posted: 27 August 2012 03:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The first one is good, but try a render of a closeup of the helmet on the ground in the sand. That would be cool too.

The second one is too dark. If you can find a bright and colorful galaxy scene, that would make it pop more. Maybe make the letters a different color (red or yellow instead of white). SOme books have trims around it, try adding a subtle border around it. Look at the examples below. Notice how they are bright and colorful and the letters are bold.

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Posted: 27 August 2012 03:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Would you like to have a contest to see who can create a cover for you? I’m sure all who submit a cover would allow you to use it free of charge or credit. Just an idea. If you are the type who likes to make their own stuff, thats fine too. Are these your cover for your novel you are writing? I’m actually writing a kids picture ebook for iBooks iPad and will be self publishing myself. Have you published an ebook yet and how easy or hard is it?

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Posted: 27 August 2012 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I am by no means an expert, yet as a reader I can say that the first cover would attract me more. I like it very much, especially the orange colour is very catchy and the cover looks like made by a professinal to me. It may be a bit minimalistic (not many figures, no action etc.) but that seems to be exactly what works here and makes this cover so interesting. The second picture looks to me more like a movie poster (they are generally dark), not like a book cover. As already stated in posts above, it is too dark and the figures are not very good visible. Background can stay dark (I have seen many dark covers that looked fine), but a bit brighter colors on the figures would be better. Also, if that is a series of books, it would be better if the covers resembled each other more - not just the font, but also similar cover art.

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Posted: 27 August 2012 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Proxima Shining - 27 August 2012 04:14 AM

I am by no means an expert, yet as a reader I can say that the first cover would attract me more. I like it very much, especially the orange colour is very catchy and the cover looks like made by a professinal to me. It may be a bit minimalistic (not many figures, no action etc.) but that seems to be exactly what works here and makes this cover so interesting. The second picture looks to me more like a movie poster (they are generally dark), not like a book cover. As already stated in posts above, it is too dark and the figures are not very good visible. Background can stay dark (I have seen many dark covers that looked fine), but a bit brighter colors on the figures would be better. Also, if that is a series of books, it would be better if the covers resembled each other more - not just the font, but also similar cover art.

I agree with Proxima Shining, except that I think the first one is just fine. If you look at the examples I gave above in my post, the pros have very simple cover designs. i was suggesting maybe the first cover to be even simpler by adding just the helmet resting in the sand and maybe the sword caked in blood laying in front of it. Covers work best when they create a question in the mind to the potential reader.

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Posted: 27 August 2012 04:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Jake__Russel - 27 August 2012 04:19 AM

I agree with Proxima Shining, except that I think the first one is just fine. If you look at the examples I gave above in my post, the pros have very simple cover designs. i was suggesting maybe the first cover to be even simpler by adding just the helmet resting in the sand and maybe the sword caked in blood laying in front of it. Covers work best when they create a question in the mind to the potential reader.

I would be afraid, if he used just the helmet and sword, people might confuse it with a tale about ancient Sparta at the first sight. (In e-shop they would see small thumbnails with not much detail and might not notice that is a modern-looking helmet.) With the whole figure, dressed like this, it is more obvious that it is a sci-fi book. That - and also, as a book reader/buyer I like it when there is some person on the cover, not just some vehicle or vegetation etc. (my personal quirk, I guess).

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Posted: 27 August 2012 04:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Jake__Russel - 27 August 2012 03:18 AM

Would you like to have a contest to see who can create a cover for you? I’m sure all who submit a cover would allow you to use it free of charge or credit. Just an idea. If you are the type who likes to make their own stuff, thats fine too. Are these your cover for your novel you are writing? I’m actually writing a kids picture ebook for iBooks iPad and will be self publishing myself. Have you published an ebook yet and how easy or hard is it?


If you want some feedback on this issue try PMing a member called Daniel A Roberts

In the old fourm he ran 3 contests, one for each of the three parts of his trilogy, which is also self published. They were great fun, and he got some super renders turn up.

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Posted: 27 August 2012 05:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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WOW…thanks for all the input. Let me see if I can clarify my situation.
1) Yes, I intend this to be part of a series following Iaido ‘Achilles’ Spartan (ex-spec ops veteran turned bounty hunter) and/or his friends on thier adventures. This first book is out (the first cover) and available at Amazon. This novella is covering one of the side characters, allowing me to flesh him and the world of 2212 out a bit.
2) Yes, I like the first cover more. However, if I had DAZ back then, Iaido would’ve been in the Coalition Rapier Armor (see attached) but the background would’ve been the same.
3) I agree, that the 2nd one is too dark. I’m not in love with it but after a week tweaking it while learning the program, I thought I would get some feedback. And boy, did I ever.
BTW—I’m really loving this community. All I have found has been positive feedback, helpful suggestions and answers to my newbie questions.

tsarist - I might just take you up on that offer. Be looking for my message. However, Jake_Russel suggested a contest and that sounds good too. But I never turn down free advice or help. After all, my passion is writing…playing with graphic designs is just a hobby.
khory - Don’t underestimate your opinion as a reader, I don’t. I agree with you on the cover, hence this thread.
Jake_Russel - Thanks for the examples and suggestions. I like the helmet in the sand - bloody sword idea. Might want to use that on the sequel. This one ‘DJ’s Tale’ is just a small novella not the full fledge sequel I am also working on.
Proxima Shining - Good points. I agree that it would be best if the covers in the series resemble each other a bit. The first book, took place (or centered around) Mars - hence the red sandy background. This novella takes place on Titan (Jupiter’s moon) it is icy although that could work too.

Side note/question: I also was leaning toward the subtitle - DJ’s Rescue instead of DJ’s Tale. Any opinions on the two? I want to make sure the readers know that this novella is about DJ (one of the side characters) and not focusing on Iaido.

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Brotherlobo aka A.E. McCullough
Self-published Author and Hobbyist Designer

Checkout my website @ http://www.aemccullough.com
or on Amazon @ A.E. McCullough on Amazon
or ‘like’ me on Facebook @ A.E. McCullough on Facebook
or on deviantArt @  Brotherlobo @ deviantArt

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Posted: 27 August 2012 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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DJ´s Rescue - sounds like DJ is the one to be rescued. With such a title I would expect that the book is focused about someone who is rescuing DJ (= this rescuer would be hero of this tale). So I´d say the second title (DJ´s Tale) works better if DJ is the hero. Or what about DJ´s Mission?

Also, whoever of the two people in your cover above is DJ, I am not sure, but maybe s/he should be in front of the other person, to make it clear right on the cover who is this book about?

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Posted: 27 August 2012 05:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Jake__Russel - 27 August 2012 03:15 AM

The first one is good, but try a render of a closeup of the helmet on the ground in the sand. That would be cool too.

The second one is too dark. If you can find a bright and colorful galaxy scene, that would make it pop more. Maybe make the letters a different color (red or yellow instead of white). SOme books have trims around it, try adding a subtle border around it. Look at the examples below. Notice how they are bright and colorful and the letters are bold.


Going back to this idea, one of my submissions for Daniel’s contest, I used this style, and it ended up getting the 2nd place. Gave me a chance to bring in all the 3 major characters,

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Posted: 27 August 2012 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Proxima Shining - 27 August 2012 05:15 AM

DJ´s Rescue - sounds like DJ is the one to be rescued. With such a title I would expect that the book is focused about someone who is rescuing DJ (= this rescuer would be hero of this tale). So I´d say the second title (DJ´s Tale) works better if DJ is the hero. Or what about DJ´s Mission?

Also, whoever of the two people in your cover above is DJ, I am not sure, but maybe s/he should be in front of the other person, to make it clear right on the cover who is this book about?

Good point Proxima—I hadn’t thought of ‘DJ’s Mission’ as a subtitle but it works. I think I like it even better than ‘DJ’s Tale’—it implies that this focuses on a mission and not his whole story. Thanks grin

Sometimes in writing (as in life) the writers gets too focused on one aspect (ie the title) and knows something is wrong but can’t see the solution.

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Brotherlobo aka A.E. McCullough
Self-published Author and Hobbyist Designer

Checkout my website @ http://www.aemccullough.com
or on Amazon @ A.E. McCullough on Amazon
or ‘like’ me on Facebook @ A.E. McCullough on Facebook
or on deviantArt @  Brotherlobo @ deviantArt

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Posted: 27 August 2012 05:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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What about these titles:

DJ’s Fate
DJ’s Obstacles of Fate
DJ’s Destiny
The Future of DJ’s Destiny
DJ’s Fears

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Posted: 27 August 2012 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Jake__Russel - 27 August 2012 05:24 AM

What about these titles:

DJ’s Fate
DJ’s Obstacles of Fate
DJ’s Destiny
The Future of DJ’s Destiny
DJ’s Fears

More good suggestions. grin
I am really considering the contest idea. I might even add that as a component of the contest. Checking with one of the forum adminstrators now about the idea. BTW—I just scrolled thru your ‘fake magazine covers’—there are some good ones!

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Brotherlobo aka A.E. McCullough
Self-published Author and Hobbyist Designer

Checkout my website @ http://www.aemccullough.com
or on Amazon @ A.E. McCullough on Amazon
or ‘like’ me on Facebook @ A.E. McCullough on Facebook
or on deviantArt @  Brotherlobo @ deviantArt

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Posted: 27 August 2012 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Lots of good advice coming here… the only thing I’d add to it is to make the aspect ratio of both (eventually all) of your covers the same.

It just helps to identify them as a set, that’s all. grin

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