1. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Book Cover and Blurb Critique

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Thomas Kitchen, Dec 4, 2013.

    Hi all,

    Here is a book cover I made for my third novel. It's a work-in-progress, and the first which takes place entirely in present day earth. I decided to go for simplicity, seeing as the theme is striking enough on its own. And I suppose the simplicity is striking in itself. Anyway, I just wanted to know what everyone thought. I'm hoping to get it traditionally published, but I like the idea so much that I'll self-publish it, even if it's for myself. :p Thanks for browsing the electronic bookshelves of the internet!

    P.S. The image quality doesn't look that great, but I hope you'll forgive me. That grey line near the bottom is not supposed to be there! :mad:
    [​IMG]

    One word was speeding through my head, getting faster and faster until it was almost a hum, and one word only.

    Cancer. Cancer cancer cancer.

    When Christine Wheeler discovers that her six year old daughter Anna has a primary brain tumour, life changes in an instant. Should she tell her husband about the cancerous cells – the guy who’s never home and is most likely having an affair? What about telling Anna’s younger brother, Toby? And how is Anna herself coping with the disease?

    For Christine, the simple things in life become everything: a quick kiss on the cheek, a touching of fingers, and most importantly, a daughter’s love.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2013
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a dramatic cover, indeed!

    some thoughts:

    if, as i'm assuming, the line is meant to depict the one on a hearbeat monitor at the time of the child's death [balloon is a brilliant/touching touch!], i'd suggest making it look more like what most readers will expect to see, from watching tv shows [which is admittedly often far from true to real life] and have the beat be a more regular zig-zag before it flatlines...

    i don't see any grey line, just a dusky pinkish one beneath the child's printed name [another heart-tugging touch]...

    since it's about the child whose signature serves as the title, i don't see any sense in having the author's name in the same style of printing, however... it takes away from the drama of the title, so i'd strongly suggest going to a simple, non-serifed 'normal' font for your by line...

    i'd also suggest switching colors... black for the heartbeat/flatline/balloon and color for her name, as she'd be likely to use a crayon and color seems too frivolous for the line...

    the bold part doesn't look right centered... i'd keep it left-aligned and work on the wording some more... reads a bit 'off' as is... as an editor, writer, and a reader, i'd suggest something simpler, like:

    One word ran through my head faster and faster, till it was almost a hum. Just that one ugly word. Cancer...cancercancercancer.

    the blurb can also benefit from being pared down to basics...

    finally, there are so many non-fiction books/memoirs on this subject, that i'm not sure how a novel version might fare sales-wise... or how much/little it would interest agents and paying publishers... but if you intend to self-publish as a last resort, i'm sure it would sell moderately well at least among those who've experienced the loss of a child to cancer and others who've come close... if it's well-written... and even if it's not, people seem to be buying e-books regardless of writing quality...

    i actually did a complete rewrite for a client whose memoir was similar to your novel, having lost her 4-year-old daughter/only child [at the time] to an incurable disease not unlike cancer in how it affected the child and the entire family...

    hope this is helpful... i wish you all the best with your book... feel free to email me if you want any further help with it...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  3. Krishan
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    Krishan Active Member

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    With regards to the blurb - I think the first paragraph alone would be stronger. The second paragraph (beginning "For Christine...") felt a little saccharine to me, and also partly answered the questions posed by the first paragraph, thus draining away some of the tension.

    The basic idea for the cover looks interesting. I feel like the balloon adds a slightly humorous touch - is that what you're going for?
     
  4. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    I love the concept. The execution is a bit ragged. Maybe something more like this?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    @David K. Thomasson - I love this so much, man! I think the graph-like paper on the bottom third of the cover is a nice touch, as it has a 'hospitalish' quality to it. As for the ragged execution of my poor cover, it's because I have no skill in computer editing whatsoever. As weird as this sounds, would it be all right if I could use the cover you created, in case I do eventually self-publish?

    In fact, I wouldn't be at all against you doing all of my book covers, should any of them need self-publishing! :D
     
  6. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Sure, you can have this one as a freebie. Here's the full size -- same size that you posted:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Love the concept, and I agree with maia that Anna might look good in red, or some other crayon colour. I prefer the child-like writing of Anna over David's version, but otherwise David's version looks superb to me :)

    I also agree with another poster that your second paragraph, beginning with, "When Christine.." feels/sounds very typical, almost boring. I'd rewrite it and add more emotion - so far, it's just a list of questions/problems. How about a little direct thought from Christine, or a passage directly from the book instead?

    Otherwise, I like the beginning with the one word cancer cancer thing :) Perhaps it might be more dramatic to do it like maia had in her post and lump the repeated word cancer together. You know, like this: Cancer...cancercancercancer.

    It suggests better that racing panic and is more visual. I've seen it done in Toni Morrison's book, The Bluest Eye, and it was very, very striking and disturbing.
     
  8. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Me, too. I don't have that particular font, but here's one that's more childlike ...

    [​IMG]

    Another, just for fun . . .

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2014
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  9. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I prefer the purple-fronted one, actually. Is there any chance you could do a red colouring of "Anna", just to see if it's any good? :D I'm just thinking it might link it a bit more nicely to the balloon.
     
  10. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    That's easy enough ...

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    love it!

    only suggestions i have now:

    flatten the line out after the first 3 'beats' so it's clear that a 'flatline' preceded the balloon/anna's lifeline break...

    use a simple 'normal' font for the by line, since the author isn't also a child... as is, it seems to be implying the author is either a child, or handicapped in some way...
     

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