1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Self-Publishing Book Cover Critique

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Alesia, Dec 16, 2013.

    [​IMG]

    Background: To my understanding, Rain When I Die was an Alice In Chains song about a person who disappointed all of their loved ones, primarily a woman, mainly because the writer was so enigmatic that while he cared deeply for her, he could never express it and ended up pushing her away.

    Anyway, That's where the title comes from since one of the major themes shows how the MC is constantly caring for people, yet pushing them away because of their own insecurities. The rest of the plot (written memoir style) centers around the MC's abusive past/drug addiction and subsequent recovery. However, (minor spoiler) no matter how good sobriety seems, the MC still feels dead inside and views themselves as though they are a flower. Since flowers die when they don't get enough water, the author predicts that they are dried out - wilting, and that it will rain just as or soon after they die, I/E the people/things/whatever they needed to save them will come along but it will be too late.

    As far as the design, I wanted to do something very simplistic hence a single white rose on a black background. White Times New Roman font with minor shading for the title/author name and that was it. This is a piece I don't think needs a fancy cover because there's so much of it that deals with emptiness, loneliness, and depression.
     
  2. eleutheria
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    eleutheria Member

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    I like the concept you have and how you made the cover fit the style of the story. I also like the fonts chosen. But I have several issues with the execution. For one, I think there's an overall lack of contrast. By which I mean, the text and the rose are mostly just a flat gray. When you're working with a black and white image, contrast is important. I'd choose another picture of a rose, one with more dark gray (in the darker parts of the image) and more white in the lighter parts (for example, if this image wasn't huge the petals of the rose would just be a gray mass - and most people online see a thumbnail before a larger version). I don't know if I'm really explaining that well, let me know if I need to give an example. With the text, I like the simple font you use, but I think you're better off keeping it white or making the texture in it more subtle. You want the text to stand out. For that matter, I think if I were you I'd make the text bigger, since the image is so simple - make the cover recognizable no matter the size.

    Lastly, your author name is squished. It looks like someone sat on the text. I'm not trying to be silly, I swear, that's the only way I can describe it! :p I'm not sure how that happened, but it should have the same general look of the title, which is not at all squished.

    But a very good start, I think! :)
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to agree with all of the above. Remember the thumbnail, and definitely make the title larger. The cover's good overall, but there's too much space between the title and the photo; also, I think your name being all in caps contributes to the 'squished' look.
     
  4. Annessa Jones
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    Annessa Jones New Member

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    Honestly, I think that your cover is a little plain. I like that you are trying to go for simplicity, but even a cover needs a hook to draw in your readers. I think that maybe if you had a interesting perspective on the rose, with it in a broken vase with the water spilling out, or even having just the rose and a syringe would really peak the readers interests.

    I also have to say that the simplicity of your cover also made me immediately think of the cover of New Moon. I know the flowers are different, but the idea is very similar. I'm not saying that this is a reason to change it, but it is something you might want to consider. Throwing the picture itself off balance might help disassociate it. By placing it in the bottom right hand corner, but still above your name, and making the tile more left dominate (or vise versa) it will make it more interesting. You could also just get a closer picture of the rose, letting it engulf most of the cover, which would add detail and interest while keeping it simple.

    Also I would say kill the fading on the type, it looks very unprofessional and out of place in this decade. Actually I would also say to change the font type too. Times New Roman may be common, but I don't think it meets the "simple" effect that you want. For simplicity I would suggest going with a sans-serif font, as they are technically simpler. [Here is a break down of serif and sans-serif to help you make your decision - http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2013/03/serif-vs-sans-the-final-battle/ ]

    Overall I think you have a good concept, you just need to add some strategic placement and choices that will convey the emotion that you want it to.
     
  5. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    I just threw this one together before breakfast. I tried to do a left or right dominant title, but it just wasn't fitting right.

    On a side note: I think I need to find a different rose. It was called to my attention that rose colors carry different meanings in life.
    WHITE = new life, weddings, redemption, etc...
    RED = romance
    BLACK = death, mourning, and the darker side of life.

    That said, I should probably be using a black rose here instead of a white one...
     
  6. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    And this is a second one from a different perspective that I whipped up between lunch and dinner. A single dark crimson rose lying on a desk next to a heroin syringe and the suicide note the MC left behind, along with an out of focus, highly depressed female back in the shadows. The shading on the lettering is indicitive of the fact that when I do my printed copies, I want to do the main title in some sort of reflective foil. (I realize this is more costly, but whatever.)
     
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  7. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    This is by far the best one, but eliminate the girl in the background. We can already "sense" the mood of the story from what's on the table, and she's so blurry it just looks weird.
     
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  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like the first one and agree the fonts might need tweaking. The second one needs a bit more tweaking, it's not well cropped and it's my least favorite. I like the third one second best and agree, take the person out. But personally, I'd also take the syringe out.
     
  9. eleutheria
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    eleutheria Member

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    I like the syringe! It tells you something about the story in a way the rose and general design doesn't (which just says 'this is a sad story') - the syringe tells me why it might be a sad story. Needless to say, I also like your third best. The text is lovely - the 3d treatment really makes it stick out, which I think is a good idea. This also looks good as a thumbnail, which you can see from Duchess's quote. The blurry girl I think you should remove - she's not well integrated with the background, and I think is frankly unnecessary. You get a good idea of the feel of the book from the design and syringe. I think my last suggestion would be to make the text on the letter lighter, so your author name doesn't conflict with it. Right now it looks like a mistake, to have dark text over dark text. But overall, I really like this one. :)
     
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  10. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Here are two more. One with a different scene, like looking through a bedroom door...

    [​IMG]

    And a second following @Duchess-Yukine-Suoh advice...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    And another option where I made the edge of the white look slightly more ripped and used the warp tool on the letter to make it look a bit more like paper. I also changed the lettering to red to blend in with the rose and add a bit more color to an otherwise gray image.

    And here is yet another one following @GingerCoffee suggestion to remove the syringe...

    [​IMG]
     
  12. graphicsmyway
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    graphicsmyway Banned

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    It all depends on what the author wants.
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry - just realised this was an old thread, with a new contribution dated today. I just dove in ...

    ...........................

    Just from the design point of view (I love the image of the rose and letter with or without the syringe) - if it were me (with my Art Minor designer hat on) I would pull the entire design up the page just a bit. Put the title closer to the top, and let us see the cut-off bottom of the letter. The whole thing is slightly top-heavy as it is at the moment.

    You can see what I'm driving at if you just knock off about an inch of black at the top, just here on this page. It will look more balanced. And I'd add in the cut-off bit of the letter. It may be symbolic to leave a bit unseen, but it's visually annoying to have it lopped off when there is so much unnecessary black space at the top of the page.

    Great image, though. And with that little tweak, I'd think this was perfect. Well done! It looks very professional.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  14. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    I like the spent flower in the snow and that new ragged edge on the snow. I agree the cover lacks proportional balance. The black dominates too much of the cover, the white bit with the flower could be positioned to take up about 40% of the cover, at the moment it's around 30%. I also don't like the centre justification of the title, not over 3 lines anyway. Maybe convert it to two lines Rain When, I Die and resize the font accordingly.

    Published books often have a little quote somewhere across the top of the cover too. Often by some expert recommending it. If you don't have that then maybe a quote from the novel instead so readers can pick up a gist of the story just from the cover, a teaser or hook. Pick up some random books off your bookshelf and you'll see what I mean.
     
  15. Aanya
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    Aanya New Member

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    Third one is looks better to me. But it's depend upto author, which one she/he will choose.
     
  16. Darkwriter
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    Darkwriter Member

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    RAIN WHEN I DIE.jpg
     

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