1. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Book covers

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Phoenix Hikari, Mar 15, 2012.

    Alrighty! So I am trying to design my book cover, too early but yeah but it's motivating.

    I was thinking if you guys have published, or haven't, or there's a certain cover idea you have, how about you post your published/unpublished book cover/idea here? It'd give all of us inspiration and would be fun.

    I'd like to see what others view as artistic and appealing, whatever draws the book-browser to pick that book and take a look inside. Covers are very important, they give the first impression, and how many times a book has been sold for the sole reason of how attractive its cover looked!


    So post away. I wanna see. =D
     
  2. Metus
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    Metus Senior Member

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    I don't have a book cover yet, but I'm lucky. My brother is a skilled artist, he's smart, and he knows about my writing, and he's always been supportive of it, so It'd work out great for me if I could convince a publisher to use artwork provided by him.
     
  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    The book cover is the publishers domain. So unless you're thinking about self-publishing you'll have no say in the matter; as I understand it.
     
  4. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Yeah I know, this is just for fun. Whenever I write my story I think of how it might look on the shelves of book-stores. So I was just wondering how others picture their books or how they had them designed, that's all.
     
  5. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fun is a good enough reason; enjoy.
     
  6. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've posted the covers for my two novels. As was stated above, unless you're going to self-publish, you're probably not going to do/create the cover art.

    I was very fortunate in that I got to work with the artist (Christine Griffin) with a few suggestions and input, but she really did the creative work and layout. My publisher then finished with the titlework. What I mostly did was answer questions about the tone of the novel, characters, etc. and provide feedback. I know more than a few authors who’ve had no input, and were just shown the cover art. Usually they're pretty happy. Some ecstatic. On occasion, disappointed.

    There's planning in creating a good cover, of which I have only limited knowledge just based on working with the artist a bit (and I teach at a career technical/vocational school with a Digital Print and Design/Graphic Arts department), such as leaving the top and bottom of the cover open so that titlework can be included, and the title's length has an impact...things like that.

    A cover is an important part of marketing/attracting readers, which seems obvious but occasionally appears to be overlooked, or ignored because it is an additional expense in putting a novel out.

    Humans are visual creatures. A positive or negative first impression--the potential reader looking closer, or moving on. An attractive/professional cover makes a huge difference, and I believe something that shouldn't be just thrown together or done 'good enough to get by.' There is a sea of books on the shelf (or thumbnail covers on the screen). A poor and/or unprofessionally designed cover can do a lot to deter readers from considering a book. I know, 'Don't judge a book by it's cover.' Well, it happens anyway.

    What I imagined as the cover for my first novel while I was writing it, for example, is nothing like what was created, but what was created far surpasses what I would've come up with. Even so, pondering it did give me a focus and motivation while writing.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    ^ That's absurd!!! I want my design to be used! Anyway, I like your covers, they are attractive even though I'm not a fan of the title font but yeah, I like them.
     
  8. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    TWErvin2 - Those are beautiful works by the artist in of themselves.
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you, Kaymindless. I agree, Christine Griffin did an outstanding job, and I can't take credit for the art and it's quality in any way what so ever.

    Pheonix Hikari, thanks for the compliment on the covers :)

    As far as your design being used, you probably have two options: Self-publish, or find a small publisher willing to publish your work who'll consider accepting your cover art/design.

    In the end, I suspect, in the contract with the small publisher it'll read that that publisher has final say in selecting/accepting cover art and design. I guess another option is to develop such a readership/fan base that you'd hold a lot of leverage--that'd be the best option!

    I know nothing of your talents, skill and training, Pheonix Hikari, so you might be able to design and produce awesome covers. I know, myself, that my skill and talent is in writing and storytelling, not in art and cover design.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I love Flank Hawk's cover.

    I always make one to go with a story as some sites require them and well it is fun. Only spend like half an hour with a basic paint programme lol

    I haven't got them in a postable form but my profile picture is the basis for my current one. Cheesecake, coffee and beer are a running theme with my detectives so their stories usually have them on the front. The feel will be staying as I intend to self publish them.

    My high fantasy I use birds or insects because of the bird and insect-shifters

    My contemp fantasy is usually flowers or archaeological sites.
     
  11. marcuslam
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    marcuslam Senior Member

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    Indeed, covers are important. People say to never judge a book by its cover, but we simply do. TWErvin2, those are some serious artworks!

    We all love nice artwork, yet it's often the texture and material used that draws my attention. There's fine art all over the place, so sometimes, the simpler designs impress me more. A recent book cover I like is the one from The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.
     
  12. Mario
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    Mario New Member

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    Still haven't deisigned anything myself, and most covers are relative to the writers overall "theme" but I've always been drawn to photography for book covers; something that captures an overlying theme of your story rather than something that is made just to attract readers. I feel as though anything else is a form of false advertisement! :) Classic art is sure to reel in the right crowd. Cheers.
     
  13. Dubya
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    Dubya Member

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    I don't have a book cover I would want to post here, other than to show how not to do it!
    I recently self-published an ebook, finished in a hurry, with a DIY cover. In my ignorance, I assumed that ebook covers were only seen as little thumbnails, and since the book was pretty amateurish, and I wasn't bothered about sales, I thought I could get away with any old crap. I spent a couple of days messing about on the computer to come up with an attempt at a cover, (I don't have an artistic bone in my body), then uploaded the book to Amazon. I was horrified to discover it was displayed almost full screen in all it's glorious amateurishness! :eek: To rub salt in the wound, I subsequently discovered that I worked with somebody who had a degree in graphic design, who has a profitable sideline designing, among other things, book covers. Aaaargh! ps, I recently added a border to try and make the image slightly smaller, (desperate measures) Best of luck with your own covers.
     
  14. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    Ouch!! I don't think you should have taken it lightly eve for it being an ebook version. Even though being visual isn't a good thing and judging books by their cover is a no-no, humans do tend to look at things with their eyes. I know for a fact that I barrows books in bookstores based on how the title attracts me or how the graphic on the front does.

    @TWErvin2: Yeah, I do enjoy graphic design and have done few cover books. It kind of inspiring in a way, like Elgaisma said, it gives inspiration and sometimes a bit of a focus point.here's a design I came up with for a story but that story was rubbish. xD

    Distant Salvation
     
  15. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Well, on my kindle it's a thumbnail and black and white and I don't ever get a chance to look at it...

    The kindle fire and online, oh boy, went through some of the books I used and it shows those covers on everything. Some of the books I like, I'm sitting there going "Oh boy... that's ugly."
     
  16. Dubya
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    Dubya Member

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  17. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Elgaisma and marcuslam,
    Thank you for the postive comments on the cover art.

    dubya, live an learn. And sharing the experience will help others preparing to publish their work. :)
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think also something to bear in mind these days is a book cover needs to work in lots of different formats.

    My favourite in print book cover is an edition of Paradise by Toni Morrison. It is plain white, with a beautiful bird - it is elegant. However, online it doesn't work as well and on the library shelves it blends in with others too much unless the front is displayed.
     
  19. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good insight and example to illustrate, Elgaisma. What works in print individually may blend in with other works on a shelf or online, so a balance must be found or a design/art that works well for all three concerns or situations. Audio books tend to have square covers/thumbnails, which means altering the original cover slightly, or developing a new cover. Problem with a new cover is branding or the eye not immediately recognizing it as the same seen as an ebook or print version.
     
  20. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Love both covers Terry.
     
  21. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been using my friend's photograph's a lot and they work very well as covers. My plan is to get him baking cheesecake next ;)

    My husband also has worked out the GIMP (other packages are available and I am sure are just as good), and he uses it for work. I'm going to get him to make my covers.

    For print spending time at the library can help. Some publishers (maybe all I don't know) send out questionairres to the author for cover ideas, now whilst they may go on to ignore them the more specific an author can be the more pleased they seem to be with the end result. I already know I don't want a black based cover. When i said that previously I was shouted down as arrogant, but that view came from standing in libraries and bookshops and just looking at the Young Adult shelves. Unless you have the publicity machine of Twilight a black cover blends into all the others. I'm not sure if it is coincidental but Harry Potter has a very bright cover with a three tone spine that sticks out when scanning the shelves. For a print book in a bricks and mortar store the spine is almost more important than the front cover, because that is what a reader will see first. The reverse is true with an ebook where the front cover is what is seen first or for an online store.
     
  22. Cosmic Latte
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    Cosmic Latte Member

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    This brings to mind a conference I got to sit in on a number of years back. The guest speakers consisted of an author-turned-professional publishing house owner and several established authors each with a number of published books. Apparently there are some differences in choice in cover art across the globe, with some European nations preferring classic art (due to financial constraints and copyright concerns). As someone said earlier, they reported it was unlikely the author would get to design his or her own cover (as I understand it, mainly due to marketing concerns), but sometimes did get to pick between options (same with titles ... for me, both are a good thing!). But curiously, the more well-known the author, they said the larger the print the author's name tended to be displayed in. So, TW, I would guess based on that bit of hearsay that your publisher thinks you've got a solid following, since your name and title letters are fairly well-matched in size. Good job! (BTW, great cover art!)
     
  23. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    First, thanks for the complement on the cover art, Cosmic Latte. As I wrote earlier in this thread, Christine Griffin made it what it is.

    As to your comment about my name's size on the cover. I do sell pretty well for Gryphonwood Press. My first novel sold well enough that they published the second in the series. I sell well for a small press, but if I were with a major press, the sales figures probably wouldn't earn consideration for a second contract. Of course, a larger publisher would have better distribution etc. But to my point, you're right about font size for names, up to a point. Another thing to consider these days is thumbnail pics online. Both the name and title should be large/bold enough to be readable in a small pic.

    At the conference, did they mention that when the author's name goes across the top of the novel's cover, instead of the title, that's when the author knows they've got a very solid following in the publisher's eyes.

    But the titlework is one thing that I often see in self-published titles that doesn't work well in a thumbnail, or smaller pic of the cover. Thin font with colors that don't contrast well, cursive or odd lettering/fonts that are hard to read. Sometimes it doesn't work well with a full-sized cover either.

    One cannot please everyone with a cover, but those a cover cannot please, if it's well/professionally done or presented, it'll help far more often than it'll hurt.

    I've had readers tell me that they didn't like the font my publisher selected for the covers, or even the titles. I've only had one or two say they didn't care for the art work. I had one complain (not exactly complain but forcefully lament?) that the two covers looked too similar. He was hoping for something totally different. I explained to him that the artist and publisher believed that for a series, a similar sort of overall cover style and font should be used, sort of branding for the series. Even the titles were selected for the similarity. One title under consideration for the second novel was "The Blood Sword Gambit" but it was shortened to "Blood Sword," for similarity and clarity. Both titles make perfect sense for the novels.

    The name of the series was something discussed with my editor too. The first novel, Flank Hawk, was written as a standalone, but with the possibility for a series (and even the second was written so that it could be read and enjoyed by readers who hadn't read the first). It was decided to include the series name (First Civilization's Legacy) on the cover, again for consistency over the series, and also it hints a little more about the contents of the novels. For me, with the small press, I had a lot of input into the title names, the tiltes were my creation, approved by the publisher. Some authors, especially unknowns with larger houses, don't always get that kind of input, or even any input.

    I know an author where a good agent made the difference in helping the author get the title desired, as opposed to a couple others that were being considered for the novel. The author didn't care for the cover art and had no input on that, but when the novel went in for a third print run, it got a new, better cover. The point here, being that a good, experienced agent can be an excellent go-between professional, an advocate for the author to the publisher (editor, marketing dept, etc.).

    Guess I rambled a bit, but at least I stayed on cover and cover art. :)
     

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