1. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Do you like my book's back cover?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by Flying Geese, Sep 6, 2015.

    *meant to say 'do you like my book's back cover?'

    Self-publishing my book soon. Here is the back cover.

    I have realized the importance of the back cover of the book. And the importance of setting the context of the story before your readers get to that first page. I should have guessed as much, as many stories have beginnings that open questions or a just outright boring, but the promise of more to come gives the reader a kind of "bolstered patience" ... I know it does for me.

    Actually, I think it's quite interesting to read something about the story before you make it to the front page. In a sense, what's written on the back or your book's description is every bit as important as the opening chapter.

    Can any of you think of a book you might not have finished if you hadn't had prior information about the book (besides a reference, I mean)?
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The general idea is fine, but I have issues with the execution:

    - The font for both pieces of text "feels" wrong. I don't know if it's the serifed font, if the kerning is off, if the width is too short for the font size...I'd suggest finding someone with some commercial design skills to help with that.

    - The content feels rather repetitive. There's a quote saying that no one can leave, then a paragraph saying that no one can leave, then a paragraph saying that a specific individual wants to leave, then a paragraph saying that he's not going to leave.
     
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  3. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    Speaking as someone who only really reads fiction in hard copy, what exactly is the point of a back cover in a digital book? I assume it's digital, since you're self publishing, but if not then disregard this post.
    Where and how exactly are customers exposed to the back cover of a digital book anyway?

    It feels like what you're really talking about isn't so much the back cover, but the blurb that often appears on the back cover. In which case, with digital books the blurb is generally present on the store page along with other details about the book, not as part of a cover.
     
  4. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    I'm gonna make it a paperback @Void
    @ChickenFreak I am thinking about taking out the top quote, maybe. Very maybe. As far as fonts go, I can't tell what fonts go on which books. Come to think of it ... if I had Google that I probably would have known.
     
  5. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    Really? I'm not too knowledgeable about self publishing, but I assumed that digital was generally the way to go, and hard copies were more or less the domain of traditional publishing. I guess this is something I'll have to read up on.
     
  6. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Hmm. I actually like the way it looks quite a lot. It's uncluttered and certainly gives a fantasy feel to the piece. However, I was not engaged with the idea of your story as you've presented it.

    I think sometimes a writer can get so engrossed in their story that they forget NOBODY knows what it's about until they've read it themselves. I feel your work needs a bit of grounding in the back blurb, to draw people in. As it is, you're basically just throwing names at us. Names that mean nothing to us yet.

    Mount Gamaliel is what? A mountain? A city? A country? A religious retreat? A pork pie? What?

    What is Saint Luke? A person? A city? A church? A religion?

    What is The Stalwart? A hero? A god? A king? A long-promised messiah? A warrior? A strange tentacled being?

    And who is Lio in all of this? A ruler? A servant? A priest? A little boy? What matters to him?

    Try really hard to ground your story with this kind of information, and give the blurb some kind of shape that readers off the street can understand. What are the stakes here? So far we have the notion of waiting, but who is waiting and what they're waiting for is too much of a mystery. Don't give away the ending of your story, or even how it will unfold, but do give away the starting picture. That will make folks want to dive in.

    I've seen it said (written) that your back cover blurb is essentially the same thing you would use to pitch your story to an agent. So maybe read up a bit on pitching to an agent, to get an idea of what's required. Just a lot of strange names of people/beings/creatures living in a world we have never heard of and waiting for something to happen isn't enough. We need something we can relate to and understand, right at the outset. I'd say this is not the time to be vague or poetical. Give us the start of your story.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2015
  7. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unlike most others it seems, I thought the blurb read very nicely. I had no issues getting a feel for the story and felt I understood what I'd be getting if I were to buy the book.

    However, while it's not necessarily a poor design, I wasn't really taken with it. The overall image seems a little wide to me (although I know self-published books come in very peculiar dimensions (never have understood why) but I'm a minimalist fan when it comes to design. I like font left / right aligned, as opposed to centred, and I prefer a simple font.
     
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  8. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    @OurJud has written out my thoughts almost to the letter. Though I also agree with @jannert that it would be nice to have a rough idea of who Lio is - a priest, a king, a pauper?
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Check out CreateSpace. Easy to make physical copies available.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Shift it down just a wee bit since that upper quote is stretching out into the corners where you have that faded/worn effect happening as a border dynamic. Also, I agree with CF about the font for the central bit. It feels very "page of MS Word".
     
  11. Inksmith
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    Inksmith New Member

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    The back cover draws me in, I guess, but the details and description is rather vague; rather lacking. I'd like to know a bit more about all these different places and characters, without extending it to such a degree that the blurb is non-existent or otherwise rendered redundant.

    The colour scheme's also pretty nice, but I don't like the inconsistency in font, especially considering the prominent font looks unprofessional from my perspective. Opinions differ, but that's what I have on the matter.
     
  12. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The margins are an about .25cm wider on the left side of the text than on the right, that's probably what's throwing you off.
     
  13. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    Dammit, I thought Times New Roman was the go-to font for books?? What else do they use on a back cover of a YA/teen fantasy book?
     
  14. Nicoel
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    Nicoel Contributing Member

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    I found the blurb a bit boring, and after reading it I've no clue what the book's about so as someone browsing possible books, I'm not very inclined to pick it up and read it.

    I realize that sounds horrifically discouraging, but please don't take it that way!

    I spent about an hour and a half today in my local Books-A-Million (Barnes & Noble's competition) looking through the newest releases, the TEENS section and reading through the backs of the covers. They were all written like that - saying a whole lot of nothing. I didn't buy one book whilst I was there.

    Maybe be a little more blunt and honest with your audience about what the book is about, and don't use names and places unless you're going to introduce them better.

    "The main character is a magical man in a city filled with tentacled beasts. There's a lot of clocks around, so everyone is accustomed to wait for you to write the next best selling book. One day that changes. *DUN DUN DUNNNN* A clock starts ringing."

    Obviously that's a terrible example, but do you see what I'm trying to say? That's a book I would say "What the actual fuck?" and immediately begin reading because it got my attention.
     
  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not as simple as just choosing a font name (though I'm not sure why you're assuming Times New Roman is an especially good choice.) There's the font, the weight, the kerning, the size, the justification, and that's just what I know as someone who knows nothing.

    I just Googled

    font weight kerning

    and clicked Images. The images are a good illustration of how very different the same font can look depending on these factors.
     
  16. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    @ChickenFreak There is no way in hell I'm gonna believe that I have to think that deeply on the font that I put on that back cover. Justification, maybe. But I've seen shitty things published. Right now, while I lack the money to higher a designer I plan to just get it out there.

    What you say is true though. I watched a whole lecture on the feelings that a font can give a reader once.
     
  17. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm confused about the whole vibe of your post here. Is the goal to just get your work out there, in any old state, just because? Or is the goal to get your work out there at its best, and make it succeed? If success isn't a goal, what is the goal?
     
  18. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    The goal is just for some people to enjoy it I guess.
     
  19. General Daedalus
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    General Daedalus Active Member

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    I like the overall design but it doesn't match up very well- you have a faded border but intact text. If you're making this yourself, then you should highlight all of your text and add some noise to it, with low colour distortion and medium intensity. That should give it a more rugged an matching look.
     
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  20. Flying Geese
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    Flying Geese Contributing Member

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    @General Daedalus that's actually a good idea.

    by the way, I appreciate everyone's input. Everything that I post on WF is unfinished. I mostly like critiques on concepts -- just a personal preference. Hope I didn't come across as not minding the words of those who gave feedback.
     
  21. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think I'd tweak the font a bit. I'm not at home right now so I haven't any books with me so I could check what fonts others have used and how they've been edited/formatted. I can't find back covers for any of my Kindle books, for a good reason, I suppose, 'cause they're redundant, so can't check from there either. But something about the font is off; it's too off-the-MS-Word. Maybe google back cover design tips or something? Considering how huge self-pubbing is, I'm sure there loads of tips on the internet, on YouTube etc.

    I think I'd also take a look at a handful of blurbs from fantasy YAs and see how they introduce the reader to an unknown fantasy world in the very short space they have on the back cover. I feel there has to be something 'cause right now to a new reader, the names you introduce mean nothing. Other than that, I think it's pretty good as it gives an idea of what the story seems to be about.
     
  22. Australis
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    Australis Active Member

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    Times is the font for ebooks. It generally isn't the top font for RL books (I forget which is).
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    For ebooks, I'm not even sure it matters much. The user can set whatever font they have on their device, and Amazon, who dominates the market in ebooks, doesn't even use Times as the default font for their readers. I use Times in preparing documents for electronic publishing, but I've often wondered if it make much difference given the device defaults and options on the reader's end.
     
  24. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    Like OurJud, I rather liked your cover and blurb. And I am intrigued enough to want to read your story, so that's good news.

    I actually liked the top quote. To me, it hints at a well-developed religious canon to help explain why all these people hold to their beliefs.

    Now, as far as some of the criticisms that people have said, here is what I have to say:
    About the font - I'm not sure I'd go for Times New Roman either. I'd probably find a sans-serif that reads a bit more easily on the black background.
    For all about the design, I think you will find this article very clear and helpful.

    For the text bit, I think that the third paragraph isn't strictly necessary. I understood everything I needed to (I think) from the first two. People aren't allowed to leave this religious camp (on top of a mountain?) because they're waiting for their god to come down and save all the faithful, but this one guy has some doubts and has read some things. He secretly wants to go find out about the rest of the world, but knows it will lead to condemnation. Yes? Did I understand it correctly?
    The third paragraph makes me think nothing is going to happen in the book after all, except he is going to have some internal wrestle with a tempation god.

    I do agree that it would be good to include a quick explanation of who Lio is. Even if it is as simple as "...15-year-old acolyte, Lio..." or whatever it is he is. It will help your readers know who your intended audience is too, since right now I'm not sure if this is a Middle Reader, YA, or Adult novel.
     
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  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, a font chosen for marketing purposes (a book cover) and a font chosen to be read comfortably for hours (the font for the book text itself) are not necessarily going to be the same thing.
     
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