1. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,284
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Location:
    London, UK

    Terrible Cover Art

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Tenderiser, Mar 9, 2016.

    I was having a minor freak out about the pressure of choosing an agent, so my best friend made me some covers for the book to cheer me up. Well, now I can't stop laughing, so I thought you guys might enjoy them as well. And maybe add some for your books?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Cover art is a bit like giving your dog a haircut. Looks easy, but ten minutes in you're googling for a local pet groomer because... no! :confuzled:
     
  3. Ashley Harrison
    Offline

    Ashley Harrison Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    145
    Likes Received:
    33
    I don't know why the cover art for majority of self-published books, are so pitifully bad? It's the equivalent of when they release a DVD cover for a made-for-television movie, they broadcast in the afternoon. It's usually very amateurish, whereas the cover art for most books that are published by the big publishing companies, use the simplistic but effective method. Mark Billingham's novels are a good example of having a modest but elegant book cover art.
     
    BruceA and Wreybies like this.
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    I think people just fail to realize that there may be an art or a science to it. In this case I think there's a healthy helping of both. People get paid to make good looking, professional covers for a reason. There will always be those who just have a natural feel for it and are able to say "Well, I have no training and everyone raves about the covers for my books that I made myself." Sure, yes, of course. But the exception does not make the rule.
     
  5. Steerpike
    Offline

    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    11,051
    Likes Received:
    5,256
    Location:
    California, US
    Yeah, people don't want to pay to get a professional cover. After all the time and energy that goes into writing your book, you should at least pay for a professional edit if you need it, and pay for a professional cover.
     
  6. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Seconded. :agreed:

    Else, risk finding your cover on one of those Terrible Book Cover sites. :confuzled:
     
    Oscar Leigh and Steerpike like this.
  7. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,284
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Location:
    London, UK
    This is the one I'm going to use:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,837
    Likes Received:
    10,013
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Your friend is funny. :) I like his/her little blurbs on the cover. :-D
     
    Oscar Leigh, Sifunkle and Tenderiser like this.
  9. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,284
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Location:
    London, UK
    There's one with a quote from my mum saying "too much sex and swearing", which is EXACTLY what she'd say if I let her read it. :D
     
    BruceA, GingerCoffee and Oscar Leigh like this.
  10. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,284
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Location:
    London, UK
    OMFG

    [​IMG]
     
  11. HelloImRex
    Offline

    HelloImRex Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    172
    Yeah, the cover would be perfect if the title were "Touchable". For "Untouchable" you need something a little different.

    [​IMG]

    Though if your pessimistic enough a beautiful girl works.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  12. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,284
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Location:
    London, UK
    @HelloImRex, are you available for freelance cover-arting? How much do you charge?
     
  13. Alejandro89
    Offline

    Alejandro89 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2016
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    The idea behind the "wild child" one seems interesting, but the execution makes it look like it's just a photo with a bunch of filters on. I think bad covers have three reasons: bad taste, cheapness and an overeagerness to publish. I can understand the first one, the other two are beyond my comprehension, its like if you dressed your kids in garbage bags.
     
    GingerCoffee and Oscar Leigh like this.
  14. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,930
    Likes Received:
    5,469
    Often, even when the cover art is passable, the typography is dreadful. I don't know enough about typography to know what's wrong with it (maybe a failure to adjust the kerning, as well as a bad choice of font?), but I know it's bad when I see it.
     
    Megalith and Oscar Leigh like this.
  15. A.M.P.
    Offline

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2013
    Messages:
    2,024
    Likes Received:
    1,125
    Location:
    A Place with no History
    [​IMG]

    Couldn't even bother to magic wand the foot away >.>

    I'm starting to notice that for some reason, the faded face of a person over a landscape background is oddly popular...
     
  16. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Stupid question (oh wait the only stupid question, is the one not asked) Any who. :supersmile:

    What would you recommend in the way of software for creating said cover?

    If anyone would be so kind as to offer a suggestion or two that would be most helpful, and I thank thee. :supergrin:
     
  17. ToBeInspired
    Offline

    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2013
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    172
    Location:
    Asheville
    Mmh, looked through 15 pages. Felt five got a bad wrap. Two were hand drawn, which I think for a fantasy self-published book isn't bad at all.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  18. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    @ToBeInspired It gets interesting the deeper you go, I made it some 36+ Pages and had to stop. :p
     
    Tenderiser likes this.
  19. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,284
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Location:
    London, UK
    My recommendation... don't make it yourself! You can buy some professional-looking covers for like £40.
     
    BruceA, GingerCoffee and Cave Troll like this.
  20. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I was hoping it would be a smidgen cheaper than $80 (approx. conversion to save time), but I will keep that in mind. Thank you.
    That feels a bit steep for a 4inx6in image, is it really worth that much?
     
  21. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,284
    Likes Received:
    5,153
    Location:
    London, UK
    The cover is the single biggest selling point of a novel, so yes.

    If you mean will a self-published book make $80? Highly unlikely. But at least if it has a good cover (and editing) you haven't embarrassed yourself.
     
    BruceA likes this.
  22. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Ooh I like your avatar!

    It's funny that we as writers would fall into the trap of assuming we can all make our own book covers, when we'd usually laugh if people suggested there's no need to pay for a good writer to do the content, ever. Like, surely we should know better, of all people!?
     
    Lifeline, Megalith and Cave Troll like this.
  23. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    @Mckk Thank you!:supersmile:

    I hear you in the fact that as the author, one should be the one to know what their cover should look like. So many decisions to make when coming up with the image of said book.

    On a side note I think my avatar is secretly telling me to watch out for 'wolves', so to speak.:supergrin:
     
  24. Sack-a-Doo!
    Offline

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,231
    Likes Received:
    1,511
    Location:
    [unspecified]
    I can make four recommendations (to be used together or separately):
    • Photoshop (photo manipulation)
    • The GIMP ( " )
    • CorelDRAW (structured drawing)
    • Illustrator ( " )
    There are many, many others and even though I haven't used them all, the only one I'd steer you away from is InkScape. It's fine as long as you're working electronically, but if you print something to paper, the registration is off and trying to work out compensations to fix it were mind bending (in fact, I gave it up as a lost cause).

    Photoshop Elements works just as well for cover design as the full version. You don't really need those $1000 bells and whistles.

    The GIMP is free, but harder to learn because it's a moving target and the documentation is never up to date.

    CorelDRAW is my favourite structured drawing software. Its biggest drawback is that you can't buy it without also buying five or six other useless apps Corel throws in so they can jack up the price to $600. In days gone by, it was possible to buy CorelDRAW by itself for about $100. Now that was a good deal! But you can still find older versions on eBay for more-or-less reasonable prices.

    Illustrator is a tough nut to crack, especially if you're used to CorelDRAW. It's also one of those subscription apps Adobe is trying to flood the world with, so if you use it, you'll pay for each month of use. It's sometimes possible to luck into an older, pre-subscription version on eBay, but they're increasingly hard to find. I do wish they'd make an Illustrator Elements version.

    You can also find so-called paint apps which can be fun, but for best results, you'll want a drawing tablet. (As a fellow student in art school once said, "Drawing with a mouse is like drawing with a brick." I kind of agree with her.) The best tablets for drawing are the ones with a built-in screen so you're actually drawing on the same surface you're watching, but those are a huge financial commitment, like $1500.

    Then, as well as the software, it's advisable to spend some time studying design and layout. Of course, you'll want to understand at least the basics of colour theory, too. Also, learn about fonts, how to pick a font, how to kern and how to mix styles. Most of this will be included if you take a full-time design programme at the post-secondary level (all except the colour theory; that's better learned from a full-time art programme, but who wants to spend eight years studying art and design?)

    Then you'll want to 'major in' cover art and study all the best ones from the last fifty years, learning what works in that format (formats, really, since there are quite a few) and what doesn't.

    After five or six years of study and practice, you should start coming up with some pretty decent cover art.

    Or you could wing. ;)
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2016
  25. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    @Sack-a-Doo! Thank you so much. :)

    I will have to look into one or two of these. Problem is I am a traditional paper and pencil kind of guy, and I agree that using a mouse to draw is like drawing with a brick. :p
    Again thank you for the suggestions, much appriciated. :supersmile:
     
    Sack-a-Doo! likes this.

Share This Page