Cover Workshop

General discussion on illustration, art, and the business of same.
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gower21
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:34 am

I think because we see all the versions and all those images compete with each other.

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Alex Kane
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Alex Kane » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:51 pm

Okay, what should I do with the titles? Obviously they're too dark.

Also: Should I keep the "and other stories," and make this a collection, or just have it be a single 6,500-word short story? "In the Arms of Lachiga" was my Q4 2010 Honorable Mention, which went on to sell to Digital Science Fiction.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby izanobu » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:31 pm

Make the text white? (I like the placement and fonts, I think). Also, maybe a pop of color? (His eyes?)

I'd go for a collection (you can price it higher!)

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby soulmirror » Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:27 pm

Personally I luv the cover art utterly, very spooky intense stare, amazing greys! A real attention-grabber for a cover! I wonder if the font in the title just isn't a little thin and lacking weight? Could be more unique and artsy?
I like the idea of banners behind the titles, helps the titles stand out and separates them from the background image (admittedly, others see that as too "self-consciously graphic design") In this case though, a "banner might play on the impact that he's in a cell or box staring out at you, it might give the image a graphic depth? Just thinking out loud ...

But it's a very powerful cover image, first and foremost imo!
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Jess » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:08 am

I think you want some hint of color. The b/w image is effective and eye-catching, so I don't think you want to overdo it, but at the same time, you don't want to make it seem like you couldn't be bothered with a color picture. It comes off as cheaper, I think.

With that in mind, you definitely need to color the name text. It's almost invisible down there. Definitely avoid warm colors, so maybe eyes and name text an icy blue-white? You may want to brighten the title text too. Annie might be right with the white suggestion, but I think it's too close to the eyes to want to use their color there.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:56 am

I reduced it to thumbnail size, and the picture looks good but the text looks awful. It's not just that it's unreadable as text, it's unrecognizable as text. Because it's the same color and style as the picture, it becomes just some strange noise at the top of the picture. If it had some subtle color to it, I don't think that would be a problem.

Ditto for your name. I didn't see it there the first time, even at full size.

Overall, though, I think the cover concept is fantastic! I fear that color might spoil it. You'll have to experiment.

And definitely a collection, I think; but more important, make it whatever word length you feel justifies a price of $2.99 or higher. That's where Amazon shifts from 35% to 70% royalty. Huge income difference there. Based on advice from Dean, I set the bar at 15,000 words.
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Alex Kane
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Alex Kane » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:02 am

Thanks, everybody. I'm thinking I'll try leaving the background image alone for now and changing all the titles to a soft, standout blue or green, depending on what looks best. And yeah, as much as I love the title font at full resolution, it's probably gotta go. Will play around and upload v2 when I get something that looks presentable.

Martin: Thanks for the Dean linkage. That's a great post!

Where's the best place to learn how to properly format a collection for e-publication?
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:39 am

Here's the experiment that I did yesterday and this morning when I should've been writing...

Image

Same collection as my previous idea, just a different title and a different approach to the cover.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:49 am

Alex Kane wrote:Where's the best place to learn how to properly format a collection for e-publication?


Dean had a post where he gave tips on it, but now I'm not finding it. It was more than a year back, and he has changed his site around, so it's buried deep. Still looking.

UPDATE: OK, it's this one. But it's not as detailed as I remember. Somewhere I found more detailed instructions that I used for "The Mother Anthony" and then have used as a template since then. They might've been from the Amazon Kindle site.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby AMcCarter » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:42 am

I really like that cover, Martin. Very Golden Age.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Alex Kane » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:27 am

Here's take two. Should I switch back to the original font? I like it a tad better, but this one is perhaps more readable in thumbnail format. Tried color, and the only one that looked decent was red, which is a bit too much, I think.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Alex Kane » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:04 pm

Or . . . ?

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Last edited by Alex Kane on Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:06 pm

Makes a nice thumbnail, Alex. Even if you go back to the old font, I would keep the new font for your name.

At full size, I agree, I like the old font better for the title.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Alex Kane » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:18 pm

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Makes a nice thumbnail, Alex. Even if you go back to the old font, I would keep the new font for your name.

At full size, I agree, I like the old font better for the title.

What do you think about the green one?
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Rebecca Birch » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:23 pm

Alex, I found it much easier to read the second font option. The image is great.

Martin, I'm afraid I'm not really liking this version of the cover. I think it's that the images are so small and there is such a broad expanse that is just words with a color fade. I have no artistic training at all, however, so if other people like it, I'd be more inclined to listen to them.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:41 pm

Alex Kane wrote:
Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Makes a nice thumbnail, Alex. Even if you go back to the old font, I would keep the new font for your name.

At full size, I agree, I like the old font better for the title.

What do you think about the green one?


The green one wasn't there when I commented. My connection is sloooooow today.

I think the green one is better in full size, not as good in thumbnail but still not a bad thumbnail. On the whole, I like it better.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby soulmirror » Sun Jul 08, 2012 4:03 pm

I definitely am luving the fat B&W font much more than the skinny green version, myself. To me the colour just looks slapped on. But I like B&W as an artistic aesthetic in and of itself.

A happy compromise is sometimes to just give the overall image a colour satuation (turning the B&W into a sepia or gold tome, f'instance) and doing that might let you then use colour TITLES in a perhaps less jarring way (assuming anyone sees it as jarring, but to me green titles on B&W image is, a little)

MARTIN: A thought that crossed my mind with yours was that the images seem a little small/outweighed by the solid background (which is itself cool though) ... Since your upper image has water in it, and "the" has a reflection already, what if you increased the upper image size until the reflection of "the" looks like it's reflecting onto the image's water? just an initial "hits the eye" thought there.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Martin L. Shoemaker » Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:14 pm

Interesting concept, Scott. I've been playing with some other ideas to add more of a feel of depth: putting the pictures at the same slant as the text and adding outlines to the text. That might give me even more of a sense of depth. I thought you were asking for more than my skills would handle, but maybe not:

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Jess » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:40 pm

Martin, I don't think I like the red. As plain as it is, it comes off a bit jarring between the yellow and dark blue of the text and corner image.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby soulmirror » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:27 am

I think you captured my idea about the reflection pretty much 100%, Martin! I wonder what the rest of you think of that? Like, don't? But to me it works! wotf008 Jess may have a point about the brightness of the "red"? But again, others can weigh in there! Ten or so creative genre but objective folks probably reflect the views of anyone's audience ...
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby trdixon » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:20 am

The cut out on the ship image seems pretty jarring to me. Try making it a more gradual fade to ease the transition.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Strycher » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:51 am

Alex Kane wrote:Or . . . ?

Image


Like this one better. You'll be competing with other color covers, so I think the B&W will stand out to a degree, but I think the color-saturated eyes of a person shopping won't see the title on the other--it just fades out for me.

Martin L. Shoemaker wrote:Image


Like the "the" reflected in the water. The top half looks pulled together. The bottom half doesn't look as polished. Maybe change the red to a blue like the ship's back ground and then let the stars fade out more into it? (Ehhh that's probably as bad idea, since your title font is blue.) Like the title font a lot.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:55 am

I think it'd be better as a solid black background, Martin.

You've already got a lot going on with blue text and three distinct images. Why add more to that and risk detracting from the images?

Also, signature phrase or no, I'm not sure how compelling a title that is for the average book browser. wotf004
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Rebecca Birch » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:00 am

It may be that I am related to a bull (well, actually, my son is a Taurus...), but red has a tendency to make me angry. I really like the changes with the larger image, and the reflection off the lake and stacking that watch in there behind the text. I think it's just the red now that tripping my ack factor.

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Alex Kane » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:49 am

Okay, it's down to these two versions, I think:

Image

Image

Yay or nay on the color?
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby s_c_baker » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:17 am

What happened to the green text, Alex? I much preferred it.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby AMcCarter » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:35 am

I like the second one, Alex. It's kind of haunting.
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby trdixon » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:12 am

Yep, second one
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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby gower21 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:32 am

Alex-- Between the two you just posted I liked the bottom one better, it is colder on the color scale and fits the story's cyber punkish atmosphere the best (I'm thinking this is the one you published with Digital). I also liked the green text version, but you've got a good cover either way with either of those options. With the green you could be pulling from other best selling titles in the cyber science genre and that is always a good thing to call out to your potential readers that you have a story for them.

Martin--I'm going to echo others thoughts on the red at the bottom of your most recent cover. I also don't care for the oval cut out look of the ship at the bottom. I LOVE the ship at the bottom though, so the idea to keep it all black is awesome is there anyway you could have it all be black and the bottom be the star background from the ship picture so the bottom fades into space? Does that make sense?

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Re: Cover Workshop

Postby Alex Kane » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:07 pm

Getting closer? (Really appreciate all the feedback, guys!)

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