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Help me choose my cover

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by cdgallantking, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. cdgallantking

    cdgallantking Dreamer

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    So I'm putting out my first novel in the very near future. Working with a budget of less than $0, I turned to fiverr.com to find a designer to do the cover art. I'm not looking to discuss the merits or drawbacks of such an arrangement, that's just what I've decided to do in this case.

    I sent the exact same requirements and specs to two designers, and got back two wildly different designs. I'm very torn as to which one to go with, so I'm throwing this up to the hivemind to get feedback on which one people prefer.

    First, here's the blurb for the book. After reading this, which cover do you think suits best? (Yes, I know the blurb needs work as well, but bear with me)

    ***

    They say love hurts and time heals all wounds, but sometimes the reverse is also true.

    Isaac was very good at wasting time. Video games, a mindless job, no responsibilities - he had a simple life and few wants and, despite being hopelessly average, unassuming and kind of useless, had somehow miraculously married the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world.

    He had no idea how good he had it, until it was all taken away.

    Time does not like being wasted. It is mercurial, inexorable and carries a wicked grudge. And sometimes, just sometimes, it enjoys playing games with people's lives. To be perfectly honest, Time is a bit of a jerk.

    Isaac had never learned to appreciate what little time he had, and now he must travel to the ends of the universe and face unspeakable evils in a cat-and-mouse game with Father Time himself for the slim chance to win back a few fleeting seconds of happiness. The price of failure? Only the end of all existence.

    Ten Thousand Days is a fairy tale set in the modern day, a fantastic journey of desperate love and horror with a twisted sense of humour. It's a story of what a young man will do for love, and it's not always pretty...

    ***

    And here are the two options. The first one (with the closed eyes) completely ignored the instructions of what I wanted, but the more I look at it, the more it grows on me. Unfortunately it also looks like 90% of the eBook covers out there, so I'm worried it will blend into the wall of similar covers on the Amazon shopping page.

    The second cover (the red one) is actually very much what I asked for, but I don't really like it. It's what I wanted in theory, but in practice it's kind of ugly. On the other hand, it may stand out more.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    So what do you think? Why one do you folks prefer?
     
  2. acapes

    acapes Sage

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    Hey!

    I really like the red one...as you say, it's more distinctive than the first. I like the Dali-esque clock too :) It links directly to time - but the first one evokes the idea of the search.

    Tough choice!
     
    cdgallantking likes this.
  3. Philip Overby

    Philip Overby Staff Article Team

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    Hey, awesome to see you're taking the leap! I agree that I like the red one more myself. It stands out more to me. However, I do think the first one looks more like something I'd see on a book shelf (maybe not in a good way, since I also agree that it looks a lot like most covers I've seen). If I had to pick one, I'd go with the red one simply because it stands out more to me. That's something I'll be experimenting with as well. Most of my covers will probably be red and white since I like the way that looks.
     
    cdgallantking likes this.
  4. Lunaairis

    Lunaairis Sage

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    I like the first one much better, as it's cleaner as well as being modern and looks like it could print well.

    The second one seems to be a lower pixel resolution. The melting clock looks pixelated at its bends and generally doesn't look like its melted but rather pushed around with a Photoshop tool. the red background seems to have a high contrast with the black and white text. You can see the warped shades of color between the black letters of "thousand" and at the top of "ten." I don't know if maybe you have a higher resolution of the picture but the one you have here is rather poor.

    Also I can't think of any book covers I've seen that just have a flat background color and don't add some texture to it or play with the fonts more.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I mean there is this, but even then the symbol is higher up on the cover. With a few edits, you could get something a little more appealing.

    [​IMG]
     
    cdgallantking likes this.
  5. cdgallantking

    cdgallantking Dreamer

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    I resized the artwork quickly because the original is much larger - and yes much higher resolution and cleaner.

    I do however like the idea of adding some texture to the background and fonts. My original thought had been a black background, but with the red it definitely needs something. I already asked the designer if she can punch it up.
     
  6. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    I much prefer the first one. The second one tells me nothing at all about the book - not even what genre it belongs to. The first one hints at fantasy and romance, which I assume is what your book is about. Maybe it is a little boring with so much grey. I'd get your artist to try and insert a few little pieces of colour here and there. It might be only a patch here or there for effect, or alternatively a pastel wash. I'd also dump the "A novel" from the cover. Readers can work that out for themselves.

    As to your blurb can I make a few comments.

    "They say love hurts and time heals all wounds, but sometimes the reverse is also true."

    Dump the "also" and make it two sentences. Blurbs need to be shorter and usually have punchier sentences.

    "Isaac was very good at wasting time. Video games, a mindless job, no responsibilities - he had a simple life and few wants and, despite being hopelessly average, unassuming and kind of useless, had somehow miraculously married the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world."

    I'd rewrite this as follows: Isaac was very good at wasting time. Video games, a mindless job, no responsibilities - he had a simple life and few wants. Despite that he had somehow married the most beautiful, wonderful woman in the world.

    "He had no idea how good he had it, until it was all taken away."

    Change the comma to a dash in this so that it gives greater effect.

    "Time does not like being wasted. It is mercurial, inexorable and carries a wicked grudge. And sometimes, just sometimes, it enjoys playing games with people's lives. To be perfectly honest, Time is a bit of a jerk."

    I like this piece but my concern is that it does not fit well with what's come before. The first part was emotional / sad about love lost etc. It gives me as a reader a sense of a failed romance etc. But this line about Time - as in a personified avatar of the dimension I assume - is almost straight out of a Discworld novel. The blurb needs to be consistent.

    "Isaac had never learned to appreciate what little time he had, and now he must travel to the ends of the universe and face unspeakable evils in a cat-and-mouse game with Father Time himself for the slim chance to win back a few fleeting seconds of happiness. The price of failure? Only the end of all existence."

    Note the tense change here. We've gone from Isaac "had" to "now". And again I'm having difficulty placing this book in one category / genre. Fantasy romance or fantasy humour. Also you've got two different conceptions of time going on here. At the start of the par we've got time the dimension, but later we move to Father Time.

    "Ten Thousand Days is a fairy tale set in the modern day, a fantastic journey of desperate love and horror with a twisted sense of humour. It's a story of what a young man will do for love, and it's not always pretty..."

    Again I like this but suggest shorter punchier sentences. Dump the commas and make each clause a sentence.

    I hope that helps,

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  7. cdgallantking

    cdgallantking Dreamer

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    Thank you very much for the feedback on the blurb. It definitely needs work and I will use some of your ideas for sure. Much appreciated!
     
  8. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    I hate to be a pain, but if you could incorporate the clock from the second cover into the first cover I would like that the best. Otherwise I prefer cover one for a romance, cover two for sci-fi.
     
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  9. stephenspower

    stephenspower Inkling

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    The top cover with the eyes is fantastic. You might want to put a little more space between the title and the bottom. Solid solid work.
     
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  10. teacup

    teacup Auror

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    I absolutely love the first cover. It grabbed me instantly. I would pick it up just from the cover to read the blurb/the first page or so.
    I've not seen any ebooks like it, but then, I've not seen many ebook covers. If it looks like 90% of them then it might not stand out as much, but to me at least it certainly did and I would still definitely choose it over the 2nd. I didn't get anything to do with time from the cover other than the title, but I did get a sort of "love and horror" feel from it.
    Yes, if it was me I would definitely go for the first cover - there is nothing from the other I would say is better than it. I prefer everything from the first.

    Good luck with publishing, I hope it all goes well.
     
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  11. MineOwnKing

    MineOwnKing Maester

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    I would say definitely no to the red one.

    The other one looks like a ghost story.

    The cover is sooo important.

    More important is not how the cover looks blown up, but how it looks as a tiny thumbnail.

    If you are going to be on Amazon, most people will see it as a tiny, tiny image.

    Keep looking.

    Sell your soul to get the money.

    Selling your literary soul to the marketing devil is a prerequisite to publishing.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2015
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  12. cdgallantking

    cdgallantking Dreamer

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    That's an excellent point, both about using the clock and about the theme of the covers. I'm playing around with putting a clock in the background of the "eye" cover but it look a little busy. Not sure if it's going to work.

    It's funny - I had a friend say the "eye" cover is "feminine" and the "clock" cover is "masculine." I don't think he meant it as an insult, but it kinda mirrors your points in a weird way.
     
  13. cdgallantking

    cdgallantking Dreamer

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    That's a very, very good point. I need to look at them in a wall of other images to see how they stand out. Thank you!
     
  14. Fyle

    Fyle Inkling

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    I gotta say the first cover also.

    The red is a bit too dark in contrast with the black.

    From a distance, it would be hard to read I think... if I squint my eyes just a little I can barely see the black font (and my eyes are perfect 20/20)
     
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  15. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I like the first one a lot better. To me, the eyes are intriguing; the clock is confusing. Also, solid untextured red is so bold as to be bland.
     
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  16. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    One suggestion on the first one. The trees fade into the distance but the last row of trees look like tear tracks on the face with the eyes. I didn't like that element, because you can clearly see they're trees. I'd consider removing those last two faded trees and re-positioning the font a touch because it looks obtusely oblong in its presentation.

    I felt the first cover was almost dreamy, like I'd expect it to be psychological and fantastic, dealing with a goddess or fairy queen or something. It looks romantic and pretty.

    The second cover looks modern, so I'd expect we're looking more toward the real world with that one, or at least steampunk. By the simplicity of the cover, I'd expect a certain amount of simplicity to the story (rather than epicness?) and I wouldn't expect a meandering plot or depth of fantasy elements.

    I can't say which I like better, but those are my impressions for what they're worth. Cover art is tough, so best wishes as you select whichever works best for your story.
     
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  17. Laurence

    Laurence Inkling

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    The first is nice, although you need more padding between the text and the edges of the image!
     
  18. Starbright

    Starbright Acolyte

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    I vote for the first one. It seems to capture a mood, while the second (the red one) is more abstract. It looks more like the cover for a school book to me.
     
  19. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I lean towards the second one. The first one looks quite common to me, nothing special about it. The red one with the clock looks like some serious thought went into it and says to me "I was designed for this tale" rather than the more generic first image.
     
  20. L M Rush

    L M Rush Scribe

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    A very important choice, I'll be honest - looking at the first one, it almost looks like the person has a massive forehead which extends through the sky. The red cover is a lot more attractive, and the clock is a good touch. This is just me, but the font seems somewhat off, I'm not sure if its the white/black/white/black. I thought the white/black/white looked natural, and for some reason the last black for 'A Novel' looked...off. Most likely just my random view though, good luck!
     
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