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Series titles on book covers

Discussion in 'Cover Design' started by Alex Reiden, Jan 22, 2020.

  1. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Do you appreciate when series titles are on the front cover, or do you prefer covers that can stand alone?

    I have a cover for the first book of a series which was drawn up before the series was named. As such, it works well for the book, but I'm wondering if I should include the series name on the cover so readers can quickly identify, and possibly select it, if they see it's part of a series before opening it up. The story itself can stand alone with its own bittersweet, satisfactory (I hope) ending but has an epilogue which clearly sets up the rest of the trilogy, so I could go either way here.

    Here is the cover:

    [​IMG]

    If you think it should include the series title, where? What style?

    For reference, here is an early rough draft of the cover for the second book, which needs more work:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. It depends.

    For standalone books in the same setting (think discworld) or loosely connected books, it doesn't matter too much to me. For actual series I like being told up front what I'm getting in to. I've had instances where I bought a book and found out while reading that it was part of a series. And when it's not the first part then it can make for some very confused reading. In a series a lot of previously shared information is considered to be common knowledge. So you'll have relationships or worldbuilding aspects just handed out just like that instead of explained.

    A simple line in smallish print at the bottom saying "Book X of this series" is fine for me. That seems to be the most common solution. As a side note: do tell me which book in the series it is. It's a pain to have to open the book and look at the order in which I need to read the books in the imprint.

    As a side note, I like both of the covers. But they don't suggest that they're in the same series. They have fairly different styles. Not sure if you're planning on changing this in a next version or not. It's just a feeling I get from them.
     
    Vaporo likes this.
  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Beautiful first cover.

    Yeah, I'd always put a series title on the cover if possible. I like your cover so much, I'm not sure where I'd put it however. Maybe for the first in a series, one that can stand alone, you might update the blurb on the back to include some mention, at the end, of the series the book starts. "And so begins the first book in the X Series..." Heh. Dunno.
     
  4. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Thanks! All good points. I'd certainly use a series title and numbers for sequels, but wasn't sure if readers would think it necessary for the first one. I always put it in the title for online postings, but hardcopies don't have that luxury.

    I guess the main issue I'm having is that some covers benefit from a cleaner image and less text. I feel mine is like that. The second cover is a rough draft, but I like the imagery, so I'm trying to find a way to make it look good and fit in with the rest.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2020
  5. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    That's my main issue, I think. I was considering a caption included with the blurb as well.
     
  6. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    As Prince of SpiresPrince of Spires mentions, the Discworld stories have a distinctive style [thanks to the great Josh Kirby]. You can see one from a distance or from a quick glance and know where it is from. I like both the covers you show but for different reasons. Even with a tagline "Book X of the Y Series" I might not put the two together as the images are so different. If you could find a "house style" that would work for the stories of whole series it may tie them together in people's minds.
     
  7. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Yeah, I remember the Discworld artwork. It was fun and playful. I don't have a dedicated artist, but I'll have to find one to help bring the cover for the second book more in line with the first.
     
  8. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Troubadour

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    I like the covers, but they're so different in style that I think it might help to put the series and number (0?) at the bottom in a smaller font.
     
    Alex Reiden likes this.
  9. It might just be enough to change the color-pallet of the second one to be more in line with the first. The first has lots of pastel colors while the second one mainly uses primary colors.

    You could also see if you can get the logo-thingy from the first cover in to the second one somehow. Most people wouldn't notice it but it could be a nice touch.

    Also, if you plan on releasing a print version, add a number on the spine of the book. I like having the books on my bookshelf in order (yes, I'm silly that way). And having a numeral on them makes this a lot easier and looks nicer. (The Wheel of Time series is terrible at this, I keep having to hunt all over the cover to find the number, which also makes remembering which part I need next a pain).
     
  10. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Similar fonts and color pallets would help, but I'm still considering scrapping the 2nd one for a photo to better match the first. The image in the artwork just fits the story really well, and finding a public domain photo that can do the same might be tough. Maybe a good photoshopper can merge a person in a yoga pose with the artwork. Hmmm...

    Numbers on the spines of hard copies are great. I definitely agree!!
     
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    As a reader, it always annoyed the crap out of me if I found a series in the bookstore and I had to hunt to figure out what number it was in the series. Digital isn't so bad, still, I see those questions asked if it isn't made obvious.

    And I agree with others, the covers don't "appear" a series. Both nice, but... an odd combo. But that could just be me being weird. As usual.
     
  12. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    I am a huge fan of not only the series title, but the book number on the cover. I like to know what I'm reading, next.
    2017-992 AE Lowan, B01.jpg 2017-520 AE Lowan b02 final.jpg
     
  13. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Those are pretty good covers. I like them both.
     
  14. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    Thanks! All credit goes to Deranged Doctor Design. DDD Book cover design They aren't cheap, but they are a joy to work with.
     
  15. Danskin

    Danskin Scribe

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    I'd agree with the others that these are good covers but do not appear to be part of a series.

    Having a subhead such as "Book 1 of the xxx series" would certainly help, and along the top or bottom would seem to be quite standard (rather than at the side). You could also add to the blurb and get a series page on Amazon, and make the issue clear via a list on your own website.

    But all the same, I don't think there is really any getting away from the fact that a professional-looking series maintains the same style across each title, like the examples that A. E. LowanA. E. Lowan shared. So if I were you, I'd pick whichever one you like best and get the rest of the trology done in the same way. In my view, the first is a very nice cover but doesn't look like a fantasy book – if I didn't know anything about it, I might expect it to be a travel book or personal memoir – so I'd probably opt for the second if it was me.
     
  16. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Note on the OP: As stated in the OP, the second cover is only an early draft and not representative of the final style. When edited by a graphic designer (I all the graphics, fonts, color palettes, etc. for the series on file) it will match the imagery of the first book more closely -- and look a hell of a lot better than what I can do as a preliminary concept. It was included only to illustrate the difference between printing the series' name and book number or not on the cover. When the cover for the second book is somewhat close to its finished form, perhaps I'll re-post it in this thread as a better representation of the series' artwork for those interested. Unfortunately, I am unable edit the OP to remove the cover, so it has to stay there for now. Please disregard, since it's apparently distracting posters from the point of the thread.

    Sorry to all the posters who thought I needed critique on the series art or style. I should have made it clearer that the focus was on the initial question and that the artwork for the second cover was not a treated product.

    The principle question remains, would you expect the initial book in the series to have the series identified on the cover, as opposed being identified in the book's blurb/jacket (and extended title in online formats), and how important is it for this information to be presented before opening the jacket/book link?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  17. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Yeah, that's the general feeling I'm getting. There seems to be a great difference of opinion on the matter depending on whether it's a printed hard copy form or published in e-format. It seems the e-formats are a lot more forgiving with including the series markers in supplemental sections, rather than typed on the cover, which makes sense.

    Although, I remember when reading some books I found in the book store, back when they were more of a thing, finding a book that looked interesting, only to discover it was part of a series after opening it up and reading inside the jacket. Apparently it was common for first printings of a debut novel for a series. Second printings generally included the series name. Wizards First Rule by Terry Goodkind was an example I remember. I never knew it was part of the Sword of Truth series until second printing. Conventions may have changed since then.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
  18. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    I remember that as well. I was usually okay if the series was listed inside the jacket or in the blurb, but that wasn't always the case, especially for first printings of the debut novel. I'm not sure if it was the same for your experience with finding such books. Perhaps the publisher was unsure if they wanted to advertise the series until interest was established?

    It's not you, the second one just isn't close to being finished -- but it has the series name on it is all.
     
  19. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    It almost seems akin to some business websites that make you hunt for their hours or phone #, getting you to hit lots of pages before you find what you want. Wish I could remember the series... but since I got so annoyed I don't think I ever read it... after picking up about 4 books and reading blurbs and searching the first few pages, I gave up. I think a friend later told me the order, but by that point I didn't care anymore, heh heh. My patience for such things is rather thin.

     
  20. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    That reminds me of my bank website. Trying to log in to my account is like finding my way through a maze of credit card promos. I already have the damn card, now let me manage it!

    My go-to was the page after the copywrite info. If the series wasn't listed there, in order, I'd pick up another book.

    For a few of my web excerpts and online postings, I had a short intro page before the first chapter describing the series and books in it. Some of my readers seemed to appreciate it. Others skipped it.
     
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