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Would this cover put you off?


Hi all,

I have a friend designing a cover for me at the moment and I have always had in mind what I wanted for it. He sent me the first mock up yesterday and initially I loved it but now the more I look at it the more I am worried it will scare people or put people off.

The cover is of an undead teenage girl dressed in victorian style and framed with a an old fashioned portrait, her face is pale and shows a glimmer of a skull showing through her flesh. To be honest it does look quite freaky, it's not finished yet so I haven't posted it but would a book showing a girl with a skull face put you off purchasing it?

Thanks in advance



Myth Weaver
If it's a tale about bunnies and unicorns and fluffy clouds then yes... the cover would put me off.
But if it's appropriate to the tone of your work and your hoped for market, then who knows...


It's just a mock up at the moment and I am waiting for my friend to finalise it, he is still waiting for a response from someone in regards to copyright issues so I don't want to post anything until I am certain I own it completely. I just wanted to know if I should carry on with this theme or not. To be honest I am happy with it and will go through with it anyway but I was curious whether the morbid tone would put off a lot of potential readers.

To answer Cup of Joe, yes the cover does suit the theme, the main character is undead. If you have ever read or seen the film of The portrait of Dorian Grey the cover has a similar style to his portrait.

Thanks for the replies by the way

Evi x


Felis amatus
To own it completely you need a written copyright assignment. Make sure you get it :)

The cover wouldn't put me off at all. But then again I like horror and dark fantasy.

Philip Overby

Article Team
For some reason I thought of this when I read your first post:


Maybe that's not what you're going for, because I think this is supposed to be a comedy and your story doesn't sound like a comedy. It would be good to see the actual cover. However, I don't think I'd be unnerved or put off by that kind of cover myself.


As they said, if it suits the tone it wouldn't put me off. It's not even gory.

A reader of dark stories will prioritize a book with an equally darker cover than one with bunnies. I go further and say that as a reader, I'm particularly more interested in with your kind of cover (that is still quite soft) than a fully softened version featuring an emo girl stock image using heavy make-up in a dark forest with some random fantastic creature around, colors predominantly blue or purple and full of glitter.
Quite the opposite. If the protagonist is undead I want to know that the second I see the cover. Sounds like this one does that. I'd suggest farming it out to his beta readers and seeing their reactions. I'd also post the actual cover here as soon as you have it.


I can be turned off by a bad cover, but it's almost never about the content as much as it's about the quality of the artwork. Solid artwork draws me in, anything cheap will definitely rub me the wrong way.
As Stevenmlong said - solid artwork with nice attention to the detail will draw you in definitely!
Everything is relative though and it depends on the current situation.
In the most cases if the artwork is awesome => my attention will be drаwn in ;)
Overall, it's not just the illustrative elements that make or break a cover. A book cover is an important marketing tool, so it has to work as one. Every element should work towards establishing the desire in the reader to "open the book up and read a sample of it". The typography chosen, the background and foreground colors, the way the illustration interacts with the title, etc. It is all important. If you can, post your preliminary here so you can get some useful feedback.