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Micaiah

critique & feedback Possible Cover For Fantasy Novella

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Posted (edited)

 

Is it eye-catching enough? Does it flow well? Does something look off? Does it go well with the fantasy genre? WOULD YOU READ IT?

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Edited by Micaiah

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Okay. Here's my two coppers' worth. Said with all offering of help. ;)

 

First, the fonts are too close to the edges.

The fonts are the wrong type for fantasy. Here's a link that might help. This might help, too.

I agree with SW. I would maybe use the chain in another way and another chain.

The people are too small and back the background seem more important.

 

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Maybe a chain that looks pretty, like a necklace chain?

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I like everything but the partial images of the people. The scenery with the un-expected chains grabbed my attention.

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Derek Murphy at Creativindie has a really good set of resources about book cover design that he gives away for free.

 

Look him up and read his stuff. Maybe even use his templates that he gives away as well.

 

Don't mean to seem bossy, but it will really help you in the long run.

 

If you put this in a line up with four other covers from the top 20 Fantasy books on Amazon, this one would stick out like a sore thumb. Your goal is for your cover to at least fit in with the top sellers in your genre if not actually look better if possible. 

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1 hour ago, Thomas Davidsmeier said:

 

If you put this in a line up with four other covers from the top 20 Fantasy books on Amazon, this one would stick out like a sore thumb. Your goal is for your cover to at least fit in with the top sellers in your genre if not actually look better if possible. 

 

Is/are there any specific reason(s) you think this? The other posted helpful suggestions about font, the chain and the people, but is there anything in specific that stuck out badly to you, @Thomas Davidsmeier? I mean, why would it "stick out like a sore thumb?" 

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Sorry I didn't have time last night to type out the specifics. Before I get going, let me make it clear that I'm looking at this like a project that you as the author want to successfully sell to readers, and not as a labor of love that is already exactly how you want it. It is very hard at the beginning to look at your books this way, so please forgive me if I offend. I don't mean to. I'm only trying to look at this through the lense of what readers want and what will attract them, which I'm still trying to learn myself, by the way. Most of my advice comes from successful people I've read or communicated with.

 

1) You should use photos of real people whenever possible. They are more eye catching and effective than the silhouettes. This fact drives me nuts because I draw well (but not quite professional quality) and would rather draw my book covers than manipulate photos. But, if you look at book covers that sell well, they are all photo realistic.

 

2) You need images that convey "Fantasy" clearly the instant someone looks at the cover. The chain looks modern and the landscape is neutral in this regard. I don't know about exactly what's in your book, but you need to have a princess, sword (fancy weapon), dragon (monster), wizard, elf, dwarf, or some sort of magic happening. Those are the sorts of things that convey Fantasy.

 

By the way, when you go looking at the covers, ignore authors with huge name recognition like JK Rowling, Anne MacCaffrey, and JRR Tolkien. 

 

All right, I gave in and made some screenshots to reference. I knew none of these books before just doing some quick searches on Amazon (except the Harry Potter ones, which I've read and of course Tolkien).

 

In the first one, the three Harry Potter books and the Anne MacCaffrey are very clearly pro work, but they also are a little ambiguous because those authors have huge name recognition and fan bases already. We don't have that. We've got to make our covers do more work.

 

The other two covers in that first picture do a good job of the points I was talking about. "Night Shift Dragons" uses real looking people to get your attention. They don't have one of those entities I talked about in point 2, but they've got the word "Dragon" real big on there letting people know what they're in for. It's also the 3rd book in a series where the first book is called "Minimum Wage Magic" and Magic is ginormous on the cover, again, making it clear to a prospective reader that it's a fantasy book. (Also, they make good use of genre styled fonts like @lynnmosher said).

 

The Darklight book in that same image again uses real looking people and magical glowy sorts of effects to convey the genre. It is actually part of a seven book series that all use that cool eclipsy moon thingie as a sort of visual trademark to tie it all together.

 

Next set of six books includes a great example of what you can get away with if you're famous. We're not. We can't do it. Look at that artsy cover up in the top right. What book is that? Oh, JRR Tolkien. No wonder they can convey so little messaging so vaguely on the cover like that.

 

You might be thinking that the one in the middle of the top of this picture sticks out like a sore thumb. I thought so too, so I clicked on it to check it out. It is book 15 of a series. They don't need a great cover after that many books. They've got a fan base who would buy the next book if it was just a crayon drawn stick picture of the protagonist.

 

The bottom row here is much more profitable for our interests though.  The Vine Witch has the word witch real big and has ingredients for spells strewn around. Honestly, without the word witch, you might mistake it for a cookbook, so they are using their text to their advantage there. The last two have both fonts and effects on their titles that make them look "Fantasy". Glowy letters and metallic letters are common on fantasy books to send the right signals. You've got the warrior dude in armor on the middle one, and the axe and birds on the last one. All those things are very Fantasy type things. I haven't clicked yet, but I'm betting the last one is also a sort of mystery. I'm going to check now. Oops. I was wrong. That's actually a map behind the axe, and the book isn't a mystery per se. That's another fantasy sign. That guy is also well established, so he's got a big following already. He says in his blurb that the book isn't typical fantasy either, so maybe he's trying to signal that a little with his cover. Not sure.

 

Anyway. Grab some online photos with licenses that allow for reuse with modification that could stand in for your main characters. Drop them on either side of the image. Put a picture of a chain that looks more rounded and fantasy like (probably gold or silver, definitely oval shaped links and smooth) running down the middle from top to bottom, or maybe two chains in arcs crisscrossing. That'd be cool. Get some twirly-do sort of fonts with big serifs on them and put your title on there with a glow or a shine to it.

 

Also, I'd reconsider the word "Links" in the title because there are so many connotations to it now. Internet links, golf links, cuff links... Maybe "Bonds" or "Chains" or another more Fantasy and less analytical kind of word.

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So, maybe I should mention that my book is NOT a dark fantasy like Harry Potter, @Thomas Davidsmeier. My target audience is 9-15, not really adults. It's a light fantasy, carrying only small amounts of magic.

Also, the word "Links" is crucial. Lol, you signed up to beta-read it so once you've skimmed the story over I think you'll know what I mean. 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Micaiah said:

So, maybe I should mention that my book is NOT a dark fantasy like Harry Potter, @Thomas Davidsmeier. My target audience is 9-15, not really adults. It's a light fantasy, carrying only small amounts of magic.

Also, the word "Links" is crucial. Lol, you signed up to beta-read it so once you've skimmed the story over I think you'll know what I mean. 

 

 

So I played around for a few minutes, and here's what I came up with. It's just for fun...you're not necessarily supposed to like it, but it may spark an idea or get your creative juices going again.

 

Links of the.jpg

Edited by Zee
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If you were going to go with something along these lines, I'd add a few more filters or fades or something to give the tree more of a "fantasy" vibe, and while I think the font looks all right for the genre, I'd ditch something stark and flat, like this, and go with Thomas Davidsmeier's suggestion of making it 3-D looking, or magical, somehow.

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BTW, you should have seen the first cover I suggested for my book.  As a bit of graphic design, it was fine, but as a cover for a romance novel...it was awful. So don't be discouraged. Fantasy covers look like they'd be tricky, but also tons of fun to design and create. Shame I don't care for writing fantasy.

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