Writing Historical Fiction discussion

Killer Covers

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message 1: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader We all know how important covers are, and I find finding the right cover for my books is only getting harder! I thought it might be a good idea to exchange some thoughts on this -- and tips!

What do you think are the most important elements in a cover for serious (not fantasy, time-slip or romance) historical fiction? Does contemporary art attract or put off readers? How "modern" can the cover of a historical novel be?

Also, does anyone know a good cover designer? I have tried several over the years and remain fundamentally frustrated -- despite a couple of really brilliant covers. I'm particularly interested in a cover designer with an understanding of and affinity to the Middle Ages, especially the late 12th and early 13th century. Hope someone has a good tip!

message 2: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader Beth wrote: "Hello, Helena. Your comments about covers remind me of how hard I tried to find a good cover for my book of short stories when I first started experimenting with self-publishing. I gave up in frust..."

Thanks, Beth!

message 3: by D.w. (new)

D.w. Bradbridge | 2 comments Hi Helena. I used Electric Reads to design the cover of my first self-published novel, The Winter Siege. They did a terrific job. They provided me with a selection of different styles ranging from subtle, suggestive designs to the more "in-your-face" design that I finally chose. In the end my main reasons for choosing the design that I did was the realisation that the main purpose of the cover was to sell books. The cover I chose was striking but also explained exactly what the main focus of the book was about. I can't recommend Electric Reads enough.

message 4: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader Thanks! It's great to have several options.

message 5: by D.w. (new)

D.w. Bradbridge | 2 comments Helana. Like most others, I voted for number two but I actually prefer the balance of number one - with the yellow in a strip near the top rather than right at the top. I also prefer the darker black on number one - it makes for a cleaner and crisper image. The problem with number 1 though is that it doesn't tell you what the book is about. I'd like to see the image of the knight combined with the number one design/layout. Hope that helps.

message 6: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader That's very helpful, and I see what you mean. My problem is that we chose colors closest to the Capetian arms for the covers with the knight, and that makes me hesitate to alter them. Heraldic arms were the "branding" of the Middle Ages and I think it is important to use Capetian colors. I will keep your comments in mind for future covers, however. In fact, I think I know exactly where I might be able to put these tips to use. Thanks again!

message 7: by Helena (new)

Helena Schrader Beth wrote: "Helen, I didn't vote on your cover because although #3 was most appealing to me (the knight looks human), I believe your name is far too small once the cover goes on Amazon. Consider increasing the..."
Beth, this is very helpful! I'll forward your comments to my graphic designer and we can fix it! Thanks so much!

message 8: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 91 comments I liked the 2nd one, where the man on horseback was larger than in the first. The last two did not do much for me.

message 9: by Aly (new)

Aly Abell | 3 comments Helena wrote: "Help me choose a cover image for my forthcoming novel "Knight of Jerusalem," the first book in a trilogy about Balian d'Ibelin, who defended Jerusalem against Saladin in 1187. My cover artist has s..."

I tried to post my vote to your blog but it didn't seem to register. I also liked Image #2 best. The horse and ride with the city background was much more evocative of place and time than was the other choice. The larger horse image will show up better on a small image when sold as an ebook online.

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