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General > Need feedback on cover and blurb

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message 1: by Maron (last edited Apr 26, 2014 08:58AM) (new)

Maron Anrow (maronanrow) | 6 comments Hello! I'm writing to request feedback on the cover and blurb of my forthcoming book Laika in Lisan. A month ago I went through two very different versions of the cover, and the feedback I received was that neither was very exciting. I ended up completely ditching those cover concepts and starting from scratch. I commissioned an artist to draw a unique illustration for the book, and I'm so happy I did. Now I'm looking for feedback from readers. Are the cover and blurb appealing, or do they fall flat?

Here is the current cover:


Here is the blurb:

When historian and private tutor Laika Roen is invited to study in Lisan—a country to which few foreigners are granted entry—she drops everything in her unsatisfying life to pursue adventure. Lisan is a mysterious land, where it's rumored that citizens are oppressed by their cruel and despotic leader, a man they worship and adore nonetheless.

Laika gets more than she bargained for when her trip is disrupted by violence and she’s forced to set out on her own. She soon meets Rodya, a man who’s living in the mountains to avoid Lisan’s oppressive government. With his guidance Laika witnesses firsthand what is normally hidden from foreigners like her: the widespread abuse and deprivation of the Lisani people.

Trapped in a maze of moral ambiguity, Laika must choose between her conscience, her feelings for Rodya, and the greater good.

When the artist started making concept sketches for the cover, I made a draft cover based on her concept sketches. I really like the colors of the draft, probably more so than the colors of the final illustration... I'm debating whether I should try to darken the cover above to try to achieve a similar effect. The draft cover is below. I'm very curious to hear whether you guys prefer the general tone of the current cover or the draft cover (granting that the illustration in the draft cover is clearly a sketch).


Thanks in advance for your input!

message 2: by Maron (new)

Maron Anrow (maronanrow) | 6 comments The version I posted above was made after enlarging the characters in the illustration. I'm thinking about returning to the original size. The revised cover is below (using the unaltered illustration). If anyone has any feedback (e.g., do you prefer this version or the one with larger characters), I'd appreciate it. Thanks!


message 3: by Hákon (new)

Hákon Gunnarsson | 5 comments Personally I like the last one (Cover 2014 04 26b) the best. I think the sketch is too dark, because the title starts to blend into the background too much. I also think the title works better with the smaller letters in the last cover, then the slightly bigger in the first one.

message 4: by Maron (new)

Maron Anrow (maronanrow) | 6 comments Thanks for the feedback, Hákon!

message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Morgan (mjbookeditor) | 15 comments Hey there! Great job on both the cover and the blurb! Like Hákon, I prefer the "lighter" one. It's quite eye-catching.

Good luck to you!

message 6: by Maron (new)

Maron Anrow (maronanrow) | 6 comments Thanks, Michelle! I appreciate it.

message 7: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 12 comments I actually like the gist of this cover quite a bit. I like the quiet, obviously "drawn" art and the colors.

I like both the author's name in the bar at the bottom, and floating loose at the top. Either works for me.

However, your problem lies in your use of font and layout of it.

My advice, for what it's worth:

Pick a font and stick with it. You've got at least three fonts (maybe four) on here. Never use more than two, and if you can do it with just one, that's fine too. Your saving grace here is that at least your fonts are readable. That's key.

So...if you are going to use a novelty font, pick one and only one. If you must use another one (say, for your name)pick a very simple one that compliments the novelty font. If your main font is a seraph font (has "feet" or "tabs"), pick a sans-seraph font for your other font, preferably a very simple one. Or, visa versa.

If you want to play around a little with fonts, and have your second word different than your first in the title, find two complimentary fonts in the same font family, or maybe something scripty so it's very obviously different. But that's tricky, so proceed with caution.

I like your author's name centered...I'm not a huge fan of centering, but in this usage, I think it looks good.

Your title, though, should be either left justified or right justified. Not both. Maybe you could make it bigger and make it one big block.

I like how the man's head breaks into the title, but I think you should make it break into it even more than you do to eliminate the visual tension of it just touching his head. Don't be afraid to really dig into that letter...the viewer's brain will supply the missing parts of the letter (thus making the title even more engaging...it's a visual brain trick in graphic design). What you don't want is for it to look cramped or like an accident.

I don't know who drew your picture, but it's a very nice pic, and there's quite a bit I like about it. I find the quiet simplicity and the serene colors of it very appealing.

message 8: by Maron (new)

Maron Anrow (maronanrow) | 6 comments Regina - Wow! Thank you so much for the excellent feedback about the text. I'll admit that the text type, size, and placement have been driving me crazy (I've moved everything around countless times. I think the ease with which text can be changed makes it difficult to settle on something). I'm definitely going to tinker with the text again with your comments in mind.

I'm glad you like the illustration. I found the artist on DeviantArt, and I love her style. I'm happy to recommend her. Here's her website: http://thalassanord.deviantart.com/

message 9: by Regina (new)

Regina Shelley (reginas) | 12 comments Cool, thanks for the tip! And glad I could help. I love graphic design (I was a designer, back when I had a regular job).

I have found most of the artists I use (I use a lot of art in my books) at DeviantArt. There's some really great talent over there.

Too many times to count, I have sat there pushing elements around a page trying to get something to work. Sometimes you have to walk away from it and return to it and see it with fresh eyes.

Good rule of thumb is don't try to be fancy. If you're scrambling elements around a page over and over, it might be that going back to the drawing board and making it simpler will help.

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