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To Summon The Blackbird
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message 1: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) To Summon The Blackbird has been out for a year and a half now, and I've decided that it's about time to punch up the cover a little, or change it completely. I've also been experimenting with Gimp, and I've learned quite a lot of new stuff. I have three possibilities at the moment: the first is the cover as it is, but with a little flare on the blackbird, the other two are completely new covers.

I plan to bring out a new sequel in a few months, maybe into early next year. Both will have the same covers, both will have "Blackbird" in the title, and the word "Blackbird" will be in the exact same place on both covers. You may notice some blank spots: that's where I'll put the series title and book number.

Two questions:
1. Wondering if I should go ahead and change the cover now, and
2. Which one looks best? #1, # 2, or #3.

Cover #1


Cover #2


Cover #3



message 2: by Ken (last edited Jul 15, 2016 10:40AM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) The images are a little big, so it might be easier to judge if you open each one in a new tab. On my computer it gives me that option if I right click on the image.


message 3: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments Mr Ken! *waves happily* How exciting!!

Totally outta my element here, but I'm personally drawn to #3. Not crazy about the "a science fiction novel by", though. I like the how the first cover just has "a science fiction novel" under the title.

Again, no idea what I'm talking about *smirks*

Hugs,
Ann


message 4: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Yeah, the word "by" is always a little iffy, but it does make the phrase fit well above my name. But I could lose it if it's a problem. Thanks!


message 5: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) I like #1 the best, though "a science fiction novel" is slightly out of focus.


message 6: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments Ken wrote: "Yeah, the word "by" is always a little iffy, but it does make the phrase fit well above my name. But I could lose it if it's a problem. Thanks!"

You're totes right! It would be weird without the "by".

Hmm. Perhaps smaller, under the title? Yeah, no idea haha. Oh! And I do like #1 too except for the outline around the "Blackbird" font. Not sure why but it looks...I dunno...less "finished"? Yeah, STILL no idea haha...

Hugs,
Ann


message 7: by Ken (last edited Jul 15, 2016 12:07PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Unfortunately, "Blackbird" wouldn't show up well against the dark background without the outline. It could even use a little more. I didn't have Gimp back then, or a lot of knowledge about making computer art. I was lucky to do as well as I did.

I should also say that, this being Sci-Fi, not Fantasy, there is no actual "magic" blackbird in the book. It's used as a symbol only, and in the new designs the "tunnel" through the stars at the top actually is relevant to the story.

Thanks!


message 8: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Oh! I like three! I'm a fan of clean design and I think this would make a great ebook cover because it would be the most clear in thumbnail. Personally, I'd take the whole "a science fiction novel by" off entirely. If it caught someone's eye and they didn't check the description or category, that's on them.


message 9: by Ken (last edited Jul 15, 2016 12:11PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I could do that. Or at least reduce it way down to a squint, move it up to just beneath the title, and leave the offensive "by" off. It would give me more room for the series title.

Okay, numbers 1 and 3 are tied, since Annie likes both.


message 10: by Annie (last edited Jul 15, 2016 12:14PM) (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments Ahhh, Mr Ken, is this a series?? Do you have a mock-up with the series title on there?

EDIT: Nooo, my vote is for #3! Hands down!! It's simple, clean and not cluttered at all. I dig it!!

It's just that I prefer the sans "by" in #1.


message 11: by Zoltán (new)

Zoltán (witchhunter) | 267 comments I prefer #2.

That spiral really catches my attention. After wondering what the equation is for it, I start to wonder what's on the other side :)

The three section structure also solves the 'problem' of the "A science fiction novel by" text that appears in version #3. The text is smaller and more separated from you name that gets more emphasis.

It also gives me a second round feeling of ground, air (with bird) and space (into the unknown).


message 12: by Ken (last edited Jul 15, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Annie wrote: "Ahhh, Mr Ken, is this a series?? Do you have a mock-up with the series title on there?

EDIT: Nooo, my vote is for #3! Hands down!! It's simple, clean and not cluttered at all. I dig it!!

It's jus..."


Got it. Okay, a vote each for one and two, and two votes for three. I'll definitely do something about that "a science fiction story by" thing.

Yes, I do have a mock-up of the sequel, but I prefer not to release the title or the series title right now. It's a simple process: I made a cover with everything except the other words of the "Blackbird" titles, and I can use it as a starter for both.


message 13: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments @Mr Ken: Oh, I wasn't asking to see your top secret cover for book 2 haha. Just curious if you had a cover for book 1 with the series title on it XD


message 14: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) For the first example I have complete covers for both, with everything on it. The redesigned covers don't have everything yet because I may go ahead and change the cover for the one that's already published, but they'll be easy to finish.


message 15: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) The revised version of #3:



message 16: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments I like it better!! But hmm. I feel like the "a science fiction novel" is too small now...

And stop distracting me while imma tryna write!! (don't actually speak like that *smirks*)


message 17: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) In regard to this being a series, it didn't start out that way. This is a stand-alone book. But there was room for a sequel, and it's turning out pretty well so far. It's a stand-alone also, but reading both in order gives the reader a much wider experience.


message 18: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Annie wrote: "I like it better!! But hmm. I feel like the "a science fiction novel" is too small now...

And stop distracting me while imma tryna write!! (don't actually speak like that *smirks*)"


You're messin' with me, aren't you...


message 19: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 787 comments I like all of them including the one you have up whichever that is. Great cover work.


message 20: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Justin wrote: "I like all of them including the one you have up whichever that is. Great cover work."

Thanks Justin! I'm learning...


message 21: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments @Mr Ken: re "You're messin' with me, aren't you... "

I'm always messing with ya XP

But not this time haha. I'm actually trying to write and I actually do think it's a wee bit small. I'm kinda obsessed with size though. (OF FONTS!!!)

:)


message 22: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Annie wrote: "@Mr Ken: re "You're messin' with me, aren't you... "

I'm always messing with ya XP

But not this time haha. I'm actually trying to write and I actually do think it's a wee bit small. I'm kinda obs..."


Got it. ;)


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Ken wrote: "To Summon The Blackbird has been out for a year and a half now, and I've decided that it's about time to punch up the cover a little, or change it completely. I've also been experim..."

I love option #3 here. The simplicity is great, the colors contrast really nicely. On the same vein as many comments above, the word "by" is a little outdated. I really like the concept from #1, "A Science Fiction Novel." Let your name stand alone, but the design itself is fantastic!


message 24: by S.J. (new)

S.J. Higgins | 173 comments They all look great! But it's no3 for me!


message 25: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Now it's 4 votes for number three, and one vote each for the other two. Thanks!


message 26: by Lloyd (new)

Lloyd (author74) | 3 comments Personally, I like the revised #3


message 27: by Ann (new)

Ann Pratley (ann_m_pratley) Well I am no great book cover expert (only just put up a new post in here - "how does anyone decide on what they will put on their cover?")! but I was instantly drawn to #3, mainly because it makes the blackbird far more easy to see (makes it quite striking really). It also makes your name stand out more too, even more than #2 which I was not attracted to because of that broad band at the bottom .. something about that does not fit as well as your name being highlighted better in #3.

Looks like a great book though - I shall have to check it out!

:)

Ann


message 28: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) So that's 6 votes for number three. Thanks Lloyd and Ann.


message 29: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments I always have to be different, sorry.

I prefer #1 (as a paperback) but I agree that the revised #3 would make a great thumb size cover.


message 30: by Ceanmohrlass (new)

Ceanmohrlass Ceanmohrlass | 69 comments I love number three! Bold and uncluttered!


message 31: by Ken (last edited Jul 15, 2016 02:07PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) G.G. wrote: "I always have to be different, sorry.

I prefer #1 (as a paperback) but I agree that the revised #3 would make a great thumb size cover."


I use the glossy paperback cover, and it is very striking. Maybe I should keep #1 for the paperback and hardcover/dustcover and use #3 (revised) for ebooks.

That's 8 votes for #3, 1 vote for #2, and 2 votes for #1.

(My head is so swelled from all this praise that I'm thinking maybe I should give up writing and just do covers. Seems to be more money for less work, and the work is a lotta fun)


message 32: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments Ken wrote: "Blah blah blah...I'm thinking maybe I should give up writing and just do covers."

Don't even think about it. Or else I'll come find you...


message 33: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Ken wrote: "(My head is so swelled from all this praise that I'm thinking maybe I should give up writing and just do covers. Seems to be more money for less work, and the work is a lotta fun)"

Ha! I thought the same thing while I was fussing with Riley's covers, but realized part of the fun was that it wasn't work. ;)


message 34: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) You're both right. I have no idea how to even begin with the business side of it. And it's probably way too much trouble for the money I'd make from it.


message 35: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments Hi Ken, I like #1 the most :)

I think your name would look better in giant letters at the bottom, running from the left margin to the right margin.


message 36: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments Annie wrote: "Ken wrote: "Blah blah blah...I'm thinking maybe I should give up writing and just do covers."

Don't even think about it. Or else I'll come find you..."


Annie, it cracks me up every time you revise someone's post, haha :) in case you are wondering if anyone notices


message 37: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Thanks Marie.

That's 3 votes for #1, one vote for #2, and 8 votes for number 3.


message 38: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments Marie wrote: "Annie, it cracks me up every time you revise someone's post, haha :) in case you are wondering if anyone notices"

Awww *wipes away tear* Thanks for noticing me, Miss Marie *hugs* but shhh, don't tell anyone. I'm gonna get in trouble...

@Mr Ken: I think you have a new cover, good sir ^_~


message 39: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments I finally found what felt wrong with 2 and 3. While the first screams scifi, the other two tells me mystery or spy a la 007 but not science fiction. Am I the only one seeing it this way?


message 40: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments G.G. wrote: "I finally found what felt wrong with 2 and 3. While the first screams scifi, the other two tells me mystery or spy a la 007 but not science fiction. Am I the only one seeing it this way?"

For some reason, 2 and 3 look to me like an abstract cover of a political type book or literary fiction maybe. The rings around the bird in 1 makes me think scifi.


message 41: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) | 629 comments Huh. I totally see them all as sci-fi. #3 looks very "space-y" to me. But considering how I just called it that... *blank stare*


message 42: by Ken (last edited Jul 15, 2016 05:10PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I guess that's why I felt compelled to add, "A Science Fiction Novel." You just never know...

So I'm thinking of going ahead and changing the current cover for the ebooks, and maybe changing the cover on my Lulu paperbacks (and leave it alone on Createspace) just to see how they look.


message 43: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Annie wrote: "Huh. I totally see them all as sci-fi. #3 looks very "space-y" to me. But considering how I just called it that... *blank stare*"

Same here. I'm seeing space in the horizon and a nice nod to the art deco and minimalist styles of the scifi covers of the 60s and 70s with a modern clean look. Honestly, this is an eye-catching cover.


message 44: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments G.G. wrote: "I finally found what felt wrong with 2 and 3. While the first screams scifi, the other two tells me mystery or spy a la 007 but not science fiction. Am I the only one seeing it this way?"

Ditto that, G.G. Very striking covers but they don't evoke sci-fi to me. I'd have thought some sort of spy thriller too until told otherwise.


message 45: by K.R. (new)

K.R. Reese (authorkrreese) | 41 comments Ken wrote: "To Summon The Blackbird has been out for a year and a half now, and I've decided that it's about time to punch up the cover a little, or change it completely. I've also been experim..."

I have to say I'm drawn to #3. I like the first one, too, but something about the third one draws my attention.


message 46: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Number 2 really drew my eye


message 47: by Emily (new)

Emily Taylor (taylorink) | 30 comments Ken wrote: "To Summon The Blackbird has been out for a year and a half now, and I've decided that it's about time to punch up the cover a little, or change it completely. I've also been experim..."

The revised third one looks the most professional.
I'd advise you to experiment simply putting the author and tag in ariel font though.

Also, make the bottom gradient slightly off white so it doesn't blend with website backgrounds: standard practice.


message 48: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Emily wrote: "The revised third one looks the most professional.
I'd advise you to experiment simply putting the author and tag in ariel font though...."


I try to limit cover fonts to those that are licensed for free use. I'd hate to have a runaway best seller and get sued. (Actually I wouldn't object to a runaway best seller, even if I did get sued.)

For the new covers the large "Blackbird" font is Autumn (for the original cover I used Franklin Gothic Heavy, I think, and then stretched it out vertically), the rest is Felix Titling . My name is Copperplate Gothic Bold, and "A Science Fiction Novel" is Bookman Old Style set bold.

Thanks everybody. Looks like revised #3 wins it.


message 49: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Christina wrote: "I'm seeing space in the horizon and a nice nod to the art deco and minimalist styles of the scifi covers of the 60s and 70s with a modern clean look...."

I got some of that effect by converting the artwork to ink drawing. The star field is an actual deep-space picture taken by Hubble.


message 50: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Ian wrote: "G.G. wrote: "I finally found what felt wrong with 2 and 3. While the first screams scifi, the other two tells me mystery or spy a la 007 but not science fiction. Am I the only one seeing it this wa..."

I get a Twilight-Zone-ey feel from it--purely an accidental side effect. I wanted spooky, but not paranormal.


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