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Old 08-24-2010, 04:54 PM   #76
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Here's just a couple of pointers for everyone, and what I've learned since starting to do covers (some tips from a non-artist such as myself that'll give your covers some pizzaz!)

1. No serif fonts. They very rarely look good and are quite old-fashioned (this goes double for bevels and any of those text auto-effects you'll get in popular photo programs.)

2. The cover image must be colourful, or have a dominant colour (this helps it stand out in amongst a lot of other covers).

3. DON'T just slap a font on top of a picture that is near to what your story is about. You took time and effort to write a novel, now take a while to come up with a nice cover (although, I don't do this at all. It usually takes me fifteen minutes for a cover because I'm like an excited child when I get an idea).

4. TEXTURE, TEXTURE, TEXTURE. Layers of paper textures and grunge textures and canvas textures all over what you're doing, then play with blends until something pops out at you and screams COVER!

5. Go symbolic. Don't try and tell your whole story on the cover. Pick out an element or two that can represent your story in a visually eye-catching way. Get a good tagline on there to entice the reader (when they look closer).

6. Do it cheap. If you're an indie you won't have the budget for photoshop or illustrator or any of that. I use all free software (both free as in money and as in freedom to tinker) such as The Gimp and Inkscape on a free operating system (UbuntU)

7. Play to your audience's expectations. If you're writing horror, grunge up your cover, a thriller, you better have something on there that'll draw in a thriller crowd and so on. Again, the big sin with covers is just slapping some text over a picture. It will GUARANTEE a large portion of your potential audience will just skip reading you.

Here's some of my recent covers (from my own publishing house) just to give you a flavour of what a non-trained person experimenting with images can come up with (all subject to drastic change).
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:18 PM   #77
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Really useful post, Mojoe.

(Do you mean it about serif fonts? Isn't there a place for them in some genres? There are quite a lot of them in the bookshops.)
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:21 PM   #78
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Moejoe did the first version of my book cover, which you can see in this thread here.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62363

I totally loved it, and it only took him about 2 hours from the time I posted asking for help.

The only reason I changed the cover is because I needed one 300 dpi for the paperback version, but even working from his original idea, it took me a couple of months to come up with the final version.

The tagline is his - it was too perfect not to use (and the fact that he came up with it from a two paragraph synopsis is just astounding).

He has a gift.
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:35 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Lexi Revellian View Post
Really useful post, Mojoe.

(Do you mean it about serif fonts? Isn't there a place for them in some genres? There are quite a lot of them in the bookshops.)
Serif fonts work within a very restricted area, when you're deliberately looking for an old fashioned look. I will always go with a sans font over a serif when it comes to titling. Again though, it's entirely up to your own design sensibilities. The equation is simple for me: sans = modern, serif=old fashioned.

Of course, I do break my own rule. In the cover below for my novel "The Song of Insects" I used a serif font to mimic the 'curly' nature of the main graphic (but as I look at it now, I'm beginning to have my doubts about the usage).
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Old 08-24-2010, 05:54 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Lexi Revellian View Post
So what about this one? Mojoe, if you're around, be honest.

In this one your colours are blending into one another, they're clashing and it becomes confusing. Remember this cover is going to be seen at resolutions as small as 75px and as large as 1024px (if you're on ipad an go full screen with it). I do all my cover work at 72dpi and 740x1024px (exclusive for web. I hate print with a passion).

First I'd like to ask which market are you targeting? is it the romance market or the mystery market? From your blurb it could easily be either. Once we know your target we can move forward and start coming up with a design (or designs) that will most effectively address the potential readership.

EDIT: And you know, Lexi, you can have the one I did if you'd like it. It only took ten minutes or so, and its yours if you'd like to use it (of course I'd have to correct the spelling mistake on the front first and it's absolutely useless for print, but there you go.)

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Old 08-24-2010, 06:02 PM   #81
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I think your question goes to the heart of why I didn't quite manage to get an agent for Remix, Moejoe. It's contemporary fiction with elements of romance; it's a whodunnit but without the masses of suspects in the frame you usually get; it's not chicklit but my daughter reckons readers of chicklit would like it.

I wrote it attempting to write something as much of a page turner as an early Dick Francis, with an intelligent yet naive heroine as in I Capture the Castle. My go at commercial fiction after writing two books in that unique genre, fantasy for people who don't like fantasy.

What a kind offer - but that's a carousel horse rather than a rocking horse, an important distinction

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Old 08-24-2010, 06:06 PM   #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexi Revellian View Post
I think your question goes to the heart of why I didn't quite manage to get an agent for Remix, Moejoe. It's contemporary fiction with elements of romance; it's a whodunnit but without the masses of suspects in the frame you usually get; it's not chicklit but my daughter reckons readers of chicklit would like it.

I wrote it attempting to write something as much of a page turner as an early Dick Francis, with an intelligent yet naive heroine as in I Capture the Castle. My go at commercial fiction after writing two books in that unique genre, fantasy for people who don't like fantasy.
Don't get downhearted, agents are a bunch of tossers anyway. What your'e describing is slipstream, or to put it better, a Lexi Revellian novel, which makes it all the more important that you put your own unique design stamp on the covers, so that people know this is a LEXI REVELLIAN novel not a this or a that novel.

From your description, I'm sensing a lighter tone to the work than I originally imagined. Give me a couple of minutes and let me see if I can come up with a more modern, chick-litty crossover cover.

I'm thinking more primary colours, a green or a purple with a central image that pops and a slightly funky font beneath.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:23 PM   #83
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Thank you - if I don't reply it won't be a stunned silence, just I'll be asleep as it's 11.20pm in London and past my bedtime.
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:25 PM   #84
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Thank you - if I don't reply it won't be a stunned silence, just I'll be asleep as it's 11.20pm in London and past my bedtime.
And it's 11:24pm in't North of England, it's about time I bring in the whippets and settle down in front o't coal fire with a pint of best
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Old 08-24-2010, 06:35 PM   #85
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And it's 11:24pm in't North of England, it's about time I bring in the whippets and settle down in front o't coal fire with a pint of best
Myself, I've just polished off the last of the Chardonnay and taken the Labradoodle out for a quick walk round the Boltons.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:07 PM   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khalleron View Post
Moejoe did the first version of my book cover, which you can see in this thread here.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62363

I totally loved it, and it only took him about 2 hours from the time I posted asking for help.

The only reason I changed the cover is because I needed one 300 dpi for the paperback version, but even working from his original idea, it took me a couple of months to come up with the final version.

The tagline is his - it was too perfect not to use (and the fact that he came up with it from a two paragraph synopsis is just astounding).

He has a gift.
he really does. i love moejoe's covers. they're always something i wish i had designed myself. the cover discussion threads are some of my favourites around here to be honest. it's so fascinating seeing how different people express the first impression they (or their designer) want to give of their book. plus so many of them are pretty.

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And it's 11:24pm in't North of England, it's about time I bring in the whippets and settle down in front o't coal fire with a pint of best
Quote:
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Myself, I've just polished off the last of the Chardonnay and taken the Labradoodle out for a quick walk round the Boltons.
on the other side of the channel it's past 1 now, i've got no more St. Pourçain and i should be popping off to bed so the infernal felines can wake me up in a few hours.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:21 PM   #87
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Okay here's the light, breezy, chick-litty version of the cover. It'd fit right nice into that section of WHSmiths where my sister exclusively picks ALL her reading matter LOL
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:19 AM   #88
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Okay here's the light, breezy, chick-litty version of the cover. It'd fit right nice into that section of WHSmiths where my sister exclusively picks ALL her reading matter LOL
Thanks, Moejoe - you made me laugh, I hope you don't mind. How old is your sister? I don't want to put off adult readers. My immediate reaction is this cover would appeal to fourteen-year-olds or even younger; the 'young girl' tag reinforces the toy and the pink. There is mild adult content in the book and swearing - mark you, I'd have read it in my early teens, when I was reading accessible adult fiction.

(I don't much like pink, because of the colour-coding of little girls one sees such a lot of, which I think is a Bad Thing.)
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:23 AM   #89
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Thanks, Moejoe - you made me laugh, I hope you don't mind. How old is your sister? I don't want to put off adult readers. My immediate reaction is this cover would appeal to fourteen-year-olds or even younger; the 'young girl' tag reinforces the toy and the pink. There is mild adult content in the book and swearing - mark you, I'd have read it in my early teens, when I was reading accessible adult fiction.

(I don't much like pink, because of the colour-coding of little girls one sees such a lot of, which I think is a Bad Thing.)

My sister is mid 30's going on 14

In the cold light of day, I'm not into the design much, although I still like the horsey. I'll have one final crack at it.
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Old 08-25-2010, 07:47 AM   #90
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Blue colour. Guitar illustration.
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