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Old 09-20-2009, 10:53 PM   #1
Steven Lake
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A writer with an artwork question

Hey guys, I'm working on a series of novels in a series called "The Bitter Cycles of Man", book 1 of which has been offered here as a free ebook with the help of rwood. I'm right now working on book 3 of the series, but I'm also already looking ahead to books 4-7 of the first Saga, and am in need of some help with cover art.

I'm not sure if anyone here is an artist or not, but if someone is, I could use a little cover art help. Empire Rising and First Dawn are the two next in line that I need help on, as the covers I have right now are only fillers, and need to be either beefed up or replaced with more professional artwork.

And if nobody here is an artist, then some helpful pointers towards someone who can be of help is welcome. As a side bonus, I will be releasing the free ebooks for these as well when I'm done with them.
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Old 09-21-2009, 04:41 AM   #2
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I would have offered my own services, but it seems you're selling the book commercially, so that counts me out. Sorry.

EDIT: Thinking about it a bit more, and because I realised the above statement isn't so helpful, I think I'd go with a strong logo as a central image. The Earthfleet of your story and center that on all the book covers. Then you could denote each part simply by a change in background colour and obviously title. Doing it this way would mean you'd not have to focus on generating a brand new cover for every installment.

Let me work on a mockup to show you what I mean.

Last edited by Moejoe; 09-21-2009 at 05:43 AM.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:53 AM   #3
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So here's a quick mockup of how I'd approach it. First I'd design some kind of military insignia. In my example I quickly mocked up an eye overlooking three bars, but if I had time I'd include wings of some kind and a symbol for the earth. Center this insignia on every cover, then all you need change is the colour of the background and the text and you're done.

The added bonus of this approach is that your 'Earthfleet' insignia then becomes a powerful t-shirt design and brand, which you can then use across the board. Think of the Star Trek upended 'V'.
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Last edited by Moejoe; 09-21-2009 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 09-21-2009, 11:50 AM   #4
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And once you have the logo/insignia in place you can go on to make faux posters that might exist in your fictional world.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
Steven Lake
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Oh wow. Dude, that's just utterly awesome. I love the idea! And I'm interested in paying for the cover art too, so I'm not asking for pro-bono work. But I do love your concepts.
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Old 09-21-2009, 01:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Lord Raiden View Post
Oh wow. Dude, that's just utterly awesome. I love the idea! And I'm interested in paying for the cover art too, so I'm not asking for pro-bono work. But I do love your concepts.
Digging a little deeper into your website, it looks to me like you're in this for the writing, not for the money. So I'll gladly do the cover artwork for your series if you'd like, and for free too. So if you're happy with that, we'll back and forth it all in this thread. Tell me what you're looking for, what you'd want changing and the rest and we'll go from there
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:10 PM   #7
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Cool, Moejoe, this is fun to watch. *goes back to watching*
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Old 09-21-2009, 08:43 PM   #8
Steven Lake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moejoe View Post
Digging a little deeper into your website, it looks to me like you're in this for the writing, not for the money.
Yeah, I love writing. Doing this for money would be a nice extra, but even if I never made a dime at it, I'd still do it, because I highly enjoy writing. It's so much fun. It's also lots of fun to share the stories with others and watch how they enjoy them.
Quote:
So I'll gladly do the cover artwork for your series if you'd like, and for free too.
WOOHOO! Thank you kind sir!
Quote:
So if you're happy with that, we'll back and forth it all in this thread. Tell me what you're looking for, what you'd want changing and the rest and we'll go from there
Well, I've got a somewhat reasonable cover for books 3 and 4 of my own making (I may know how to use Photoshop, but I'm no graphics guru. ), but I'm hoping to maybe get your 2c on them to see if they're sufficient. And if not, we can then work on some ideas to improve them. Let me post what I have really quickly for you to see.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:18 PM   #9
Steven Lake
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Ok, here you go. This is both the current covers I have made myself, and the information pages on them:

Book 3, Homeworld:

http://www.raiden.net/writing/homeworld/

Book 4, Empire Rising:

http://www.raiden.net/writing/empire_rising/

Book 5, First Dawn:

http://www.raiden.net/writing/first_dawn/

Book 3 covers a dark and sinister organization on Earth called "Black Orchid". They're a shadow organization who is like the Illuminati with essentially the same goal: Take over the world. But they're more the geeky version of the Illuminati and tend to be the crueler of the two organizations, and want nothing more than to wipe out the Society and Earthfleet in order to be free to take over Earth without them meddling.

Book 4 covers the return of Phillip and his efforts to conquer and enslave the entire galaxy under the banner of the revived Roman empire. (Long story. That'll get explained in book 4.) I'm also fairly happy with this cover, but I'd like to maybe beef it up slightly. If you think it's good as it is, I'll just leave it.

Book 5 is a flashback, taking the reader back to the inception of Earthfleet, and their early days in space. This occurs during the early 1800's, so I'm looking for a somewhat retro cover. My dad suggested a man in a space suit, an pocket watch running backwards (not sure how you'd show that) all fronted on a field of stars.

Ok, that's what I've got. Let me know what you think.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:01 AM   #10
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@MoeJoe: Dude, do you EVER sleep? Seriously, whatwith all your own writing and doing artwork not only for yourself but for others as well...
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slite View Post
@MoeJoe: Dude, do you EVER sleep? Seriously, whatwith all your own writing and doing artwork not only for yourself but for others as well...
I was wondering this, so I kept an eye on him for a few weeks. The answer is - yes, but only between 3am and 4am, on days with a 's' in them. Weird chap.
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Old 09-22-2009, 03:54 AM   #12
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@MoeJoe: Dude, do you EVER sleep? Seriously, whatwith all your own writing and doing artwork not only for yourself but for others as well...

Sleep? What is this weird thing you call sleep?

Back on topic:

The problem with most cover designs is, in most cases, that they try to show too much

Take these two LOTR ring covers.



The first is iconic, it uses the ring, simple circle centered on a black background to give you everything. The second is one of the laziest types of covers there are - the illustrated cover. This is basically just a painting with some text slapped on top. It's brother-in-arms, the photographic cover (shown below) is another abhorrent design trend in modern publishing. They don't tell us anything about the story, not even a hint, and in a lot of cases they commit that cardinal sin of showing us the main characters (shudders). Any book I see with one of these types of covers I immediately bypass. If the publishing company can't be bothered to hire a decent graphic designer to do the covers, then I can't be bothered to purchase one of their books.





What I would suggest, especially for any series of books, is a coherent design motif. A re-usable symbol that will pop out at the reader and appeal to the sense of order and belonging in their mind. A different illustrative cover for each installment will not register with a new reader, especially an ereader who is spoiled for choice. But a strong cover, a coherent 'collection' of covers will register.

These are the covers I did for Jeff Inlo (another MR writer) with a very simple idea of an increasing number of swords for each part of the trilogy.



So my proposal is along those lines. We utilise an unchanging central image (LOTR stylee) and change the text around it, thus giving you a coherent design thrust across the board.

All designs would incorporate the earthfleet logo (including t-shirts!!)




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Old 09-22-2009, 03:56 AM   #13
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*applause* I like!
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:16 AM   #14
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Ummm, "Don't judge a book by it's cover" ?

However, an intriguing cover can make you pick up a book that you wouldn't have. I have done that many, many times in the past though.

But I do agree mostly with what you say. I usually prefer a "clean" cover if I know what I am looking for. I do however like the spine of a p-book to look good when it's in the bookshelf!
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:30 AM   #15
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Interesting stuff here. I don't think there's any harm (certainly not a cardinal sin) of showing the characters on the cover, provided they match the descriptions.

Like the Slite, the real purpose of the cover is to make it stand out on the shelf, to get the shopper to pick it up - same is true if browsing on-line. There are a number of ways to do this graphically and all ways don't work for all people.
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