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Old 11-16-2022, 07:02 PM   #1
Dr. Drib
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What do you think of this working cover?

Any criticism is welcome on the cover. AND - I - MEAN - ANY - CRITICISM !!

I put this together using a FREE image from Unsplash.com and Pixelmator Pro.

(The green reminds of my younger days when I smoked. This is NOT my intention at all in this novella-in-flash fiction piece.)
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Old 11-17-2022, 05:16 AM   #2
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Dark red text on green background sort of works large but poor as thumbnail on any ebook site.
Also might be bad for the commonest type of "colour blindness", which is a deference in red / green perception.
At least the text layout is OK!
I'd not be impressed anyway. Sorry, but you did ask!

I always check what an image looks like on eink. Not just monochrome as that's black, white and 254 shades of grey whereas eink is black, nearly white and about 14 shades of grey.

Last edited by Quoth; 11-17-2022 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:09 AM   #3
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^ Thank you!

(YES. -- I want honest reactions and opinions. Your post was perfect!)
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Old 11-17-2022, 07:09 AM   #4
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The crayons lose contrast when the cover is converted to grayscale.
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Old 11-17-2022, 08:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
The crayons lose contrast when the cover is converted to grayscale.
Thanks, Jon.

What causes that loss of contrast in the crayons?
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Old 11-17-2022, 09:31 AM   #6
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Here is the cover in grayscale.

Click image for larger version

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ID:	197831

One other thing. I really dislike the fuzzy background of the cover. It's even more fuzzy in grayscale.
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Old 11-17-2022, 09:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
Thanks, Jon.

What causes that loss of contrast in the crayons?
The luminance (brightness) values of the colours is similar when using standard RGB to monochrome conversion. They don't actually contrast well even in colour. I've seen this on real Crayola brand paper sleeve colours because only some shades are darker or brighter.
Maybe coloured pencils or marker bodies have more contrast.

I presume there is some rational for the crayons, hand-held magnifying glass and leaves relating to the story? If there isn't, then re-read your story. Perhaps there is some PD natural surrealist or surreal cubist art that might suit as a cover if the idea was to have something a bit surreal?

If you can't afford a cover artist the the options are:
1) Photo edited PD painting or poster.
2) Photo montage of your own models.
3) Your own photo of something in nature. Not a photo of a modern statue or modern building as main feature as that can infringe copyright.

In three cases of covers I found nice pre-Raphaelite or Romantic art I liked but there was no obvious link to the story so I added a paragraph or two with a similar scene!

Also to be considered is how a paper edition might work. Sometimes the image continues to cover the rear. See Discworld covers.

Last edited by Quoth; 11-17-2022 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 11-17-2022, 10:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Here is the cover in grayscale.

Attachment 197831

One other thing. I really dislike the fuzzy background of the cover. It's even more fuzzy in grayscale.

Thanks. I believe it's that fuzziness that doesn't work too well.
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Old 11-17-2022, 10:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
The luminance (brightness) values of the colours is similar when using standard RGB to monochrome conversion. They don't actually contrast well even in colour. I've seen this on real Crayola brand paper sleeve colours because only some shades are darker or brighter.
Maybe coloured pencils or marker bodies have more contrast.

I presume there is some rational for the crayons, hand-held magnifying glass and leaves relating to the story? If there isn't, then re-read your story. Perhaps there is some PD natural surrealist or surreal cubist art that might suit as a cover if the idea was to have something a bit surreal?

If you can't afford a cover artist the the options are:
1) Photo edited PD painting or poster.
2) Photo montage of your own models.
3) Your own photo of something in nature. Not a photo of a modern statue or modern building as main feature as that can infringe copyright.

In three cases of covers I found nice pre-Raphaelite or Romantic art I liked but there was no obvious link to the story so I added a paragraph or two with a similar scene!

Also to be considered is how a paper edition might work. Sometimes the image continues to cover the rear. See Discworld covers.

Yes, the story relates to their ages - 2-5 years old. (Unreliable narrator. Literary conceit. Massive ego, etc.)

Another thing that would work: A free image of two children FACING AWAY FROM THE CAMERA (or even an illustration).

I can afford a cover artist - under $100 - but I dislike those dark, busy, in-style horror covers so prevalent on ebooks these days. I'm seriously considering something 'simple', such as the similar minimalist covers listed below.

Also, this is not actually a horror novella, but with a leaning toward - dare I say it, without sounding pretentious? - 'literary' aspirations.
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Old 11-17-2022, 10:55 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Drib View Post
Any criticism is welcome on the cover. AND - I - MEAN - ANY - CRITICISM !!
You said any criticism, so, with apologies and obviously the clear knowledge that none of this is personal in any way:... this cover is very, very bad. To me it screams "self-pubbed author who slapped the cover together, don't expect a competently edited book inside". I do read horror from time to time, but there is zero chance I would look twice at this book.

The first thing that's awful is the artless red text against the busy green background - it's near unreadable even at a large size and not colourblind. Your title text needs to be clear and instantly readable. The font is generic, the colour is wrong, and there seems to be something off about the kerning (though that could just be the background interfering).

The title doesn't make it clear what the book actually is. I'm guessing it's fiction masquerading as biography, but I'm also instantly turned off by the "Johnny Masturbator" name - perhaps your target audience won't be, though?

The crayons also don't really tell me anything about what I'm in for, but I'm assuming there's some connection to the story. It also took me a little minute to figure out that they're in a cup; the composition at first makes it look like the hand is holding a magnifying glass. If the 'cup' aspect is important, I'd consider a tilted cup, or a cup from the side with taller crayons coming out of the top.

If you wanted my best advice, it would be to start over using a designer, or a design student, someone with some background in the field.
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Old 11-17-2022, 11:52 AM   #11
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^ I certainly don't want it to sound amateurish. If the cover gives that impression, then it needs to be completely discarded.

AND YES: I DO, INDEED, THANK YOU!


I want honesty, and it's hard to get that on this site (in my opinion). If one has the nerve to promote on this site (then again, in my opinion), one must have the ability to take all helpful and honest criticism.
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Old 11-17-2022, 12:11 PM   #12
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If one has the nerve to promote on this site (then again, in my opinion), one must have the ability to take all helpful and honest criticism.
You certainly might need thick skin!
Is it a cup or magnifying glass?

I put this into search
PD image crayons in a cup

Honestly the paid stock images aren't worth it. Even a old camera phone, some crayons and cup / glass jam jar is better. Though green screen background is traditional some black matt garment or throw and desk lamp angled can work better for a layer. I'd use multiple layers, vector text, background, logo, multiple foreground layers and work at x2 to x4 the highest resolution needed. Export the merged image. I used to use Aldus Photostyler, then Adobe, Paint Shop Pro, Designworks etc but now on Windows or Linux I'd use Inkscape and The GIMP.
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Old 11-17-2022, 04:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quoth View Post
You certainly might need thick skin!
Is it a cup or magnifying glass?

I put this into search
PD image crayons in a cup

Honestly the paid stock images aren't worth it. Even a old camera phone, some crayons and cup / glass jam jar is better. (my emphasis) Though green screen background is traditional some black matt garment or throw and desk lamp angled can work better for a layer. I'd use multiple layers, vector text, background, logo, multiple foreground layers and work at x2 to x4 the highest resolution needed. Export the merged image. I used to use Aldus Photostyler, then Adobe, Paint Shop Pro, Designworks etc but now on Windows or Linux I'd use Inkscape and The GIMP.
Not a graphic designer (so no criticism from me!) but if you want to try taking your own photos & using them, then Pixelmator (nearly as good as my beloved Fireworks IMO) will remove any background using the "Quick Selection" tool (in my ver, it's a purple highlighter icon) and make the image a transparent PNG to be overlaid on whatever you desire.

Putting my web dev hat on, I think the previous commenters are on the money re the red text on the green background - don't ever forget that a large bunch of people are colorblind! Also, you need to consider how the cover image will appear reduced (even to the size of an icon) AND in greyscale (also as per previous comments).

Design isn't for the feint of heart. I'm okay putting someone's design into action but rubbish at designing my own (I'm getting stressed just thinking about it).
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:08 PM   #14
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The crayons are about the only part of the image I do like. They are ... intriguing in this context; the whole is it a cup or is it a magnifying glass thing makes you look more closely. I don't know if the ambiguity was intentional, but that's what I saw and I liked it. I'm actually surprised how well the crayons worked in grayscale, not great, but better than I would have expected.

Otherwise, yep, red-on-green: yuk.
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Old 11-17-2022, 06:46 PM   #15
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^ I certainly don't want it to sound amateurish. If the cover gives that impression, then it needs to be completely discarded.
I agree with the amateurish part. My first, instant reaction when I saw it was "self-pub, and pretty amateurish one". I'd scroll on, even if I was in the target audience. It's better in grayscale, but that's usually not where purchasing decisions are made.

Sorry about honesty, but you did ask for it. Yeah, I'd discard it and think of something else. Of course, tastes differ. Maybe there are people out there who find this cover attractive.
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