Take Two

Just because you like something doesn’t mean it’s good. I was reminded of this fact shortly after posting my initial cover design for State of Grace on this blog Monday night. By the time I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had multiple messages here and and on Facebook suggesting (in mostly charitable fashion) that my cover design sucked. No one actually liked it.

It’d be easy to get upset about that. I could be defensive and rage to the mountains that people just don’t understand.

But that would be stupid for two reasons:

  1. I want to sell as many books as possible, so listening to people tell you why they wouldn’t buy is important, and
  2. They were right.

The main criticism I got was that the text (which I had in a nice, pretty yellow shade) was fading away into the background (which I had in a nice, pretty kelly green). I liked the way they looked together. I was happy.

But the critics were right. It all bled together and looked like a mess, particularly when you shrink the thing down to smaller sizes that you’ll see at amazon.com and bn.com, etc.

I also received criticism on the imagery and its size, but the most consistent criticism was the color scheme.

What I needed was contrast. Light on dark or dark on light. Something that made the words and the images pop.

So I changed the background’s soft, kelly green to a deep emerald. That created more contrast instantly.

But I worried the text could still disappear, so I redesigned it. I kept the font I’d found but changed the color scheme to a bright yellow fading to a light silver. Adding a few Photoshop effects made it stand out even more.

I had one person suggest the image of the wand on the cover wasn’t large enough, so I made it bigger and added some effects to make it jump up from the background too. One of the things I noticed was that the wand faded into the background as the image got smaller just like the words did. That doesn’t happen now.

The whole thing pops more. It’s starker in its contrast and is more interesting (in my opinion) to look at it. Here it is:

So, what do you think? Leave a comment and let me know if you think the design is good and if it will sell books. If you didn’t read my first post on this subject, check it out here, so you can see what my objectives and design strategy were.

Thanks in advance for the feedback, people. I’m getting closer to the book being available, and that’s very exciting.

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2 thoughts on “Take Two

  1. Since you asked, and you know me well enough to tell me I’m full of….not good ideas… but I’m seeing 3 things here that confuse me- first, title to me has religious overtones (I realize I may be more tuned in to that because of my line of work). Second, wand=Harry Potter. Can the wand be active? Like casting and we see the result? That may be your tie-in, each novel has the wand creating a different action. Third, I’d like to see your name on one line, rather than broken up. Technically, that’s not a confusion issue, just personal preference. Take this as you wish, remembering that it comes from a woman with a stuffed parrot on her shoulder!

    • Susan,

      Religion is a major theme in STATE OF GRACE. That’s one of the reasons I chose the title. The elves in the novel are described by one character as the “most devout people on the face of the Earth.” The political struggle at the heart of the plot is one to create a state of grace (with “state” in this case meaning nation). It would seem I’ll need to make this obvious in the back cover copy.

      As for the wand=Harry Potter, the purpose there is to indicate this is a fantasy novel. Thus, a Harry Potter connection seems like it works in my favor.

      As for my name, I too would prefer it to be on one line. However, to do so I have to shrink the point-size of the font down far enough that it would disappear in small images of the cover. So I had to go with the two-line approach for it to be readable at all display sizes.

      So the question is would the issues you raised cause a negative buying decision? Love to hear your thoughts on that.

      Thanks for the comment!

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