Yesterday I posted on my current book and raised the issue of the cover. Interestingly while that generated comment (which I will come on to) so did a topic I didn’t raise specifically. The title
Why didn’t I raise the title as a ‘what do you think’? Nerves, complacency? Not sure. One of my earlier beta readers suggested it was misleading, sounding more non fiction than fiction and another person queried whether it suggested something more religious than the subject matter warrants.
So then I read the comments.
Deb Foy says:
As for the cover, it seems to incorporate all the themes you mentioned the book is about though it first struck me as the cover for a theological rather than a fiction work.
I know she’s talking about the cover but I suspect a lot of that feeling is around the name which hits you first. Thank you Deb! And here’s the link to check her blog out – she is a class act at flash, btw, as you will see if you go there.
Then Anne Goodwin added:
But I never liked the title. Not sure what would work as an alternative but you might need something to flag it as a thriller. The something project? I really don’t know.
Anne was an early beta reader (as in years ago, and the book has changed mightily since but a lot of the themes remain, naturally). And if you don’t know Anne (a) you should – here’s her blog (b) she’s very honest! Love her for that.
So at least four independently minded people have raised a query about the title and it is very fair. I love my title but I think I love it because I’ve had it since the very start – like my security blanket as a child and that fell apart through an excess of love and drool. I think that may be the case with this title…
As I grapple with that I’d ask you other lovely people if you agree with that first impression. Does having ‘God’ in the title trigger an auto-response that colours what you might expect? I’d be interested, honest.
And the cover? Well I had comments such as ACE and AWESOME and a lot of compliments. But then yet another of these brutally honest women who follow me (what have I done!!) popped up with something really really helpful which neither I nor my young artist (who hasn’t done a cover for a book before) thought about. I’ll let Lori’s words tell you what the issue is.
Okay, I guess I’m going to be the dissenter on the cover. The base image is fabulous – very compelling – but this cover will not work well for online sales. First, it isn’t high-contrast enough. In thumbnail size it’s going to look like an amorphous blob, which takes away a lot of its appeal. You might also consider a bolder color base to make it more visible. Having a white background can also be tricky when you’re selling online, as edges can be difficult to see. However, because the image itself is so busy, you’ll probably have a hard time coming up with a good background image, and a simple color fill might be a bit plain. Finally, the text needs to be completely reworked – it looks unprofessional as it is, which offers a very strange contrast to the image, which is itself so amazing. It needs to be bigger and chunkier – your name isn’t even legible in the thumbnail. I’ve put together a quickie revised version which I will tweet to you so you can see what I mean. It isn’t perfect, but if you look at them side by side you may be able to guide your designer into producing an image that’s more book-cover-friendly. I’m also going to recommend submitting the cover to Joel Friedlander’s eBook cover design awards, which he runs monthly: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/e-book-cover-design-awards-submissions/. It’s free and for most submissions, he gives professional feedback on design which goes far beyond my limited understanding of the subject, which may help you to pinpoint how best to use this image on your cover.
Lori Schaffer, another great blogger you should get to know (here) and read her memoire; it’s the most compelling thing I’ve read in ages.
I hadn’t considered the size reduction issue and George and I will take this away and see what we can do. Anyone in the process of their own self publishing and cover production might like to bear in mind Lori’s sage words and her recommendation.
Here’s the cover again, because I like it so much and you may better understand Lori’s concerns…
I hope none of Deb, Anne and Lori mind me quoting them; I d it because their words are so helpful to me and maybe be to you too and I’d like to say thank you to them (indeed to everyone who has commented) for helping me onwards and upwards…