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Author Topic: MilSF Cover - fire away  (Read 1677 times)  

Offline archaeoroutes

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MilSF Cover - fire away
« on: May 16, 2017, 02:16:31 PM »
Time to expose the first draft of my latest book's cover to the collective criticism of kboards...

and as a thumbnail

The rest of the series can be seen in my signature.

My first thought for an improvement is to try to fashion the top ship firing a beam weapon (though they would not be visible at optical wavelengths). Or perhaps a nebula in the upper right background to lighten the blackness.

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Offline ImaWriter

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 02:26:19 PM »
I'm okay with the image.  Font? Nope. It screams unprofessional. Placement of font? Nope.

For some ideas of professional looking fonts in your genre, take a look at these 300 font suggestions. Orbitron under SciFi is a personal fave.

ETA.  I just noticed the books in your sig. So I'm guessing you're matching a series? I hold by what I said, but...

« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 02:28:14 PM by ImaWriter »

Offline CynthiaClay

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 02:44:50 PM »
The font seems kind of squished up in the top. I'm really looking to be learning though, so don't mind me.

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Offline archaeoroutes

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 02:49:23 PM »
My first cover for Liberty I loved. It all sort of went backwards when I added the series tag and had to move the main title as a result.
I'm not averse to rebranding the series at this point, though I am pretty wedded to that blue, so pretty much all suggestions welcome.

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Online Patty Jansen

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 03:31:26 PM »
The image is a little dark, but you could lighten it up a little, but the font, font treatment and placing are all a big nope. Independence is kinda-OK.

I'm 100% familiar with the "all backwards from there" feeling which is why I hired Tom Edwards, because I just couldn't think of great covers for later volumes. These days I don't do my own covers unless I can do the whole series in advance and am happy with all the covers.

If you own the images and did these yourself, I would advocate re-branding all of them with a similar font and placing. You can hire someone to do that (many cover designers would do this).

Offline gogs2

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 03:39:09 PM »
Right now the white lite takes the focus and just after that one see there is some title..

If you could move the top ship down to a) cover the white light and b) not to be under the title - it would look a lot better.

Offline Abderian

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 09:10:06 PM »
The image looks good but I agree with the others that the typography doesn't work. If it were me I would hand all three covers over to a designer and ask for branding.

Offline noirhvy

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 10:53:51 PM »
I could not read all the words in the first line. The main space ship, for want of a better term, looks too much like a flashlight. (I guess you'd call it a "torch" where you live.)

Offline ImaWriter

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2017, 12:03:09 AM »
I do all my own covers, but I write romance so this is rough and nowhere near what a professional could do for you. it's just to give you an idea. I slapped the image together pretty much the way you did, but darkened up some of the glare off the moon. I'm still not crazy about the placement of the typography, i just wanted to give you a sense of what this could look like with a better font. As for colours, I just used a colour wheel and went with a contrasting choice.

Fonts: Ba$tardu$Sans and Orbitron (replace $ with s)  *Sorry admin! That's the name of the font.  If there's a better way to handle that, go for it.*






Oh, and I couldn't find the image available on any stock photo site. Just as a wall paper? So, not sure about that.

Online she-la-ti-da

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2017, 07:57:28 AM »
The image is a little dark, but you could lighten it up a little, but the font, font treatment and placing are all a big nope. Independence is kinda-OK.

{snip}

If you own the images and did these yourself, I would advocate re-branding all of them with a similar font and placing. You can hire someone to do that (many cover designers would do this).

I agree with this, and what others have said. It just doesn't work for me. There's no reason the series name and book number have to be large. You could size it down, use a different font than the title (maybe do the author name and series stuff in the same font).

Doing series branding can be hard, because what works for one image might not work on the others. So you often have to play around and look at different things until you can get something that pulls together across multiple books. I'm playing around with something for the sequel to Z eternal. I have the top portion pretty much a repeat, but I'm not happy with the lower image. Sooner or later I'll get it, though. I know you'll get it, too. :)
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Offline archaeoroutes

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 10:32:20 AM »
OK. You've all confirmed that worry in the back of my mind. So taking a step back, the hardest one to do the typography on was Liberty. The dark bottom to light top made it difficult choosing a colour, for one thing. I reckon, that if I can sort that one, I can redo Independence to match, and will have a better place to work from for Equality.
Here are a couple of attempts just now. What do you think of:
1. font
2. font colour (I really, really want to stick with the blue theme if I can due to other covers in the series and in spin-offs)
3. word placing
4. series title (I was aiming for something that just looked like underlining in thumbnail but could be read at product page size)
5. the bar in the second and third ones?



I'm planning to add a quote. The contrasting orange would be good for that. The position of the quote could change from cover to cover, in this case I'm thinking up a bit and left of the shuttle.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 11:42:15 AM by archaeoroutes »

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Offline HotCovers

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 10:49:09 AM »
Your fonts are kinda better but the layout is not good and the sub line is not very legible. PM me if you like and I can layout a title for you for free.


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Offline Rex Jameson

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 11:02:21 AM »
Well, I think the orange text noted earlier in the thread provides a better contrast than either of these. From your genre, I would probably try to replicate the contrasts you see in Stephen's series:

https://www.amazon.com/Stephen-Arseneault/e/B005JDYQLW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1495215461&sr=1-1

Your images are really sharp. If the text is a good contrast (or even uses a backsplash over the image of a solid, contrasting color), then I think it will help with clickthrough.

Offline D A Bale

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 11:31:44 AM »
Wherever you decide to place it, your series title needs to be in a crisp font and a different color that title/author name so it will stand out from the rest.  Consider something in the white family with perhaps a beveled outline or glow for the series title.

Offline VayneLine

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2017, 11:37:11 AM »
Great images, who was the designer and how much did it cost?

The font is bad.  2nd attempts were getting closer to the mark, maybe a dark blue on a black?

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Online Patty Jansen

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2017, 02:44:06 PM »
IMO you're going about this the wrong way. If you find you have to resort to excessive trickery to make the font legible then you need to create more quiet space on the image to place the text.

I would try to zoom out (on all of the images) to make them less busy. That of course requires the new space to be filled with something, so it may be best to either choose a different image or if you don't feel comfortable adding something extra, like a star field or clouds, then I'd hand the lot off to a cover designer with a good science fiction portfolio.

I am totally not a fan of the distressed font on science fiction. In any case, the text needs to be shrunk a little so that it doesn't go so close to the edges.

Offline coryvannote

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2017, 10:22:34 PM »
Blue is a primary color of your images as well as your title. You may want to see what it looks like black and white as well since many kindle users still use black and white. Your title may become even harder to read there.
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Offline archaeoroutes

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #17 on: May 22, 2017, 11:25:34 AM »
Here are a couple of versions kindly prepared by HotCovers. What do people think?


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Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2017, 11:29:52 AM »
Here are a couple of versions kindly prepared by HotCovers. What do people think?



Looks pretty good. The pull quote's not doing anything for the cover, though. I'd drop that and save it for the blurb. Top is kinda text heavy, but if that's your series title and subtitle and book title, not sure what else to do with it.

Offline Sarah Shaw

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2017, 11:42:09 AM »
Here are a couple of versions kindly prepared by HotCovers. What do people think?



MUCH better! I usually prefer silver, but in this case the gold stands out better and is more striking overall.

Offline Rex Jameson

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2017, 01:20:00 PM »
I like the first option with the gold lettering and embellishments. I don't think this is a good pull quote. People could find this in the reviews, and I don't really feel this is a truly glowing endorsement. To me this comes off as "well, the author did enough for me to buy the second book." However, most pull quotes are like over the top praise like "Definitely one of the most promising authors of our generation. Robert Heinlein eat your heart out!" Is there something more glowing, or maybe something that came from a well known author or critic? I can see that as a pull quote from a review, but I'm not sure I would harp on this one.

If you're going to do this kind of thing, do you think you might want to make it a one-liner for the book rather than an accolade from a random reviewer about your writing style or proficiency?

For instance, "In a galaxy torn apart by generations of civil war, a new AI pursues peace where so many humans have failed..." Or something like that? I mean I'm just going by your reviews and the book description. I honestly would yank the pull quote altogether. The cover stands on its own. I think this is very clickable, and the reviews speak for themselves.

Offline archaeoroutes

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2017, 02:40:16 PM »
I didn't choose the quote. I assumed it was grabbed to show what it would look like and I'd finalise the content when everything else was decided.
They've sent over versions without them, I'll add them tomorrow as doing it from my 'phone is a bit too complex.

There was also one with the ion trail coloured orange, which looked brilliant but contradicted the descriptions in the book. I worry that readers would complain about that.

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2017, 03:27:04 PM »
IMO They're too dark  and the text could be a little less squished.

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2017, 03:49:52 PM »
You can certainly tweak them a bit, but they look far more professional than the first stab in the OP.

Offline D A Bale

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Re: MilSF Cover - fire away
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2017, 05:33:17 PM »
Either one works better than originals - and I'll chime in to remove the quote also (in case you decide to use a different one).