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Author Topic: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?  (Read 4174 times)  

Offline Adria R.

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Hi all,

I'd love some feedback on this draft for the cover of my debut novel (I'm not yet done writing it, but hopefully soon). I am aware that the cover still needs work especially when it comes to retouching the image of the model.



I am also aware that the cover is incredibly important, and I am definitely prepared to pay for one if this is not good enough. I just thought that since this is my first novel, I'd rather pay extra for a developmental edit in addition to line and copy editing (especially since English isn't my first language) and attempt to save 500 bucks by making my own cover.

A few infos for context: The book is a fantasy romance. The story takes place in a magical world parallel to our own, ruled by families who have ascended to power through careful genetic breeding of desirable magical traits and powers. The romance is a strong component, but the story focuses more on the heroine than the hero, and the world building is quite integral to the story. In that, the book is more similar to urban fantasy than romance.

My thanks in advance for any and all feedback or suggestions for improvement!

Offline This_Way_Down

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I rarely say this, but that's a great homemade cover. The font on the title needs to pop a bit better, but good job.

Offline KhaosFoxe

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I agree - if you can make the title stand out far more, than it's great.

Urban Fantasy author.

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I was gearing up to get all critical, but you caught me off guard with a really awesome cover.

Agreed about the title font, needs to be a little sharper (although I see what you're going for with the out of focus thing)

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Offline Steve Vernon

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Great cover - although you REALLY ought to be looking at a thumbnail, because that is what the bulk of your potential readers are going to be looking at the first time they see it.

I'd look at a different color for the title font. Something that stands out a little sharper - ESPECIALLY in thumbnail.

Yellow, maybe?

Don't worry about the subtitle. You just want that title to shriek at potential readers.

But the rest of it looks great.

Offline elalond

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It looks great. Although, as previous posters mentioned, the title needs to be more sharpened, since in the blurred form as it is now, it won't be readable in thumbnail.

Offline Huldra

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What everyone else has said. Sharpen up the title and I think you'd be hard pressed to get any better if you paid for it

Offline Kate.

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Wow! It's a thrill to see a professional home-made cover. =) It's also appropriate for the genre you described. Great job!

I was expecting the title to be nearly unreadable in thumbnail, but it actually looks much better.



Maybe still give the letters some more definition/brightness to improve the large size? But, overall, it's a beautiful cover.

Offline EllieDee

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I'll echo everyone else that the title needs to pop more.  You might try experimenting with sharpening it vs keeping it blurry but with a paler color to the font, and see which one's better.  I think the fine text in the upper right looks weird at thumbnail size, so maybe think about losing that.
Over all, this is a cover you can be proud of.  The fantasy romance feel comes through clearly.  Well done!   :)

Offline MissingAlaska

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I love this cover.  As others have mentioned, the title does need to pop a little more - but definitely go with this.

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Offline tensen

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2017, 06:32:27 AM »
Wow! It's a thrill to see a professional home-made cover. =) It's also appropriate for the genre you described. Great job!

I was expecting the title to be nearly unreadable in thumbnail, but it actually looks much better.



Maybe still give the letters some more definition/brightness to improve the large size? But, overall, it's a beautiful cover.

I agree with what others said. This is a rather good cover for a home-made one. I've seen a lot worse on some professional ones. I wouldn't necessarily suggest further books to be all home made. But in this case you can save the money and use it to get the best editing you can.

I disagree with what others said about making the title pop. In the thumbnail the subtle nature of it is working. I would however do something with the font on your name, as it breaks up in the thumbnail. It needs to be a tad thicker.

Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 06:35:28 AM »
I would just put a bevel on the title font to make it pop, maybe a light drop shadow to help it stand out, and you're good go. Very nice.

Amanda M. Lee

Offline rikatz

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2017, 06:42:21 AM »
Think this looks terrific. As many have suggested, you might try sharpening up the fonts a bit, both on the title and on your name, but I'm not sure that's necessary. Try it both ways and go with the one you prefer.

If I might ask, what program did you use to make it? Also, where did you get the graphics from?

Excellent job.


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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2017, 06:49:16 AM »
I would just put a bevel on the title font to make it pop, maybe a light drop shadow to help it stand out, and you're good go. Very nice.

Don't put a bevel on the title. On a skinny, delicate font like Desire it won't work well at all. (Although I'd recommend staying away from bevel anyway, unless there's a really compelling reason that you just have to use it.)

I'd also recommend losing the fancy H's on the tag line. Or, if you're really attached to them, at least make them the same style of H.

As other people said, the title needs to be sharper, and less transparent.

Oh, and that is a really gorgeous cover, btw. Very nicely done.
     

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2017, 06:51:27 AM »
Wow. I've been experimenting doing my own covers and they don't look anything like yours. Great job. Just make the tweaks the people here are suggesting.

Offline Dpock

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2017, 06:52:56 AM »
Nice work. I'm curious - what fonts are you using?


Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2017, 06:56:34 AM »
Don't put a bevel on the title. On a skinny, delicate font like Desire it won't work well at all. (Although I'd recommend staying away from bevel anyway, unless there's a really compelling reason that you just have to use it.)

I'd also recommend losing the fancy H's on the tag line. Or, if you're really attached to them, at least make them the same style of H.

As other people said, the title needs to be sharper, and less transparent.

Oh, and that is a really gorgeous cover, btw. Very nicely done.
I love bevels.

Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2017, 07:19:58 AM »
I love bevels.

I used to, too, when I was first starting out. But I tend to avoid them now, unless there is a really good reason to use them, or if a client asks me to, because in a lot of cases they don't look very professional. The one exception to this that I can think of off the top of my head is metal or stone FX, which are great for things like epic fantasy covers, or some sci-fi stuff.

In the case of the OP's cover, she's going for a certain look that wouldn't be well served by a bevel, I suspect. Not to mention, it would make the font look thinner, and therefore harder to read at thumbnail.
     

Online ShayneRutherford

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2017, 07:22:07 AM »
Nice work. I'm curious - what fonts are you using?

Not the OP, but the fancy title font is called Desire, by Letterhead Fonts.
     

Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2017, 07:24:59 AM »
I used to, too, when I was first starting out. But I tend to avoid them now, unless there is a really good reason to use them, or if a client asks me to, because in a lot of cases they don't look very professional. The one exception to this that I can think of off the top of my head is metal or stone FX, which are great for things like epic fantasy covers, or some sci-fi stuff.

In the case of the OP's cover, she's going for a certain look that wouldn't be well served by a bevel, I suspect. Not to mention, it would make the font look thinner, and therefore harder to read at thumbnail.
I guess I just prefer being unprofessional.

Amanda M. Lee

Online ShayneRutherford

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2017, 07:31:14 AM »
I guess I just prefer being unprofessional.

To each their own. [emoji41]
     

Offline Red Riley

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #21 on: June 08, 2017, 07:36:37 AM »
It's awesome!
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Offline Beth_Hammond

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #22 on: June 08, 2017, 07:42:47 AM »
It's lovely. The only thing that bothers me is that the title is not centered. I see that you did this to keep the swirl in the image but it bothers my eye. Not sure if most will even notice though.

I'm still figuring this out.
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Offline Kalen ODonnell

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2017, 07:53:00 AM »
That is a gorgeous cover! I definitely don't think you need to be paying anyone else. If I may make a couple tiny suggestions you might like to try out, just see if you like them? From what I can tell, it looks like you've overlayed a smoke layer over most of the design, including the title, and that's what's making the title look a little blurred and faint, and also, perhaps you've played with the opacity of the title itself? I would suggest putting the title on the top layer of the design, on top of the smoke, and make sure it's at a full 100%, no blur effects, just like your author name, tag line and series title.

If that works for you, then I'd suggest going to your title layer (assuming you're doing this in Photoshop, and since you clearly know your way around it, just laying out the steps I'm proposing for full clarity, not an assumption of your lack of familiarity with it) - then go to Layer--Layer Style, and add a Color Overlay. When that box pops up, open up the color palette from it, and then use the eyedrop tool to pick out either the yellow from the fire reflected in her eye, or maybe a bit of the red from one of the sparks floating around. Either should work to give the title a pop of color that fits with the rest of the design and doesn't distract from it. If the color is too bright or too sharp, you can go back into the color overlay style and adjust the opacity of not the whole title, but just the color you laid on top of the white, fade that just a touch so you end up with a blend of it and the white underneath, a slightly more muted version of the color you selected from somewhere else on the cover.

Other than that, the only thoughts I have are to check the alignment on your author name and series title - maybe make sure they're both centered, and specifically that the series title is centered over the author name, it looks like it's distributed a little more to the left of the cover so it just feels a tiny bit off.

But seriously gorgeous cover, not only does it look sharp and professional, it perfectly conveys a feel and hits genre expectations.

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: Feedback on self-made cover - okay, or pay for a professional artist?
« Reply #24 on: June 08, 2017, 07:56:13 AM »
I would suggest making your name bigger at the bottom. The title will always be visible when the thumbnail is presented on Amazon... the author name won't be. That's why it's important for the author name to be read even in thumb. :)

Large author name = readers can see it, and remember who it was they loved reading. Titles come and go, author names stay the same, they are the brand.


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