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Author Topic: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!  (Read 1229 times)  

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« on: June 15, 2017, 09:12:50 AM »
Hello fellow KBoarders!

Storms of Tarshish is finally in the capable hands of Polgarus Studios and, in the meantime, I am
making final decisions on the cover art.

Which of the two front covers do you prefer? Do they just plain suck?

This is a YA action/adventure novel with a touch of romance. It takes place in the Caribbean.

I appreciate your comments!

Thanks,

Andrew

Here's the blurb:

Blake Barber had been the hero of Highland Creek Reservoir, once upon a time--but oh, how things have changed!

Pemberton Academy has become a drag. His girlfriend, Mia, will be heading off to college soon. And worst of all, his grandmother's gold-digging man-friend is making life intolerable on the home front.

Blake knows there is only one person in the family who can exterminate this parasite--Uncle Carson. But he works on a Caribbean yacht called Tarshish, which hasn't been seen in months.

Just as Blake resigns himself to this winter of discontent, an unexpected invite to an impromptu Christmas vacation--in Puerto Rico--offers the perfect opportunity secure his future with Mia, search for Uncle Carson, and go sailing!

But when a series chance encounters blows them of course, Blake and Mia find themselves facing impossible choices, and devastating consequences that loom on the horizon like the shadow death.


Cover #1


Cover #2





« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 09:24:31 AM by Drew_Harmon »

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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2017, 09:45:48 AM »
The roped up girl on the cover makes it look pretty creepy, like someone hauled off to be someone's sex slave, but then you've got a parrot jauntily flying by, a piratey banner flapping with the title, and . . . well, I'm confused. When I read the blurb and it sounds like a light adventure tale, and that changes my perspective again.

I'm not sure it's working yet.

Offline creativeparamita

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2017, 10:06:09 AM »
The roped up girl on the cover makes it look pretty creepy, like someone hauled off to be someone's sex slave, but then you've got a parrot jauntily flying by, a piratey banner flapping with the title, and . . . well, I'm confused. When I read the blurb and it sounds like a light adventure tale, and that changes my perspective again.

I'm not sure it's working yet.

Yes I am in accordance too, the roped girl is surely suggesting in a wrong direction as opposed to the story line. I believe the suffering part could have been represented in a more bleak fashion, that would make the design more attractive. Though I like the Caribbean backdrop and the imposition of agony while being surrounded by paradise.

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2017, 10:12:38 AM »
Cover #1 looks great from an aesthetic point of view, as long as you replace everything inside the porthole. ;)

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2017, 10:13:51 AM »
Thank you, Monkish Scribe!

That is exactly what I need to hear.

I will mention that the parrot and human trafficking do figure in the story.

Andrew

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Offline inconsequential

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2017, 10:19:38 AM »
I like the first one, especially if human trafficking fits into the story. That visual definitely says that.

I don't know the right way to explain Photoshop... stuff. But, maybe smooth the edges a bit on the woman? She looks cut out and pasted there.

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2017, 10:20:02 AM »
Yes I am in accordance too, the roped girl is surely suggesting in a wrong direction as opposed to the story line.

It's sounds like maybe I need to change the blurb, Because the story line definitely goes that direction. There is abduction, human trafficking, etc.

Thanks!

Andrew

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Offline Evenstar

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2017, 10:27:38 AM »
Yes, change the blurb.

Go with cover one, but move the girl away a bit so we can see some of the ground beneath her. At present she looks like she is floating against the backdrop and it doesn't work.

Offline Shelley K

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2017, 10:32:29 AM »
I think you've got the common problem of lots of elements that don't mesh into a whole. Everything looks cut and pasted, nothing seems to be in the same place, and you don't want that. It even serves to make the girls skin tone really bluish and wrong, like she's dead.

Also, the roped girl in the dress looking so forlorn is going to imply to many people that she's in peril of or going to be raped. I don't think that's what you want on a young adult novel.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 11:33:44 AM by Shelley K »

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2017, 01:46:23 PM »
I appreciate everyone's responses, and am taking it all into consideration.

Your cautionary feedback has caused me to rethink (i.e. second-guess myself on) just what the heck I've  written really is.  I've gone out and read few blogs, and reminded myself that my first novel has found appeal with readers from 13 to 75. I find myself reassured.

But, I still have a lot to do on this cover.

I'm looking forward to more feedback!

Thanks again,

Andrew
« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 01:52:22 PM by Drew_Harmon »

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Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2017, 11:23:39 AM »
the roped girl is surely suggesting in a wrong direction as opposed to the story line.

Okay, so I have darkened the blurb up, a bit, as the book does go from light adventure to dark, ugly places:

Blake Barber has the winter blues. Ninth Grade at Pemberton Academy
is a drag. His girlfriend, Mia, will be heading off to college soon.
And worst of all, his grandmother's gold-digging man-friend is making
life intolerable on the home front.

Blake knows there is only one person in the family who can
exterminate this parasite--Uncle Carson. But he works on a Caribbean
yacht called Tarshish, which hasn't been seen in months.

Just as Blake resigns himself to this winter of discontent, an
unexpected invite to an impromptu Christmas vacation--in Puerto
Rico--offers the perfect opportunity secure his future with Mia,
search for Uncle Carson, and naturally--go sailing!

Island life revives Blake's spirits, but Mia's intuition tells her to
get back home--the sooner, the better.

Blake's persistent search for his uncle leads to a series chance
encounters which plunges them headlong into the dark side of
paradise. There, the two teens find themselves facing impossible
choices, with devastating consequences looming on the horizon like
the shadow of death.


I also read a good blog on YA, which I found helpful. Uses a lot of profanity, so be aware.
http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/04/25-things-you-should-know-about-young-adult-fiction/



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Offline Melody Simmons

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2017, 02:18:13 PM »
I like the first cover too.  Looks fine in thumbnail also:



Like others have said - the girl is too horror-abuse-like.  Even though there is a lot of violence and stuff in some YA novels, that is never shown on the cover.  You usually see a pretty girl rather.  You could use just a normal sitting or standing girl - like these YA books for example:


Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2017, 02:51:51 PM »
In case there is any doubt--I AM listening to your feelings about the image of the young woman.
What if I cover or remove the binding ropes, and shift the skin tones to a rosier hue?
Would it still be too abuse/horror for a YA book?

I'm going to hit Shutterstock for some alternative ideas.

Thanks!

Andrew

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Offline Jena H

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2017, 02:59:59 PM »
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this, but it sounds like Blake is the main character in the book, and the story is his journey.  So why is there a tied-up girl on the cover?  I think removing the ropes would be a big step in the right direction.  Although I still think the two cover options give the impression this is a pirate/historical book, rather than something that (I assume) takes place in modern-day.  (Ideally, I'd like to see maybe a picture/silhouette of a young couple on the beach.  They don't have to be kissy-kissy or holding hands or anything, but as it is, one would expect this to be a girl's story, from her POV.)
Jena

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2017, 09:15:38 AM »
Looks like it's back to the blurb again! The story does follow Mia, and her journey, as well as Blake's. It was easy to write the first 94000 words. But the 167 word blurb took me two weeks. And it would seem that it is a work in progress!

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Offline loraininflorida

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2017, 09:38:09 AM »
Just something to consider --if your book includes scenes of kidnapping/human trafficking girls, and you don't put any warning in your blurb, there are readers who will one-star you (not so much for the scene but for the not warning them in the blurb).

Lorain O'Neil

Offline Greg Banks

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2017, 11:19:22 AM »
Quote
...opportunity (to) secure...


You left out the word "to", as noted above. Your blurb is the intro to both your story and your writing skill, so you should watch out for that sort of thing. I know that I do.

It very well may just be my non-familiarity with this specific genre, but the above line seems like an awfully lighthearted introduction to a book that dives into such a dark topic. It just comes off kind of creepy to me, knowing what you've told us about the plot.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2017, 11:22:36 AM by Greg Banks »
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Offline PiscaPress

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2017, 12:32:57 PM »
the photoshopping of the girl just barely gets by in thumbnail, but doesn't pass muster in a larger view. If someone did it for you, send it back. You should be able to find a Shutterstock pic of a girl on a tropical beach (without ropes).
very very very small publisher
PiscaPress

Offline Jena H

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2017, 05:44:08 PM »
Looks like it's back to the blurb again! The story does follow Mia, and her journey, as well as Blake's. It was easy to write the first 94000 words. But the 167 word blurb took me two weeks. And it would seem that it is a work in progress!
Oh okay, so the book does focus on MIa as well.  From the blurb above, it sounded like it was primarily about Blake, and that's why I thought it odd that there was a female on the cover.


(And I totally agree about how hard it is to write a blurb.  Makes me go  :-\ )
Jena

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2017, 07:43:18 PM »
Honestly, I like the first cover as is.  It doesn't look cut and pasted so much to me as it has that sort of charming and slightly odd illustrated look, which I think works with your story.  I find it visually interesting and easy to read. The font is one of those really rare breed that is both artistic and legible, and it fit's the feel of the book.  It also looks great in thumbnail.

As much as I love the first one, I hate the second.  The charming and odd illustrated quality is lost in the bigger format, and it does look a tad cut and pasted.  The author name becomes harder to read.

I agree with previous posters that the blurb should be updated to more clearly tie the cover into the blurb.  Your blurb would benefit from a few of these details added and a little less vagueness. Sure, don't give all the good stuff away, but you need enough of the good stuff to get reader's attention.

Hope this helps, take it with a shaker of salt. :)
             

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2017, 08:45:40 AM »
I am really grateful for all of your feedback!

Loraine and Jena, the last two paragraphs below have been expanded to include
the controversial content. Is this sufficient, or do I need to
just flat-out have a trigger warning?

Julianne, it's nice to run into another indie from Indy!
Thanks for your kind appraisal. It does rather look like a Jethro Tull
album cover, doesn't it? ;)  This is a trilogy, and all three covers have
that typeface and banner. The next installment is Snowmen of the Serengeti.

Soon enough I'll have a printed proof copy. That'll help too.

Andrew
----------------

Blake Barber has the winter blues. Ninth Grade at Pemberton Academy
is a drag. His girlfriend, Mia, will be heading off to college soon.
And worst of all, his grandmother's gold-digging man-friend is making
life intolerable on the home front.

Blake knows there is only one person in the family who can
exterminate this parasite--Uncle Carson. But he works on a Caribbean
yacht called Tarshish, which hasn't been seen in months.

Just as Blake resigns himself to this winter of discontent, an
unexpected invite to an impromptu Christmas vacation--in Puerto
Rico--offers the perfect opportunity to secure his future with Mia,
search for Uncle Carson, and naturally--go sailing!

Island life revives Blake's spirits, but Mia's intuition tells her to
get back home--the sooner, the better.

Blake's persistent search for his uncle leads to a series chance
encounters, plunging them headlong into the dark side of paradise.
There, the two teens find themselves entangled in the monstrous webs
that lurk in Caribbean shadows: crushing poverty, drug lords, human
trafficking, and terrorism.

As their vacation swiftly spirals into a struggle for survival, Blake
and Mia must wrestle with impossible choices between faith, self
reliance, loyalty and conscience--while facing the devastating
consequences which loom on the horizon like the shadow of death.


« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 09:04:14 AM by Drew_Harmon »

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2017, 09:29:43 AM »
I'm another one who likes cover number 1 just as it is.

Fashion the blurb to fit both the cover and the story, and you should be fine.

But...

The blurb has to be MUCH shorter. The purpose of a blurb is to tell people about the story, not tell them the story itself. It's a balancing act that many self-publishers get wrong... as you have.

Try again.

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2017, 11:34:34 AM »
It's a balancing act that many self-publishers get wrong... as you have.

This quote looms on my horizon like the shadow of death! ;D

I'll have a another go at it.

Andrew


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Offline Quincy

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2017, 11:54:05 AM »
As a reader, I'd be really confused by the latest blurb.  Blake is a high school freshman dating a senior on an adventurous family vacation to hunt for his uncle that morphs into a dark encounter with human trafficking and terrorism?

The first part of the blurb reads like a lighthearted adventure story while the second half points to a much different type of story depending on how you treat the human trafficking element.  Are you presenting it with a light hand that alerts readers to the fact that it happens but skims past the dark reality or are you going into detail about the horrors and violence the victims truly face?

Offline Drew_Harmon

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Re: Storms of Tarshish Cover: I need your input please!
« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2017, 01:09:35 PM »
Quincy,

You pretty much have it. Blake knows he probably won't find his uncle, and treats it like a lighthearted escape. Mia sees it as a fiasco, at best, and wants to get back to to studying. There are dark undercurrents in the "lighthearted" vacation narrative that  allow you to see that Blake and Mia are being swept (unbeknownst to them) into something big, dangerous, and awful--and eventually, they are.

Oh wow, did I just rewrite the blurb right here?

When Blake Barber and Mia Devlin are roped into an impromptu
Christmas vacation in Puerto Rico, Blake sees the perfect opportunity
to secure his future with Mia, and search for his missing Uncle. Mia
sees it as a fiasco, at best, and wants to get it over with--her
intuition telling her the sooner, the better.

But a series chance encounters plunges them headlong into the dark
side of paradise, and they find themselves entangled in the monstrous
webs that lurk in Caribbean shadows: drug lords, human trafficking,
and terrorism.

As their vacation swiftly spirals into a struggle for survival, Blake
and Mia must wrestle with impossible choices between faith, self
reliance, loyalty and conscience--while facing the devastating
consequences which loom on the horizon like the shadow of death.

--------------------

I think this is only about halfway to what Word Fan is looking for.
I've been looking at bestseller blurbs all day, The Goldfinch, etc.
I chopped almost 80 words out of it, getting down to 128.

BTW, Storms of Tarshish is the sequel to Uncle Arctica.

Thanks

Andrew

« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 02:28:35 PM by Drew_Harmon »

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