Author Topic: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!  (Read 3278 times)  

Offline erikhanberg

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sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
« on: August 03, 2015, 10:05:54 pm »
So, two years ago, I published the first book in my sci-fi trilogy.

This was the cover:



I'm getting ready for the second book to come out this fall. Here's the cover I'm working with right now.



Thoughts? Either individually or as part of a series? It's a very different route from some traditional sci-fi covers but (my hope) is the custom artwork and style really set it apart.

This style would be carried through to Book III of course.

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    Offline NoCat

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #1 on: August 03, 2015, 10:15:22 pm »
    Is this very serious, literary SF, with very light SF elements?

    If not, I don't think these covers will hit your target market at all. Sorry.

    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #2 on: August 03, 2015, 10:26:55 pm »
    Annie, I appreciate the honest feedback. I would say it's adventure with some tech.

    Offline NoCat

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #3 on: August 03, 2015, 10:29:32 pm »
    So like James Rollins or Michael Crichton? Or is it further future?

    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #4 on: August 03, 2015, 10:33:48 pm »
    It's 2081. A super-Internet called the Lattice can help people read your thoughts, see a few billion years of history, and do all sorts of amazing/disturbing things. Some people want to destroy it... I won't give you the whole blurb, but basically there are global stakes. Spaceships. A few laser battles. Mysterious black spheres. And a hurricane made of sand (pictured in the second cover).
    « Last Edit: August 03, 2015, 11:00:37 pm by erikhanberg »

    Offline NoCat

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #5 on: August 03, 2015, 10:36:06 pm »
    Yeah. In my opinion, these covers convey nothing like that. :(


    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #6 on: August 03, 2015, 10:38:22 pm »
    I appreciate the honest feedback, Annie. I have affection for the covers and the artwork but I am trying not to let that get in the way.

    Offline NoCat

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #7 on: August 03, 2015, 10:42:30 pm »
    Yeah, they are cool covers, but maybe not for these books :)  Covers are marketing, after all. It doesn't matter what we want, it matters that we attract the kind of people who will love the books inside :)

    Offline BookWurm

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #8 on: August 03, 2015, 10:44:47 pm »
    These covers do nothing to suggest genre. As a reader I would also pass them by because they don't convey a 'serious' subject matter.

    They're nice covers - but more suited to some other stories - like sailing and mystic meg.

    Offline Jack Krenneck

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #9 on: August 03, 2015, 10:57:25 pm »
    For myself, I don't mind the artwork of the covers - as art work.

    But as covers I have to agree that they're not hitting your target audience. If it helps, I think your blurb is great - but the covers and blurb should be working together, and they're not.

    The main purpose (just my opinion again) of a cover is to signal to a potential reader that a book is of a certain type. Looking at it from that point of view, the very last thing you want is be setting it apart from those on the bestseller lists of your target audience. The only way to set it apart is to do the same as the other bestsellers - only better.

    Hope that helps.   

    Offline baldricko

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #10 on: August 04, 2015, 02:41:23 am »
    The design is attractive, but your covers need to say something specific to grab the reader.  The market is just so genre specific. Readers have expectations of entitlement almost, extending to sub genres.  If they like SF some will be grabbed by a cover screaming cyberpunk and other SF buffs will be looking for space opera. Some may enjoy both but they are looking for elements they recognise at some level. Your covers are not communicating anything like that as they are at present.

    Perhaps the title and author fonts could do it. The blocky white font you have is um white bread cut out. Font can do a lot for a cover or nothing at all. I would look closely at this aspect. My 2 cents.

    Offline AltMe

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #11 on: August 04, 2015, 02:48:25 am »
    The first says "Detective with crystal ball gazing" - as in the detective uses a psychic or is one.

    The second says "Lost in the desert."

    Neither convey anything to do with science fiction. With those covers, I'd be wondering why they were even listed as sci-fi.

    Sorry, but if its future, then the cover should either have future tech showing, or if it has space battles, then at least one spaceship or space station.
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    Offline Abderian

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #12 on: August 04, 2015, 03:25:46 am »
    I like the first one. It has a Philip K. Dick feel to it. The second doesn't say scifi to me, so I agree with the others there. But I like the artwork of both the covers. I think if you changed the subject matter to give a clear indication that these are set in the future they would have legs.


    Offline Lauren P.

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #13 on: August 04, 2015, 04:52:14 am »
    I thought your covers were aimed at Middle Grade readers. If you're aiming at adults who read sci-fi, I don't think these covers will work.

    Offline Jack Scripter

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #14 on: August 04, 2015, 05:11:33 am »
    I may be in the minority here, but I can see why those could be used as scifi covers as they remind of old covers for Dune. However I don't think they'll work for the kind of audience you can find on Amazon expecting modern stories.

    Offline 10105

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #15 on: August 04, 2015, 05:43:19 am »
    I don't know if they'll "work," but I like both of them. The red flag on the sailboat bothers me, though. Was the boat dropped into the desert or did the water dry up? Red fades rapidly in sunlight.

    Offline Angela Schmer

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #16 on: August 04, 2015, 06:04:16 am »
    Erik, I do appreciate the illustrated cover and uniqueness of the artwork as well. It does have an older sci-fi feel about it as someone mentioned earlier. To me, the idea is there and it's close but just needs a little pushing. Perhaps if you would be able to add just a few more distinct sci-fi elements to each image? Like maybe some more stars and planets in the sky on the second one and instead of a normal, modern day looking room in the first something more...well, sci-fi. I think you could use typography to your advantage here as well. Right now, your text is very straightforward and bland. Most successful sci-fi covers have some more variation in type.

    I hope this helps and best of luck!


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    Offline German_Translator

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #17 on: August 04, 2015, 06:20:58 am »
    One thing I am missing in these covers is any suggestion that the story is set in the future. Both the reflected apartment on the first cover and the sailboat on the second cover suggest 20th century to me.
    « Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 06:34:34 am by German_Translator »

    Just a few of the books I have translated (English <-> German)

    Offline Heather Hamilton-Senter

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #18 on: August 04, 2015, 07:15:44 am »
    Love the covers, but they just aren't right. I think they do convey the mind bending aspect, but not the future, not space, etc.

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    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #19 on: August 04, 2015, 07:32:06 am »
    Thanks everyone. I am heartened by those who see the possible throwbacks to Dune/old school sci go covers. It's very similar to what I was going for. On the other hand, you've made my job much harder! I like the idea of pushing these a bit more in the sci-fi direction before starting over.

    So appreciate the help in the writer's cafe!

    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback! [With new covers uploaded 10/9]
    « Reply #20 on: October 09, 2015, 12:59:48 pm »
    After everyone's advice, I've revised the covers with the help of Rachel at Littera http://www.litteradesigns.com/, (who is great and I recommend her work!)

    You can see the fruits of her work:



    I think it's definitely much more in line for the sci-fi adventure genre I'm writing in! I'm excited to re-publish the first book and launch the second book with this look.

    My main question for the wonderful hive mind of the Writer's Cafe: can the sphere stay the same in the middle (with the colors and titles changing between books) or should be find a distinct image for each one?

    I rather like it, but I'd love some group thoughts. As alwaysthank you WC'ers for any advice or thoughts!

    Offline damienboyes

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #21 on: October 09, 2015, 03:12:09 pm »
    I think that's way better. And the typeface plus the sphere in the middle will act as a nice visual anchor for the three titles. They definitely look like parts of a sci-fi series.

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    Offline NoCat

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #22 on: October 09, 2015, 03:13:43 pm »
    I think as long as the background differs, the sphere works fine staying the same. They look distinct enough.

    Offline NanSweet

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #23 on: October 09, 2015, 03:47:05 pm »
    First, regarding the original covers, you are an awesome artist!  I agree that they don't feel right for your genre (at least for novels), but that does not take away the fact that they are well-executed.  While not quite right for a book cover, they remind me of Analog Science Fiction & Fact.  You might consider submitting your artwork to them. 

    I like the 2nd set of covers. You could keep the sphere and use it to tie the series together with different colors on the covers.
    « Last Edit: October 09, 2015, 03:49:35 pm by NanSweet »

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    Offline erikhanberg

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    Re: sci-fi cover. Looking for feedback!
    « Reply #24 on: October 09, 2015, 03:48:27 pm »
    I think as long as the background differs, the sphere works fine staying the same. They look distinct enough.

    Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too, so long as the colors and background differ. Thanks!

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