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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would like some feedback on a possible blurb for my next book, my debut full-length horror novel, please. I'm including a picture of a very small section of the hand drawn unfinished cover art (this is not the actual front cover, it is part of the spine and back cover). UPDATE: please feel free to comment on whether or not you would buy a book with mostly black and white cover art. I'm interested in that feedback as well.



The ocean surrounds the secret.

Last night a wicked storm swept a beautiful sacrifice onto the shore.

Shipwrecked Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

There is a place on earth where unrestrained evil flourishes.

Welcome home, Jessica.

 

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Very nice start, but it feels a little choppy and disjointed yet. I see where you're going with the second line, but it comes out kind of jarring, since very few things that are vomited up are also beautiful. It's also not clear, without context, what "trained to life" means. Probably it makes perfect sense in the context of the book, but as a reader who hasn't read any yet, it's an odd statement that's tough to follow.

I think the last two lines are great.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Perhaps instead: "trained to living on a remote island..." ?

Or maybe: "trained how to live on a remote island ..." Better?
 

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I like the artwork for the cover. Maybe if there was an island on the distant horizon it might make it more complete. Here is a suggestion for changing the blurb:

The ocean contains a dark secret until a wicked storm deposits a beautiful sacrifice on the shore.

A shipwrecked woman named Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained for a life on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

There exists a place on earth where unrestrained evil flourishes.

Welcome home, Jessica.
 

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What Joseph said.

Change vomited to deposited.

As an aside, I like the emotion that the stormy sea evokes as a large picture, but gray is a very "blah" color, and even more so in thumbnail--and I think you'll lose that feeling in thumbnail, too.  Something to think about.  The cover has to stand out and entice people at 1.25" tall.  
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Joseph for the help.

Here, how about this instead:

###

A shipwrecked woman named Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained how to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

###
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Emeline Danvers said:
As an aside, I like the emotion that the stormy sea evokes as a large picture, but gray is a very "blah" color, and even more so in thumbnail--and I think you'll lose that feeling in thumbnail, too. Something to think about. The cover has to stand out and entice people at 1.25" tall.
Hi Emeline, thanks for the feedback, but as I said in my original comment this is just a small section of the cover, it is not the actual front cover :) The actual front cover has a detailed drawing of the island that's being mentioned in the blurb. This is part of the back cover and spine section.

As for the black and white? Hmm, the artist and I had a long discussion about this and we were thinking the black and white drawing would better depict that the island isn't Hawaii, isn't modernized and tropical and some place anybody would want to visit. We also discussed a tint to the drawing so it would only be semi-black and white.

I'd welcome other feedback if a (mostly) black and white hand drawn cover art illustration is unwise? Would you be less likely to buy a (mostly) black and white cover book versus one in full color? This artist has quite a following and he's done some noteworthy black and white work which I realize might not translate to an ebook cover as well ... hmm. Great feedback so far, hope I refresh for more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Steven R. Drennon said:
I like the artwork for the cover. Maybe if there was an island on the distant horizon it might make it more complete.
Thank you, Steven. I'll go back and bold the part about this being only a small section of the actual cover art, lol. Guess I wasn't clear there :(

Here is a suggestion for changing the blurb:

The ocean contains a dark secret until a wicked storm deposits a beautiful sacrifice on the shore.
Unfortunately combining those sentences obscures what the story is actually about. I think removing the ocean line is probably a better idea because it will be obvious that the ocean surrounds the island from the cover art. I'll just remove the first line so the blurb reads like this:

Last night a wicked storm deposited a beautiful sacrifice on the shore.

A shipwrecked woman named Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained for a life on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

There exists a place on earth where unrestrained evil flourishes.

Welcome home, Jessica.
Sound better like this?
 

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Todd Russell said:
Thanks Joseph for the help.

Here, how about this instead:

###

A shipwrecked woman named Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained how to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

###
Yeah, that's it! You can probably lose the "how" in "trained how to survive," but I think this conveys what you were going for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks you guys, great help! Here's the version after your combined feedback:

####

Last night a wicked storm disgorged a beautiful sacrifice on the shore.

A shipwrecked woman named Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

There exists a place on earth where unrestrained evil flourishes.

Welcome home, Jessica.

####

Now please if you could give feedback on the other part that Emeline brought up (it's my quote from the first post):

UPDATE: please feel free to comment on whether or not you would buy a book with mostly black and white cover art. I'm interested in that feedback as well.
 

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YES, I'd buy a book with mostly black and white cover art (ahem).

But it should be bold, with contrast, not mostly dark grey. (I see this is not the full cover, but if it's a good overall idea of the full cover, then I'd say it's too monotone.)
 

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That's a yes here, too! (In fact, the cover art of my soon-to-be-released short story will be entirely black & white.)
 

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Hi, I have to back up what others have said about some of the wording.

I was immediately put off by the use of vomit, and I think disgorged sounds worse. It sort of sounds as though you had a perfectly good word that everyone would understand, and then decided to hit right click, synonyms, in word to find something that sounded clever and fancier.

What about something less invasive like - Last night a wicked storm swept a beautiful sacrifice onto the shore.

As for black and white. I do have black and white covers that sell well, but there's lots of details in them, and hints of colour to make them bold.

Felicity Heaton
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
felicity - I like 'swept' the best so far :)

###

Last night a wicked storm swept a beautiful sacrifice onto the shore.

A shipwrecked woman named Jessica Stanton is about to be discovered, cherished, and trained to survive on a remote island by a man who is not what he seems.

There exists a place on earth where unrestrained evil flourishes.

Welcome home, Jessica.


###

So far three 'yes' votes for black and white being OK. More feedback?
 

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I loved your original first line. "The ocean surrounds the secret." It's a keeper IMO.

I really do not like "disgorged." I liked vomited better, but I agree that there's probably a better choice. You could even say it simply: "Last night a wicked storm left a beautiful sacrifice on the shore." You've already got some powerful words in there (wicked, sacrifice), so vomited/disgorged feels like overkill to me. The 'swept' suggestion is nice, though.

Instead of saying, "A shipwrecked woman named Jessica Stanton," you could say, "Shipwrecked Jessica Stanton."

Instead of, "There exists a place on earth ..." I'd say, "There is a place on earth." To me, 'exists' feels like trying too hard.

Best of luck with it. I like what you've got so far.

Would I buy a book with a B&W cover? It would probably have to be really attractive, with some kind of interesting or elaborate artwork.
 

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Just my $0.02... There's nothing wrong with a black and white cover in and of itself, however, if the piece you've posted is representative of your cover as a whole, I'd say no to it. It's a bit flat, monochrome and has no "pop". All of the attractive B&W covers I've seen have lots of contrast and/or detail. The grays are sort of blah.
 

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Contrast these two:

"Last night a wicked storm swept a beautiful sacrifice onto the shore."

"Last night a wicked storm left a beautiful sacrifice on the shore."

The first has more poetry to it, but you should consider what kind of audience you're shooting for and what kind of language you want to use to represent the book.

The first sentence is very pretty. Is your audience going to want pretty, lyrical prose? Because right off the bat, if you lead in with that sentence, that's what you're telling people: "Come read my pretty prose." Nothing wrong with that, if that's what your audience wants and if that's what you deliver. But it does sound a little highbrow.

Can you imagine calling up a friend, and the friend saying, "Last night a wicked storm swept a beautiful sacrifice onto the shore?" It might be worth it to make the language a little more down to earth.

The second version adds a simpler verb ("left") to tone the language down a bit. Even the second version retains that 'high' literary feeling, though, because the rest of the sentence is still like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
MosesSiregarIII said:
Would I buy a book with a B&W cover? It would probably have to be really attractive, with some kind of interesting or elaborate artwork.
Here is an already published book drawn by the same artist to give you an idea of the quality and depth of his artwork:



Now when you look at this picture in the size as the book in my signature the details aren't as clear. I think the difference in what the artist is doing with my book's cover is that when it is shrunk down some of the bigger details you wouldn't see as easily will appear in the smaller version.

When folks see the completed version of the island he has drawn I think it will be impressive. Then again, I'm a horror fan and very (too?) close to this, which is why I'm here asking for more opinions. For those who like deep, detailed art, there will be some I bet who buy the book purely to enjoy the artwork. I love it when horror used to be that way: that the covers were always so clever and cool.

Actually, that's one of the things I think is cool about ebooks. Many of them have cool covers :)
 
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