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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My original covers have served me well for a long time, but with the first book having been permafree since last June, I think I have finally given a copy to every single person who is going to want it with that cover. I know that the original cover looks like it is high fantasy, and it's not. However, it did reach a lot of people who were the right audience for the book even given the potential mismatch.

I love the old cover and it was designed to pop at a very small size. It does that well, and I know that I am losing that with the newer cover although I am retaining the original typography. For comparison, that cover is the first one in my forum sig.

So, does the cover below say Young Adult Urban Fantasy, non-romantic type? Except for the way the medallion doesn't quite lay down correctly/blend the way it should--a known issue which is currently being fixed by my designer friend, does it look pro enough to use? Is it an improvement or should I stick with my tried and true which has gotten me listed by every advertiser except BookBub?

And, whatcha think? Could it improve my chances for that elusive Bookbub? Because hope springs eternal, as they say.

I look forward to your comments. This is the first time I've actually considered that I may have created a useable cover (I've done mockups of my ideas for my designer friend but never actually attempted one for production on my own). If I am wrong about that, please feel free to disabuse me of the notion :)



Thanks in advance!

Jill
 

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I started at the top and eyed the cover as I scrolled down. I thought "Okay this looks nice. Obviously Chiclit or something like wait Magic Unbound? That's weird for this kind of cover oh WOW look at that bling... okay this is supposed to be .. um.. modern... with magic.. I'm so lost."

On top of that, the amulet looks shopped onto the girl without belonging there. You have no shadow on it and so it looks fake.
If you added a drop shadow to the layer that matches the angle of light for the girl, it would help bring that together. The problem I see is that your amulet has an angle of light that is very obviously fromt he left and upper half, whereas the model appears to be front-lit, so making those match will be difficult.

Aside from that, the background screams something like chicklit to me. Fluffy trees and all, it doesn't say Urban Fantasy to me which tend to have grittier covers than that.

I would consider darkening the background to make the girl and her amulet pop more, and to remove the sense that it's a fluffy happy chicklit modern instead of an urban fantasy.

I like the font you used for the name and series title, but I don't like the BIG white block letters for the title. It feels very bland and blank without adding much pop.

Not bad, but it's not really grabbing me.

You're right that the first cover makes me think "Fantasy" instead of "Urban Fantasy". So I think a rework is smart, but I definitely wouldn't go with this as is. I'd keep the original over this as is.
 

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I know nothing about design....however, the large font makes the cover look very bottom heavy. And draws all attention away from the background image. It worked nicely on the old cover because in was abstract (no human scenery. lol) and it had a dark background that could hold its own. Just my two cents.

The new cover does say YA (but I don't get Urban Fantasy exactly.)

I understand have having to rebrand a series (that's what I'm doing right now), but your other covers will have to be done, too. If they are selling well, I'm not sure if I'd mess with a good thing. If they are not selling well---go crazy. lol
 

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I'm afraid it's not really grabbing me, either.  :(  There's an awful lot of grey - grey hoodie, grey amulet, white text. I suspect you might have done this to attract attention to the colourful elements - the red gem and the butterfly - but it makes the cover look, well, a little boring, I'm afraid. My favourite part of the cover is the girl's smile (cheeky and cute!) but it's covered with text.

Your original cover is much more attractive to me. The amulet says "fantasy", but the butterfly gives me the hint it's more angled at YA than epic. I understand you're missing the urban aspect, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys! Well, that idea is down the tubes.

I am really trying to put a girl into the mix but not in a sexy way. Obviously, I missed the mark on fantasy in the process.

Since the background and contrast obviously just isn't working for fantasy, how about if I mix the two covers?

The amulet is being fixed by my cover designer, and this is now a pretty rough mix with obvious artifacts in it, but does it come closer to being a better cover for the genre?

I have given away over around 20000 copies of the book, and it is down to anywhere from 3-6 downloads per day. The sell-through to the second book is around 1%. The sell-through from book 2 to book 3 is around 75%, so when I get to the right audience, they like they series. However, I won't have any sales at all if the first one only gives away a few copies a day. Hence, new cover to find a different audience.

I think the book isn't finding its audience because people think it will be high fantasy. Let me call it contemporary fantasy instead of urban fantasy because it is urban fantasy (fantasy in a modern setting) but not what people typically thing of when they think of Indie Urban Fantasy. It's action/adventure fantasy with modern characters, but it's not gritty.

Okay, does this one grab you more? (Bear in mind--rough draft--the same person who did my original covers will make sure that any cover that goes out is up to snuff.)

 

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Personally, I prefer your original cover, Jill, although I understand your reason for a redo. (The first book in my YA series is on its sixth cover!)

FWIW, here's my opinion.

The second example with the plainer background is definitely better. BUT... That necklace looks out of place on the hoodie, and I think it's the mass of grey hoodie that's really not right, coupled with the large white text, it's all a bit much. Does she have to be wearing a hoodie? Could you get a picture of a girl in a tank or something and make the necklace smaller? Also, she's smiling, which is rather unusual for the genre.

I look forward to seeing where you go with this.  ;D
 
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Jill

I think your original cover isn't right.

I had though of emailing you earlier but couldn't find the right image at Flickr.

What you need to consider is

1) A young beautiful girl's face. This is critical. There MUST be a young girl on the cover (whether looking away or looking out at reader).

2) A butterfly sitting on her hand or cheek or flying by.

3) No AMulet or if there must be an amulet as a secondary thing. The focus should be girl with butterfly.

4) Font and size of author name is good in new cover.

5) Title is too big. It should be at most double size of author name.

Think of the cover's job as just two things

1) Gets reader to click your book cover when on a page with other covers i.e. stands out and has clickability.

2) On the product page conveys thought was put into the cover and looks very pretty.

For your name and book name, they can see all that from product information. Cover just has to catch their eye and get them to click.

Girl image like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nadinetargiel/6149941866/sizes/l
or variant of this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sashawolff/8349818414

or a combination: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pichl/819070277/sizes/o/

Butterfly image like this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15780233580/sizes/l
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15780233580/in/photolist-rqm37X-qqi3Az-pTVqeS-qPLG5f-qqMFXo-pyfEys-qtu1a3-rqtAxK-pu76P5-p4W89P-qUhJDF-qQubM3-q3rPEL-qVEZXY-q4z6iL-q3eNmR-rqtEpH-r6AhgS-rq4bhq-rnyRwa-roxRrH-rovqgM-r5iZdM-peeHwt-pzDJdV-rqoVPF-rqzwFF-p6VqpJ-roxGEz-pHpt3Q-quCFzs-qPKkKX-rpnCkh-roGeVA-oNUAeZ-rmqshx-pc8Mt5-p3EkQ9-pcn8Nr-pKGZzn-qTpHAH-psSV7q-qQLKPo-pRxULE-pc8M8L-pPpZ66-qy6i7s-qrxpAY-ovcX6L-qoQ3cR

Search for BLue Morpho on flickr under 'available for commercial use freely'. Or for Blue Monarch.
 

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I love the little butterfly detail, but I see that you have it in your original cover too...and I have to say that I prefer the original.
 

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That bling! Much big!  I'm totally getting a thug life vibe from that cover with such a huge amulet and a hoodie.  Or its an episode of Mythbusters trying to figure out how long Kari Byron can go before getting jacked.
 

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I definitely think it does a better job suggesting urban fantasy rather than just straight fantasy, but I must admit, I think the old cover is better composed. The images are strong and the colour comes through boldly, while the new ones don't seem as focused. I think the torso shot of a grey hoodie just doesn't work for me, particularly with the huge amulet superimposed over it.
 

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Her head tilt is weird and the amulet looks fake pasted against her chest - there's no accounting for the fact that a body isn't flat and a medallion can't like completely flat against it.

I actually prefer your first cover. To update it, take a look at your titling - the font doesn't say YA fantasy. You could make all the elements bigger then if you adjust the font. Look how well evermore looks above. make the elements large and symbolic and simplify the titling......

 

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The two new versions say fantasy to me, but not urban fantasy. I guess I'm the odd one out here because I think they're both beautiful. The human figure makes them more appealing than the original cover. The medallion is very eye-catching.
 

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Hey

I'm agreeing with other comments--the background says contemporary non-fantasy; the amulet alone is not enough to signal fantasy (and it does need work) and the giant, billboard type font for the title is seriously overwhelming and not appealing. It needs to be feminine in some Harry Potterish style, not yell, TIRE SALE TODAY.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you to all of you! I appreciate the comments, and it looks like I'll just keep the current cover since that is the prefered one. If I go forward with either of them (because I couldn't actually get much fewer downloads and have nothing to lose if I decide to test a new cover), I will definitely incorporate many of the suggestions to at least improve the font, etc.

Sorry that I didn't get in here to reply individually--was at the dentist early (oh boy, I get to have a root canal) and just got off work.

But I want to let everyone know I really appreciate your input. My designer friend may still come up with something since I just don't have the skills, but he's not a cover designer and doesn't know genre, so he thought the first one was good.

As always, I really appreciate your input. Thanks again!
 
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