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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just received second-round drafts of my cover, and I'm very excited about the way Glendon (Streetlight Graphics) incorporated the elements I requested. (Edit to remove my opinion; I want to hear what you have to say.)

Please post your thoughts on which cover works and any tweaks that you would recommend.





About my book

Tagline: To stop a pandemic, Jackie Davenport must uncover the truth behind a secret experiment.

Draft blurb: Jackie Davenport graduated with a M.A. in Journalism, dropped an abusive boyfriend, and landed a coveted job writing for the Houston Chronicle. Her assignment is small: travel to the oil refinery in Sundown, Texas to research high gas prices. The outbreak that obstructs her research is more than "just the flu."

Unable to merely observe, Jackie becomes a catalyst in local containment efforts, but influenza jumps outward, escaping local and national containment measures to cause a pandemic. At her sister's sickbed, Jackie must choose whether to trust a man she had tolerated only for her sister's sake-brother-in-law and absent-minded physicist, Preston Black. Trust is not something she does well, at least not since her self-image was smashed along with her heart.

Jackie's reality shifts when Preston admits directorship of a top-secret research project in time travel. Risking both her health and her burgeoning career, Jackie enlists Preston's help to uncover proof of a cover-up spanning time and rank. Now Jackie must gather her new-found courage as she presents the scoop of a lifetime.
 

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The first one reminds me of a pharmaceutical catalogue.

The second one is better, but the title doesn't pop. This is mainly the darkening of the ends of the title. Maybe have a halo shadowing the title or take the shading off of the ends.
 

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I also like #2 much better. None of the elements in the first one grab my attention, but the eye in the second one (especially because of the way the color matches the title) really jumps out.

That said, here are the tweaks I'd make:

  • Make your name bigger; have it span the bottom of the cover.
  • Cut back on the darkening effect on the title font. It looks fine large, but you really start to lose the "D" and the "T" in thumbnail.
  • This one is entirely my own preference (well, I guess they all are really), but I'd change it to a 2:3 aspect ratio.

Otherwise, I think it looks great. I love the textures, both on the title and the image.
 

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I like #2 the best.

It could be better though.

For one, I'd suggest trying to match the green of the title to the eye color of the person on the cover. Bright green would pop out, contrasting sharply with the black around it. I think it would look amazing... err, even more amazing.

Secondly, I'd suggest putting the name all the way across the bottom of the cover, or simply increasing the size so that "Ripley" covers half of the width of the cover. It would still give you the way you put the name on there, but it would stand out more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, all! I prefer the second cover too. Funny about money and pharmaceutical catalogues. I can definitely see both now.

tim290280 said:
The first one reminds me of a pharmaceutical catalogue.

The second one is better, but the title doesn't pop. This is mainly the darkening of the ends of the title. Maybe have a halo shadowing the title or take the shading off of the ends.
Agreed. I had noticed the title fade in the thumbnail too.

Daniel Pyle said:
I also like #2 much better. None of the elements in the first one grab my attention, but the eye in the second one (especially because of the way the color matches the title) really jumps out.

That said, here are the tweaks I'd make:

  • Make your name bigger; have it span the bottom of the cover.
  • Cut back on the darkening effect on the title font. It looks fine large, but you really start to lose the "D" and the "T" in thumbnail.
  • This one is entirely my own preference (well, I guess they all are really), but I'd change it to a 2:3 aspect ratio.

Otherwise, I think it looks great. I love the textures, both on the title and the image.
I had considered making my name bigger, but in the current configuration. I will ask to see it spanning the bottom of the cover too.

By 2:3 aspect ratio, I assume that you mean the width to height. Is that ratio the standard?

Ryne Billings said:
I like #2 the best.

It could be better though.

For one, I'd suggest trying to match the green of the title to the eye color of the person on the cover. Bright green would pop out, contrasting sharply with the black around it. I think it would look amazing... err, even more amazing.

Secondly, I'd suggest putting the name all the way across the bottom of the cover, or simply increasing the size so that "Ripley" covers half of the width of the cover. It would still give you the way you put the name on there, but it would stand out more.
He gave me that option too, but I think the title doesn't fit quite as well in this version. It looks more amateurish, IMHO, like I did it.

 

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Ripley said:
Thanks, all! I prefer the second cover too. Funny about money and pharmaceutical catalogues. I can definitely see both now.

Agreed. I had noticed the title fade in the thumbnail too.

I had considered making my name bigger, but in the current configuration. I will ask to see it spanning the bottom of the cover too.

By 2:3 aspect ratio, I assume that you mean the width to height. Is that ratio the standard?

He gave me that option too, but I think the title doesn't fit quite as well in this version. It looks more amateurish, IMHO, like I did it.

Is it possible to lighten up the current textured font color on the title?

I think with the textured look, the bright green might look better.
 

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Ripley said:
By 2:3 aspect ratio, I assume that you mean the width to height. Is that ratio the standard?
Well, there's not really a standard for ebooks yet. Some people like 3:4 because a cover with that ratio will completely fill the Kindle's screen, which makes sense, but 2:3 is closer to what paperbacks (both trade and mass market) and hardcovers look like, which means it's what readers are used to seeing. And they'll probably see your cover in many places (websites, recommendation lists, Facebook, etc.) before they ever see it on their Kindle. Once it's on their ereader, they've either already bought it or downloaded the sample anyway and the cover has already done its job. Again, that's just my opinion. There's no right or wrong way to do it. I just like to keep my covers looking as traditional as possible. It's one less reason for a potential buyer to pause before clicking the download button.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Daniel Pyle said:
Well, there's not really a standard for ebooks yet. Some people like 3:4 because a cover with that ratio will completely fill the Kindle's screen, which makes sense, but 2:3 is closer to what paperbacks (both trade and mass market) and hardcovers look like, which means it's what readers are used to seeing. And they'll probably see your cover in many places (websites, recommendation lists, Facebook, etc.) before they ever see it on their Kindle. Once it's on their ereader, they've either already bought it or downloaded the sample anyway and the cover has already done its job. Again, that's just my opinion. There's no right or wrong way to do it. I just like to keep my covers looking as traditional as possible. It's one less reason for a potential buyer to pause before clicking the download button.
Good to know. Thank you! I'll have to give that some thought, but it's too early! I'm not a morning person, even though I have to be up before the birds.
 

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Ripley said:
Good to know. Thank you! I'll have to give that some thought, but it's too early! I'm not a morning person, even though I have to be up before the birds.
I know exactly what you mean. I have to get up at six every morning, but my brain doesn't really kick in until about ten. Luckily, I still get paid for those first few hours. :D
 

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#2 is better by far.  The eye on the masked face is an especially strong feature.  I don't think the brightness gradient (dark-bright-dark) across the title is effective.  I recommend retaining the textures but eliminating the colour/brightness gradient.  Some have recommended changing placement of author name, but I think it is fine as is.  Words need to be legible in Amazon thumb size, and your titles pass that test as far as I can tell.  Nice cover!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Daniel Pyle said:
I know exactly what you mean. I have to get up at six every morning, but my brain doesn't really kick in until about ten. Luckily, I still get paid for those first few hours. :D
This, only I have to get up by 5:30am, though I often stretch that to 5:45am. I'm at my desk now and just finished my morning cup of tea, so I think my brain is functioning again.

I just sent a request to Glendon regarding removing the color gradient on the title and increasing the size of my name. (I like the placement to balance the face.) I also asked for clarification on the ratio.

It's so exciting to see my cover! I'll post the revisions when I have them.
 

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Definitely the second one... it really pops - especially as a thumbnail.

There's half-way ground between the two versions of the title though. Like you said, the solid color looks a little amateurish but the 1st version is too dark on the D and T... I suspect that when it's viewed on a kindle in greyscale it'll become even worse.

There's some snippets about a Cambridge University study floating around on the interwebs that really demonstrate how important the first and last letters of a word are when it comes to word recognition
http://www.ecenglish.com/learnenglish/lessons/can-you-read

The texture of the original version is wonderful and really adds to the effect of the cover, it would be a travesty to lose it. But it really needs to be lightened, either by easing up the dark overlay at the edges only or increasing the lighting on the text as a whole (so the hotspot in the middle is brighter as well, which will retain most of the contrast within the word itself)
...or by adding a horizontal light effect on the black backdrop only that extends past the D and T

---Monica
 

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Another vote for #2.

However, I'm not sure how this qualifies as sci-fi. Books about experiments gone wrong, pandemics, that sort of thing typically fall into mainstream unless there's an element of outer space involved like in the Andromeda Strain. If this really is sci-fi, then your blurb doesn't convey that. Though, the blurb is pretty effective as is IMO.

As to the title, I actually like it.
 
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