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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! Here's the draft cover for a short story collection I'll be giving away to email subscribers. Because it will only be available on my website (not on Amazon), I luckily don't need to worry about tiny thumbnail sizes - the second, smaller version is about as small as it will ever be.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Any help is appreciated! ;D



 

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First off, I liked it but it doesn't say horror to me. Graves on book covers remind me of ghosts, maybe necromancers, but not horror. I certainly didn't get chills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback!

The collection focuses on suspense, monsters and the supernatural - there's no violence or gore. With that in mind, what would be a more appropriate image? Skulls? A creepy wood? Maybe crows?
 

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I'm not sure that font's quite working for you in the absence of a more definitively 'horror' element to the image--which is a shame because the actual typesetting is really rather artful. Maybe the blue filter over the image is a bit too pronounced. Making the image darker and higher contrast might work better. Also, the phrase "horror short story collection" is a bit ungainly. Just "a horror story collection" or "a collection of horror stories" might read a bit better.
 

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What a beautiful cover. But I'm not so sure beautiful is the best way to sell horror. This cover is really nice. It just has a lot of young adult features and not enough horror features. The dreamy fog and blue tones, decorative corners, and title font give off the wrong genre when put together.

Replacing the title font to something less lovely and more harsh would help tremendously. Also, consider replacing the blue hues to green. That would help hint at the correct genre. Those corner pieces are gorgeous, just not really appropriate for the mood you want to set. They are also a bit of a genre cue for, you guessed it, not horror.

Man, I could put a different background in and sell that as a YA or romance premade in a heartbeat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks! This has been very helpful.

I'm a bit stuck at the moment. I'm not a graphic designer at all; initially I hired someone on fiverr to make a cover using the image, but wasn't happy with what they returned. While I was writing up a list of changes I thought I'd better mock up a cover to show them what I was imagining, and, well, it sort of turned into this.

I've made the cover greener, which I think is an improvement, but the other fonts I found last night didn't look good, and the cover feels imcomplete without the corner bits.  ???  Maybe I'd better keep looking for a good premade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's the second draft: darker and greener. Is it any better?

(I don't know if it makes a difference, but the best way to describe the stories is "gothic horror". If it looks like it belongs to a ghost story we're heading in the right direction.)



 

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What do you think of this colour variation, Darcy? The added drop of blood is probably a bit over the top :)
I made the background less saturated and darkened the shadows a bit for a grimmer look. To me, this is more of a "horror" look, but you know best what suits your stories.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Phew! That's great news, thanks Stephanie and Carina!

Masha, thanks so much for creating that alternate version. I love how moody the cover looks with the reduced saturation.
 

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Darcy said:
(I don't know if it makes a difference, but the best way to describe the stories is "gothic horror". If it looks like it belongs to a ghost story we're heading in the right direction.)
I would definitely make a point of specifying "gothic" on the cover, in that case, so that fans of gothic don't pass it by. 'Eight tales of gothic horror' or something, as a tagline, perhaps?
 

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Agreed, the font is way more romance than horror. Beautiful font, just not suited for this genre. (And I love Masha's take on an already beautiful cover).
 

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What if you used a font a little more like this?



I didn't add your tagline or take out your corner decorations (since you really like them). I think they can work as long as the rest of the cover conveys your genre.

You just need something that says more horror/goth horror rather than flowy romance for the text. There are a lot of good horror options. Basically you're looking for something with sharp edges or points. I used Vtks espinhuda and Tottingham. However, the font Treasure would give it more ghostly feel (less goth though).

I also sucked some saturation out of the image. Added some green, then replaced some green with more earthy browns and yellows to recover a bit of your gravestone details.

Look around; check out some different fonts and find one that works for you AND your book. ;)
 

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I'm going to disagree with everybody else and say I think the original version is absolutely gorgeous and since you're giving it away anyway and it doesn't have to sell itself, why not keep it?
 

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Lydniz said:
I'm going to disagree with everybody else and say I think the original version is absolutely gorgeous and since you're giving it away anyway and it doesn't have to sell itself, why not keep it?
The original cover is absolutely gorgeous, I agree. But that doesn't make it a good enough reason to keep it. Rather it's a free book or a paid book, it has a purpose. Paid books collect income. Free books collect readers for future books. Covers have specific purposes, too. It has to create the correct expectation for the inside of the book.

If the outside doesn't match the inside, you're working against yourself.

People that see a soft, romancy cover may not read it at all if they're looking for a dark horror. If they're not reading it, your book doesn't get a chance to serve its purpose. And, people that see that cover and get excited (because the soft mood of the cover is EXACTLY what they were looking for in a book), well, no matter how great the horror story, it will disappoint them. Because it's a let down. Not because it's anything less than a stellar story, but because it wasn't what they were looking for to begin with.
 

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Darcy said:
Hello! Here's the draft cover for a short story collection I'll be giving away to email subscribers. Because it will only be available on my website (not on Amazon), I luckily don't need to worry about tiny thumbnail sizes - the second, smaller version is about as small as it will ever be.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Any help is appreciated! ;D



I think it looks really great, but the sub title "A horror short story collection" is wordy and awkward. I would rephrase that.
 

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Instead of the corner glyphs, maybe try a line of birds across the sky (in silhouette) just behind the first line of the title, and at the bottom, enlarge the author name to fill up the space. You could sneak in a cloudy moon, too. :D

The title font is more romance/PNR, and the tag line (or log line, I forget which is which) is awkward. Something like "short Gothic horror tales" would be good.

Love the image. Very creepy. I think a grayish green or blue would work.

I need to come up with something like this to give to subscribers. Thanks for the idea!
 
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