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Does this cover go too far?

3625 Views 50 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  CaseyHollingshead
I've been playing around with cover ideas for my next book, and I've put together the image linked below. IF YOU ARE OF A DELICATE CONSTITUTION YOU MIGHT WANT TO EXIT THE THREAD NOW. :)

The main character has the ability to [sometimes] see when people are going to die. He's become something of a recluse because his visions don't always come true, and he believes himself responsible for the deaths of people close to him. The inciting incident is a vision of a school tragedy even worse than the recent one in Newtown, and the meat of the story is him trying to prevent the incident from actually happening.

Bearing in mind that this won't be released for several more months, just how offensive is this cover? I don't want it to be a trigger for anyone, but at the same time I do want something of a hint of the contents.

Do note that the offending spatter doesn't show up in thumbnails.
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Probably just bad timing. It's really not bad at all, but touchy people will call you an opportunist etc.
It won't be released for many more months -- I write as slowly as old people walk up stairs. :)
Time is on your side with this one. While the imagery isn't too graphic or over the top (I was expecting something much more heinous) it still is touchy, especially now. In a few months, assuming nothing horrible and new happens, you'll probably be much better off.
Speaking personally, the cover wouldn't bother me. It seems understated, actually. Perhaps too understated? If the spatter doesn't show, will readers recognize the book's genre?
Dave Dykema said:
I was expecting something much more heinous
All I want to do is hint at the violence on the cover -- the vision itself is going to be pretty graphic...but it's just a vision. :)
It doesn't offend me in the least. I really like the cover. Based on what you have told us about the story, I will probably want to read it when it comes out.
I'll give you my honest opinion, since you asked.  Even a few months from now, I think with the blood spattered on the chalkboard and the desk in front of it, it goes too far.  Maybe in eighteen months or two years...but it's all still very fresh, and it has had such a gut-wrenching impact on most Americans. 

Obviously not everyone will think it's too much, but I thought I should go ahead and speak up so you know that you might have some readers who do.  (Again, it's not that it's that it's a graphic cover, it's just that a blood-spattered chalkboard seems too soon.)
Wow, I was expecting something graphically shocking (like dead bodies, blood everywhere) when I clicked the link.

I think that the cover is understated but like others have said, people are going to talk. That is not necessarily a bad thing though. I think that the tension over school violence will die down again as it eventually always does, until the next incident. As a mother to school age children, I do not even want to think about that and God rest all of those poor souls that were killed in the recent tragedy.

I think that this is probably a subject that needs to be addressed. Hopefully, your story will have the happy ending, despite the graphic visions, that other school tragedies have not.
Seems Ok. The news is full of people describing the same thing in words.
It was wrenching for me when I saw the blood splatter and then flashbacked to the newtown news cycle. Although I honestly was expecting a CSI/Dexter-level dead body on the cover. I think when it's released in a few months it'll be fine.
Cynthia Shepp said:
Hopefully, your story will have the happy ending, despite the graphic visions
I try to end the novel-length stuff happily. Shorts, not so much. :)
I definitely had a physical reaction to the cover. I'm not sure for me, that will ever go away. With that said, I think it works. You're probably going to get backlash, but you're going to get backlash no matter what due to the subject matter.
vlmain said:
Based on what you have told us about the story, I will probably want to read it when it comes out.
Thankya. :) The first draft of the first chapter is here, if you're interested.
I think the cover is fine as it is - doesn't go too far IMO.
If it comes out within a year of the Newtown incident, I'd say that's a bad marketing move.  Longer than that, there will be some that still have issues, but you should still find a market.
I don't think it's really clear from the cover what the book is about. More of a design issue than a moral one.
I think your target audience will not care.

I think that if people did care and got mad and created a fuss, that would only help your book sales.

The following is my opinion, and it (admittedly) was not asked for. I may be way off base:
On the other hand, I don't think it's a particularly strong cover, and I think, with a vague-ish title like that, you really need to let people know what kind of book this is. That cloud business on the lettering is not doing it for me. I don't think it properly communicates what you're going for. I get that's supposed to be written in chalk, but the word veil already is a little chalky--as in, they are both insubstantial. You want that chalkness to have a gut-wrenching effect, and so you should only use it if the word and the image are in opposition. A sinister word in a child-like font effect is chilling. This doesn't quite evoke that.
I think what's interesting is how everyone is measuring this against when Newtown happened.

VT, brought Columbine up and rehashed it all over again and made it all fresh.

The amish school shooting brought up VT & Columbine and rehashed them both and made them both fresh again.

Aurora brought up VT & Columbine and made them fresh again - etc.

Newtown did it again.

I think it would (unfortunately) be naive to think something else won't be happening that will always keep these tragedies fresh.

If that's your meassure, then yes. I think you're going to have a problem. Personally, having worked in a school, even that small amount of blood on your cover was my worst nightmare. I'm sure it is for parents as well.

Also, I was expecting worse as well because of your build up so my first reaction was, "Oh, that's not so bad." But then I stepped back and thought about just coming across it. Yeah. I wouldn't like to just come across that cover. But that's me.

The problem isn't so much the cover as the topic. That topic is always going to be difficult for a lot of people. The cover would almost be a lesser concern to me. With this topic you're going to lose big with groups of people no matter what you write. It's your decision of that matters to you or not.

Hard call. Good luck.
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Fredster said:
Thankya. :) The first draft of the first chapter is here, if you're interested.
Thanks! Read it, loved it, gave it a "like."
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