As a reader what gives you the right to 'know' how covers should be designed.<
Wow, so basically you are saying readers don't know what they want to see on the covers of books they buy. The readers are who buy the books, not cover designers that think they know what a cover should look like. As readers we have every right to say what covers we like and what covers we do not. Readers compose whole websites in honor of our favorite romance novel covers. http://romancebookcovers.com/
Now I know why I usually lurk here ,but I gotta chime in on this one.
I am a READER and a DESIGNER and a Writer, I have to say I like people on my covers.
When I look at a book as a READER the cover is one third of the reason I buy a book and half the reason I pick it up in the first place-the rest has to do with the title, blurb and what I find on the first three pages.
Cheaplit, using your example from the website you linked (I assume it is yours?) I have to say that given the three versions of kidnapped, it would be the second - the one with the victim that would make me pick up that book. I don’t think it gives anything away. Most readers understand that covers are vague, even those with people on the cover and from the title I already assume there will be a victim…No surprise there.
I agree the first one seems cliché, but mostly it just doesn’t appeal to me as a female reader, and the last one, your pick is just too vague does nothing to draw me in. It doesn’t tell me enough or stand out enough to make even pick up the book or slow my browser.
I always keep in mind my own preferences as a READER when I design a cover for myself or anyone else and I think that is probably the best advice. Figure out what makes YOU pick up a book then figure out a way to make it stand out.
Cheaplit may be an experienced designer be he only JUST STARTED doing covers.
We can take his advice, but only so far.
Once he has some solid sales behind his covers, his word will carry more weight.
Until then, we all remember that Dale's cover for Nick, which broke almost all of Cheap's rules, but skyrocketed Nick into the top 100 of ebooks sales (literally thousands of sales a day) and kept him there for months on end.
Do good covers help? Heck yeah.
Do perfect covers do better than good covers? As yet to be seen.
Can one designer tell the rest of the world what a perfect cover is? No, I don't think he can. Especially if he is not willing to take into account the preferences of the readers and the data on what covers actually sell books.
Is your claim based on how well your coverdesign is selling your book for you? I checked your look inside and you are a great writer, and your blurb is great too, so it ought to fly off the shelves. Your cover is visually interesting as well, but the title "Humble Nations" and a chunk of beef tell the reader nothing at all about the book.
But if you are right, and just a great looking design are all you need (as opposed to a cover that fits the genre etc) then sales will tell.
And by the way, I didn't say that Nick's cover was awful, I said it was good. Please don't put mean words in my mouth.
That is an interesting idea. I have a free flash fiction piece that was through Lulu in a plain green cover for a couple of months. I just took it off Lulu, put a new cover on it, and moved it to smashwords but it isn't through premium review yet. I wonder if it would be possible to publish the same story in another cover through smashwords to see which sold better.
I really need a handsome, blonde, clean cut, late 20s
guy for the cover of a contemporary romance novel. I
have looked through sxc.hu, istockphotos and
Microsoft Office with no success.
If you have any other sites you have used in the past
and can recommend, please list them
Have you tried shutterstock.com? Also try dreamstime.com. Good luck!
Is your claim based on how well your coverdesign is
selling your book for you? I checked your look
inside and you are a great writer, and your blurb is
great too, so it ought to fly off the shelves. Your
cover is visually interesting as well, but the title
"Humble Nations" and a chunk of beef tell the reader
nothing at all about the book.
You must have been looking at some other person's book because ... erm ... there is NO look inside for that story. Either that or you are lying. There is one simple way though to see if I'm a good writer or not. Put your hand in your pocket and buy the book. Honestly, I'm a little annoyed there is no 'Look Inside' because the first few lines of the story are quite arresting. And it would sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of reader.
The Humble Nations thing will be a sort of brand when I get some of my other stories up there. So if someone likes one story they can buy other one's the in the series. It's simple branding. The 'Nations' part of it is because they're all from different countries. The Humble part is just some sort of irony because I and my stories are for from humble. As for the beef. It's actually Bacon. But no matter. And you'd get the connection after you've read the story. As with most of my covers. The concept behind this when I have 10-15 stories up there is to give a sense of intrigue about what the almost abstract image means.
But if you are right, and just a great looking design
are all you need (as opposed to a cover that fits the
genre etc) then sales will tell.
It's not all you need. You need to write well as well. And I'm more about making something stand out rather than look the same as every other cover out there.
And by the way, I didn't say that Nick's cover was
awful, I said it was good. Please don't put mean
words in my mouth.
Yep sorry I did mis-understand you now I look over it again. It was late at night and I am suffering from flu at the moment when I posted that.
Any way, if I had to do a Big Lake cover I would do something like below. It's just me messing around with ideas.
But off the top of my head what I think is wrong with the original cover from a purely design point of view are the following:
- The font is Arial. A very very standard font. Is the writing standard? Nope. He writes well. So subconsciously he's saying the wrong thing.
- The 'Big Lake' font has been stretched (so it loses it's correct aspect ration) rather than using tall-form font. Make it look cheap.
- The reflection of the word on the water is straight in a line which makes it look odd - there should be tapering.
- The photo image used might be taken by the designer or the writer himself but it sort of looks like poor to my eyes. And the sun breaking through the clouds makes it look like the cover of Jahova's Witness magazine. It doesn't give the vibe at all of thriller or twin peaks.
- The fonts are not even aligned to centre. Which makes it look cheap. It's the small subtle things that make things look cheap. With so much care taken about the writing you would have thought the cover would have had that amount of care put into it.
- The reflection is not aligned as well - the 'B' on the reflection starts a little to the right. Also there's a space between the bottom of the words and the start of the reflection. If the letters are set on the water there should be no space.
Any way, you'll probably like the original despite what I say. Me I like contrary people - they're fun. Would be interested to know what you think.
No worries ... we all like different types of story innit. I'm a big Raymond Carver fan and those covers and bland probably to your eyes means brilliantly typeset to my eyes. Different style and ideas of writing and of design. The cover needs to fit the style of story. But that's not what I was talking about. I was talking about just designed properly, rather than making amateurish design mistakes that cheapens the overall effect - as you can see from my example above. Pick the right image, pick the right fonts and execute it carefully it will look better.
To suggest Traci is lying is harsh. It would have been less hostile to suggest she was probably looking at the wrong book if yours doesn’t have a preview. I suspect she was just trying to soften her criticism by finding something nice to say about your book, or looking at the wrong book.
While I am sure most appreciate your suggestions, you tend to forget you are not the only one with design experience. And some of your suggestions are simply your opinion – and unlike some elements of design, an opinion is not necessarily right or wrong.
What it boils down to is how the readers respond. If I have to choose between two covers for my book, and one is deemed a perfect creation of graphic designed by some professional graphic artist, yet it turns readers off – while the other cover is less perfect, yet it attracts readers – which should I choose?
To suggest Traci is lying is harsh. It would have
been less hostile to suggest she was probably looking
at the wrong book if yours doesn’t have a preview. I
suspect she was just trying to soften her criticism
by finding something nice to say about your book, or
looking at the wrong book.
I only have one book up. So I should lie to cover her lie? What's this a soap opera? And more importantly you're encouraging me to lie? You say that I'm being hostile? This is my just being chatty. Remember that I'm English and not a saccharine-sweet American. So, please don't judge my mode of conversation by your cultural standards. Have some imagination when realising people don't have the values as you.
To suggest Traci is lying isn't harsh - it's a statement of fact.
She's been stalking my posts for some time now because we had some sort of disagreement a few weeks ago. Don't believe me ... have a look through my posts. And now she's been caught with her sarcastic knickers down.
But I commend you sticking up for her ... very noble of you. What I won't stomach though is your superposition.
Americans put on a fake sweet façade? Gee haven’t heard that stereotype before, I really must get out more.
My superposition? Must be a cultural thing, I have no clue what you mean.
Sorry, I don’t follow the whos who or who done it to who on the forum. Soaps aren’t my thing.
I was not sticking up for Traci,l I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, which I didn’t realize was a cultural thing confined to the US.
I rather think the ugly American stereotype is overrated.
While I am not big on stereotypes, I do recognize cultural differences. Taste in art is definitely culturally influenced. If you want to attract more American readers, it might be wise to understand what attracts American, as opposed to telling them what they should like and hitting them over the head with your opinions.
But then, I am an American, and we tend to be capitalists. A capitalist tries to figure out what consumers want.
This is kind of telling though: I look at a ton of books, and looked at yours several days before I posted that. I liked your blurb and thought you were a good writer. Days later when I wanted to write about my impression of your book, I thought you had a look inside, because frankly, besides the general impression that you can write well and that your book had a piece of meat on it, nothing else stood out to me,
A title that said something about the story and a cover said anything at all would do great things for your book.