B.L. Alley wrote:
One more version, black, with armor.
Honestly--it had more impact before. (I'm really not trying to be negative or mean-spirited, but now, with the addition of what appear to be TEETH, it kinda looks like an oddly-constructed automaton.) This is something that I see happen with covers all the time--the "kitchen sink syndrome." The various comments added elements to the cover--until it lost its impact. I'll say this again: click bait, and as long as the instant the person looks at it, the genre is reasonably inferrable, it's fine. Now, in this instance, I'd say it's not. I don't know if this is an historical romance; a tale of knightly historical valor; a fictional account of some historical event, a parallel universe, or, or or. Thus, IMHO, it needs something (a tag line, or something), that tells the prospective buyer WHAT genre, precisely, this cover fits. Adding bits of armor, or vestments, etc., isn't doing it.
(I confess, the idea of cave drawings was cool, but again--what did that convey to the reader, other than confusion? If they add, great. If they don't, don't use them.
Obviously, it's just my humble opinion, and the comments are free--and worth that.
B.L. Alley wrote:
These are all mockups (and me having fun), and I see nothing negative nor mean-spirited. I'm posting these as ideas and for inspiration. I learned the hard way simple is better. My earlier covers were far too complex as I tried to convey whole scenes rather than capture the essence. How successful I've been since then is up for debate, but I've definitely improved my ability to generate imagery and create clear, concise compositions.
As I said before, I personally prefer the rusty helmet with the glow behind it, but that isn't what the OP wanted, so I was offering an alternative which contains the elements of the original but is more eye-catching (and doesn't look like bad Photoshopping)
As for the teeth, they were always part of the helmet and are intended to prevent weapon ingress and make the face look more fierce, while still being something that could be easily forged.
I understand the purpose of the accouterments for the helmet, in real life. I am simply observing that in this instance, the appearance--which is more important than the functionality, for this purpose--has taken on an unfortunate turn. Actually, I'm enjoying the hell out of your mockups, BL.
Lol! The helm does look a bit less fierce with the gem encrusted spike. Maybe make the fire more evil red? or have red jets of flame shoot out where the eyeballs should be? I still say a nice lightning zappy collar is calling out to be seen!
Stone etched images could convey the genre subtly. I've always said that was an issue with the original concept, but we're way into making this armor evil, animated, and on fire!
Someone needs to explain how a bunch of leeches can receive praise even though they post here under the guise of helping when they are really just soliciting their services, but when I try to help a fellow author improve a cover with no ulterior motive and thought of compensation I get petty comments about ideas I'm simply throwing out there to see what might work.
I thought they were comments about the viability of this as a cover to convey genre (which it has issues in that department) while we were just toying around at this point. If you are still trying to help the author, then we should probably think of a way to push this into looking like fantasy. The armor itself isn't cutting it for me. It's too odd looking to seem menacing even with the added flames. Perhaps a standard suite of old plate armor colored black with a glowy flame look might be better? Who knew armor was so hard to do?
With the OP not having commented on the thread since the 23rd, I expect it could still go on forever, which is a good thing, since art and marketing are both subjective, and a book cover is art for marketing purposes, and everyone is going to have an opinion. Even I do and I know nothing about art and consider what most cover artists put out as boring -Romance novels can simply have an image of a couple or an individual on the cover with the title and the author's name and, TAA DAA, some people call it a great cover. Tastes are so diverse that some of the bestselling books sitting on my shelves have dull covers while others are elaborate. I personally like a cover that says something of the story inside and conveys the feel of the book, but no matter what is created on here, no matter what B. L. Ally puts up for consideration, some will like it and others won't. There is a zero possibility of satisfying everyone, maybe even a zero possibility of satisfying half of the tastes on here or anywhere. Tastes will vary on the font used, colors used, the words in a ten-word blurb (if used,) and every possible aspect of the image. I personally like Mr. Ally's (forgive me if I misspelled the name) design and think it's great that he was offering his input through visual examples, but whatever he offers, there will be those who have an opinion for changes, but what it truly comes down to is what the author feels is correct for the book (Hello, OP??). Though this thread is interesting and I don't want it to ever stop, I have to say too that I was pretty proud to see the cover of my first novel on the badcover or awfulcover, or whatever they call that site where people put up covers and members make snide and sometimes perverted comments about them. It's not poorly designed, I think, it's just different and actually, I think, creative enough to tell a story and convey the feel of the book. It was created by someone that I know personally and who I gave a headache to as I demanded it be done just as I sketched it like a left-handed five-year-old with his first set of right-handed crayons. I refused a cookie cutter design as I wanted it to stand out, and I can tell you without a question that he hated creating it as much as I loved sketching it and then seeing the finished product...sorry, seeing the finished art.
So...anyway, on with the discussion and I'll try to keep my Dorito crunching down to a minimum.
I'm sorry if you thought I was being snide. That was not my intention. Armor by itself means only medieval at a glance. It says nothing about fantasy.
(Generic message) Sure people can always go with unique and different but is it eye catching? Does it intrigue the potential reader? This is your advertisement. Your one shot to convince a reader to spend time and money on your product. If you have a good story that will interest people, don't skimp on the cover. You can get a nice cover for under $100 and make up the money spent in sales.