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Cover Critique - Unleash and Refine Your Inner Artist

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  #331  
Old 03-29-2013, 02:13 PM
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In both cases I wouldn't go for those crazy effects.

Subtle dropshadows work better. I used them in both overpaints. In both new images the text seems a little too futuristic.

The Woods has too little contrast IMO and the transition from paper to photo feels a little cheap. And I agree with the squished font. Of course, in the overpaint the bottom right corner is still too empty.
For Soul Reunion I used a dark green that I picked from the eyelashes. I used the sharpen filter to make their tips a little sharper. Maybe a nono for professionals.

Didn't have the source material so there are many obvious flaws, but I hope you get the idea.
Against industry standard overpaints are on the left , obviously.

I like working with Gimp. If anybody wants to give it a(nother) try I can answer specific questions.
Like any software it has a learning curve. Why doesn't anybody see the struggle in the beginning as something perfectly normal?

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  #332  
Old 03-29-2013, 03:35 PM
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I like working with Gimp.
Agreed. It has much more to it, much more flexibility, and you get better results. Yes, it takes a little while to learn, but in the end, stuff just looks better.
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  #333  
Old 03-30-2013, 04:38 AM
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Signature, I see what you mean from the thumbnail, I like it. Thanks.

I've downloaded GIMP, with a week off work it's the perfect opportunity to get to know the software...
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  #334  
Old 03-30-2013, 04:39 AM
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I saw, Red, and replied. Much appreciated.

I think the rework looks better, personally. But I'm no artist, I can't even draw stickmen well. So, I'm unsure what to suggest, if it can be improved, text wise.

Only thing, and only if others agree, is possibly adding a bit more definition to 'A Soul Taker Novel' and your name. But it's really minor and it would honestly make no odds to me if it was left how it is. (In case people haven't figured it out, I'm rather easy to please. )

Signature,

Many thanks for the feedback. Think I'll hold back on changing the background/photo, as I've had no other negative feedback on that yet (has been positive in fact), but your words have made me decide I should try and sort the scrunched up text out for my name. It's just confirmed what others have said. So, I'm going to look into that before publishing. Not sure what I can do, but yeah, I'm going to look into it.

One thing I'll quite possibly do though, is play around with the image sharpness/contrast etc. as you have done in the thumbnails. Much appreciated with that.

Re GIMP,

I can't speak for others, but my computer knowledge only extends to browsing, installing, uninstalling, and using a word processor. So, that's the reason I settled on 'me being thick'. I probably spent around an hour or so (at least) trying to get that selection box to work so I could move things and well, if I hadn't shut the program down, I'd have probably been banging my head against the wall. As Microsoft Office Publisher seems to have virtually no learning curve, I guess I'll stick to that at least for now. No headache that way then.
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  #335  
Old 03-30-2013, 10:00 AM
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trying to get that selection box to work so I could move things and well, if I hadn't shut the program down, I'd have probably been banging my head against the wall.
Lol! I have an upcoming blog post that sympathizes with that, David. I hated GIMP for a while, but finally got the hang of it, and wouldn't go back to anything else in the world.
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  #336  
Old 04-02-2013, 06:21 AM
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I know two or three people who do awesome graphic covers for under 50$.

I think that its a great investment for anyone.

They do flawless gimp images (Im learning just how long that takes to master now).

I think investing in your book cover is a must
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  #337  
Old 04-02-2013, 02:29 PM
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Pretty much is, Calli. Agreed.

But I'm just rather short cash at the minute. I know CandraH is good for designing covers. I'll be hiring her eventually when I can afford to. Can always update the cover at a later date.

So, have you banged your head against the wall, trying to learn the selection box thingy in GIMP? I like simple and if something as simple as the selection box takes me over an hour to figure out, imagine how long other things will take!
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  #338  
Old 04-02-2013, 10:45 PM
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IMO that is the wrong way to think about it. Once you have the basics down it gets easier.

I don't get how that bloody thing works in Photoshop.
Not sure what you expect it to do. The selection box doesn't cut anything and the topic "selection" isn't simple either. It selects the part you want to select ... you need another tool (move tool) or cut and paste if you want to be able to drag the selected part.
That is probably because you might want to do other things with the selection.
Filters only affect the selected area, for example ... the scale tool to change the size ... or the perspective tool to distort it.

And you seem very impatient. What kind of software can you use properly even several days after installing it?
Do you remember how long it took to understand a word processor with the different kinds of breaks and formatting options?
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  #339  
Old 04-02-2013, 11:12 PM
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Well, I did think about that. Didn't get it to work. And I just quickly tried it again. Selection tool, select something, then the move tool. No luck. Moves the whole image, rather than what I'd initially selected. The move tool, used alone, doesn't work either. I'm guessing it's something to do with layers and individual objects.

Anyway, I've not got the brain for this at all, Signature, nor the patience as you allude to. Simply the way I am. Not proud of it. Also, Microsoft Word was very easy to learn. *shrugs* I really am quite happy with Publisher and I don't really see a need to use something more complicated when you're happy with something that's easy to use. There was basically no learning curve for Publisher either, which is what I used for the first time when creating the cover.

All this said though, I did just get the scale tool working in conjunction with the selection tool. (The cut tool I don't seem to be able to get working either)

Regardless, my above post was more meant as a jokey one. So, I'll drop it. And butt out as it's derailing. Again, I do appreciate the help earlier, also. Definitely going to play around with contrasts.
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  #340  
Old 04-03-2013, 05:22 AM
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Oh, you are right. Thought the move tool worked differently.
I guess I always create a new layer and copy (or cut - CTRL+X - is there a cut tool?) and paste the selection to it.

After doing that it is shown as a "Floating Selection". That is when you can move it around (even without using the move tool, the selection tool is fine).
As soon as you deselect, the pasted area gets merged with the layer that was active when you pasted the selection.

Yes, layers play a big role there. When you cut or copy, only the content in the active layer gets copied. If the wrong layer is selected, the selection might be wrong or empty.

Funny, I stuggle a lot more with the stupid word processing tools.
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  #341  
Old 04-03-2013, 08:23 AM
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My mistake. Thought the scissor icon was a cut tool. Scissor's select tool it's called.
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  #342  
Old 04-05-2013, 02:09 AM
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I just tried out the cover designer on Kindle and I am impressed and converted...

This is the first attempt and I will play some more, but it's so straight forward.


Kindle Cover by Redlorry 75, on Flickr
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  #343  
Old 04-05-2013, 02:16 AM
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Pretty nice, Red. I created a thread about the cover designer. I guess you'll have to give them rights if you use any of their assets, but as Amazon has the biggest share of the ebook market... I know I'll be giving exclusive rights to Amazon anyway for 90 days, for the free promotion days and the book lending system that's open to Prime subscribers. Think it's something like $1.72 per borrow, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I'm guessing it's been available as a beta for something like 2 - 3 days, and it already shows a fair bit of promise.
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  #344  
Old 04-08-2013, 06:44 AM
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Check this out Gimp help

http://aliannedonnelly.com/2013/04/0...ers-and-tools/

Do it yourself.

Ive sent a message to Devon to maybe do a sticky with this site as it has TONS of info on Indy pub.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:34 PM
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Funny, I never thought about the save system change as a good thing.
Having to use Export now is just inconvenient for me. But I see how it is dangerous with certain workflows.

I don't think the article is very helpful, though. Especially the part about the tools doesn't help at all.
The best advice is "... , type it into Google."
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  #346  
Old 06-14-2013, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Redlorry View Post
I just tried out the cover designer on Kindle and I am impressed and converted...

This is the first attempt and I will play some more, but it's so straight forward.
Guys I am new here, sorry for interrupting.

Kindle and createspace and other book publishers cover designs use templates which are being used by another hundred's of writers.

If you want to make your book look similar to another 100 books, you will not have enough book sales outside of your family and friend circles.

Also as a designer I am against Word processing software to be used for formatting and designing of books. In past few years, I had many clients who seriously struggled at the end, because they did the mistake of designing and formatting with software like word, open office and publish.

Need to design covers: learn Gimp or Photoshop or Indesign.

Formatting for Print: Indesign. Period

Formatting for ebook: Indesign and there are few other good software.

If the learning curve is high, contact few professionals to get it done.

It will save you lot of headache and time.

Unless you are writing books for just hobby, do not waste time on doing everything yourself, because if your first few books do not give you some return, you will drop out of writing and publishing in despair.

80% of new authors do that.

Writing is your passion but publishing is like a business where time and quality matters.

Be sure which path you are going towards.
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  #347  
Old 07-29-2013, 05:53 PM
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I agree with everything wickedsunny said. The cover is the very first impression you give for your book. You owe it to yourself to make it as stunning as possible. You can either spend a few hours making a cover in GIMP (free software) or spend about $100 for a professional to do it for you. That's very reasonable for the impact it will have. And after you spend months or years on your book, it deserves the prettiest red bow on it =)

Formatting is easy enough to do on your own, there are how-to guides and manuals out there to guide you through it. Another couple of good programa to try is Sigil and Calibre. Both are free and let you create professional quality eBooks in no time.
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  #348  
Old 08-29-2013, 01:17 PM
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Default Cover Critique

I am working on the cover for my new book. It concerns a future where there is no rain, but a large reservoir of water is found far underneath the desert. Getting it out involves two large domes. That is basically what the cover represents. But I made the image myself using a desert photo I had taken and a dome created with Google SketchUp. Does it look amateurish? Is the font funny looking?

Any advice or critique will be appreciated. Here is the link to the cover art:

https://picasaweb.google.com/tbrambl...52270703665730

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  #349  
Old 08-29-2013, 03:25 PM
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the domes for me look too cartoony of a realistic background. it reminds me a bit of the Eden Project but the colour of the domes doesn't feel right either? sorry to sound so harsh but it just doesn't seem right from what you've said? when I read what you wrote I was expecting a more natural looking dome using rocks ect. one thing I would recommend is a free prog called GIMP, GNU image manipulation prog with that the options are enless its a fab program similar to photoshop. also they look too small in comparison to the desert? sorry if ive sounded to harsh I don't mean to its just my feelings when I saw it
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  #350  
Old 08-29-2013, 04:15 PM
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No, that's what I'm looking for. I know the domes are a different texture and such from the bare desert. They look kind of plopped down, which is what they are. Maybe I can mute the outlines and color using GIMP or Paint.net
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  #351  
Old 08-29-2013, 05:05 PM
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I think that muting the colour could deffinatly help, or maybe experiment with different desert pics, maybe the washed out colors of the original pic are giving the domes the wrong effect?
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  #352  
Old 11-10-2013, 05:38 AM
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I don't know if I will get to have any input into the design when mine is published (positive thinking!), but this is what I will be aiming for:





Also, blood red on the outside of the pages, which I can't portray here, like 'The Last Werewolf' among others.


Whad'ya think?
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  #353  
Old 11-10-2013, 05:59 AM
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The colours are very dark, thisangel.

The red on dark background is almost lost, imho. My eyesight isn't perfect, and I'm having trouble making out the letters. Have you considered a lighter balckground, one that would set the red off more?

Your name is almost lost with a small font. Perhaps consider enlarging?

You mentioned you wouldn't get much input? Is this being published via a publishing company?
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  #354  
Old 11-10-2013, 06:30 AM
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Just as an aside, people's monitor settings can have a huge effect on how their artwork appears to others.

I bought a decent screen a whike back and it made me realise just how dark and shitty my previous work looked. There's pictures of mine in here a few pages back that are terrible because of that. At the time I couldnt figure out why I was being told they looked too dark and dull because on my screen, they looked fine, lol.

Lesson learned.

Mind you, I've no real idea if the new screen is better other than what others tell me. And I'm not saying thats Thisangel's issue, just wanted to point it out.

The red is too dark for me too though, so maybe brighten it up a little. Red on grey is a nice colour combo that would set off the red really well if you get the right hues.
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  #355  
Old 11-10-2013, 07:07 AM
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Eeesh, they are dark! I'll look at that again, its just a quick mock up, really.

And nothing confirmed yet, Whiskers, but I do have agent interest (!), so hopefully, yes, and hopefully next year.

Fingers Crossed!

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  #356  
Old 11-10-2013, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by CandraH View Post
Just as an aside, people's monitor settings can have a huge effect on how their artwork appears to others.

I bought a decent screen a whike back and it made me realise just how dark and shitty my previous work looked. There's pictures of mine in here a few pages back that are terrible because of that. At the time I couldnt figure out why I was being told they looked too dark and dull because on my screen, they looked fine, lol.

Lesson learned.

Mind you, I've no real idea if the new screen is better other than what others tell me. And I'm not saying thats Thisangel's issue, just wanted to point it out.

The red is too dark for me too though, so maybe brighten it up a little. Red on grey is a nice colour combo that would set off the red really well if you get the right hues.
Excellent point! Thank you, Candra.

thisangel, going on something Candra said, it would be worth taking into consideration how colourblind people might perceive your cover too. Something this dark might play with their perception over seeing the text.

And good luck with your agent!!!!
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  #357  
Old 11-10-2013, 12:26 PM
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Good point, Whiskers. I will take that into consideration and re-design.

Thanks for the input!

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Old 01-17-2014, 06:31 AM
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I'm maybe looking at changing a cover (if I'm allowed to), and would be grateful for any help.

Because the story itslef was written with hundreds of others, most of us were given pretty standard covers (this one here etc). Authors are allowed to design their own covers, so I thought I'd try and look at something and give it a revamp.

I'm working with comp images below, so picture quality isn't going to be too great.

Issues I have: this a m/m romance novella (not for print just ebook), but with dark content. I don't want lovely-dovey pictures on the front, but more a sense of loss, loneliness, maybe a twsited path back from (and to) where the man is; I'm just not sure if it's enough from the m /m romance.

Colours: I had issues with my name and just getting the right colour to set it off.

Fonts? I only have access to some pretty pretty standard stuff so not too sure how bad they look.

I'd be really grateful for any thoughts etc.


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Old 01-17-2014, 07:33 AM
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The image is great. Looks like a classic serif font (Garamond?) -- good choice.

The problem is the line spacing (leading) and letter spacing (kerning). You need to tighten both up quite a bit. If you tighten the line spacing, you can make the title bigger. Same if you scoot the line "Love Has no Boundaries" up some. (I'd cap "no" as well.)

For fun, I'd try putting "in the" in italics. I'd bump your name up too -- so it reads better over the background. Also, with Photoshop, it would be easy to darken that foreground some to make the type pop a bit more -- maybe blur it just a bit too.

You're close -- you just need to fine tune the type -- play with the spacing etc. I'd probably just go black with it -- or very dark gray.

P.S. -- this is one of mine -- see the part in italics in the title, and check out the tighter letter and line spacing.


Last edited by JoeMatt; 01-17-2014 at 08:06 AM..
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:34 AM
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Yep, I had real difficulty with the title and the spacing. I did all the text in one box, which, when it came lowering the size of the font, played havoc with the line spacing. I played with stretching it (kerning?) but it didn't make it much better.

I have no idea how to play with the image itself, other than cutting. I use Gimp...

How on Earth do you mess about with the underlining like that? I just get a very standard one like that under 'Love Has No Boundaries' (does need upper case on that, goddang it).

The italics is great idea. Thank you. It looks realy good on yours.
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Last edited by Whiskers; 01-17-2014 at 08:53 AM..
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