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Daxton | Cover Review
Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts where I want to share my thoughts on book covers. I'll choose anything from indie books to traditionally published books. My hope is to view them from the point of view of a reader (judging a book by its cover) and a fellow author (learning the do's and don'ts of book cover design).
To ease the blow of my idea I thought it would be a great idea for me to tear apart my own covers first. I'll discuss what I did, what I wish I had done based on what I've learned since creating those covers. I will not hold back.
There are certain elements that all covers have and I think going over those elements and how they are represented for each cover would be a great place to begin (for now) with my teardown of a cover design.
Fonts (Title, Sub-Title, Author Name)
Art (Illustrated, etc.)
Disclaimer: What you read here are my opinions. I am not an artist nor have I taken any courses/classes to make me an expert on cover design. My thoughts are based on my own personal first impressions. You do not have to agree with them and you should not let my opinion persuade you one way or the other. Whenever it is available I will credit the cover and letter artists with relevant links.
FONTS - 5/25
As I am the person who put this together using Photoshop I know exactly what font I used. I am guilty of using the all too popular CINZEL! I know, I know, I even wrote an entire blog post about just how overused this font is in the fantasy (and some sci-fi) community (especially for self-published authors). But I will say in most cases it fits. Does it fit here? Maybe. However, at the time of designing this I did not have the knowledge I have today and I think more thought needed to go into the color choice (will go into this more later), the bevel used and the other filters. Just too damn much.
I actually like the font used for my author name and the subtitle just above it. However, I did not properly use drop shadows to help in making the words stand apart more from the background. In many areas, certain letters are just difficult to see clearly.
All-in-all this is NOT my best work and if I had it to do over (which I will but that's a different post for a different day) I would definitely implement what I've learned over the last several years and once I have the finances, might consider hiring a professional.
ART - 15/25
For the main character I commissioned the art through Fiverr. The cost was definitely one of those situations where "you get what you paid for." And because of the nature of Fiverr, it wasn't a back and forth collaborative affair in the traditional sense. I think I had ONE opportunity to request some changes from the artist and if I wanted more changes made I had to pay extra. In the real world (outside of Fiverr) there is definitely more back-and-forth between yourself and the artist. Sketches are created. Discussions are made about the most detail of details.
I knew I didn't have the finances to hire such a seasoned professional artist and I really wanted to visualize Daxton. I will tell you, how I see him now in my head many years later, is nothing like how he is illustrated above. I wish I had put a bit more thought into the little things like sword hilt design, clothing colors, hair, facial expression, body position, all of that. Lessons learned.
But, not counting all the things I wish I had done, part of me still loves the look of the character. It's not a bad illustration, though some might disagree. And it's because of the work put in by the illustrator that I felt a higher score was called for. As for the background? This is a license free image I acquired online that fit the story and the character and therefore I used it. Again, at the time I simply could not afford to have a character AND background illustrated.
COLOR - 4/25
Now, let's be honest, what the HELL was I thinking using that red color for the title? I sort of remember, but I'm too embarrassed to say why I chose it. Let's just say it wasn't a good reason. I should've thought about the entire series and realized that using a different color for each book would not be a great idea. I have uniformity in other ways but in color is just as important unless it's really important to the story. And red really isn't important to this one. When this cover is redone I will look for a color that has a closer relationship to the story, such as gold or silver for the color of the 5 compasses referenced throughout.
I don't mind the color of the background, I just wish it wasn't as close to the colors on the character. Maybe making the background darker and the character brighter to stand apart from it more?
White for the author name and series title is fine, but like I said earlier in the Font area, I really need to put a shadow to make it stand out more cause as it is, it's not that great.
LAYOUT - 10/25
This is a part of cover design I feel is never-ending for what works and what doesn't. The title at the top and author name at the bottom is nothing new. I would like to put the series name closer to the title of the book than the author name. Especially, as I hope to one day put "#1 Amazon Bestselling Author" near the author name. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?
Another option to put for the cover, as this is clearly an e-book cover, is putting that this is book one somewhere. It can usually be shown, again, in line with the title and series name. Would that be too crowded? Or maybe putting Book One near the middle on the left or right of the cover? Like I said, there are so many options to go with. But I know whichever I decide to do in the remake and new edition of this book, I will make sure to keep it the same throughout the entire series.