Monday, 3 June 2013

Covers galore!

A bit of visual splendour for a Monday! We’re very excited to reveal the covers for two upcoming authonomy ebooks: Nichola Hunter’s remarkable novella, Ramadan Sky, and Kevin Bergeron’s mystery with a twist, In a Cat’s Eye. Both books were discovered on authonomy, and will publish as ebook originals later this year. If you can’t wait till then, the original manuscripts are still available for previews on authonomy, click on the titles to get a sneak peek at some hot late-summer reads.


Five Go Glamping said...

They're both nice, but I LOVE the Cover of Ramadam Sky- it's gorgeous.
Good luck, both!

Michelle Richardson said...

Great covers! In a cat's eye is a fantastic read. Best of luck to both Nichola and Kevin.

JD Revene said...

Fabulous cover for Ramadan Sky, just what the work deserves.

M. A. McRae said...

One I know is an excellent book, I have not read the other. But neither cover is very good. I suggest you look for a new cover artist.

Nichola Hunter said...

So grateful to the designers for the cover to Ramadan Sky - I think it looks very good, and Kevin's is stunning.

Scott Pack said...

I am intrigued by your comment, MA McRae, that neither cover is very good. No cover is ever to everyone's taste, and these things are subjective, but as a publisher I find these to be very striking, especially for ebook covers. I'd love for you to share an example of a cover you think is great.

M. A. McRae said...

Ramadan Sky could have been glossy, colourful, exotic. To me, the colours look sludgy and as if the artist just didn't bother trying. It's a great book and deserves better.
The colours in the other one also look sludgy rather than clear, and to my eye, the image looks more like a rather strange drawing of a nude woman than anything to do with a cat. I don't know that book.
This is my honest opinion. I have no cause to be bothered insulting anyone. But all the same, someone needs to try a bit harder, I think. Even if they are only ebooks, they need to be well presented.

Kevin Bergeron said...

Myself and everyone I've showed the "Cat's Eye" cover to thinks it looks like a nude woman. I neglected to put any nude women in the story, and so I kind of like having one on the cover. The sludgy and strange quality fits the story and characters, and so I think it's a very good cover in that sense. It may be visually appealing to some people, and others may not find it so. I like it.

Kevin Bergeron said...

I've not read all of "Ramadan Sky," because only a few chapters are still posted, but I loved what I read of it, and will certainly want to read the entire book when it comes out. As for the cover, I like it a lot. The design and colors are subdued, but also vibrant and eye-catching; very attractive.

Scott Pack said...

Thanks MA, we may have to agree to disagree. As a publisher I think these are splendid covers. If you would like to share examples of covers you think are really good I'd be keen to take a look.


Shalini Boland said...

Ooh, well done! I love both covers. They remind me of Toulouse-Lautrec's illustrations.

M. A. McRae said...

We all have different opinions of what makes a good book-cover. I have spoken about my own opinions in a blog post just completed. If interested, look for
Maybe I just don't know modern conventions, but then, I've never been much of a believer in some conventions.

Nichola Hunter said...

I am glad that you like my book Marj, and grateful that you took the time to mention it and to comment on the cover. All interest and comment gratefully acknowledged ;-0

Nichola Hunter said...

.... I have to say though, that I checked out your blog and I like our book covers a lot more than any of the ones on you blos

Nichola Hunter said...

your blog...

M. A. McRae said...

Nichola, as long as you're happy that's fine. And my taste as shown on my blos... blog, is mine. Scott is a publisher and obviously knows a lot more about what is expected than I do.
I hope that you and Kevin both do very well with your books,

Bradley Wind said...

Let me know if you need help with covers!

Nichola Hunter said...

Bradley I hope you saw the post on the forum thanking you for your beautiful design - I loved the very dark feel it conveyed and I think you are a very talented book cover designer. Obviously I left it to HC to use their own designers as they are publishing Ramadan Sky, and I like the cover they have made - if I ever publish my own book I will certainly look you up and would recommend your work to anyone who asked.

Nichola Hunter said...

and thanks Marj - always appreciate your opinions and your interest - I think you are a fabulous writer yourself.

Scott Pack said...

Thanks M.A. for linking to your blog post. It is always hard to critique or comment on someone's cover without causing offence, which I really don't want to do, but it is also very important, I think, to be honest when offering the view of a publisher.

Most of the covers you featured in your recent post are classic examples of what goes wrong when self-published authors select covers for their books. They are, by the accepted standards of publishing and bookselling, of almost no commercial benefit whatsoever. They look unlike any books any publisher would put out there and that is precisely what self-published authors need to avoid.

The Pencil Case has to be one of the worst book covers I have ever seen. What genre is it? What sort of readership is it aimed at? Why does it say 'by' next to the author's name? Has the designer ever been inside a bookshop?

Please don't get me wrong, I am not saying these things to antagonise, I say them because self-published authors are repeatedly making these mistakes and I wish they wouldn't.

Is you own book, To Love and To Protect, a textbook about wind farms? If not then it really isn't doing the job it needs to.

Book cover design is an art form and self-published authors need to wake up and realise that if their covers do not look as good as those from major publishers then they may struggle to sell. The only cover on your blog post, apart from the photos of actual books, which is anywhere near strong enough by professional publishing standards, is Hamelin's Child which shows some understanding of design and the target audience. It is not bad at all.

I apologise if any of this seems harsh but it is the honest view from someone within publishing.

Nichola Hunter said...

I have to agree with Scott - I really didn't like those covers - especially the fonts - the cursive, small print I thought did not work. I have read on of Marj's books and thought it deserved a much better cover.

M. A. McRae said...

Hi Scott,
I did, after all, criticise the covers that you think are good, so it's fair that you criticise ones that I think are good. It's a shame that a technical problem limited my images to those previously used on that blog.
You have confirmed my suspicion that publishers might have all sorts of guidelines of their own. The beauty of self-publishing is that you can ignore them - especially if they do not look good to your eye.
On the other hand, self-publishers do not have access to expert artists, and have to do the best they can with what they have available. For myself, that means using my own photographs. Most take images from the web, some even take generic book-covers from the web. But an important factor of book-covers, (and you probably agree) is that they are unique.
My book with the windmills - the windmills are an important part of the plot, and the mood is of a far-distant place, with a touch of romance. Mood is important for a book-cover. No idea if you'll agree with that.

Five Go Glamping said...

Some self published book covers remind me a bit of those kind of literal dance interpretations of song lyrics.
So, say you are having a dance around to I believe I can fly by R.Kelly ( no , I am not altogether sure why you would do this, either) and then you make up moves to show people you believe you can fly.

And everyone else is thinking, there's no way you'd get away with busting those moves on Got To Dance, mate.

And that- is what lots of self published book covers are like but with clip art and with horrible fonts and no kerning! And because there is no kerning in the words on the cover, they look like they are posters for jumble sales and nothing like book covers.

I shall now return to my dancing.

Nichola Hunter said...

happy feet!

Sandie said...

Well I love both Nichola and Kevin's covers and would definitely be drawn to these on screen or in a shop. The colours on Nichola's in particular are stunning - and that blue will always grab my attention.

There must be a lot to contemplate in designing a cover - that it both has to reflect what's inside and also appeal to a potential reader *before* they know what's inside... so it's interesting to see the various comments here about them. I think a person can say "I don't *like* the cover" at any point but they can't, surely, say "I think the cover is no good" unless they've read the book...??

But what would Authonomy be without differing opinions? Ha, ha.

Good luck to you both. They look (in my humble, haven't-read-'em opinion) brilliant.

Scott Pack said...

Hello Marj,

Continuing the discussion, and to reiterate that everything I say is in the spirit of a publisher offering genuine advice to a self-published author, I have to say that I do not agree that an important factor about book covers is that they are unique. Quite the opposite in fact.

To have a book cover that looks unlike any other book sold in bookshops or online is not a good thing. I am not saying that every book has to look like another, just that you need to give the reader clues as to what a book is about and there are certain conventions that it can be helpful to follow. You will have noticed that crime novels tend to look different to literary fiction novels and if you study those differences - font style and placement, choice of image, colours etc. - you begin to see how and why this works.

I must make it clear that 'I want my book to look unique' is not something that any publisher will say ever.

What your covers currently say to the vast majority of readers is that you do not understand book design. I have not read your books, they may be wonderful and I really hope they are, but my assumption from the covers is that they are amateurish. If your books are actually good then you are doing yourself a disservice by putting those covers on them.

What is perhaps more worrying is that you can't see that.

Are your books stocked by any bricks and mortar bookshops? If so, have you asked the booksellers what they think of the covers? I will personally bake you a cake and send it to you wherever you are in the world if you can find someone who works in a bookshop who things the covers are good. I may need documentary proof of this but my offer is genuine. And the bookshop must still be in business by the time I get round to baking the cake.

I hope I am not offending you as this is not my intention, I care passionately that self-published authors get things right and you are getting your covers horribly, horribly wrong.

Of course, if your intention is just to sell a handful then perhaps it is fine. If you harbour any desire to appeal to a wider audience then you have to take action to fix the problem.

Cost should not be an issue. I know lots of excellent book designers who will charge under £200 for a professional cover for a self-published author. That may be a fair bit of money to some but it is one of the most important investments you could make and having invested so much time and energy into writing a book the least that book, and your efforts, deserve is a cover that gives it a chance.

This really is not a matter of taste or differing opinions. I may be a fan of Scunthorpe United but I know for a fact that they are not as good a football team as Manchester United. I know for a fact that your book covers are bad and do not help you sell your book, no matter how much you like them.

Sorry to be so blunt but this is an important issue and so many self-published authors get this wrong.

Kind regards,


M. A. McRae said...

Thanks for your advice. Yes, I know that covers in bookshops reflect the type of story. Mis Lit covers are characteristic, romance covers are characteristic, and 'Fifty Shades' type covers are characteristic.
Any idea why the covers allotted for different countries are different? The covers of the Harry Potter books were awful in Australia, stupid cartoonish things, while in America, I saw they had some dignified deep blue covers. For a book that famous, of course, it would not have affected sales.
It is good to hear your opinions.
PS, thanks for having the 'prove you're not a robot' bit not too impossibly difficult.

Nichola Hunter said...

I think Marj is a very good writer, for the record.

... and thank Sandie, for weighing in... you di read my book, I think - or at least a chapter of it - a long time ago

Mary Vensel White said...

Chiming in to share a link which compares 2012 UK/US book covers. Lots to consider, it would seem!

Judging 2012 Covers

M. A. McRae said...

Mary Vensel White - great link there. I found it very interesting.

Nichola Hunter said...

me too

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