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You won't believe this

Switch Blayde

You have to read this article. Someone on wattpad got a bad review from a teenager on wattpad for his self-published book. He looked at her facebook profile and found out she lived in Scotland (he lives in England). He drove 500 miles and found her working in a supermarket, kneeling to stock a low shelf. So what does he do? He takes a full bottle of wine and hits her on the back of the head, knocking her out.

http://gawker.com/british-writer-tracks-down-teen-who-gave-his-book-a-bad-1741713016

I remember this guy from discussions on wattpad a few years ago. He scared me back then. I guess my instincts were good.

Replies:   Argon
Argon

@Switch Blayde

GBH with intent. What lovely stories with many strong male characters he will be able to write after 5 years in HM prison system!

sejintenej

I had problems with that link. The story was carried by at least one UK newspaper but I can't find the original story. Here is the followup which tells the story

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1228863/Glassed-woman-tracks-attacker-Facebook-police-say-help.html

Replies:   Switch Blayde
sejintenej

@Argon

GBH with intent. What lovely stories with many strong male characters he will be able to write after 5 years in HM prison system!

You are joking! 120 hours unpaid work and £2,400 compensation, oh and it was a woman!

Before you say it, I agree the five years but these stupid do-gooders ....

Switch Blayde

@Argon

he will be able to write after 5 years in HM prison system


The girl he attacked is still active on wattpad. She said he will probably only get 18 months as a first-time offender.

Replies:   Argon
Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1228863/Glassed-woman-tracks-attacker-Facebook-police-say-help.html


Your link took me to a different case.

Replies:   ustourist
ustourist

@Switch Blayde

Your link took me to a different case.

Try this one
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3311558/Countdown-champion-travelled-500-miles-Scotland-bottle-teenager-gave-book-bad-review.html

Replies:   sejintenej
Argon

@Switch Blayde

Thwow him to the fwoor and sthwike him woughly!

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Argon

What this author did actually doesn't surprise me that much. This guy definitely took things to the extreme when he decided to attack this girl for her review, but I can't ignore the similarities between this guy and what I see so many authors doing.

Instead of taking responsibility for what she had to say in her review, he chose to view her critical review as an obstacle to his own success. He did this despite the fact that her review seemed well written and in all probability, was probably pretty accurate.

Instead of reading her words and trying to apply them toward improvement, he blamed her for whatever his perceived failures were and then drove to where she was and attacked her.

While I don't see authors physically attacking their reviewers all the time, I do see many authors making excuses as to why they aren't achieving the success they believe they deserve, instead of assessing themselves and their work to see what they need to do to bring themselves to the next level.

In the article, it said:

Brittain claimed the early reception for The World Rose was strong, blogging that "The praise I received was remarkable and made me feel great; I was compared to Dickens, Shakespeare, Rowling, Raymond E Feist and Nora Roberts."


If you ask an author why their book isn't selling as well as they want it to, they usually respond with something like, "I don't know. Every fan I talk to says that it is wonderful."

I'm not immune to this false line of thinking. My first publishing experience was the first book of a series. I wrote it, believed it was really, really good and published it. I sold some copies in the beginning, wrote three more novellas and another novel, but in the end, sales dried up for this series. Every piece of feedback received for this series was positive and yet, the sales for it sucked. They still do. The reviews on Amazon and Goodreads for this are pretty damned good. Mostly four or five stars.

I quit adding to this series, because it didn't make sense to keep going with it. Publishing books for a series that was selling at all just didn't make sense to me. I moved on, focusing more efforts into my pen names, which were garnering more sales.

Looking back, I can now see why it doesn't sell so good. The series in inherently flawed. My writing back then wasn't as good. I did more telling than I should have and the voice was a little disconnected among other flaws.

In other words, the blame lies with me. It's not the reviews. It is not Amazon. It is not the publishing gods or that I'm unlucky. The books don't resonate with readers. Even though they give the series good reviews (when they choose to write them), that doesn't mean much. If they truly loved the book, they would rave about it to their friends and their ravings would be convincing enough to inspire them to pick up a copy. This is how word of mouth works and is what an author or book needs to get automatic sales.

In other words, don't read this article and judge this author and nutbag unless you yourself are completely innocent of doing the same thing he did. Just because you don't drive 500 miles to a neighboring city and bonk a teenage girl over the head with a wine bottle, doesn't mean that you aren't making the same excuses he did. Put the blame where it belongs, develop your skills as an author and know that when your writing is up to par, your books will sell the way you want them too. Up until that point, you are 'in training'.

Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

"I don't know. Every fan I talk to says that it is wonderful."


The key word in that is fan - any fan of anything says it's good. I know people who swear the best food in the world is chilli while others say it's the worst - - while the truth is both are right and wrong at the same time, it's just people have different tastes.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

don't read this article and judge this author and nutbag


I can say from personal experience, he is a nutbag. I don't remember the specifics, but his posts on the wattpad threads were scary. I'm not talking about his novel(s). I'm talking about the kinds of things we discuss here about writing techniques, cover design, etc. He was aggressive, rude, scary.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

The key word in that is fan - any fan of anything says it's good. I know people who swear the best food in the world is chilli while others say it's the worst - - while the truth is both are right and wrong at the same time, it's just people have different tastes.


Because this was a hypothetical quote, there is no keyword. When putting this in quotes, I was simply trying to illustrate that if you get into a discussion with most novice authors about their book sales, they will usually give you an excuse that has nothing to do with the quality of their story, or their writing. I have a feeling you missed the point entirely.

Unfortunately, the reason their books are not selling can usually be attributed to one of two things:

1. They haven't developed an audience yet. This not only takes time, but also takes methodology. I will use myself as an example:

When I first began publishing, I did so in the free marketplace using SOL and one other large adult website. I used a couple different pen names for a couple different categories of adult fiction. The nice thing about SOL and other adult story websites is that when you publish the sites audience is automatically made aware of it. On SOL, a new story is listed on the top of the 'new story' page and is also prompted on the homepage. As more stories and posts are added, your story is driven further down on the list, but for the first week or so, you get exposure. As people come to the site, they see your story.

This helps you gain an audience. If people read your story and like the premise, or the writing, there is a chance they will mark you as a 'favorite author'

Great!

The paid market is different. It isn't so automatic. If you go into the paid marketplace with the same pen name you used in the free one, you have a definite advantage. If you go about it the right way, some of your fans will follow you from the free marketplace into the paid one. (Assuming they are truly impressed with your writing). But you have to bear in mind that a vast majority of free market readers stay free market readers. Most of them will never pay for materials except for those by authors they already pay for. That's just the reality of it.

But if you do bring a few readers with you, you have an advantage. Getting a few sales from readers when you publish something new will help your books develop connections in the sales algorithms of either Amazon or whatever platform it is on. These connections can lead to additional sales. How ever many sales you get, is the only accurate reflection you have of how big your "fan-base" really is. If you publish a book and make fifty sales, your fan base cannot be any larger than that. Your 'audience' fits into that auditorium.

Your job as an author is to find ways to expand that fan-base. You do this by publishing more works, offering books for free, giving discounts, talking about your books every time you have a chance, or doing whatever else you do as a business man/woman in the publishing industry.

2. Your writing isn't up to snuff.

It only takes one sale to start a book going 'viral'. If you were to write the next 'Harry Potter', 'Fifty Shades of Grey', 'Hunger Games' or whatever floats your book, your explosion would begin after the first sale. All of these books achieved the levels of success that they achieved because the people who bought them loved them so much that they couldn't stop talking about them. They talked about them in person, friend to friend, they talked about them on facebook, twitter, at the mall to the person taking their order, or wherever else they went. That's how going viral works.

There are also different ratios of 'going viral'. Your book can go viral in an explosive way, where you get 3 to five sales for every reader you acquire, or you can have a viral decay model, where you get 1 new reader for every three to five, or even every ten readers who read your book. This is usually more common than viral explosion, but the point is that as your writing or book ideas improve, you will gain more new readers. If you are writing books that people merely like, as opposed to love, or are passionate about, you won't get referrals. Period.

The better your writing is, the more referrals you will get.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

I can say from personal experience, he is a nutbag. I don't remember the specifics, but his posts on the wattpad threads were scary. I'm not talking about his novel(s). I'm talking about the kinds of things we discuss here about writing techniques, cover design, etc. He was aggressive, rude, scary.


I wasn't trying to say that he wasn't a nut bag. He clearly is. I doubt anybody (including myself) would try to defend this nut bag as anything but a nut bag.

But I don't think anybody can learn much by reading this nut bag's story and pointing at him as a nut bag. His nut baggyness is so obvious that any rational person who reads this article would come to the nut bag conclusion.

My reply was more about trying to learn something from a nut bag, because we all have a little bit of nut bag in us.

sejintenej

@ustourist

Try this one

That is the case I remembered but couldn't find. That there should be TWO similar cases is just horrific - even one is bad enough and reflects on society in general.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
sejintenej

@Chris Podhola

Looking back, I can now see why it doesn't sell so good. The series in inherently flawed. My writing back then wasn't as good. I did more telling than I should have and the voice was a little disconnected among other flaws.

Congratulations on an HONEST self-appraisal. Seeing the high eights and nines for your stories such reconsideration has clearly made your stories more liked by SOL readers (OK I accept that there are perceived weaknesses in the system but scores like those .....)

Chris Podhola

@sejintenej

even one is bad enough and reflects on society in general.


Uh... It's a second article written about the same incident. Either way, it wouldn't reflect on society in general. Society in general doesn't bash people in the head in return for bad reviews. Only individuals can do that.

Chris Podhola
Updated:

@sejintenej


Congratulations on an HONEST self-appraisal. Seeing the high eights and nines for your stories such reconsideration has clearly made your stories more liked by SOL readers (OK I accept that there are perceived weaknesses in the system but scores like those .....)


I'm not sure what you are saying here. My series is no longer available on SOL and haven't been for quite some time.

Replies:   sejintenej
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

Because this was a hypothetical quote, there is no keyword. When putting this in quotes, I was simply trying to illustrate that if you get into a discussion with most novice authors about their book sales, they will usually give you an excuse that has nothing to do with the quality of their story, or their writing. I have a feeling you missed the point entirely.


Chris, I was trying to point out that anyone's comments about fans saying something is good is really a waste of space because will always say what they like is good - thus an attaboy from a fan has null value in reality. Sorry if I didn't make that point clear enough before.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Ernest Bywater

Chris, I was trying to point out that anyone's comments about fans saying something is good is really a waste of space because will always say what they like is good - thus an attaboy from a fan has null value in reality. Sorry if I didn't make that point clear enough before.


Yeah. Attaboys always feel nice when you read them, but personally, I have never learned anything from reading one. Matter of fact, I think they are dangerous. With my first series, I could have been convinced by the good reviews that the series was good and insisted on continuing it. I'm glad I didn't.

Instead, I decided to rethink my approach altogether. That was when I decided to limit my writing to novellas for the time being. I figured that this would give me two advantages. The first advantage was that I could publish more often and therefore keep more momentum and the second was that I could learn to improve my writing while making a few bucks at the same time.

So far, it is working well.

sejintenej

@Chris Podhola


Congratulations on an HONEST self-appraisal. Seeing the high eights and nines for your stories such reconsideration has clearly made your stories more liked by SOL readers (OK I accept that there are perceived weaknesses in the system but scores like those .....)

I'm not sure what you are saying here. My series is no longer available on SOL and haven't been for quite some time.


Apologies. The first sentence stands. However I misread and thought the piece was written by and not in reply to Argon whose stories I looked up

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@sejintenej

Apologies. The first sentence stands. However I misread and thought the piece was written by and not in reply to Argon whose stories I looked up


Ah, I see. Well, I guess 'honest self-appraisal' is what I'm trying to promote here. If you publish something and it doesn't sell the way you want it to, the only person you can point your finger at is yourself. If you point it anywhere else, you are wasting your time and energy. (Unless someone else wrote the story. lol).

Mr. Brittain, the current nut bag on topic, blamed the bad review written by a young woman, so he drove far from home and whacked her over the head. To my knowledge, that didn't help his sales.

It did give him a bunch more reviews, though. Go to Amazon and look them up. Some of them are quite humorous, but none of them look like they were written by anyone who actually purchased his book. But if you want a crap load of reviews and you don't mind them being one star reviews, his method seemed to accomplish that.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

If you publish something and it doesn't sell the way you want it to, the only person you can point your finger at is yourself.


Since it's self-published, there is no one else to point a finger at. But it might not be the writing. It might simply be marketing, or lack of it. Or the book cover or blurb.

Then again, it might be the writing. :)

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

Since it's self-published, there is no one else to point a finger at. But it might not be the writing. It might simply be marketing, or lack of it. Or the book cover or blurb.

Then again, it might be the writing. :)


I agree with you that there SHOULDN'T be anyone else to point the finger at, especially if it is self-published, but I assure, you, as someone who works with two to three different self pubbers every week, one of the humps I have to help them overcome is trying to find ways to blame someone else for their lack of success. I've heard everything from belittling those who give bad reviews, to excuses about how other books came out at the same time in their genre written by more popular authors and drowned out their release, to (insert whatever excuse you can think of).

Marketing or lack of it can have impact, but think about this. What if you write a crappy book? Can marketing really help you overcome that?

Don't get me wrong, it is possible, I guess. The Blaire Witch Project comes to mind. I watched that movie because the marketing led me to believe that it was based on actual events, so I guess it is possible to sell a bad book through brilliant marketing, but I think the marketing would have to be extremely good and very dishonest to accomplish it. If you just use the average run of the mill marketing strategies to promote a book that is average at best, I hardly think you will experience a windfall of sales.

And I agree that book cover and blurb can have impact, but who is responsible for those? I don't let anyone else make the final decision for what I wrap my books in. I make that decision myself, so in the end, I can still only point my finger at me.

Argon

@Chris Podhola

In other words, don't read this article and judge this author and nutbag unless you yourself are completely innocent of doing the same thing he did. Just because you don't drive 500 miles to a neighboring city and bonk a teenage girl over the head with a wine bottle, doesn't mean that you aren't making the same excuses he did. Put the blame where it belongs, develop your skills as an author and know that when your writing is up to par, your books will sell the way you want them too. Up until that point, you are 'in training'.

Huh? The guy whacked a young woman with a wine bottle. That is all the point I was making. He committed a violent crime. He didn't even have the balls to confront her about the review. He just sucker-punched the girl from behind while she was working.
As for your little Sermon-on-the-Hill, you're barking up the wrong tree. I do not want my books to sell. I am an amateur. I told stories and I cleaned them up as best I and my volunteer editors could. That had to be enough and most readers seemed to like them that way. That was as far as my ambition went. It was just a hobby after all, something to try to see whether I could do it in a foreign language.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Argon

Huh? The guy whacked a young woman with a wine bottle. That is all the point I was making. He committed a violent crime. He didn't even have the balls to confront her about the review. He just sucker-punched the girl from behind while she was working.
As for your little Sermon-on-the-Hill, you're barking up the wrong tree. I do not want my books to sell. I am an amateur. I told stories and I cleaned them up as best I and my volunteer editors could. That had to be enough and most readers seemed to like them that way. That was as far as my ambition went. It was just a hobby after all, something to try to see whether I could do it in a foreign language.


Looks to me like someone is getting a little paranoid. In no way were any of my comments directed at you in particular. I had no idea whether or not you had even published anything. If I offered anything that can help someone great. If not, maybe next time. Either way, you might want to relax a little, eh.

Replies:   Argon
Argon

@Chris Podhola

Well, you replied to my post and you used second person. How is that not addressing me? As for the "paranoid", try not to insult people. It's bad style in a discussion.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Argon

I thought that everyone was aware that when you hit the reply button, it automatically assigns your reply as a reply to someone in particular. As far as I am aware, there is no way to make a reply and not tie it to someone.

And take your own advice. I hardly think your 'sermon on the hill' comment was a compliment. If I am preaching, it is only to try and help other authors.

Replies:   docholladay  tppm
docholladay

@Chris Podhola

I thought that everyone was aware that when you hit the reply button, it automatically assigns your reply as a reply to someone in particular. As far as I am aware, there is no way to make a reply and not tie it to someone.


Unless your display is very different than mine. Down at the bottom of the forum topic list you have an option underscored "Reply to Topic". I believe that is a generic reply option. But who knows wouldn't be the first time I was wrong.

Chris Podhola

@docholladay

You know... I never even noticed that before. Thanks for pointing that out.

tppm

@Chris Podhola

As far as I am aware, there is no way to make a reply and not tie it to someone.


At the bottom of the thread is a "Reply to Topic" button.

sejintenej

@docholladay

Down at the bottom of the forum topic list you have an option underscored "Reply to Topic". I believe that is a generic reply option.

You can always use this button and then cut and paste from one or more previous posts without the authors being automatically identified. It is up to you and common decency how you use this

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@sejintenej

Well, in this case it would have helped avoid leading Argon to believe my comments were aimed directly at him, which they weren't.

awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

It would be 'interesting' if Paige Rolland signed up to SOL and started reviewing stories.

I know we're not selling stories here, and many authors say they don't care how many downloads or what ratings their stories get, but some brutal honesty might challenge some authors who are coasting in their comfort zones.

AJ

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


brutal honesty might challenge some authors who are coasting in their comfort zones


I recently asked a graphic design student I found on wattpad to critique my novel's cover. She said the size of the font was great and so was centering the image. But everything else had to go (the image, the font, the colors, the bar at the top). And she told me why. It was great feedback.

Someone who doesn't want to get that kind of feedback will never improve.

docholladay

@Switch Blayde

Someone who doesn't want to get that kind of feedback will never improve.


Funny part is no one is forced to take any particular advice. Advice or criticism is nothing more than another viewpoint. Sometimes those viewpoints hold great clues or answers but not always.

richardshagrin

@docholladay

There is a little couplet, I am not sure if it qualifies as verse or not, "Free advice, free advice, it costs you nothing, it's worth the price."

All my advice is free, I can't get anyone to pay me for it.

If you don't believe in yourself, who will? On the otherhand, if you believe you are always right, its almost certain you are wrong.

sejintenej

@docholladay

Funny part is no one is forced to take any particular advice. Advice or criticism is nothing more than another viewpoint. Sometimes those viewpoints hold great clues or answers but not always.

Because we are so different we do need to get a couple of points of view. The student that Switch Blayde asked to comment on his cover design has to have one set of references which might be (or might not be) close to the audience median; he couldn't know until someone else either agreed with that analysis or considered it nonsense. I don't like the painter Dali but hundreds do.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@sejintenej


Because we are so different we do need to get a couple of points of view.


That's true for Beta Readers too. If one says something, you might or might not agree. But if many say the same thing, they're right and you're wrong.


The student that Switch Blayde asked to comment on his cover design has to have one set of references which might be (or might not be) close to the audience median; he couldn't know until someone else either agreed with that analysis or considered it nonsense.


To a degree. She's only a student, but she's learning what I never learned about graphic design. For example, she said:


You used Arial. I can't stress how bad that is. Arial is a cheap copy of Helvetica, but with really ugly lines and proportions. Still, even if you had used Helvetica, you're writing a mystery-thriller with a hint of erotica. Neither Helvetica nor Arial have an erotica/mystery vibe.

Go for a serif font, either a transitional (Baskerville, Times) or a didone (Didot, Bodoni), though the former would fit better. Search Vox-ATypI classification to see what I meant; the ones I mentioned in the parenthesis are the popular ones.


I know nothing about fonts. She evidently does. At least it sounds like she does.

I've read how important the color scheme is to a cover to evoke emotions and to send a signal. I happen to like the boldness of the gray background, but I'm not a graphic artist. This is what she said about the colors:


When I see gray, black, and red, I don't think on "thrilly" or "sexy." I think "boring office work."

Color scheme is crucial in these things. This is a mystery/thriller with erotica, right? Cherry red, dark blue, and violet with a lot of contrast comes to my mind. A lot of other books on the same genre use similar color schemes, but there's a reason for that, and it's the same reason why the Stop sign is the same everywhere. It's an INDICATOR of something. Colors have a meaning. I wouldn't change the staple erotica color scheme unless you really know what you're doing.



I don't like the painter Dali but hundreds do.


He's one of my favorite artists of all time. :)

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde


That's true for Beta Readers too. If one says something, you might or might not agree. But if many say the same thing, they're right and you're wrong.


On the other hand, many publishers rejected Harry Potter before one eventually adopted it. Can all those who rejected it claim they were right because they were in a huge majority?

AJ

(I'm being a little ornery today because I'm having trouble thinking of a snazzy jargon-laden name for a spaceship's 'front door')

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Switch, it's important to know what criteria she was using, as well. I know the way you do cover art for a space opera is totally different to what you use for murder mystery, and romance is different again - cover art can often be genre specific, but not always.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


(I'm being a little ornery today because I'm having trouble thinking of a snazzy jargon-laden name for a spaceship's 'front door')


Lockland!

Shutme!

Pressure stop!

edit to add: most settle for - Airlock!

aubie56

@Ernest Bywater

Tricky first step!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@aubie56

That door is likely to be labeled "Do Not Open While Ship is In Flight!" or maybe just "DNO" standing for Do Not Open.

From that if you want a funky name, you could call it Dino.

Zom

@awnlee jawking

snazzy jargon-laden name for a spaceship's 'front door'

Cork under pressure - open with care?

Ernest Bywater

@Ernest Bywater

How about: Slam, bamm, goodbye, ma'am.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

"I opened the slam, bamm, goodbye, ma'am." No, I don't think that quite works. But full marks for guessing my protagonist is female.

When making a cargo delivery, she finds herself in the middle of a mafia turf war, and the only person on her side is the male prostitute she's hiring by the hour because she likes his small penis.

AJ

awnlee jawking

@Ernest Bywater

The door opens into an airlock but most of the action takes place on terra firma and it doesn't really make sense to write that the mafia hitman sprayed bullets at the airlock.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@awnlee jawking

On the other hand, many publishers rejected Harry Potter before one eventually adopted it. Can all those who rejected it claim they were right because they were in a huge majority?


That's not the same as Beta Readers. Beta Readers should represent your target audience. If the majority say a character isn't believable or liked, chances are they're right. If they get lost in a scene, it probably needs to be reworked.

With Harry Potter, it was the publisher's young daughter who read the sample chapters and came running down the stairs screaming for more. She was equivalent to the Beta Reader, not her father the publisher.

tppm
Updated:

Being completely unimaginative in this sort of thing, might I suggest "External Hatch" or even "Airlock External Hatch"?

Nautical terminology, often transferred to air and space ships: Hatch = Door, Bulkhead = Wall, Port = Window, and Deck = Floor or Ceiling.

Bondi Beach

@awnlee jawking

(I'm being a little ornery today because I'm having trouble thinking of a snazzy jargon-laden name for a spaceship's 'front door')


I guess "main hatch" wouldn't do it?

bb

Replies:   awnlee_jawking
Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

I recently asked a graphic design student I found on wattpad to critique my novel's cover. She said the size of the font was great and so was centering the image. But everything else had to go (the image, the font, the colors, the bar at the top). And she told me why. It was great feedback.


There are a million "how to do a good cover" sites, and I'm sure you've seen them, but I ran across a couple that were focused and helpful, including good stuff on fonts. As your student (I think) pointed out, there are fonts and cover images associated with different genres, not that it's a requirement.

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/10/20/book-cover-design-ms-word/

http://www.coverdesignstudio.com/typeface-font-book-covers/

http://diybookcovers.com/

bb

madnige

@awnlee jawking

a snazzy jargon-laden name for a spaceship's 'front door'


'Primary Portal', or PP for short?

awnlee_jawking

@Bondi Beach


I guess "main hatch" wouldn't do it?


I like that. I'll use it unless anyone comes up with a better suggestion.

Thank you,

AJ

Switch Blayde

@Bondi Beach

There are a million "how to do a good cover" sites, and I'm sure you've seen them, but I ran across a couple that were focused and helpful, including good stuff on fonts.


Thanks for the links. One interesting thing I already saw in one of them. It said:

Next is a list of reliable, classic typefaces that work well on book covers. The list is not exhaustive. You can find many fonts that look nearly identical to those named here. However, you won't go wrong with these suggestions.

SANS SERIF

Helvetica, Microsoft Sans, Arial, ...


So I can't go wrong with these reliable, classic typefaces. As in Helvetica and Arial. Remember what my graphic design student said:

You used Arial. I can't stress how bad that is.


Oh well.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

You used Arial. I can't stress how bad that is. Arial is a cheap copy of Helvetica, but with really ugly lines and proportions. Still, even if you had used Helvetica, you're writing a mystery-thriller with a hint of erotica. Neither Helvetica nor Arial have an erotica/mystery vibe.


Her opinion about Arial vs Helvetica I take as just a personal ascetic opinion. I think the main point to take from her comment is that different genre need to use different fonts for the appropriate "vibe" and sans-serif fonts in general are not the right "vibe" for mysteries or erotica.

Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

Every cover I saw on thecreativepenn site were far to crowded and busy for my liking, every one of them discouraged me from reading the books. The best were the plain white ones, but they had way too much text on them.

That seems to be the main trend on the diybookcovers site as well. What ever happened to the KISS principle?

Joe_Bondi_Beach

@Ernest Bywater

Every cover I saw on thecreativepenn site were far to crowded and busy for my liking,


Heh. That was exactly my reaction. What I found useful was how to use Word to create a cover. I keeping saying I'm not a Word fan, but even I admit that it can do a lot of stuff.

Whether they're a success or not, I like the two covers I made using her guide: http://joe-bondi-beach-stories.tumblr.com/post/133029676836/coming-in-2016stay-tuned-redemption-will-a.

And, so much for using a serif font for erotica. Oh, well.

bb

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Every cover I saw on thecreativepenn site were far to crowded and busy


Most covers I see are too busy for me. And I'm talking about the traditional publishers as well. Often you can't even read the title, and I think the title is more important than the cover. This is especially true when it's a thumbnail.

That's why I came up with the cover I did. I wanted the title to stand out. I didn't want it busy, hence the gray background. I don't know anything about fonts. I thought the one I chose was easy to read.

I haven't even mentioned the worse comment she made. It was the image. I found the legs and panties so that's what I used. To me it looked sexy, like the woman was stripping. The student said it looked like a woman sitting on a toilet.

The funny thing is, when I researched it further to make sure I was allowed to use the image, I found the original. The tile floor and toilet bowl were there. She was sitting on a toilet. I asked the girl how she knew that and she said it was a standard way girls sit on a toilet. Who knew?

Ernest Bywater

I try to keep my cover art fairly simplistic. I try for something that either relates to the story or the title in some way to expand on them. Some, like Star Performance, the cover art is a little interpretative on the title, while others, like Stand in Time, are a lot more direct about the story content.

Here's my Lulu site with all of the currently published works and what I see as my top five covers in order from the top.

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ernestbywater

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/star-performance/ebook/product-22048162.html

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/eds-new-life/ebook/product-22048268.html

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/rough-diamond/paperback/product-22124397.html

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/times-of-old/ebook/product-22048217.html

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/stand-in-time/ebook/product-22048211.html

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Who knew?


Women?

sejintenej
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


That seems to be the main trend on the diybookcovers site as well. What ever happened to the KISS principle?


Not a book cover but it certainly could be; I like the heading of the index for rjlf's "The Grim Reaper". Simple and very striking - the illustration suits the title perfectly IMHO

Just seen Ernest Bywater's covers - definitely OK for me.

Bondi Beach

@Switch Blayde

I haven't even mentioned the worse comment she made. It was the image. I found the legs and panties so that's what I used. To me it looked sexy, like the woman was stripping. The student said it looked like a woman sitting on a toilet.


The Readerotica series uses a very similar image, but I guess the hand delicately lowering (?) the panties changes the meaning just enough:

http://www.amazon.com/Readerotica-Great-Erotica-Writers-ebook/dp/B0097H1LMI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447807127&sr=8-1&keywords=readerotica+5%3A.

fhjohnauthor

@Switch Blayde

Most covers I see are too busy for me.


Covers being too crowded is an interesting concept that I didn't keep in mind when I designed my newest cover. So far, this is the best cover I've ever created, but now I wonder if it isn't too much.

If you don't mind, I'd love some other opinions.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01949TNBO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

ustourist

@fhjohnauthor

Since the top third of the cover only contains the title, it doesn't distract from seeing what the book is called in the way that I find many 'busy' covers can do.
There is detail there, but IMHO it certainly doesn't come over as being too busy or detailed.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@ustourist

Okay, whew! lmoa. That makes me feel a little better.

Switch Blayde

@fhjohnauthor

I'd love some other opinions.


Since it's the title that attracts me, it's fine (imo).

samuelmichaels

@fhjohnauthor

Crowded, but not too crowded. It's fine.

richardshagrin

I can't believe you want artistic input from me?

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


I recently asked a graphic design student I found on wattpad to critique my novel's cover. She said the size of the font was great and so was centering the image. But everything else had to go (the image, the font, the colors, the bar at the top). And she told me why. It was great feedback.


Switch, I asked for the same kind of feedback (on a discussion on cover designs on LinkedIn). That's why I hired someone to redo it for me (with a more 'generic' cover) and have changed how I approach my new covers. I still design them myself, as I prefer mine over the author/designer I used (she only charges $25 + cost of the art), but I learned enough from her that I'm now more confident about my covers. I'm sure I'm still making mistakes, but they're not as obvious as before. (I'll have to ask for a cover review again.)


(I'm being a little ornery today because I'm having trouble thinking of a snazzy jargon-laden name for a spaceship's 'front door')


Try "Entrance hatch" or "Entry Port". Their main purpose isn't in being fancy, but to prevent air from escaping.

Joe, Great covers! (though I agree with her about the gray cover). I did one (not yet published) mystery novel that uses a b/w cover (very dark) with a blood-red title. I only used that color scheme because I couldn't find any other decent cover images (other than the mostly black one).

Here's the one font, along with some better ones:

A House in Disarray cover.

Singularity Cover.

The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye cover.

(Edit: Had to use small images of existing covers, rather than larger images of newer covers because SOL can't process certain names.)

fhjohnauthor, despite being 'complex', your cover works because there's lot of 'white space' (gray in your case) around the title, allowing the title to stand out.

Replies:   Joe_Bondi_Beach
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

If you don't mind, I'd love some other opinions.


Too much text for my taste. I'd have dropped the Episode 1, In Serial, An Erotic Mystery and had the Night Whispers in half the font size of Underground and placed midway between the main part of Underground and the girl's head. The removed text can be incorporated in the write up about the story and back cover if a print book.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

I appreciate all of the input, folks. I think I can sleep at night now. lol

Ernest, I will consider your thoughts, but I am reluctant to remove any of the text. I can see your point, but what I want to avoid is having customers come into the project under the wrong impression. It is important to me that any potential readers I get from it understand that this is a serial. I see no other way to let them know other than putting it on the cover. I could do it in the Amazon title itself, but I despise that idea. I also have it in the work's introduction, but I fear that most people don't read those anyway.

Thanks for your thoughts, though.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@fhjohnauthor


It is important to me that any potential readers I get from it understand that this is a serial.


Then include the text Episode 1 of an Erotic Mystery Series in the same size font you use for An Erotic Mystery but start it right beside the lamp and on level with the middle of the lamp.

edit to correct typo of the to then.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

Um, I don't know, maybe. It seems like I'm not really subtracting anything that way, but only moving text around, which would not decrease text to any significant degree. It would also move text closer to the middle, which I would prefer to avoid.

fhjohnauthor

@fhjohnauthor

I could also choose a similar font that doesn't have the huge capitol G which pushes the rest of the text down further.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@fhjohnauthor


It seems like I'm not really subtracting anything that way


You'd be cutting from seven text items (with the author name) in six lines of text to four items in five lines of text. If you place the Episode 1 of an Erotic Mystery Series on the bottom of the image just above the author name and adjust the font so it's the same length as the author name it'll balance better. Also, I agree you need a font with a capital G that doesn't take so much space. That way you can move the word Underground and Night Whispers further up into the black background area to give the readers a better view of the image.

It may be worth you time to try a version like that and see what you think of it. But the way things are my eyes switch over the text and the image may as well not be there because I have to dart to so many different textual items.

On a more personal note, I try not to have the author name in such a large font, but that's a personal choice matter; some like the name big, some don't.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

I plan on playing with some of these ideas a little later on to see how they look.

I already know for sure that I won't be shrinking the author name. I want readers or potential readers to remember my name, but I appreciate your input.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor
Updated:

@fhjohnauthor


On a more personal note, I try not to have the author name in such a large font, but that's a personal choice matter; some like the name big, some don't.


I did notice that about the book covers that you offered for sample earlier in the thread. It seems to me that you tend to obscure your name and in one case your title's title. On a couple of them, I wouldn't have even known who the author was if I didn't already know. On a few of them the cover art itself was pretty good, but I couldn't get over the obscurity of the fonts. Do you do that on purpose?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

but I couldn't get over the obscurity of the fonts.

Not sure if this is directed at me or not, but in case it is:

The fonts I use are Palatino Linotype, and considering how widely it's used in the print industry I wouldn't call it obscure. I do use italics for some text and plain for other text, but that's it. I also vary the font size depending on the importance of the information in the text, I want the people to focus on the title of the book while the author name is still noticeable but not overwhelming (as happens with some covers). When I use an image I want the image to be very visible because it's there to convey information or an impression, and it can't do that if I cover it with a lot of text. That's why when I have text on the image I try to put it in an out of the way spot. With the most recent cover artwork I've worked at standardising the font sizes and the author name location and size; I hope to get new artwork done for it all with such standards at one point.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

The fonts I use are Palatino Linotype, and considering how widely it's used in the print industry I wouldn't call it obscure.


I meant obscure in the difficult to see sense.

If it will help, I will be more specific. In the first link you provide, it takes you to a page where there are several different titles. The first title is 'Same Sex Marriage Debacle'. I found the title difficult to read, because of the color choices of the background versus the title. Also, in the thumbnail, I couldn't even tell that the author was listed on it at all until I clicked to take me to the book's page, where the thumbnail was larger. At that point, I could see that you did, indeed, have yourself listed as the author on the cover. Prior to that, I couldn't even see that your name was there at all.

The guide on writing, I had the same difficulties. I found the title difficult to read in the thumbnail and couldn't read the author at all. I realize the thumbnails on this page are smaller than normal, but I guess that's my point. If it were me, I would want them readable at every stage, no matter which page and thumbnail sizes were being used. I want the potential reader to always be able to read my title and always be able to read my name. Every time they see one of my bookcovers, I want my name repeated in their head. That's basic marketing. If they can't read my name at all, that won't happen. The same goes for the title of the book. On multiple occasions throughout several more of your covers, I thought the color schemes were not conducive to high visibility and I often thought that either your title or your name (in some cases both) were either too small, or were not clear enough to read in the smaller thumbnail sizes.

I thought your nicest cover was for Star Performance. There, both the name of the book and the author were clearly visible no matter the thumbnail size. If I had any issue with the cover at all, it was only that I couldn't tell what the cover's image was. I could tell that there was a star in it, but I have no idea what the mass around the star was. The color scheme of the book was appealing to my eye and I loved the font for 'Star Performance', though.

Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

I meant obscure in the difficult to see sense.


Thanks for the feedback, when I put the covers together I'm working on a full-size image so it's likely easier to see then. I'll keep your comments in mind when I next look at those covers and see what I can do to make the text stand out a bit more without being too glaring.

I like the cover for Star Performance too. The background image is exactly as it comes from NASA and is a star known as NGC 1999 (whatever that means) and that's all I know about it, but it caught my eye when I saw it.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

Thanks for the feedback, when I put the covers together I'm working on a full-size image so it's likely easier to see then. I'll keep your comments in mind when I next look at those covers and see what I can do to make the text stand out a bit more without being too glaring.

I like the cover for Star Performance too. The background image is exactly as it comes from NASA and is a star known as NGC 1999 (whatever that means) and that's all I know about it, but it caught my eye when I saw it.


Yeah, no problem. For the most part, I think all you need to look at are slight differences in the font color so that there is more contrast between the font color and the background color. On a few, maybe make the author name a little larger, just so they can be seen more clearly in thumbnail size. But I get what your saying. When we make the covers, we do it so the cover fits our screen. Before I do my final save, however, I always reduce the cover size to thumbnail portions, so I can get a sense on what is clearly visible and what is not. (By the way, I use Photoshop CS6).

I definitely like the image you used. I guess if anything, maybe if the image were a touch larger. I could kind of get the sense that it was a space image, but it really wasn't clear. I still liked that cover the best, no matter what.

Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

The first title is 'Same Sex Marriage Debacle'. I found the title difficult to read, because of the color choices of the background versus the title.


I've just amended the cover art image for SSMD by increasing the font a little in size and making the colour a little stronger by listing it as bold text. I don't want to play with the colours on that much more because it's already very colourful. The background for the upper image is what the image came with and the terms of use limit what I can do with, so I'm kind of stuck with that. The new images are up on the main page of:

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/ernestbywater

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

Before I do my final save, however, I always reduce the cover size to thumbnail portions, so I can get a sense on what is clearly visible and what is not. (By the way, I use Photoshop CS6).


I use GIMP and create the image as 1838 x 2775 pixels at 300 dpi/ppi because that's what Lulu wants. My monitor resolution is 1920 x 1080 on a 28 inch screen and the image displays in GIMP at 25% of full size when I work on it. Once created I make a jpg of it at 1838 x 2775, another at 1800 x 2700 (for the e-pub image), and a third at 600 x 900 for my website image (when I get around to working on that again). All look good when viewed on my monitor at about 30 to 35% of size.

For Star Performance I did a search for images of stars and found that on the STScI site (a sub-site of NASA) and liked it. Not sure what the cloud is because it was taken by the Hubble Telescope, but looks great. The athletics pictogram started out as black and I changed it to gold and silver with the gold looking like an 'S' for the word Star, but had to back off from the metallic gold look to a yellow gold look for better aesthetics. I did play around with having the name and title in different places, but ended up with that because it put the word 'star' near the 'star' in the image. Here's the wikipedia page on it and the fuller image.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGC_1999

Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

I still liked that cover the best, no matter what.


As far as overall visual effect, I think the Star Performance cover is the best. However, when you get down to what the cover is meant to portray, then it gets a lot harder to pick the best. For example, with the Rivers Region stories I chose two images to represent the two major areas it covers (plains and mountains) and use them on the cover to create a sense of uniformity by just changing the story title. In Stand in Time the artwork conveys both a western and time via the two simple images - when I can next work on that I think I'll move the images up and split the title and name with them. With Times of Old I was going for the plains and the plateau in the story with the ancient animals. So a lot of the story concept is conveyed in the cover imagery - a concept I try to work with in them all, but can't always get there.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

I can definitely see an improvement there, although I think I would go with white font for the author and possibly make that a smidge larger. I still find it difficult to read in the thumbnail size, but the book title is now clear, so that's a plus.

Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

I think I would go with white font for the author and possibly make that a smidge larger


Larger I can look at, for sure, but I don't want to go much larger with it. I try to limit the colours used in fonts, and I try to avoid white due to it's glare factor, but that is one cover image I have easy access to at the moment and can play with it, so I will. Part of the issue is what I see here is going to be different to what people see as the thumbnail in their browser. For some reason I can't fathom the Lulu image for the e-pub artwork gets bloated out bigger than the slightly larger print book image does.

fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

I definitely think themes are important in a cover and I can appreciate that you try to convey theme in your artwork. I suspected as much and I respect that. (I actually applaud it).

One thing I noticed in the Stand in Time cover, is that the clock image seems too sharp next to the gun. I know blending in Gimp is more difficult to achieve than it is in Photoshop, but if you can pull it off, I would do so. If I were doing it, I would try to make the clock match the gun's appearance a little more. That's being a little picky, however and is probably unnecessary.

When I first started making bookcovers, I also used Gimp. I tried Photoshop on a free trial basis and never went back. Just by converting to Adobe, the quality of my covers was night and day. It's a lot more expensive. I pay ten dollars a month to keep my subscription to it, but my increase in sales started immediately after going to Photoshop, so I don't dare revert back to the free software.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

is that the clock image seems too sharp next to the gun.


That's due to the quality of the original source images and not much I can do there, but will try when I can. I started with Photoshop and switched to GIMP many years ago when Adobe wanted an arm and a leg for the new version of Photoshop because my Photoshop 5 wouldn't work on the new version of Windows. So I tried a couple and ended up with GIMP; which was good because when I switched to using Linux GIMP was already there ahead of me.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

I think I would go with white font for the author and possibly make that a smidge larger.


I've boosted the font on SSMD a bit more in size, looked at a version with white for the author and it seemed to draw the eye away from the title, which I don't want. The the whole image is now 600 dpi, the text colour is deeper through the text being listed as bold for it all, the title is up about 5% in size and the author is up about 26% in font size. New images uploaded to Lulu.

fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

That's due to the quality of the original source images and not much I can do there, but will try when I can. I started with Photoshop and switched to GIMP many years ago when Adobe wanted an arm and a leg for the new version of Photoshop because my Photoshop 5 wouldn't work on the new version of Windows. So I tried a couple and ended up with GIMP; which was good because when I switched to using Linux GIMP was already there ahead of me.


Well, when you start throwing fancy words like Linux at me, I get lost. I'm not a techy and I have no idea what that means (you don't have to explain it. I'm sure your reasons are valid). Plus, I think Gimp is a fine product. I just found using Photoshop easier to accomplish the things I envisioned and I could do it in a quarter of the time it took me in Gimp. As an example, the cover I directed people to look at for 'Gone Underground' contained six different stock images. The barrel depicted in the scene was a full barrel before I started. The color scheme of the background image is completely different. The girl and the girl's shadow (I don't know if you notice but her shadow foretells what is coming down the line), are blended to match the background and the same goes for the man's arm and the lanterns, as well as the lighting cast by the lanterns. I had to blend all of that together so that they appear to be taken in the cellar. All of these same things can be done in Gimp as well, but the process for doing it in Gimp is more complicated.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor
Updated:

@fhjohnauthor

Ernest,

As far as the author name goes for SSMD, your point is valid. Only authors who can sell titles based on their name alone should have their author name more prominent than their titles, so I agree with that.

I do still think your name should be legible in the thumbnails, though. It shouldn't detract from the title, but when a person sees it in the thumbnail it should be readable. At present, I don't think it is. However you decide to solve that is up to you.

Edited to add:

I keep hitting the reply button to my own replies and it looks like I'm talking to myself. lol (oops).

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

I do still think your name should be legible in the thumbnails, though.


I suspect that's an issue to do with your monitor resolution or setting in some way, because it's readable on the thumbnail I see in Fire Fox on my system, but I may have a bigger screen than you do.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

Well, I guess that's certainly a possibility. I don't know much about screen resolutions and whatnot. (Like I said, I'm not a techy). But here's my concern (whether you share it is up to you). Who's to say what the screen resolutions are on your potential customers? Do you not value those potential customers who are not so lucky as to have the latest equipment? Some customers may be purchasing your work from their phones. Some from tablets and some older computer systems. The screen I use is seventeen inches. I don't know anything more specific than that, but I think the resolutions used by your customers will vary. Why limit yourself to showing who you are?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

Do you not value those potential customers who are not so lucky as to have the latest equipment?


I value them all, but every device I've checked on shows more than just the cover thumbnail, it has the title beside it with my Name and the short blurb on the story, so the text on the cover art thumbnail image isn't all they have to go on. All the image is intended to do is give an idea of what the story is likely about to encourage them to read the blurb; the title is important for that, but the author name isn't. If they're searching for me by name, they'll get a search result where they know everything on it is by me, so, again, not an issue. Where having the name readable is important is how far away in can be read on the print book, and it's more than good enough for that.

fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

If you're happy with that, I guess that's all that matters. I'm simply pointing out that I wouldn't be. To each their own, however.

fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

I guess the difference could be marketing strategy and platform. I have never used Lulu, so I don't know what methods Lulu users to find new works. I use Amazon and I achieve most of my newer sales through advertising and rankings. The higher I can get a title ranked, the more potential viewers I get. Because of this, I don't depend on people knowing my name prior to them seeing my titles. They happen upon my titles because, through promotions, my titles are getting sales and achieving higher ranking, which draw more potential customers to my books. This is why I like to have my name large enough to draw their eye, even if it is on a subconscious level. Sometimes a customer may have to see three or four different titles of mine before they finally get curious enough to look further, but a attribute part of my achievements to the fact that my name is large enough for them to see it. Marketing studies show that a person's comfort level for buying is achieved until after they see a brand seven times before they feel familiar with it. Your name is your brand, not your title, so your name does have importance. AT least that is the way I think of it and I learned that by studying marketing principals.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

I don't know what methods Lulu users to find new works


They show the title and author in large text beside the cover image. I don't use Amazon because I refuse to give them full control over my artistic rights. The only books of mine on Amazon with my approval are via an agreement between them and Lulu where I don't have to sign up to Amazon's terms and thus get to retain all my rights to my works and can pull them from Amazon whenever I wish to.

If Amazon is only showing the cover art and not listing anything beside it, then you do need to use a larger font to overcome the Amazon limitations on their presentation.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

If Amazon is only showing the cover art and not listing anything beside it, then you do need to use a larger font to overcome the Amazon limitations on their presentation.


No. You're missing the point. Amazon is the same way as Lulu in that regard. Next to my bookcovers, the additional information is there (minus the descriptions. They have to click on either the cover, or the title to take them to the product page where they can get the description or a preview as well as the books rankings etc.)

But my point comes in before they get to your author homepage. How do your potential customers find you if they don't know your name?

Some of my titles can be found pretty easily by browsing through Amazon's top 100 lists because I have titles that rank within the top 100 of their categories. But just because they browse those categories, doesn't mean that they buy my titles. Even if my cover draws their attention and even if they like the title, only a percentage of those who look at it, buy the title they look at. That's just the law of averages playing its role. There will be a certain number of people who look at my cover (which is usually where a customer starts) and go no further. I still want there to be a chance for those customers who do not buy to remember my name. Some of those customers will, but most won't the first time. Again, this is the law of averages. But some of those customers who didn't buy the first time, may run into another of my titles by browsing or doing category searches. The second time they see my name, the likelyhood of them looking further increases, but this will be based on my name and not the title, because the title will be different. The second time they see it, they will think, "hmm, this name sounds familiar. Haven't I seen it before?"

The third or fourth time, the chances of them seeking more information increases even more, but this only happens, because I take advantage of the concept of branding. I make sure there is a chance for them to remember my name. If I kept my name small and obscure, the chances would be diminished.

Now, if you're telling me that the only way people can find your books is by looking for your name first, then you are probably right to keep your name small. If only customers who already know you are the people who can buy your books, then you are already branded and you don't have to worry about trying to get people to see your name. It doesn't matter.

If that's not what you are saying and you do want people to see your name so that there is a chance for them to remember you later (even if they don't buy this time), then you might want to consider enlarging your name on your covers, because it isn't the people who are interested in your books already that you are trying to brand to. It is the people who stop at your covers and move on. Those are the people that you want to go the extra distance for, hoping they will remember your name when you come out with new titles later on.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@fhjohnauthor

Ernest, I will consider your thoughts, but I am reluctant to remove any of the text. I can see your point, but what I want to avoid is having customers come into the project under the wrong impression. It is important to me that any potential readers I get from it understand that this is a serial.

I can see that, but there's no sense being overly verbose. All you need is "Night Whispers 1" (that is the series name, isn't it? Frankly, from the verbose text, I couldn't figure out what the frig the name of your series is, which is why you to to maintain the KISS principal).

However, you don't need to label a book by genre (ex: "An Erotic Mystery Series"). The book will be listed by genre. Instead, find a series title that captures the imagination. Something like "The Princess Fatwa Tragedy III".

Also, the only text you should have on the cover is:
1) The title, as big as you can make it
2) The author, almost as big as the title but separate, and
3) The series title in smaller type with a different font (to make it stand out), located below but near the title to help identify it.

All other text should be moved to either the back cover, or into the book itself. No one wants to spend a half-hour reading the damn cover!

As far as you capital "G", I manually adjust font sizes for my titles all the time, including manually kerning them (creating separate text elements and nudging them closer together).

Ernest, the rule of thumb is, is readers recognize your name, you make the author name BIG! If no one knows you, you make it tiny. Since none of us are producing huge bestsellers, I'd keep it relatively small (1/2 to 1/3 of the book title).

Also, Palatino Linotype is wonderful for longer books as the pronounced serif font speeds reading, but it's lost on a cover where it's only a distraction. You can use a serif font, but not one that's distracting or makes it difficult to read (which Palatino can do if used in small segments).

fhjohnauthor, like you, I've always used Adobe (both Photoshop & Illustrator), but recently found a new, similar product that only costs $39. Unfortunately, it's only available on the Mac. Adobe is horribly overpriced for what you get!

fhjohnauthor

@Crumbly Writer

I can see that, but there's no sense being overly verbose. All you need is "Night Whispers 1" (that is the series name, isn't it? Frankly, from the verbose text, I couldn't figure out what the frig the name of your series is, which is why you to to maintain the KISS principal).


Hmmm...

I follow you on the KISS principal. I added the 'An Erotic Mystery as an afterthought, so I'm not stuck on keeping it on there.

The rest of your suggestions have me second guessing a little. The series title is "Gone Underground". The Episode title is "Night Whispers". And it is Episode 1.

As far as resizing, the font is resized. I also adjust my fonts. Sometimes I do so through Kerneling, but I also stretch them for different effects sometimes. In this case, I didn't, but I don't think shrinking the G would look right. I can trim the tail off completely and give it a foot or something like that, but shrinking it would look odd, I think.

And I hardly think it would take anyone a half an hour to decipher my cover. Anyone who took that long, would take five years to read the first episode, so I don't think that comment was called for.

Ernest Bywater

@fhjohnauthor

But my point comes in before they get to your author homepage. How do your potential customers find you if they don't know your name?


The title and author name are beside the image even in the category pages etc. I gather, from your comments, that Amazon has lists where they have just the cover images without text beside it. If that's the case there's no other way to have the name show.

People can find my books by name, title, by category search, and various other searches - each time the book is displayed the title and author name are in text either beside it or under it.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Ernest Bywater

The title and author name are beside the image even in the category pages etc. I gather, from your comments, that Amazon has lists where they have just the cover images without text beside it. If that's the case there's no other way to have the name show.

People can find my books by name, title, by category search, and various other searches - each time the book is displayed the title and author name are in text either beside it or under it.


I still don't think your getting it. It doesn't matter what Lulu shows or what Amazon shows to the customers who only look at your cover and then move on. But just because they don't bother to read more, doesn't mean that you don't want them to have any chance of remembering your name.

fhjohnauthor

@Crumbly Writer

I can see that, but there's no sense being overly verbose. All you need is "Night Whispers 1" (that is the series name, isn't it? Frankly, from the verbose text, I couldn't figure out what the frig the name of your series is, which is why you to to maintain the KISS principal).

However, you don't need to label a book by genre (ex: "An Erotic Mystery Series"). The book will be listed by genre. Instead, find a series title that captures the imagination. Something like "The Princess Fatwa Tragedy III".

Also, the only text you should have on the cover is:
1) The title, as big as you can make it
2) The author, almost as big as the title but separate, and
3) The series title in smaller type with a different font (to make it stand out), located below but near the title to help identify it.


I looked into the claims that you make here and, unfortunately, I can't substantiate that the way you state these things have any real degree of accuracy. I've poured through pages and pages of different series' and I cannot find any rigid standards as far as how to present a series title, versus an Episode title. (And I am talking about books published through traditional publishers). Sometimes the series name is the focus and sometimes the episode name is.

I would ask that when addressing someone whom you don't know that well, and are offering criticisms, you might want to consider applying a little more class to your comments. I took a few things you said the wrong way and I didn't appreciate your tone. It is easier to get away with that kind of thing when you know the person, but we have no history. I recommend you keep that in mind in the future.

Joe_Bondi_Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Here's the one font, along with some better ones:

A House in Disarray cover.


I like the black-and-white and the female especially. Simple, dramatic. The title and author text seems a little crowded to me, but they stand out nicely.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@fhjohnauthor

If you don't mind, I'd love some other opinions.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01949TNBO?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

FWIW the image is somewhat dark which highlights the bright white text; that is to say the eye is taken to the top because of the size of lettering, to the author's name - strong but smaller print, still bright but then the lady's white blouse takes the eye away from "Night Whispers " etc. I did wonder about the capital G design but overall excellent

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
sejintenej

@fhjohnauthor

And I hardly think it would take anyone a half an hour to decipher my cover. Anyone who took that long, would take five years to read the first episode, so I don't think that comment was called for

10 seconds perhaps and it is memorable as well

fhjohnauthor

@sejintenej

Well, the review was very technical (I don't know what FWIW means), but overall it sounded like thumbs up?

I am considering some of Ernest's suggestions. Reducing the size of that the G's tail takes up should help in that, but I haven't found the time to get to it today. I think doing that makes sense. Once I do that, I will be able to free up some space in the center and decide what, if any, text I will remove.

Thanks for the comment!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@fhjohnauthor

I don't know what FWIW means)


FWIW is an initialism

For
What
It's
Worth

fhjohnauthor

@Dominions Son

Ah!

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

Fort Worth Is West.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Fort Worth Is West


Forest warts itch weakly

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@fhjohnauthor


And I hardly think it would take anyone a half an hour to decipher my cover. Anyone who took that long, would take five years to read the first episode, so I don't think that comment was called for.

No, it wasn't. The entire cover doesn't take more than a second to read, but I was trying to make a point that you want a minimum of text on your cover, though I did it in an overly harsh manner. For that I apologize.

I tend to use distinctive fonts which fit each book from dafont.com (after securing rights to it), but I'll often have to kern the titles myself, or they'll be distracting font elements I'll 'erase' using Photoshop, thus I typically play around with the titles quite a bit to get them to look right.

I try to make the title as large as possible, but my print book source (createspace.com) forces you to include 'trim space' on the off chance they might cut it (which they usually don't), but that limits how large the cover font can be (by a full half an inch).

I'd go with the simplest approach: "Night Whispers", followed by "Gone Underground 1" (or "I" if you want to look fancy). If you look at my Lost with Nothing to Lose cover, you'll see I have a two line title with a smaller serif series font underneath (so the title and series aren't confused). I use the same font for my author title.

I also tend to with smaller capitals instead of lowercase font letters. You might try playing around with those.

I looked into the claims that you make here and, unfortunately, I can't substantiate that the way you state these things have any real degree of accuracy. I've poured through pages and pages of different series' and I cannot find any rigid standards as far as how to present a series title, versus an Episode title.


I'm not sure what you mean by "Episode" title (I'm assuming you mean "Book Title).

My comments weren't meant as a criticism (though my last point was a bit harsh. Instead I was emphasizing the KISS principle for book covers:

1) Keep the title the largest

2) Keep the Author name the second largest

3) Make the series title much smaller, but make it stand out (in my case, by using a separate font)

4) Keep all the titles as large and easy to read as possible.

How you go about that is up to you, there are no rules in this regard, but sales figures from various sources all emphasize that the title is the most important element in the book cover. The artwork shouldn't be so overwhelming that it distracts from the titles (though they still need to pull the reader in).

Sorry if I came off overly strong. Blame it on a late-night post and a lack of sleep. :(

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
Crumbly Writer

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

I like the black-and-white and the female especially. Simple, dramatic. The title and author text seems a little crowded to me, but they stand out nicely.

The chaotic font was by design. It's hard to read, but suggests the chaos of the lead character, as well as the blood scene of the crime. I could have found thousands of easier to read fonts, but none captured the heart of the book--that the crime disrupted the entire police department--just as the lead detective's life is unraveling (the crime is just a parallel reflection of her emotional state, rather than a point of the story).

fhjohnauthor

@Crumbly Writer

I'd go with the simplest approach: "Night Whispers", followed by "Gone Underground 1" (or "I" if you want to look fancy). If you look at my Lost with Nothing to Lose cover, you'll see I have a two line title with a smaller serif series font underneath (so the title and series aren't confused). I use the same font for my author title.


I appreciate your attempts to help here, but unfortunately I don't foresee myself switching the positions of the title versus subtitle (in this title's case the subtitle is the episode name). My previous comment was in regard to this suggestion. I see many series' that have the Series name as the focus. Since this seems to be acceptable and because I want all of the episodes to have the same main title with a different subtitle I've decided firmly to go with that. I will play around with removing some of the text, so that I end up with a simpler cover, but that's as far as I'm willing to go.

These things are subjective in nature.

To illustrate this, I point out your cover for "The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye". I hardly think that this title falls into the 'KISS' principal. When you count the number of words that you have in your title and compare it to the number of words I have on my entire cover, you come up with only a difference of two words. So, even if I don't reduce the number of words on my cover, I still only have two words more on this cover than you have on your Devil cover. Sounds reasonable to me when I consider this cover as a standard.

According to the things I've studied about the usage of fonts, it is always recommended that author names use a very simple and plain font. This is something you should consider in your own covers. In a number of cases, I found the fonts you used for your author name very difficult to translate.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@fhjohnauthor


To illustrate this, I point out your cover for "The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye". I hardly think that this title falls into the 'KISS' principal.


You've got me there! After a series or terrible names, including "Stranded" of which there are over 2000 different titles in every imaginable genre with no similarity, making searching for the title impossible, I've decided to go with original and through provoking instead.

Although the title is long, it (hopefully) stops someone in their tracks and piques their curiosity. (I'll see if it sells any better than "Stranded" did).

As an alternative, try my Singularity cover. That showcases my proposed KISS philosophy missing in my "Poking the Devil" story.

As for my author's name font, you've got a good point. My use of a serif font stands in sharp contrast to the 'make it noticeable' premise (as does the ENTIRE cover of my "A House in Disarray" cover!).

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Crumbly Writer

Yeah, I mean typically, most of my covers are very simple. I usually have one or two word titles, possibly a subtitle and that's it. This time there was more information I thought (and still think) I need to convey. I will probably keep most of the text. I may remove or shorten some of the text, but over all, I don't think it's that much of an issue.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@fhjohnauthor

Yeah, I mean typically, most of my covers are very simple. I usually have one or two word titles, possibly a subtitle and that's it.

One word titles are more powerful, but it can make locating your story virtually impossible (unless they search for your name). In my case, "Stranded" had thousands of results with no common story element connecting them. However, a later book's one-word title, "Singularity", is as commonly used. (However, I use it in a non-physics concept, which might cause confusion.) Most books with "Singularity" are non-fiction physics books.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Crumbly Writer

Well, if you are having difficulty with people finding your stories, I would suggest the reason is that you are relying on your title and your author name for people to find your titles. That's what keywords are for and if you invest enough time and a few dollars, there are tools out there to assist you in choosing the right keywords. Relying on your title and your author name for people to find your work will virtually always lead to disappointment.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@fhjohnauthor

Relying on your title and your author name for people to find your work will virtually always lead to disappointment.

The lengthy "The Lad Who Poked the Devil in the Eye" title wasn't to make the book easier to find. It was more distinctive, and the type to stop a reader in his tracks and ask questions about the story (triggering the reader's curiosity). However, for "Stranded", I'd discovered that there were simply too many other "Stranded" titles with no differentiation between genre subjects. I thought that book needed the extra distinction. "Poked the Devil" was a one-time attention grabber.

Replies:   fhjohnauthor
fhjohnauthor

@Crumbly Writer

"Poked the Devil"


Now, see... In my opinion, that should have been your title. Either, 'Poked the Devil' Or 'Poking the devil'. To me, that is both thought provoking, and it grabs your attention. I think you should have went with that.

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