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Goblin Novella cover rough!

So this is my initial rough for the cover of the Goblin Novella.

It’s got a white background. That’s the bit that I am wavering most on.

A) The art looks best on white. So if I want to use this art, at least a chunk of it has to be white.

B) Very few trade book covers are white.

C) That either means it will stand out or look HORRIBLY AMATEURISH.

D) I don’t know which.

E) If I ever do a sequel, it is suggested that it have the same format, which is totally doable.

F) Cover art is mostly to show people that this is the kind of book they will like, not to make Deathless Art For The Ages.

G) Still don’t know if this is the way to go.

H) Thoughts appreciated.


ETA: Thanks to everyone who's weighed in! So far, given all sources, it seems to be running about 2/3rds for, 1/3rd against, with some concerns on the viewing thumbnail on Amazon. (And I had no idea that white covers were generally avoided because of dirt! But I've gotten that from like three different people! I never even thought of that, but of course, e-book only, doesn't apply.)

At 150 pixels high (the Amazon thumbnail size) with a black border, it looks like this:


And y'know, I'm actually pretty okay with that. I've got one rather nice peach version sent in by the awesome batwrangler and may yet waver, but I'm still kinda fond of the white, and the important thing is that it doesn't read as I AM A DIY COVER OF DIY-NESS, which is my BIG concern. *grin* Though I may see if the parchment look works, too...also a great suggestion.

ETA2: With a faint gray border inside the art, intersecting the author name, as suggested below:


Originally published at Tea with the Squash God. You can comment here or there.

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If you hit "View Image" it'll pop up on a dark background (I think) and that may tell you about clearances?

I think it looks pretty snappy! But this is also a big shiny image of it. If you resize it down into a few tiny thumbnails, like the size people see when browsing lists of book results on Amazon, that might give a better idea of how it'll stand out, for better or worse, among those covers.

I like it. Were you thinking to put a border? The white would look fine with that too. Either way, I think what people will remember is the goblin with the flag. She is awesome!

That's actually a question I have. Not having read the book, I seemed to think the goblin was female. Was it the ponytail, the goofy grin, the breasts, the phallic pole (as others have mentioned)? Can you get away with topless female goblins in e-publishing?

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I like it. For whatever that's worth...

I like it a lot but find the plain white a little stark.

White gets dirty and smudged. That works for goblins.

Heh! Not on e-books, it doesn't!

Perhaps a black border around the cover art which becomes the rest of the cover of the book? Erm... I am not sure how to explain...

OH! Like your theme here! White rectangle with art, on the dark background... ^-^

I think you might also be able to get away with a yellow cover - the lighter color to match the eyes! *flutters lashes*

Also, isn't there some industry myth-maybe-fact about yellow book spines' sales numbers being higher? (erm... not that that is relevant for e-books, I suppose?)

Edited at 2013-09-17 12:58 am (UTC)

It looks good.

It would also probably look good on pale blue if you're really worried about the white.

I agree with the pale blue, because then it will look like the goblin is standing outside. And the subsequent books in the series can be on backgrounds that match the times of day you think the cover-goblin will be best suited in.

Hee, cover-goblin! (Will Jim Hines' Jig be making a cameo appearance?)

You're self-publishing, if I recall. Print on demand, or running up a stock and taking the risk? Because if print on demand, you're not going to be in many bricks and mortar bookstores to begin with. Even if you're doing a print run, is your distribution plan really going to be in many physical bookstores? Or are you mostly going to be on Amazon?

I self-publish a series of critical histories of Doctor Who, and my cover artist and I realized, after some discussion, that the entire logic of "consistent trade dress so you stand out on shelves" is irrelevant to print-on-demand/ebook sales, and ended up with a cool setup where each book is done in a pastiche of the graphic design of the era it covers. It's been marvelous.

Which is to say that "how it looks on the shelf" is increasingly less relevant, and you can probably take the risk.

E-book only to start. May wind up with a small print run with a small press--I've had a couple of offers so far--but I want to get it out as an e-book to start.

If and when it goes to print, it'd still be on-line orders, and yeah, I agree it doesn't work the same way it used to! (The biggest concern here was getting the title readable at an inch high...)

Yes, some kind of frame or border would be a good idea. Maybe a variation on the banner & coat red?

White as a cover: Works just fine. Border, not so much, especially for smaller icons where the border will pick up some chop in displaying. I've a minor personal preference for textured white backgrounds and cream-tones rather than a high-bright white like this, but from a layout perspective and a shopping one, it's excellent. The reds and shadows make a very strong and recognizable shape at all sizes, and it simply looks good as an image.

I'm agreeing with some kind of border, if only because you never know where it will be posted. For reviews, or even just Tumbled, and who knows where people will be looking at it.

Looks good to me. The only suggestion I would have is to throw a black border on the edge of the thumbnail, so that it reads as "rectangle" on the amazon background, but even that is probably unnecessary.

There's not a ton of "white only backgrounds" out there, but there are a few by authors I love: Gaiman, Willis, and Palahniuk all have books with white backgrounds.

I once bought Susanna Clarke's "Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell" BECAUSE it had an all white cover.

whoa, a white variant of JS&MN? weird!

Popular wisdom in self-publishing is that you shouldn't have pure white as a background, because it fades into the background in the Also-Boughts and other places on Amazon and other e-book sellers. So some kind of border around the edge, to provide "Look! Book!" distinction, might be useful. Perhaps a shading of off-white, so white center-oval, and just a touch of color around the edges?

(Go, go, Kingfisher!)

This. It won't look like a cover on Amazon, etc., if you can't tell where the cover stops and the webpage background starts. It's cute, but I'd definitely ditch the white.