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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.

I haven't read all the other comments, so my apologies if I am repeating.

First, the art is great.

What I would worry about with the white background is that it will most likely show up on a web page with a white background, leaving it floating. I suggest giving it a dark bar at top and bottom, or on the sides, etc., and pick a size for the art that will work for future covers so you have uniformity.

The latent graphic designer in me (not actually my job, just a hobby) thinks it'd feel less floaty if there was a border around it, though I'd have the border intersect the title banner (such that the border runs behind the banner) and possibly the author name (which would either be in a box of its own or the border would just stop before reaching it. The border would be fairly simple, so as not to draw attention away from the art, probably either a solid black line or some sort of a sketchy/painterly black line in a more-or-less squarish shape. Maybe I could see a fairly desaturated color in the blues, greens or browns on the outside of the border, but I don't think it needs it either.

That said, I'm no pro and I think it looks good even as is, so feel free to ignore me. :)

I saw it teeny-sized on my dA preview screen, and it was perfectly readable and attention-grabbing. The white looked good on a grey background. My only comment is that the author looks a bit off-center, like it could use a nudge to the left. Kinda under the goblin's weight, if that makes sense.
Excited for this!

You are absolutely right--will nudge on the final!

Reminds me of the book on Gnomes that I had in the library in the late 1970s. Also, there was a book on Fairies that had a white cover. I think a border is a good idea.

I like the grey border. It makes it seem more finished somehow, and less stark.

I agree. Also, with a two-tone background any future sequels can use different different colors and still maintain a consistent look.

Oh, I like ETA2, where the border has the flag coming over it... (ETA1 is perfectly fine, too, of course. I'm just a sucker for a good breaking-the-fourth-wall kinda design.)

The thumbnail with the black border looks perfectly book-like to me. You, of all people, don't have to worry about the cover art looking like bad self-pub cover art because you can actually draw and have graphic design skills. Hell, this is a better cover illo than what gets put on a lot of professionally-published books by female authors.

gorgeous cover, and i *love* the variant with the faint grey border than intersects the title and author name.

99 Goblins on The Wall, 99 Goblins...

Looks fine to me, but I was gonna buy it regardless.

Will the sequels be titled "Eight Goblins", "Seven Goblins", etc, down to "The Last Goblin"? Or I suppose they could go the other way, ala "Oceans 11" through "Oceans 47".

I like it; it reminded me straight off the bat of some of Tom Holt's European-published covers, and so what if it's a bit different from the norm? It IS different from the norm! Goblinishously!

At one point I was a librarian in a volunteer-run library that received a lot of vanity press/self-published/Print-On-Demand books. Still am technically, I guess. The books ranged from entertaining to reactor shielding, and I developed the ability to detect them quite reliably without reading any cover copy, just from the production values alone.

In a print book, to me, a cover with a stark white background usually signals something in that space, especially if it's a glossy-covered trade paperback, those being the default settings of most POD shops. If I open the book up and see Times New Roman and more-or-less Word formatting, that seals the deal.

I am 99% certain that the confidence and execution of the cover art would at least tell me this was no ordinary self-published book, and 100% certain I would recognize your art style from across the room. If I was having a particularly bad day, I might wonder how "T. Kingfisher" had gotten you to do the art for their book. But it would still cause me to take a closer look.

I have a similar sense for recognizing self-published stuff on Amazon, but I don't have as good an understanding how it works. Certainly I want something around the edges of the image, to keep the cover from disappearing into the white background of Amazon's product detail page and causing your sturdy goblin to be dwarfed by the navigational elements. Otherwise I don't think the background color matters nearly as much -- I think I pick up much more on the quality of the art and design, and this is obviously a professionally-done job, whatever business model it's being published under.

ETA: Looking again at the thumbnail-size drawings, I think the only thing I really want is a bit more contrast on the goblin's face -- his mouth and to a lesser extent his eyes are getting lost for me in the whiteness. Otherwise I think it's great.

Edited at 2013-09-17 06:18 am (UTC)

I like the thumbnail with the faint grey border, and I think it could work for the big cover as well.
Yeah, that's all I got. <_<

When I visited Brazil in the 1970s, a lot of low-budget, low volume translations were in plain white covers with pure text on the front. So the white cover may have a bad reputation from this source. On the other hand, the book I am reading at the moment, a Pop Sci on Quantum Mechanics, has a white cover (with rather long book title in rainbow text), and I didn't get any bad vibes when I picked it up in the bookshop.

I rather like the grey border that intersects. It looks nice, and I think it's a bit tidier-looking.

I think the one with the grey border looks best.