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Fake Book Cover

This book does not really exist, and is unlikely to do so, so let's get that out of the way.

Having realized that I will probably be randomly self-publishing things for many years to come, I finally decided that I need to address one of the glaring holes in my artistic skillset--graphic design.

I'm not great at it. But I'm gonna be doing my own book covers as T. Kingfisher for quite awhile. So I spent awhile on Pinterest pinning covers I like or found interesting or eye-catching, and then it occurred to me that there is pretty much no artistic skill you learn simply by looking at examples of it, so I started fooling with fake book mock-ups. My buddy Daniel Solis, whenever anybody drops a particular complex or weird line into the conversation, will simply say "...a memoir," and so that turned into fake memoir covers and so forth.

I dunno, it sort of works large but the contrast between the green and the brown isn't strong enough at the small size, so if it was kindle-thumbnail-size, it'd just look too dark.

If anyone has any suggestions for really good entry-level design books, I'd love to hear 'em.

Consider aspen or birch bark for the center "stripe" background?

Maybe call a local college and ask what they rec? Also that book title sounds like something my mom would write. As well as "There is No Such Thing as a Deer-Proof Garden" and "Raspberries Take Over Everything" XD

I'm not sure I'd mind if raspberries took over everything.

you need something twining around that tree trunk... in a peculiar color too...

That's what I was thinking, too. Or something like a strangler fig attacking the lettering.

Use a watermark of the background instead of the dark strip maybe.

Our garden has quite a few of those.
I did weed out the deadly nightshade when my daughter was a lot younger - just in case.

So gardening is a horror - I thought you liked it!

The beauty of the internet is that we have so much information at our fingertips. Yes there are online how to do Graphic Design, some of which are free. There are also You Tube videos as well. There are also book recs for books on Graphic Design.

If you wish to be entertained while you learn try Chip Kidd's You Tube videos on designing book covers. I'd do a link but then this would be marked as spam.

This would be a fantastic Tumblr! (Recurring joke: It's poison ivy.)

I like the cover just as it is. Clear, uncluttered, legible.

Oo, my graphic design critiquing muscles are twitching - I would buy a book with a cover that looked like that! The middle is very striking. My only suggestion would be to widen the "T. Kingfisher" part at the bottom so it extends to the edges, to match the title. The text at the top and bottom are really close to the margins, too. (Never forget the bleed!)

Now that is a very good notion on the name! (And yes, bleed...in real print more of a problem...)

Have I ever mentioned that T Kingfisher's name makes an appearance in a comic that I commissioned? The last book my were is reading is 'Murder and Other Gardening Secrets by T Kingfisher'. I figured if there's any one who'd know about the value of good fertilizer it'd be you.

"The Non-Designer's Design Book" by Robin Williams from Peachtree Press is available on Amazon among other places. Excellent starting point.

I've got that one! Love it.

This might be a little *too* basic, but "The non-designer's design book" by Robin Williams is the most accessible and useful design text I've ever encountered. Erik Spiekermann's "Stop Stealing Sheep and find out how type works" is also excellent.

The edge tension on the title, particularly on "planting" is making my eye twitch a little; it might be better in a color that doesn't bleed into the trees in the background.

Wouldn't sticking "a memoir" onto the cover make using your real name more appropriate?

Using a pseudonym does allow for plausible deniability however..

We play the subtitle game too! But for each phrase we pick the most appropriate subtitle: A Memoir, A Novel, And Other Stories, etc. Our cats all have books:

Alex, What Are You Licking: A Horror Story
Oh Sam: A Children's Book
Sorry, Sophie: A Memoir

("Oh Sam" should be said in fond but long-suffering tones. Sam is my 12-year-old kitten with a brain the size of a pea. A small pea.)

You're welcome to illustrate those if you want. :D

Edited at 2016-05-16 04:50 am (UTC)

If the book was illustrated, the way your gardening updates have often been here (and most of your books that I've bought so far), I'd buy it in a heartbeat. So perhaps "an illustrated memoir?"

Edited at 2016-05-16 04:51 am (UTC)

I think the cover you've got is eye-catching and intriguing.

TED talk about book cover design-- this should at least be fun and might be useful.

You're so close to nailing this that you really don't need my hammer, but for what it's worth...

1.) Alas, delete the text at the top, even though it IS truly awesome, because this is your test draft.
2.) Boot up the contrast on the tree trunk, to make it as dark and ominous as possible...a la Blair Witch scary.
3.) Consider making the background foliage low-res, high-contrast B&W, like in lurid, 1950s crime-scene photos. Keep it creepy. Maybe add a dark green gradient from the bottom up?
4.) Center-align all the words in the title text, so that they are stacked on top of each other.
5.) Make the final word in the title..."THAT"...larger and bolder than the rest, and give it an exclamation point; ie; "THAT!", to emphasise the horror.
6.) The "memoir" line is brilliant...don't change it!
7.) Tell me to go s**t in my hat, because who asked me anyways!