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Son of Fake Book Cover: Round #5!

Two versions of the Bryony cover today--I have heard and obeyed the lack of love for the slant! I have slanted much harder!

I am skeptical about the bee. The problem is that clockwork bees are inherently small and fiddly, and it just doesn't read all that clearly. But I do think it needs something in that dead space. So some fiddling around with petal shapes over there. (I have tried putting words in. Words don't seem happy there at all...)

Adding the black border makes it read a little bit more dark fantasy to me, weirdly enough. That may JUST be me, though. And I know, I know, borders are like licking your knife in public. SOMETIMES I LIKE THE TASTE, OKAY!?

(I, uh, have no immediate plans to replace all the existing covers, for the record. I won't swear that I won't at some point, but I'd need to put matching covers on all three and that's so much work that I shudder to contemplate. Though I'm pretty pleased with the Greenteeth one.)

Y'all know--I hope!--that I value your input by now...

You might consider using the lighter, peach color for the author's name, as the red really hasn't enough contrast against the black.

I am agnostic about the bee.

Am I weird for thinking "Darth Kabuki" when looking at the clockwork bee?

I was totally thinking "Darth Vader" when I saw the bee. :D

As noted by others, the author name is too dark and offset from the visual line to be seen easily. I recommend going with the light background color for the name so that it looks like a cutout from the black stem.

The bee is a fun detail that I miss in the bee-less version now that I've seen one. However, it's not quite stylistically appropriate for the sweeping line art. Maybe the bee should have less detail?

I still love it, but it's beginning to look like an erotica cover. Lol. So not the right promise. :D

I like the lower one -- because the rose overwhelms the border, is not contained by it.

I would put your name in white instead of cut-out; I would change the bee into a drop of water, or, perhaps a drop/droplet-splatter of blood?

Also, I have this nagging feeling that if you divide the cover into three horizontal pieces, something should be somewhere around border of second and third slice, or also in bottom third -- a darker red silhouette of a castle/manor?

I like the black border better.

Your name is really hard to read, possibly because it blends in too much with the background. I prefer the flower without the bee, nothing wrong with having blank space, use it to your advantage as my graphic design tutors say to me. I am really liking all these covers you have been making :)

I like the extra tilt on the title text, prefer the black border over the white border. (It makes the rose pop more. the light border flattens the image and the no border version looks unfinished.) I like the placement of the author's name (especially how the "s" in Kingfisher makes a thorn-like bump-out), but feel it should be in the same color as the rose for readability. The high contrast black/peachy-white is easier to read than the low contrast red/black.

The clockwork bee is a take-it-or-leave-it thing for me. I will note that when I thumbnail the image, it looks more like a blemish/canker and less like a bee. Plus, I have to look really close to see the lone gear that indicates "clockwork" in clockwork bee.

I like the black border. Don't think it needs the bee. Actually preferred the version with the author name alongside the stem.

My primary thought when I look at this cover is: why are you hiding your name? I know you're trying to work it into the design, but if you look at books on the shelves, you can actually see and read the author's name.

You are also, in your particular niche, big enough that your name sells the book more than the actual title. I wouldn't recommend the Stephen King style of cover where it's "AUTHOR NAME booktitle," but IMO you should make sure your name is large enough to be readable, especially at Amazon search results sizes.

I like the black border. It makes the flower stand out.

I like the pale border because the flower fades into it, erasing the boundary between here and there.

And I love the little bug.

Now that it's too late for anything except agreeing with the result, I have to say I like the black border; it makes me think of hanafuda.