I’d don’t know if I’d say it makes things easier… but I will say it like this: going to college opens doors you didn’t know existed. And the more open doors there are, the more choice and control you have over your life.
Yeah. When you get those kinds of degrees, anything that stems from your general Math, Science, and English, they’ll always tell you to get a bachelors.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Intended feeling: Snappy and immediately eye-catching with a touch of both fantasy and modern elements hinting at the implied context of the story. Generally speaking, I want my cover to stand out with a striking color palette and an interesting cover that piques interest.
Slightly off topic, but you seem like the person to ask. As a whole, I’ve been having trouble uploading this cover to Wattpad for a while now. Every time I load it the central red bar bearing the title becomes extremely pixilated, and no matter what I do to it, I can’t seem to get the image to upload cleanly. Any advise on how I could manage a clean upload?
Before I go into the critique of your cover, I’ll answer your question.
When you’re uploading to Wattpad, usually, the problem isn’t with Wattpad (though there will be rare exceptions) it’s usually with the cover and the program that mad the cover, itself. I find that sometimes, when I produce my own covers, especially if I’m using Canva.com, it will accidentally change how my cover looks. What I mean by this is…
When it should be…
The program will glitch, it will move things where they’re not supposed to be, reduce the quality, etc. So try looking at the program you’re using. If you did use Canva, or you’re using something else, either double the size of your canvas and redo the cover, or finish what you can on the cover and then put the words and everything else in using a different program.
If I had to guess, I’d say that photoshop is the best bet. It’s the least likely out of all programs to malfunction as it runs on your computer instead of on servers (which are more likely to get viruses and bugs) but if you don’t have photoshop use these: BeFunky.com or Pixlr.com. They should be able to supply you with a font that looks similar to what you have in the red but won’t pixelate.
Alright! Onto the critique itself! Breaking it down step by step…
- You said that you wanted your reader to feel like the book had elements of fantasy and modernism, as well as having something that strikes your interest. Having said that, you succeeded on two parts. You certainly have that element of fantasy. In fact, you didn’t need to tell me that you wanted the book to have the feeling of fantasy because I already knew that was what it was about. So you definitely accomplished what you wanted there. However, would I say it’s modern fantasy? Probably not. The book cover you presented follows more of the 80’s/90’s/early 2000’s book trends, especially having the banner in the center that like that. That banner is probably what sends it back to the earlier fantasy trends. For example…
2018 YA/Adult fantasy releases:
Modern fantasy covers tend to be a bit more open with their fonts, designs, etc. Using strips of color or shapes, even though fantasy focus used to rely on an artwork of people and places, follows older more indie book trends. Also, on the point of intrigue, I’d say that as someone who is looking at the cover, the part that intrigues me the most is the symbol in between the words. I understand the other images on the top and the bottom, but I don’t understand the symbol and so I want to learn more about it.
You’re certainly not the only one that has had to deal with this, but when I look at your image, I’m never looking at the person in the tree at the top or your title, I’m always looking at what I assume is a tree and a universe at the bottom. Your cover is very bottom-heavy. All of the color is down there, an overwhelming amount of detail is down there, and while I understand that you want it to look striking, it looks more muddled to me. There’s simply too much going on.
Continuing on the idea of muddling, I think that your best intentions have kind of backfired on you. This certainly isn’t the worst cover I’ve ever seen, but I feel like there’s so much you’re trying to throw at the reader that they’re just not going to pick up. On average, your reader will only spend .5 to 2 seconds looking at and making a judgment of your book. That means that your book needs to catch their attention and hold it, and unfortunately, bright colors don’t always do that. Focus on one or two concepts that you want the reader to see and understand before they look away. Is it the person, becoming one with the tree? Is it the tree becoming one with the sky? Is the symbol that somehow interconnects with all of this? Is it the hourglass shape and the illusion of time? Etc. Choose one or two and focus on those. Work on decluttering so that your cover becomes more memorable and striking like you want it to be. (This goes for colors too. You have white, black, blue, gold/orange, red, and purple. Try narrowing down the color scheme and see how it feels.)
Always put your name on the cover. Putting your name on the book makes the cover yours and helps people recognize you as an author. If you can’t make the title fit in without looking good, then you need to play with the image or delete something so that it does. The name is not optional.
You’ll want to make the font bigger and easier to see. Going back to the principle of your readers only having a few seconds to look at the cover, if they don’t know what the book name is by the end of that, they won’t remember it, even if they want to.
Sorry the answers got a bit short towards the end. I’m sick and I got a raging headache as I wrote but I didn’t want to make you wait half a day to get your review. Anyway, you definitely have the intrique and fantasy elements you’re going for, the only problem is that you’ve stuffed it too much and you need to unpack a little from your cover to get that modern feel you’re trying for. Hopefully this helps. Again, this is completely optional. If you like the way your cover is, then keep it. You’re the one that has to use it and I’m just a random stranger.
Thank you for your critique and also your helpful suggestions about de-pixeling the image. Both were very good pieces of advise I’ll play around with over the holiday weekend since this is the only free time I’ve got before heading back to work. The program I used to make the cover was photoshop but a dated version, so that might be causing some issues. I’ve looked through Canva before and like what I see, so maybe I’ll give it a go and see what I can create.
Thank you again, and I’m sorry your head is bothering you.
It’s okay. I’m more sorry that I couldn’t give you a giant review XD That’s kind of my pride and joy–my ability to just dump helpful information on people.
I get the same way when helping people with their writing, I am far from perfect or a super good writer, but I have come a long ways in 2, almost 3 years worth of writing pretty much everyday for at least a couple hours
Amen to that! That’s how I practiced too! My parents thought I was crazy writing every day but now I’m years ahead in terms of writing skills compared to all my classmates. Definitely worth it.
Well it worked out perfectly in the end xD I got what I needed and didn’t have to read a massive analysis after getting back from a Yule bonfire. So this was much appreciated
My little sisters hate when my parents have me look their Opinion Paragraphs over that they gotta write for school. They never capitalize things, they think two sentences is a paragraph and they also only say a little thing and don’t go into detail like their teacher wants them to (they’re in 3rd grade)
I tell them “best you learn now, or upper elementary and Middle School and High School will not be fun”
You’re welcome! If you ever need help, feel free to ask again!
Lol I’d tell them “best you learn now or you might as well forget college and start working at Taco Bell”
It’s so true tho. LOL XD I mean, seriously. If you can’t write well, good luck trying to make it through college. Almost every class requires you to write a paper at some point. Even my art classes require me to write papers.
I most certainly will! I’ve gone through three incarnations of covers with this book and haven’t found one that really sticks yet. I think I’m the closest to happy with this design, but it does need some work. I have another variation I’d love to hear your thoughts on if you have a spare moment (if not, no worries at all). This one was done by a friend of mine, and I think it would work best as a physical book cover rather than an online thumbnail due to the darker atmosphere and my worry it’ll be overlooked because of that. The title and authors name were a secondary addition and I know they’re terrible.
By all means, feel free to send the other cover my way. I’m more than happy to help you with your ideas.
As for this cover, I do agree. This cover is beautiful, and you’re right, the text does need a bit of work. However, I’m not sure that this would be the best cover in terms of marketing, just in general. If you could take the sides off where you have the light post, the balcony, trash, etc, and you could narrow the image down to the girl drawing the tree on the wall, I think that that would be a very good, modern fantasy cover. However, I think it boils back down to the simple fact of there’s too much going on again. Overall, this might look better as a standalone art piece than as a cover because there’s so much detail that the reader would have to look at the cover for a couple seconds to take in the whole aspect of the picture. What you really need is to be able to show the person the cover for 1 second and then they already know what genre it is and what the story is about. If your reader can’t determine that in 1 second, then, as a marketing tool to help you get more readers, it’s going to be a struggle.
Does that make sense? Here, let me show you some covers that aren’t necessarily fantasy but have a similar concept towards trees, walls, paint, that kind of stuff.
All of these have similar elements of the cover you’re working towards they’re just simplified. If you’re going modern, that’s all you really need.
If you’re really struggling that much, why don’t you tell me what you’re looking for. Maybe I can help design a cover that you’re happy with.
I like the cover, I think it’s really nice (but I also know nothing about covers, but the colors are very nice)
Agreed. The color palette they used is beautiful.