Each book that we present, we do so as best we can. I never get tired of seeing exciting new covers and seeing new books go into the world, knowing that someone will be thrilled.
What is difficult to explain to many is this, and maybe it will help writers who are buying or designing their own covers. Books are shown as small images (called thumbnails) and are on white backgrounds. Those two issues make artists have to struggle. I like white covers, but because of the limitations, that can't be. Even off-white covers don't show well.
Because a cover must look good as a small image, sometimes, we can't have all the wording on the front, and we can't overload details. If we do that, they become muddy. Fonts (the wording style) must be clear, eye-catching, but not so strange as to distract. Many great fonts have been over-used.
In one tiny picture, an artist must capture the book's theme, interest a reader, give all valid information, but never been "busy". It's a tough balance. Some art looks wonderful until it is reduced in size.
Sometime a cover will draw a reader to a book, but for sure, a cover can kill a sale if they book either isn't seen or looks weak. It isn't easy to have a cover that works well. An artist must decide about colors, the font, and even how large the author's name should be as compared to the title. And a cover isn't a simple copy and paste. There are layers and some parts are faded in and then shadows are added, lighting is changed, colors are altered, and a host of other changes.
This is a cover I like. Originally, there was a place (in this case a field with trees). The tent? See the bloody handprint? That was added. It doesn't show when the image is small, but it's there, and it matters. The clock. That was over 6 hours of work to hand draw (by layering textures into circles and adding numbers and the hands as separate layers) The entire thing had to be layered in. There is also a face that was put in to fit the background. All of that work was only to imply the book was about time and something that might be a part of camping. We know it isn't a happy book, but a scary one. The colors are precise: lime and purplish blue. The Font could have been white or any color, but to have contrast, red-orange was used.
- Are images documented as legal to use?
- Is the cover the correct size and resolution?
- Does it look good as a thumbnail?
- Is the title clear?
- Does it engage?
- Does it avoid "cookie-cutter, cliche, and cutsie"?
- Is it commercial?
- Is it "less is more"?