Friday, October 14, 2011

The Art of Reading

Cover Art is one of the most important aspects of a book. It’s the first thing that captures the attention of a reader—willing them to pick it up—and intrigue them enough to buy it.

This week I’ve been working on the contents of my design and figuring out the cover art. I have put my hands into every aspect of my book, author website and trailer to name a few, to have a better appreciation about what it takes to publish and promote a book. This doesn’t mean I’ll be using these cover art ideas, but I thought I’d get your input.

Since I rely on my blog for many things, decisions, discussions and thoughts, I figured why not get your thoughts and reactions. It doesn’t mean the best choice is going to be our (me and my publisher’s) choice, but it will let us know if the cover art is appealing and if we’re headed in the right direction.
If we decide to use one of these pictures for the cover art, and you picked it, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free autographed copy of my book. I know…very exciting.  I’ll have a future contest, which will be posted at a later date.  

The pictures don’t have the title of my book or my name. I’ll post pictures and number them. Let me know which picture(s) you like, why or why not. What do you think when you look at the picture, scared, eerie, beautiful? Please leave all comments on my blog. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can always post as “anonymous”.

Picture # 1 

Picture # 2 
Picture # 3

Picture # 4

Picture # 5

Picture # 6

Picture # 7

Picture # 8

Picture # 9

Picture # 10
Picture # 11
I’m looking forward to your thoughts.


  1. I like picture 3. It may be because I have used something similar (eyes) for one of my own books... But I would have thought it signified soemthing hidden??

  2. The second half of the group definitely creeps me out (all variations, especially with the red), but then I'm the wrong audience for this type of input since I shy away from the scary stuff. That face is too intent and angry looking for me. (Perhaps that's what you're looking for?)

    I like the first and fourth (they look the same) because I think the sketched face would draw my attention, despite it being sort of creepy. IMO, the hands covering the eye tells more of a story than just the face.

  3. Hi Pat,

    Thanks for stopping by and giving your input. I appreciate your opinion. “Something hidden” That’s good to know.


    So the second group (the pictures) are too creepy and angry to you. I’m going to avoid giving any information as to what I’m looking for. I’d like to see what effect these pictures have on you. Thanks for letting me know you like the sketches.

    We’ll see if anyone else will stop on by over the weekend.

    Thanks to both of you for your time and comments.

  4. i love the first picture, i agree the ones with the red freak me out also, i think the first 3 leave me wondering what will happen next

  5. I like #4. The various spattered images seem to constrain your moves and perhaps make your story too predictable. The last picture is attractive and doesn't seem sinister or stressed-out (perhaps an indication of my companions in recent years?). You could even fade out #4 a little more. It says "I'm conflicted; I can't look; I can't keep from looking!" With more saturation, it suggests a contact lens instruction.

  6. Biddy Bytes says "I, too, dislike the red splotches across the face and I'm sincerely hoping they're from a paint-gun." Too much violence...too much 'awful' in today's media.

    And at present, I, too, am engaging in all these questions with the purpose of putting together my book: What will work; How to arrest attention; without selling my writer's soul...Good Luck!

  7. I like #4. :)

  8. My post won't show up? I say #4 or #11. This is SO exciting!!!!!!


  9. I like picture #4. The girl's eyes just seem to stare at me. It leaves me very curious and yet not frightened by the blood. Don't care much for the hands, they wouldn't move me to buy the book. And I do like psychological suspense.

  10. Shelly, Thanks for your input. I appreciate you letting me know how they affect you. I’m not sure if you came from LinkedIn, Twitter or another network, but please let me know so I can enter you into the contest. My email is under my profile.

    TFan, I hadn’t really thought of the splatter images constraining or making it too predictable. I thought about maybe reducing the splatters…we’ll see. And I love how you let me know about its conflict. That’s great. I also am not sure where you are from so please shoot me an email from my profile as to how we’re connected so I can add you to the contest.

    Colleen, I understand your concern about too much violence in the world and I appreciate your input. Thanks.

    Jacquee. LOL! Both of yours appeared here because I published them. I moderate my comments, not that I censor, but to control SPAMMITY SPAM.

    Kathi, Thanks for your input. So I guess you’d like four better without the hands. From most of the information I’ve received, many people don’t care for the blood splatters or have stated to tone them down. Thanks for your time…and please email me to let me know where you are from so I can enter you into the contest.

    Kristina, Thanks much for your input. I appreciate it. I went to your photography blog and there you have a bunch of book covers you’ve designed. Congrats.

  11. I like picture # 1 best -- I like all of the pictures with the eye and hands and had trouble telling them apart to some extent. To me this image is less conventional than a face spattered with blood and therefore more interesting -- I would pick up a book with this cover.

  12. Hi! I'll add my two cents. I prefer #8.
    The first set of pictures, the hands over the eyes, seem to me to portray a woman having particular difficulty with her contact lens. There is a story there, but it's one of frustration and maybe too little sleep.
    I agree with the rest that the red splotches on the second set are too artificial, too gory, just too much. If your story is really the blood-spattered type, then in number 8 (with the amazing eyes) perhaps just the tiniest dot or tear-track of dark red somewhere. Just a hint; the audience doesn't need more than that.
    Best of luck!

    Tony, LinkedIn

  13. The pictures are creepy looking a friend of mine likes the first one said it cool and mysterious, I on the other hand like the blue eyes to me it looks more mysterious and intriguing. Makes me think what's behind the face and the face and what are the the eyes seeing that reflect them to blue, could it be a reflection or something within hmm makes you wonder ....
    Good luck with whatever you choose I am sure it will be sn eye catcher.
    Your sister Vivian

  14. Sharyn, thanks so much for your input. I guess a splattered face isn’t that eye catching or unique.

    Tony, that’s a great idea with the light color picture. Here’s a perfect example of less is better.

    Hey sis, thanks for stopping by. I think your friend’s choice with the hands and eye is the majority. You’re the first with the blue eyes—interesting and love your reason why.

  15. #11 is my favorite; there's a softness to it. Beyond the softness, though, is an ethereal - and therefore mysterious - quality that is beguiling. :-)

  16. Hi Denise, great to see that you are putting so much time and effort into your book. I know and understand it takes a lot of time, patience and perseverance to acheive your goal so good luck! For me it is picture 11...because it reflects purity and intrique. It seems strange as when the colour is added it kind of detracts rather than highlights ( for some reason..but thats just me / my opinion!) Godd luck with the book... make your dreams come true! Dave AscensionForYou Knight

  17. Hi Coco, thanks for your input and explanation as to why you like the picture. "quality that is beguiling". Nice. :D

    Dave, thanks for your kind words. Yes, as writers, we need to make our presence known since we’re up against 100’s of books published every day.

    I guess you and Coco seem to like # 11. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Wish you luck with all your dreams and future endeavors.

  18. I vote for number 4, it draws me in to find out more about the story

  19. Hi Sam,

    Thank you for taking the time and giving your input. I appreciate it.

  20. I want to thank all of you and those on my social and writing networks who took the time to give their input.

    It means a great deal to me.

    Have a wonderful week!

  21. As far as what I liked best, I liked #8, with colour in just the eyes. But as for selling books, I think you need the red splatters. It's more arresting and effective. So number 9 is my recommendation.

  22. Author Christopher R. KnutsonOctober 19, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    I like #1 and #3 the best. They have a bit of an Ingmar Bergman feel about them, and the art itself reminds me of Theodore Kittlesen. I do not much care for the ones with the red splotches, they look like add-ons and remind you more of a murder mystery than a psycho-thriller. I also don't much care for 5-11. That's the kind of look my mother used to give me when I disobeyed as a kid.
    Again #1 and #3 got my vote. Good luck!!

  23. Hi WillyBCool, Thanks for the follow.

    Thanks for your input Christopher. I saw your book's cover art and it's good.

  24. To be brutally honest, from a professional point of view (I'm a book cover designer), I wouldn't go with the sketches with the hands. It looks too much like an amateur attempt at drawing. Since your cover will be the "First Impression" a potential reader will have regarding your book, and since people do have a tendency to judge books by their cover, you'll risk having the viewer assume if the cover looks like it was done by an amateur then the writing will probably be about the same.

    If I had to pick any of the images I guess I'd go with #11 and I might give the eyes a light cyan color.

    Actually, without seeing the title and author name and the font that will be used (and any special effects that might be applied to the fonts) and how they'll be incorporated into the total composition, it's a little hard to know which image would really work best. But I'm still leaning toward #11. It has an ethereal quality about it.

    If you could send me a high-res copy of #11, I'd really like to have a shot at designing your cover for 1/2 off my regular price, if you're interested. ;)

  25. Hi, Hayes here. Interesting choices. I too don't like the creepy scary things, so the blood is a no no for me. And the face gave me the idea of an evil pixie or a faerie child. Don't know if that's the idea, but I'm not into that kind of thing, so it would turn me off.

    I preferred the first group, the hands covering the face (although the eye is a little "wooden" looking). I think this group portrays anguish or fear much better. Of this group I prefer pictures #1 or #3, where the dark/light contrast is more intense.

    Good luck with the book.

  26. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Hayes. I appreciate it.