Cover Images: Your Opinion Please (Again)

Two and a half years ago (can you believe it?) I asked you all, my dear readers, to weigh in on the question of what cover image to use for Restoration Day, with ten images paraded before your eyes. (Spoiler: the winner was Contestant #2.)

Now, with The Wound of Words making its way through the convoluted pipeway to publication, I find myself in need of your opinions again. As before, the selected image needs to look good in every size from thumbnail to 14x21cm – and preferably also in black and white; it needs to not disappear into the (white) background on a webpage, and of course, it needs to draw the reader in without giving a false impression of the book’s contents.

Also as before, there are ten images. But this time, either because I am getting old and boring or because I am getting more mature and have a better idea of what I like (consider what you know of me and pick accordingly) they are variations on six themes, instead of the seven last time.

On the plus side, my GIMPing skills have advanced to the point where each cover image is approximately the shape/proportion of the actual cover, so what you see is more or less what you will get, except of course that the final version will have a professionally-designed title and name on it and will therefore look Much Better.

Here then, for your discriminating judgement and critique, are our ten contestants.Continue & Comment

Blurbs: Your Opinion, Please!

After the helpful feedback I garnered from my last appeal for opinions (#2 is looking like a winner), I am moved to ask again. This time, your opinion is sought on the matter of blurbs.

The blurb text will appear on the back cover of the hardcopy, and in the online sales pages for both hardcopy and ebook. It’s the first thing after the cover that has the chance to pique a reader’s interest in the book. It’s gotta be good, and it’s gotta be short. Brevity is the soul of wit, Polonius informs us, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes. Brief, therefore, let me be.

There are two groups of people I want to hear from in particular:

  1. People who have read the book.
  2. People who have not read the book.

Adrien Jean Madiol Peeling potatoes 1873
Read book or peel potatoes? Tough choice…
If you fall into the former category, let me know which of the following blurbs you think best fits the content and tone of the book (always bearing in mind that Some Changes Have Been Made).

If you fall into the latter category, your task is simple: say which of the following blurbs you find most intriguing; which most piques your interest in reading the book.

Feel free to make your feedback as detailed as you like – approve some sentences, denounce others, critique the commas, substitute the shoutlines – all feedback is welcomed. Bear in mind that the illustrations are provided purely for, er, illustrative purposes, and won’t actually be involved in the end product.

Now, with no further ado, let us bring on the contestants!

Contestant Number One:

It should have been a fairytale…

Lily was born to be queen of Arcelia, where the land itself has life and magic growing in it. The royal rite of Restoration Day renews that life, restoring every family to their ancestral lands.
A quest for the Restoration Requisites is Lily’s chance to leave her enchanted castle for the world beyond, taking her rightful place at last. Her fairytale is finally coming true. Or so she thought…
But Arcelia has changed in ways she never imagined possible. Lily’s quest soon turns deadly serious: if she doesn’t find the Requisites in time, the life of the land will be lost – and so will hers.

Restoration Day is coming…

castle-2380219_640

Contestant Number Two:

Princess, pawn – or queen?

Princess Lily was born to be queen, but she lives like a pawn in the shadow of her aunt’s control. She dreams of the day when she will take her place in the world. At last her chance arrives, with a quest for the three Requisites of Restoration Day, the royal rite which renews the life of the land.
But she’s been hidden away too long, and Arcelia has changed. Stripped of everything but the identity which has become a life-threatening liability, Lily will need to do more than cross the board if she is to emerge triumphant as the queen she knows she must be.
The land she thought was hers becomes the field for a gripping game of chess – and this time she’s playing for her life.

chess-1483735_640

Contestant Number Three:

When the people are divided
from each other and the land…

So runs the Fate, a warning of dark times for the land of Arcelia, where the land itself has life and magic growing in it. Arcelia’s Princess Lily escapes the confines of her sequestered childhood to seek the Requisites for Restoration Day, a once in a lifetime rite that restores ancestral lands and renews the land’s own life.
But Lily soon finds that being a princess in a magic land is nothing like a fairytale. Stripped of all she thought was hers, and running for her life, she must see through her quest before the Fate falls on her land and they both are lost forever.

…to a foreigner’s dominion
shall the land at last be lost.

book world

So what will it be? Contestant Number One, Contestant Number Two, Contestant Number Three, or Other? Have your say below!

Cover Image: Your Opinion, Please

So, here are a range of images I am considering using as a basis for the front cover of Restoration Day. I would love to hear what you think of them – like, dislike, utter revulsion…

For those of you who have read the 3rd draft, which do you think fits best?
For everyone, read it or not, which image grabs you, draws you in?

Three things to bear in mind:
Firstly, these are just images, not finished covers – a beginning, not an end.
Secondly, the image may not fill the whole cover, but might instead be seen through a ‘window’ in an old-fashioned binding (or rather, a 2D rendition thereof) or through a gap in a hedge (ditto).
And thirdly, it will have to work at ‘thumbnail’ size as well as book-size and preferably also in black and white.

So, with those caveats out of the way, here are the contenders! Click on the image to see the original version.

Contestant Number 1:
crack1

Contestant Number 2:
chess2

Contestant Number 3:
vintage-1722335_1920

Contestant Number 4:
arum-14152_640

Contestant Number 5:
Pigen, der finder guldhornet (1906) harald slott-møller

Contestant Number 6:
SONY DSC

Contestant Number 7:
valley1

Contestant Number 8:
chess1

Contestant Number 9:
castle3

Contestant Number 10:
valley3

What do you think? Votes, comments, all feedback welcomed!