12 Mar

Zombie stories are terrible. Awful. Utterly emotionally draining. Why? It’s because if you get bitten, if you get scratched, then you are dead. You’re still walking around. You’re still talking. You might feel fine. But you’re dead. And you know you’re dead. And so does everyone else. And you have time to say goodbye. But you don’t WANT to say goodbye. You don’t WANT to die.

But there’s nothing anyone can do about it. You’re dead, and that’s all there is to it.

Utterly. Emotionally. Draining.

Or, to put it another way, the writing of Imogen Shroud is going well and I feel awful about it.

No sales for today, no sales for yesterday. I share this information not in a fug of bitter disappointment, but rather in the interest of public dissemination.

So! What’s the grand self-promotional activity for today? Actually I’m not sure. My thread at Kindleboards has fizzled out, and one of the suggestions has me, to be completely honest, a little flummoxed (give away ten free copies) …

Actually, let’s talk about that for a moment. I’ve said before about how I don’t want to force my books on people. And they’re only 99 cents anyway. Giving away free copies of a 99 cent book feels … weird. I don’t mind doing it, but my feeling is that anyone with any interest in the books would already have bought them–the price is not the ‘barrier’ in this situation.

Anyway, moving on! There was a suggestion to get critiques for my blurbs, but I had a look and I’m pretty happy with them–but while I was doing that I took a really good, long, hard, critical look at the covers for the Miya Black books and I thought, “Those could definitely be better”. So my self-promotional activity for today is ‘make this cover better’.

Here’s the old cover:

So, what’s wrong here? Do I even need to ask? This is particularly bad because I did a super-quick five minute resize/reposition job on it to make the titles more visible in the Kindle Store and pretty much everything is out of balance. That’s one problem, but a bigger problem is that it’s just the same thing over and over–centred series title, volume number, book title, author name, all in the same font, all white on black. You’ve got the book logo in the corner for a splash of colour but really, it’s nowhere near enough.

So! First, I need to make this cover more dynamic. Move things around, get them in balance. I want to create a continuity between covers too, a basic ‘template’. Every book already has a colour associated with it–green for the first, brown for the second, gold/yellow for the third etc. I can use that as a design element–because volume I is ‘green’, I should put the volume number over a green background. Maybe a square or something in the corner? And then the number itself could be black, like a cut-through effect. Series title/logo to the left of that–move things around a bit, give it a bit more energy, and make more efficient use of space. Readability is always a priority, of course, especially in thumbnail form.

Next, colour. The cover needs more–I like the starkness of white-on-black, but just that little splash of green isn’t enough. I’ll start by putting a colour bar at the bottom, the same colour as the clover logo and the little box I’ve got my I in. The author’s name can go on top of that with the same black-on-green cut-out style as the volume number.

Still too empty. Too much negative space. And still not enough colour. The clover logo isn’t just a logo, though, it’s an island–a bar of blue behind it makes it stand out and also breaks things up. I don’t need the little arrow-y things above and below ‘Adventure Dawns’ any more because now it’s right between two other clear design elements, two solid bars of colour. So now I can play around with the title, maybe put one word above the other to make it less boring and more appealing, enbiggen the first letters to make it way more title-y, and muck around with the individual letters to make them all fit together better. Never trust default kerning, it’s hardly ever as good as things can get.

With a little more adjusting and mucking around, I end up with this:

Here they are side-by-side for comparison, and in thumbnail sizes too:

Looking at the new one again, I feel that it might be a little too ‘busy’ now, and that blue line, while striking, might be a tad out of place. Here are a couple more concepts I threw together:

I quite like that last one, actually, even though I love the ‘corner colour with cut-out number’ concept. Well, I’ll just keep fiddling until I get something good. In any case, whichever one I end up going with, I think this will definitely improve the ‘image’ of the book.

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Posted by on March 12, 2011 in Of Writing


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