Book cover critique and makeover: what it takes

 In Book cover critiques

Terri Thompson asked me to critique her cover for “What it Takes”:

I’m not a fan of the flat pink color outline framing the picture, or the sparkle frame – so my first move would be to get rid of those. I get what she’s trying to do with the two pictures, as the story seems to be about a ‘bad girl’ who gets mysteriously reborn into a nice good girl lifestyle and has to figure out the mystery. But the pictures used are washed out and unprofessional, and the wooden frame which is askew doesn’t work at all.

Also, the book’s description on the author’s website says she has a nose piercing, in the picture it’s a lip ring; not sure if that’s a contradiction or what.

I like the font, although I’m not sure if it fits with the style this cover should aim for. I also see that the text has been outlined with a color a little darker than the background; that’s a pro move.

As I very quick fix, I made this:

Not great, but I little better – I just zoomed in on the important part of the picture, and used a ‘watercolor’ effect (this doesn’t always work, but if you’re dealing with bad quality images, using an art/paint brush effect may result in something usable.

However the cover still fails – mostly because we can’t tell what type of book this is. (Romance, intrigue, adventure, paranormal?)

I think the best market for readers will be “bad girls” who identify with the main character (or good girls who would like to!), so I did a quick search for bad girls – this is the first pic I liked. Intense stare makes this a powerful photo. I fixed it up a bit – if I know more about the character I could add a lip ring or nose piercing.

Then come fonts: I couldn’t decide to use a powerful, strong clean font like ITC Avant Garde Gothic, or a cool scrolly font (like the original, but more bad-ass). I love the beautiful “Angelic War” font and haven’t found a place to use it yet. I ended up using both; it’s not ideal – the styles don’t match… but the first font gives the impression that there is some fantasy/magic involved, that this is ‘paranormal’, and the 2nd font is exciting and powerful – eye catching. The text is also much bigger and clearer, which is important for an ebook cover.

What do you think? Better? Worse?

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Comments
  • Jen
    Reply

    Definitely prefer the second version – far more eye catching (tho you haven’t shown us what it looks like as a thumbnail image)!

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