Suzanne Cox sent me her book cover design for “Marked”. Nice idea, done in Gimp. I tried to recreate it in photoshop.
What I changed: I like the pale/whiteness, as it makes the red stand out, but the background pictures of trees is unclear and uncompelling (emotionless). I didn’t see a reason to fade around the top of the head so I just left it all wolf on the top half, then blended in some other tree pics that I thought were more mysterious.
The original cover had a border (stroke) around it – this is fine but I prefer covers that are all photo, so I left it off. Suzanne liked the title font (“Seans Other Hand”) so I left it. The original had some kind of bevel+shadow. I’m almost always anti-bevel, but I changed it to an inner shadow plus a red gradient for the text. Not a huge difference but I like it. I also made the text a lot bigger. Text can be small if it fits into the design, but with this much white space, there was no reason to keep the text so small.
It is entirely possible that the author will still prefer the original, which has more of a mysterious, sad and lonely vibe – I haven’t read the book yet so there may be elements in the original that I didn’t capture in these updates; however, since the book cover has to grab attention and sell the book, the cover matters more than the story. These new versions are bolder, with stronger contrast between light and dark, clearer images, more emotion and bigger text that’s easier to read… so while it may not as adequately capture the mood of the story, it will probably at least get more people to buy the book and begin reading.