Newsletter Ninja Home Page The Ninja Forums Cookie Challenge February 2022 Week 2 Cover Feedback Request – YA Dystopia

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    • #13792
      Stephanie Flint

        Hey there…

        I’m looking for book cover feedback. πŸ™‚

        I’ve been planning on redoing the covers for my Deceived series for a while, so I wanted to go ahead and do that before creating a cover for my newsletter magnet (it’s a prequel).

        The cover I’m looking for feedback on is the first book in the series, not the magnet. But once I get this one figured out, it should make creating the cover for the magnet a lot easier.

        I’ve created a Pinterest board with the comparison covers, based on the Cover Research sheet.

        Caveat: I did include traditionally published covers as well, both from Amazon and from Kobo, and they aren’t specifically from the top 100. Reason being that I wanted to niche down further into non-romantic dystopia (a lot of the top 100 were either dystopian romance, post-apocalyptic, or set in space, which had a different look). Plus, since my strategy is going wide rather than in KU, I figured it might not hurt to choose from a wider sampling. (Testing and time will tell if this was a bad idea).

        From the cover research worksheet, I determined that the most common elements I wanted to focus on were:

        * Blue/White Combo
        * Bold Font
        * Sans Serif Font
        * White Font
        * Plain/Simple-ish background (usually with gradient or vignette)
        * Grunge/Broken texture of some sort
        * Title in Middle
        * Large Symbol
        * Horizon or City Visible

        I heavily focused on the covers of <i>Divergent</i> and <i>Steelheart</i>, since I’ve read those and think that the tone/subject/genre aspects should appeal to similar readers.

        Ultimately, I chose to go with a white gold title instead of white, because I wanted it to look a different from the Divergent and Steelheart covers, and figured the gold would work well to harken to the yellow/orange splash found on a few of the other covers.

        I also didn’t go with a specific symbol, mainly because the story didn’t lend itself to one.

        Here is my resulting cover:

        One concern I have is that it looks <i>too</i> similar to the <i>Divergent</i> and <i>Steelheart</i> covers. I’ve already made adjustments, but is it still too close? Or is it close enough to signal genre without being copycat?

        Anyway, thoughts? Do you think it signals the genre well enough? Do you have any concerns about it, or suggestions? I’m fairly happy with where it is now, but I’m also still pretty close to it since I just finished working on it.

      • #13794

          This is fantastic!

          Three notes:

          1. The typography on the title could use a little something, IMO. The gradient on it is kinda bland. If you look at Sanderson, for example he doesn’t have just a straight gradient; the light and dark parts are all mixed up, if you see what I mean. I actually don’t know what that’s called! But I don’t think you want something like the grunge on Open Minds or The Harvest, because the textural detail of the broken glass is RIGHT there behind the title and I think that wouldn’t look great. Maybe something like what’s going on with Divergent? Or how Oasis has an image element (the flare) also interacting with the typography? I wonder if you can do something to get 3D with the title and the broken glass?

          2. Your name and the series name disappear completely at thumbnail. This can happen on some trad books as well, but they’re not relying on catching people’s eyes with a thumbnail to drive sales, and you probably are.

          3. I don’t know what to think of the gear β€” it’s too small to convey much and it’s very dark on an other wise light cover; it just feels very out of place to me. If you tell us what it’s for, I might have a suggestion!

        • #13796
          Stephanie Flint

            Awesome, thanks for the feedback! πŸ˜€

            1. Great points on the typography (and wow… I hadn’t noticed how the light and dark parts are all mixed up on Steelheart… that’s really cool). I’ll see if I can incorporate some of those ideas and then post an updated version.

            2. Yeah… I haven’t figured out how to make the name and series name not disappear at thumbnail. Maybe I can figure out something based on the updates I do to the title? (That part has definitely been a struggle).

            3. The gear is the symbol I’ve been putting on all the covers for the books set in the Distant Horizon universe. Typically I’ve made it red (since, in the story, it’s usually depicted as crimson), but I didn’t think that would work well for this one. That said, you have a point about it being dark on a light cover. I’ll see if I can experiment with white or silver, maybe, and see how that would look.

            Thanks again! I’ll make some adjustments and then post the updated cover once I have the next version ready.

          • #13813
            Stephanie Flint

              Alright, I’ve made some updates. πŸ™‚


              1. I tweaked the title’s gradient and placed a darker stroke around it. I also added more water splashes around and through the title.

              2. I tweaked the author names and series name so they’d stand out a little better. They still disappear at thumbnail, but not as quickly.

              3. For the gear, I changed it to a more metallic sheen so it will hopefully fit in better. (I don’t think it needs to stand out too much, but I’d like to have it there to show that it’s part of the same story world).



              Deceived Book Cover WIP


            • #13932
              Sonsie Meadows

                Hi Stephanie, I think at thumbnail size, your author name still does not stand out enough. I can’t give any pertinent feedback on the cover design as it is not a genre I read, but just from a visual perspective, I like it a lot.

                • #13938
                  Stephanie Flint

                    Thanks for the feedback. πŸ˜€

                    I’ll see if there’s anything I can do to have the author name stand out more. (Maybe I can make it a little bigger and push the drop shadow more?)

                    If that doesn’t work, I’m not super worried, since I don’t picture my name selling books at this point, but it wouldn’t hurt to do more testing, and I think I can get it looking a little more clear, at least.

                    Thanks again!

                  • #13939
                    Stephanie Flint

                      Okay, I’ve tinkered a little more with the author name. πŸ™‚

                      I think it makes it slightly more visible at a thumbnail size, depending on how small the thumbnail goes, though it still isn’t perfect.

                      Personally I prefer the author name smaller in proportion to the title, but it had the trade off of no visibility when smaller, so this might be a good compromise.

                      Thanks again!

                      • #14116
                        Trisha Messmer

                          I’m behind the times here not checking the forums (my bad). This isn’t my genre, but man, is that an awesome cover. I do like how you made the author name bigger so it would be more visible, and I think the drop shadow should help with that a bit, too.Β  It’s still proportionally smaller than the title. Did you do this yourself? I’m amazed at people who can create their own covers. Well done!

                          • #14134
                            Stephanie Flint

                              Thank you! I’m glad you like the cover. πŸ˜€

                              I did do it myself. (My background is originally in photography, where I had leaned into digital photomanipulation).

                              I’m glad making the author name a little bigger and adding the drop shadow helped. That’s good to know. πŸ™‚

                      • #14111
                        Stephanie Flint

                          Okay, now that I have the Deceived cover where I’m happy with it, I’ve put together the tentative cover for the cookie. πŸ˜€

                          It’s YA Dystopia, only this one really plays with reality bending and weird stuff happening (so it also plays into some horror elements).

                          This is what I currently have:

                          Deceived Cookie - Book Cover Work In Progress

                          I’d love to hear your feedback. πŸ™‚

                          Things I’m looking for:

                          General thoughts?

                          How well does it match the Pinterest board at the top of the thread?

                          Is it clear that it’s tied in with the Deceived cover?

                          Does anything seems too jarring/needs better blending?

                          Is anything missing?


                          Thanks for the help. πŸ™‚

                        • #14115
                          Sonsie Meadows

                            Ooh! I like it!Β  The only small suggestion I have is to emphasize the gear-thing a bit more if it is branding the series.

                            • #14135
                              Stephanie Flint

                                Thank you! I’m glad you like it. πŸ˜€

                                In the meantime, I’ll take a look at the gear and see if there’s anything I can do to have that stand out a little more.

                            • #14117
                              Trisha Messmer

                                This definitely ties in to the Deceived cover, IMO. Is it me, or is the gear symbol a little off center in this one? Maybe it’s how it’s lining up with the image above it that’s causing that illusion.

                                • #14136
                                  Stephanie Flint

                                    Awesome. I’m glad it still ties in well with the Deceived cover. πŸ˜€

                                    I think it might be how the gear is lined up with the broken glass that’s causing it to look a little off center, but I’ll take another a look at it in Photoshop to make sure it’s still centered. With adjusting the title I might have accidentally adjusted the gear, too.

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