Wednesday, March 2, 2011

R.H. Watson's Gladiator Girl

What's the genre? What is it you like or don't like about this cover? Does it make you want to know more about the book? Does it make you want to BUY the book? Discuss.


  1. I like the simplicity of this cover. Not too much and not too little.

    As for the genre, I have no idea.

  2. The cover says love and violence to me.

    I do like it. It really does get my attention and I would read the blurb.

  3. I really like this cover and I really only have one thing to say. Other than the violence symbolized by the gash through the cover, I have absolutely no idea what this could be about.

  4. I think this is a really striking cover, it uses a central graphic and a clever effect to show the book text, a great example of how the title of the book and the main image are working together.

    Also it provides enough space for the title of the book and the Authors name to stand out.

  5. I think it's a very striking cover, evoking both love and violence, but I'm not certain what it is about. But it definitely stands out and gets my attention. I'd read the blurb, for sure.

  6. I really dig this cover too. The gash is also a thorn. Very clever. I think the title gives us a big clue as to what the book's about. Then, above the title, An Alternate Reality Action-sport Love Story. So the main character is a girl who fights for sport in an alternate reality and ends up falling in love. I'm tempted to buy this just based on the cover alone.

  7. Great cover! Love the font - it's readable at a small size, too. The picture loses a little at a smaller size, but you still get the flower/blood motif. The concept is my favorite thing, though, with the words showing through the page. It harkens back to those "open me" covers (back in the VC Andrews flowers in the attic days) with artwork underneath the flip-open cover. Very cool concept!

  8. I just had some changes made to my cover based on some of the comments I received the other day. Now the title actually shows up on a thumbnail!

  9. (before I read the other comments)

    love the simplicity

    rose is a nice touch

    the cut thru the cover is not working in the smaller sizes even tho it's kinda cool in large scale.

    the tag line is a "no"

    While I do read a lot of alternate history, this one is not grabbing me to buy it -- or even look closer -- and I think it's a combination of the YA title ("girl") and the tag line.

    The cover is visually appealing, but the message I'm getting for myself is "move along. nothing to see here."

    Of course, now I'm going to have to go see the book on the page and see what I think about it :D

    after I read the other comments.

    Thanks, Mr Watson, for stepping into the ring. :D

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  11. First impression from the title and image: a romance with a capable and lethal protagonist. Visually I find it striking and unique, and the text peeking through is a nice effect. The slash counters the girliness of the rose and delicate font and hints of violence, which is a plus for me but might steer other readers away. If they're not your target audience then just as well. My impression would be that the contents are going to be a bit unusual and it definitely makes me want to read the blurb. The overall effect is not lost in a thumb-nail which is a big plus. The tag-line, on the other hand, is more confusing and gave me pause. Lose it and the cover becomes more mysterious and intriguing, making me more likely to look inside.

  12. I see Romance Novel with a strong female lead all over it. I like this cover and it works well as a thumbnail. Well done.

    "An Alternate Reality Action-sport Love Story" it's a little bit of a mouthful, ain't it? The over-description had a reverse effect on me and instead of giving me an idea of what this story is, it ended up confusing me. But, it could very well be just me...

    Isn't the female counterpart of a gladiator a gladiatrix? Gladiator Girl works OK, but it made me pause when I saw it.

    I do like this cover. On the other hand, I wanted to offer my honest first impression of it.


  13. @gisele - yeah, "Gladiator Girl" made me twitch a little .. but I've grabbed the sample, just to see.

    I don't know if it's the "pulpy-ness" of it or that I'm leery of the use of the word "girl" in this context. I understand the alliterative effect, but...

    The blurb is intriguing, if the sample grabs me, who knows. Spec fic is my genre, so we'll see.

  14. I can't tell what the blood-drippy thingy is supposed to be. Is that supposed to be a sword? It doesn't look like one though. So I don't know what it is telling me.

    Even worse, I can't tell the genre and that would put me off. Gladiator Girl says fantasy, but the cover doesn't. I'm afraid I wouldn't look any further.

    It's not that the cover is bad but there is a dissonance.

  15. I like the cover. Simple and well put together, though at a thumbnail I couldn't be sure it was a cut or a sword.

    It stokes me as a romance about a warrior woman. The cut through the rose makes me think she's aggressive and not so girly.

    Thumbs up.

  16. The words underneath the gash is so cool!!-- tho I don't know if it will be seen in thumbnail.

    Couldn't tell you what genre it is based on the image (without the blurb). The name reminds me of the "Hunger Games" concept.

    I think the simplicity and contrast will work well for the Kindle. But I would suggest having a different image for Smash/BN (i.e. color ereaders) that has a different background color than white. Maybe even a very fine pattern in the background to convey the alternate reality part. Just a little more detail to communicate to your prospect but without making it cluttered bc the simplicity really works.

    It is intriguing, tho. Thanks for sharing.

    Kendall Swan


  17. Thanks everybody. I really appreciate the thought and effort that is going into your comments.

  18. On the whole, I find this a very evocative cover. It makes me want to pick up the book and find out more, because I have zero idea what it's about!

    I like the slash/thorn, but I find the blood drips to be a bit on the cheezy side. Maybe splatters in a moderate amount instead?

    The words through the slash is great! However, it's somewhat lost, especially in thumbnail.

    Letter size, contrast is good, but they could pop more.

    Current rating B+, BUT...

    What I would do to make this A+:
    Increase the size of the rose until the tips of the leaves just start to bleed off the edge. You want to fill in all that negative space. Increase the uppermost width of the slash to match. Increase the letter size and contrast of the words in the slash. Remove blood drips, and replace with a few well-places splatters. Dainty splatters, if you will. ;) There can still be a bloody edge to the slash, but no drips (except maybe one on the rose itself). Deepen the green of the leaves, and lighten the colors of the rose itself to where they are more pastel. The whole thing is kind of washed out and does not pop, nor make a statement. However, the color choice for the rose is good, as red would not provide the needed BAM for the blood. Making the flower itself more pastel will enforce the thought of delicacy, while grounding the color in reality with darker green leaves. I would probably put a small shadow under the rose to provide more depth, but that's my personal preference.

    As for the text, Beef up the letters in the author's name. Fix the kerning issues in "GLADIATOR." (kerning is the space between individual letters. Fonts allot different letters different amounts of space. You have to fix that manually - pro covers have pro kerning. It's a subtle difference, but you can tell!) The kerning issue is less evident in "GIRL." Capitalize 'sports' if you're going to leave in the subtitle (which you might need, considering the wacky genre-hops of this tale!). Then, give all the text a lighting effect or depth effect of some sort so that they all pop!

    Jenna (cover arteest and ebook designer)

  19. Striking and readable. But I am confused what genre it is. My guess would be literary because whenever a cover looks nice but has no clear genre it is usually literary.

    However the tagline indicates something else, so maybe not. The tagline doesn't really clarify matters for me.

    Tara Maya

  20. what jenna said.

    I was right about the genre.

    A tag line will be required, but that one maybe not.

    How about?

    "Guardians have to protect the goddess. It's in their contract..."


    "When you die for a living, short memories are an advantage."


    "Death and dismemberment are just the side benefits..."

  21. @Nathan, I've got to let those sink in for a bit.
    An alternative tag line I've been playing around with is,

    "Girls get to play with swords, boys don't"

  22. @Gisele, The Gladiatrix was my original working title, but it sounds too much like dominatrix, and for me that just doesn't describe the protagonist's personality.

    With the title Gladiator Girl, I was trying to land in the vicinity of Tank Girl,, and Roller Girls (as in the players reviving women's roller derby). I'm not saying I succeeded, just that's what I was aiming for.