Thursday, December 1, 2011

Love is Darkness by Caroline Hanson

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. Genre would be paranormal romance I'd say. The cover actually has more of an urban fantasy feel, but the title says romance.

    I'm sort of equivocal about this cover. What I like is the overall conveyance of a dark, gritty atmosphere. I love the victorian-grunge buildings and the spotlight at the top left. But I don't care much for the model. What's with the beret and the ugly too-short skirt? She seems more fashion challenged schoolgirl than tough. And she's a bit too small perhaps, or a bit too monochrome. Squint at the cover and she kind of gets lost.

    The author name in white is difficult to read. The typeface and stroke thickness of the title is also very difficult to read. It's too small, and somehow it doesn't quite jive with the urban look/feel of the art. I like the red though.

    I'm sorry I can't be more positive about the cover. There are things I do like about it. I think with a different model or maybe even the model just bigger, and different text treatment, it could be stunning.

  2. I like the background image and the way the girl is dressed doesn't really bother me too much. Without reading the description I don't know if it fits or not. I'll assume that it does.

    I would move the title to the top and make it much larger and move the author's name to the bottom. That way both would show up better. You might move the image down a little to give more room for the title at the top.

    This is something that I see quite a lot with self-published books - the title is way too small. I don't know if this is an indie publication or not, but it still applies. Look at most traditionally published books and notice how large the print is. Either the author's name (if well-known) or the title takes up about half the cover. Then look at most indie publications and the text is usually very small and often in the wrong location.

  3. @Merrill, I think there's a trend right now toward smaller titles and letting the artwork really grab the reader. I actually see that as a pretty good idea; it's the art that's going to make you sit up and take notice first. However, IMO if you are going to do that, you have to be really careful how you do it (and of your genre). In this case, the typeface is too fussy and detailed to be that small.

  4. Last night my wife and I went to the local bookstore and I asked her to point out books that grabbed her interest and explain why. We determined the following:

    1) If she knows the author and likes his/her work, then the cover is irrevelant.

    2) If she doesn't know the author then either the title or the cover art must stand out. A great title works even without great cover art. Likewise, really dramatic cover art works even if the author is unknown or title isn't all that interesting.

    3) She loves red, so anything in red jumps out at her. She also likes dark artwork. So the books that made her stop and take a closer look generally had dark, dramatic cover art with an interesting title in red or another color that provided a lot of contrast against the background image - but red was the most attractive.

    I'm not sure if that's helpful to anyone or not, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

  5. This cover totally gives me the urban fantasy feel. Romance only comes from the title.

    I like the gritty background and the model doesn't bother me that much.

    The text and fonts really bring this cover down. Again I'm in agreement with Robin. The text needs to be much, much bigger and easier to read.

  6. Thank you for all the opinions! I really appreciate that you are all not only interested in it, but there are some things I had suspected but did not know for sure and now feel validated on.

    Like that the red is good and that the font is a problem. And I agree on both. What I have noticed is how small the covers are on amazon and how important it is to have a sharp image when it is shrunk down to a thumbnail. This picture does get lost a bit. A lot of them do.

    Some of the covers that I really dislike look so good as a thumbnail, that it's clear they sell for that reason alone.

    As for the beret and the fashion sense...Lol! That was my first thought too! I actually asked if there was some way to take the beret out of the picture and was told no (for artistic reasons).

    I really like the softness that the font adds and I think it's actually been increased since this picture was submitted. So you were all REALLY right about the size. Size really is an issue.

  7. I posted the following last night, but i couldn't get blogspot to accept it:

    I think this is a striking cover design. I really like the vivid contrast in the black and white image. This feels like urban fantasy (it's what i write), and the model works for me. She's dressed as I'd expect for that emo goth look some young people are drawn to. The beret? It could be a frisbie. :)

    My only problem is with the type. The author's name at the top is off-center and needs to move more to the left. Not really an issue, just me picking at a nit that bugs me. But the title... Please fix the leading. There's so much space between "Love is" and "Darkness" that Darkness appears to be a subtitle all by itself. Maybe it is. However, all in all, i think this cover is a success. Nice job. :)

  8. P.S. Regarding the beret, you were told no, Caroline, because the image is a stock photo and that's how the photo was taken. If you removed the beret, her hand and the top of her head would go, too. That's an artistic reason, i suppose. LOL! The entire photo would have to be replaced. The model is superimposed on the background so replacing her whole body wouldn't be too much of an ordeal, but you couldn't get rid of just the beret. Just sayin'. :)

  9. Hi Karen,

    Thanks for the info about the beret, I suppose that makes sense! I do like her with a head....

  10. Looks like paranormal romance to me. I like the restrained colour palette. That certainly makes the title stand out for me, which is what you want. I love the urban scene, and the girl facing the street is a good pose that looks effectively blended.

    The author and subtitle blend into the image. Is that a good thing? Depends whether you expect a lot of sales from physical bookstores. If you don't then I think the text is right as it is. In a physical bookstore, people will buy your book because they see your name on the spine or cover (assuming they like your writing!). But on Amazon et al. next to no one will buy for that reason. If they want your books, they will search for your name. Don't forget the online sales page will have text for title, author, and subtitle that will show up more clearly than on the thumbnail. Since you have a great image (and continuing the assumption that your key shopfront are online stores) then you don't want to lessen the impact of your great image by obliterating it with big, high-impact text.