I recently joined a number of discussion groups. Some have been overloaded with book promotions, to the point that discussions are few and far between. However, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors Facebook group has been a delightful exception. I have already met a host of fantastic (no pun intended) people, all with different views and styles. It has been amazing to watch and participate in the various interactions. And for the vast majority, the input has been intended to be constructive. It’s a great group and you may want to check it out.
People post all sorts of requests and topics for debate. From writing stories through various viewpoints, to critiquing an opening chapter, to editing single lines of text, the group pitches in and offers honest feedback. So I decided to plunge in and share my upcoming book cover for Red Jade: Book 1: Journeys in Kallisor. I asked, in particular, if anything needed to be done with the back cover. For starters, let me remind you of where the cover was when I posted it to the group:
I love so much of this cover, it was hard to put it out there and await commentary. And the comments did roll in. First, I will say that there was a lot of positive support for Fyodor Ananiev‘s artwork. The appreciation was echoed repeatedly and that really made my day.
The main criticism came from the readability of the text on the back. And I definitely agreed. To be honest, I had printed the image out on photo paper to the correct size. I knew, under those conditions, the back was legible. But there was a coloration issue with the white text in the lighter sky especially viewed onscreen with the lower-quality image that is enforced by Facebook. I wanted the cover “just right” so I aimed to correct it.
Another poster suggested edits to the placement of the title because it covers the great big eaglon. I also agreed with that and decided to take a few of the title ideas and put them together into a new configuration.
Then there was the radical suggestion: Go with a black cover. I gasped in shock on that one. I could not abandon the scene! But I was in the mood to play around with the idea, so I did. And for fun, I shared that version with the group. (The version shown here is tweaked further.) I was actually surprised at the positive reaction, I’ll admit. I do see and undertand the power and drama where all you get is the title and description, the fiery letters, and the image of the Red Jade. It’s daring. It’s bold. Yet if I saw it on the bookshelf, I wouldn’t immediately gravitate toward it myself. It is a stylistic element, obviously, and perhaps some special edition version could have this cover down the road. For me, I want the artwork, but I’m glad I gave this version a try too. That’s a huge part of all of this — trying new things and seeing what works.
So the 200,000th (give or take) iteration of the cover leaves me much happier and feeling an even deeper sense of accomplishment. I took the advice of the group and applied several aspects to make the various elements more visible. And I added Fyodor to the cover, because I strongly believe that credit must be given where it is due. I ran the updates by him this morning and we agree that the cover is even better still. Many thanks to my new friends in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors group!
Without further ado, here is the updated cover: