Men of Bronze 10th Anniversary

The Agony of Covers

In a few weeks’ I’ll be re-releasing an edited, updated version of Men of Bronze as an e-book.  Later, I’ll re-release it in paperback and hopefully audiobook.  This has meant going back to my original manuscript and creating a new clean master document formatted for e-books.  It has also meant agonizing over a new cover.

It is not hyperbole to say a book’s cover can make or break a book.  A large segment of the reading population use the initial draw of the cover to gauge their interest in what might lurk beneath.  It’s a reader’s market, folks.  With so many choices out there with which to occupy their time, a book has to grab them EVEN BEFORE page one — which means an eye-catching cover and compelling synopsis.

Good covers can be expensive.  Even licensing a pre-existing image can run into the mid-four figures or even five figures.  Hiring a world-class artist, hiring a cover designer, hiring an editor . . . these can quickly eat your budget, but they are so necessary!

I’ve been attempting the low road, as my budget right now is pocket lint and warm wishes.  The “low road” involves scouring the Internet for public domain art and going around, hat in hand, to my artistically-inclined friends to see if they can mash them together for me in Photoshop.  Yes, I’d rather license Frazetta’s “Atlantis”, but that would mean the loss of one working kidney (I inquired).

And, the low road does have some surprising twists.

Here’s the first offering, from my friend Yoshi.  He’s a 3D artist and modeler who knows the business end of Photoshop:

MoB 1

I want your opinions, Gentle Readers.  What makes a cover stand out for you?  And, if you were a publisher, what sort of cover would you envision for Men of Bronze?


2 thoughts on “The Agony of Covers

  1. Words and their placement can be a whole cover sometimes. Even really simple covers catch my eye sometimes. Like the black covers of LotR for example.

    A good font or typeface or whatever the actual term is can really, really help.

    I’m not very creative, but as I’ve said about AGoR more than once, I certainly gravitate towards covers that are pretty. ☺ it’s natural to want to have pretty things, lol.

  2. I’m probably not the best person to offer feedback as I suspect I’m not typical of most readers who seem to pre-judge books based on their covers. But for what it’s worth, I tend to prefer ambiguous book covers that don’t communicate anything substantive with regard to what the story is about (not even its genre). This kind of ambiguity is usually all it takes to pique my curiosity enough to make me read the back cover blurb which is the most important factor in my decision as to whether I’m interested in reading a book.

    I also like covers which feature intriguing and/or clever tag-lines. To give two examples that hooked me; Firstly, Grass For His Pillow by Lian Hearn which had the tag-line, “Torn between two paths, blood binds him to one and vengeance to the other.” Secondly, The Copper Promise by Jen Williams which had the tag-line, “Let sleeping gods lie.”

    If I was a publisher envisioning a cover for Men Of Bronze, I’d probably go for something obvious: half a dozen miniature bronze statues on a chess board.

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