Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cover art

Hellooooo...Anybody out there?


I've been a mostly absent blogger this summer, and I've found the blogosphere in general rather quiet lately, but I hope a few folks are hangin' in there because I want to ask some advice.

As I mentioned a few posts back, I'm throwing around ideas for cover art for Ghosts of Innocence. I've done three rough drafts, all based on scenes from the book, and I'd like your opinions. Bear in mind, these are only rough and meant to illustrate the idea. My hope is to work with a book designer on details and develop one of these into a proper cover.

#1 - Swords Cleansing Eloon

#2 - Seeking refuge on a starhopper

#3 - Flight from the Palace

Do any of these catch your eye? If you saw this on a bookstore shelf, what kind of story would you expect to find behind the cover? Do they manage to convey military sci-fi? Are there any particular elements that you think work, or could do with improvement?

Thanks for your help!


  1. It has been a little quieter the past few months. I think the A to Z Challenge broke the Internet.
    I like the first one best.

  2. I like the first one best. I can't wait to see what the designer comes up with.

  3. First one makes me think of alien invasion, second one makes me think of space exploration and the last one has the military vibe..but that's just me...

  4. I like the 2nd and 3rd ones best. The 3rd one has that action-y, military sci-fi vibe most ... but I'm preferential to the 2nd one. I really like it, Ian!

  5. Hi Ian .. I prefer no 3 - it opens more doors ... and thus ghosts to appear ...

    Good luck with the choice ... cheers Hilary

  6. LOL! I should have known! Preferences all over the map :)

    Alex, you might be right about the A to Z. We're all taking time to recover :)

    Stella, me too. Did you use a professional designer for your covers?

    Delores, thanks for your observations. I can see what you mean.

    David, oddly enough, I think #2 is closest to the kinds of sci-fi covers that got me hooked in the first place (Chris Foss

    Hilary, plenty of ghosts in this story :)

    I'm now officially in a quandary. I think #3 captures the action best. #2 is closest to the "traditional" sci-fi feel I wanted, while #1 is the most striking and cohesive composition. They can all be developed more, but at this stage if I was browsing books on a shelf, I'd probably choose #1.

  7. I like the 2nd one. Has a good feel. Good luck with your decision

  8. My only comment about #1 is that it looks very sci-fi-ish but doesn't necessarily look military (I don't think) but otherwise it was my favorite of the pics.

  9. I like the first one, but it doesn't look sci-fi to me either. It almost looks speculative fiction-ish to me, moving more toward fantasy. The other two seem more sci-fi, the third feeling more military than the second.

  10. Wendy, thanks for your vote :)

    Danette, fair comment re. the military. Might actually be more appropriate because the story leans to the softer space-opera end of the scale.

    Diane, interesting take on #1. I hadn't seen it as even remotely fantasy. Shows how different people can see different things in the same scene.

  11. Welcome back!

    I like the old school look in all three, but the second one is my favorite. :-)

  12. Which cover you go with depends on what you want to portray. They all have a very vintage vibe to them. If I were in a bookstore and I found these covers I would think it was an older story. Now that's not a bad thing, it just depends on the target audience you're going for. Who will pick up you're novel. Who are you aiming it at. Only you know these things. I think I like the first cover because it doesn't give it all away and it might appeal to a broader audience.

    I designed my cover myself.

  13. Misha, a few folks in my critique group have mentioned the "old school" look too. It's a bit of a double-edged sword - some like it, some don't.

    Stella, that's the downside. for thought.

  14. Ian,

    My hope is to give you ideas. I don't mean to overstep. I want your novel to be a successful as possible. I searched for some modern photos you could purchase quite cheaply for your cover. They are just ideas. If you prefer one of these three covers on your blog, great. But sometimes it's nice to get outside ideas. That's what's so great about critiques, right? Email me at and I can send you what I found. I think they all still lean towards sci-fi and the to ruin of Eloon but are very contemporary. Let me know.


  15. Hi Stella, all ideas welcome. Emailing forthwith...

  16. I like the first one. You've probably selected long ago, though. :-) There's subtle imagery going on, I think. It makes the book feel epic--a very large scene, and there's the hint of a cross in the photo, and perhaps, even the idea that people are small things compared to space and to the next wave of exploration and colonization. And...maybe I think way too much. lol At any rate, your art is fabulous!

  17. Hi Teresa, I did end up selecting #1 as the basic composition, although the end result is actually a lot darker in terms of imagery than the hints you saw in the draft. The blog header at the moment is a detail from the finished artwork.


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