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Presentation of cover.

Hi folks,

I've finished my fantasy novel and received final edits. Having never written fantasy before, I seek some opinions about the two cover choices I have settled on. I have not seen a request similar to this here before and hope my request is not out of line.

Brief synopsis to qualify the cover:- Angus MacDonald (26), an American with Scottish roots, ventures to Culloden Battlefield in Scotland for an archeological dig with his godfather who is a historian in Edinburgh. Unbeknown to him, gods have influenced thoughts to entice him to the site. They find an ancient blue pendant, a MacDonald clan relic, and it attracts Angus to the place it was lost when old Lord MacDonald died under British fire. The pendant actually found Angus. One thing leads to another and Hades, soon appears to threaten mankind. Angus becomes a reluctant hero and dramatic events occur when Hades follows him back to Washington. The White House and Congress Building are threatened, and so on and so on.

I attach two covers with different titles and subs. One has a teaser included.

May I ask which cover appeals to my friends here? Specifically, the adding of the 'teaser,' and the variance with titles?

Thanks heaps for any help. Rob

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Replies (15)
  • Hi Rob. Congratulations, it looks like you're close to publishing. Thanks for sharing your book covers, what a great idea. I prefer the second cover with the teaser. The white house is unexpected on a fantasy book cover. I like it, but I think you need the teaser to show genre. The title, Clash of Gods says fantasy to me more than The Dark Soul. One vote for number 2!

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    • Except that's not the White House, it's the US Capitol building.

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      • Oops, don't tell anyone I'm American😁

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      • Hi Rob. A qualified vote for number 2 from me too.

        The only caveat I would make (from an illustration/graphic design perspective) is that the teaser is very cramped and placed too far towards the bottom of the cover relative to the rest - just as if it's been added at the last minute (😉 ). The font-size and leading of the teaser type and the placements of the other textual elements in the design need adjusting if you go with this one.

        The other thought I had is about the presence of the sub-title in both versions. This (to me) tends to suggest that the book is one of a series - with the main title and subtitle representing the name of the series and the name of the individual book within that series. I don't know if this is the case here?

        The book/series names can be either way round it seems, e.g. 'The Lord of the Rings (series): The Two Towers (book)' or 'The Gate of Ivrel (book): The Morgaine Saga (series)'.

        Looking forward to seeing what the ancient Greek gods' interest in Scottish history is, and how it ties into current Washington! Sounds fascinating!

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        • Thanks, John. It was originally titled The Dark Soul, as you can see. A search on Amazon for that name revealed many uses of the title. Hence, I decided to make the sub the main title, Clash of Gods, for which little showed up. Yes, it is first in series with the second already written, but not edited. It will be titled, CLASH OF GODS with a sub, AEGIS. That's the plan at least.

          Agree with you about the teaser looking a bit scrunched. Did the cover grab your eye? That's the most important thing.

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          • Good choice on the 'Clash of Gods' for the series title.

            The cover grabbed my eye to an extent, although I suspect that if I'd been scanning through a selection of books on Amazon or on a shelf I'd have placed it in the 'contemporary thriller' rather than the 'fantasy' genre - mainly because of the Capitol building. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it might be a good thing if it differentiates it from more 'medieval' style fantasy, since ,from your description, it's a mix of both!

            If I may be brutally honest, though, while there's nothing bad about it... truthfully I think it's a workmanlike cover rather than truly eye-catching.

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          • Ha ha (Smiley face). You can't be American????? He he. Yes, the Capital building is also a target. Ha ha, I still laugh - Julie

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            • So much for the extremely observant writer in me! Good thing I know how to laugh at myself. Glad I made you smile

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            • Hi Rob, I'm going to go with cover two as well. Looks striking, 

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              • That's what I like to hear, T.J. First impressions count with covers. Scare 2.5 - V - 1.5 = better.

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              • As when you posted this cover previously, Rob, I'm not convinced by either version of it. It doesn't say fantasy to me; indeed, the elements feel somehow contradictory, randomly juxtaposed. (That said, I am generally unimpressed by pretty much all covers.)

                Additionally, if I were to read a version of the blurb as you provided, I would also put it right back down. If there's supposed to be a strong Scottish connection, I would expect Celtic mythology rather than the almost-trite Greek.

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                • Waaa! I hope you're not a fantasy book buyer, Rick. That wasn't my blurb, just a rough I posted as I uploaded the covers.

                  The Greek connection is not, 'trite'. It runs through the whole book and two chapters later on are spent on Olympus. The Scottish connection is strong early, until the plot reveals the connection. The MacDonalds swim in Norse genes. As for the connection between the Greek Gods and the MacDonald clan, the book explains it well.

                  Anyway, thanks for your opinion.

                  The score is now 1.5- v -1.5 = not sure (smiley face).

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                  • Bad news, Rob. When it comes to novels, 95% of what I read is classsified as fantasy.

                    As to the triteness of the Greek pantheon, it isn't a question of whether you have a good explanation for it. It's that they - and their Roman equivalents - are the first-line generic fallback for much of Western society when looking for a mythical storyline to weave into a narrative. (The second being Norse.) It's a consequence of history, the spillover from the amount of Europe conquered by the Romans.

                    I'm not saying it's wrong. Only that, to make it memorable, you need to work harder, be more subtle in your connections and twists, than if you chose other pantheons that haven't been called upon so often to provide supernatural antagonism.

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                    • Rick, once again, thank you for your comments, appreciated. I could not have worked any harder than I have over the last two months. My twists and connections are great (too me), unique (too me), and not like anything I've read related to Greek and Norse mythology (this is correct-to me). Totally new. That won't make it sell, but I loved writing it. 

                      Re the Greeks and Romans, the reason they are so big in literature is because they (Greeks in particular) wrote the book on it, didn't they. The greatest stories ever written, and as strong today as ever. Protagonists the like of which we've not seen since. Achilles, Heracles, King Leonidis, Odysseus, and so on and so on. Imperfect to a man, failures galore, and yet, loyal to their gods, mostly.

                      Yes, they are the first-line fallback, and for good reason - they never fade from memory. It's similar with the Scots. A romantic history loved by many readers, but still, protagonists with many faults. Rob McGregor, Wallace?, Robert Bruce (for Pete's sake), the bonnie Prince, and the Argyles. Heros for sure, but men with enormouse failings. As were the Greeks, and god don't we love them for it. Perhaps modern day writers could learn from the old writers and make their heros less perfect.

                      Anyway, it is those who must sell the book who are most important at this stage. I'me done with it, but confident it's flaws won't worry the average lovers of a good yarn.

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                    • Hi Robert I love the design of the cover, very striking.

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