Sunday, April 07, 2013

Cover design difficulties

The above is the new working print cover for my 10,000-word science fiction short story, "The Impulse to Punish." I'm still not decided on it, yet. With the Mars landscape artwork, I was originally trying to go for a 1960s or early '70s science fiction cover feel, but one that has been updated slightly for a modern audience. If any of that made sense. Basically, I was trying to make it look like a reprint of an old SF story. I think it will work relatively well in print, but I realize it probably won't do much as an e-book icon.

Also, it's a little more austere than I originally meant it to be. At one point I had a lot more detail in the background mountains and the foreground rocks and in the desert floor, but I felt it had become far too cluttered, so I pulled back quite a bit, recognizing I would only hurt the art by going for realism.

And then there are the fonts. I'm not set on the fonts. Part of my problem with these fonts and with the general design is a branding issue. For marketing purposes, I'm planning on doing at least two more short books like this one, each a short of 10,000 words or more from my series of John Dee stories. The big problem I've run into is that I need a design that can reach across genres. Most of my Dee stories are historical fantasy or modern horror, and within those boundaries there is a lot of room for design concepts; and then there's the fact some of my Dee stories step into other genres, such as "The Impulse to Punish," which is science fiction. So, I need a basic design that can reach across genres, though I'm willing to change some of the colors between books. I'm not set on this design, but I feel it's the best I've come up with as of yet.

Still, I'm not planning to unleash this little book for at least a month, so I've got time to think about it. Opinions are more than welcome.


Charles Gramlich said...

I don't know. it looks really good to me. I just recently downloaded a "gimp" program that I hope will help me do better covers for the future. I need some work. YOu are way beyond me there.

Ty Johnston said...

Thanks, Charles. Good luck with Gimp. My wife and I each downloaded a copy a while back. She absolutely loved it, but I still prefer my old version of Photoshop. From what I've seen of Gimp, and what my other half has shown me, it's very much like Photoshop from about 10 years ago (and that's not a bad thing, honestly, 'cause I think PS has gotten way too complicated the last decade or so).

As for this cover, I might end up keeping it pretty much the way it is. It's growing on me.