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Letters from Proxima Thule

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The Habitation of the Blessed Cover
prester john
It's not Ghost Rider, I swear!

I'm SUPER curious about y'all's reaction to this--do you like it, does it make you want to buy it, is it evocative? Opinion me, O Livejournal!

Why is nobody's head on fire?!

Sorry. They can't all be ghost riders.

That giant "B" overwhelms pretty much everything else. Another font choice to get the title under control would be a good idea. Then your author name might actually stand out a bit, as would the actual art.

Right now, it's looks really "small press"—like a fanmade reprint of some book from fifty years ago.

I think it's pretty, but I doubt it would make me want to buy the book if I didn't already (which I do!). It's a relatively generic fantasy-looking cover of a particular trope (the medieval scholarly look), and it indicates being specifically a Prester John interpretation in words smaller than I might notice on a casual glance in a bookstore, especially if they aren't on the side cover, which is usually what's seen if you don't pull the book off the shelf. I'd pick up something I recognized as being a version of that story; Prester John interests me. But this doesn't tell me so in loud enough ways to get past my usual attention filters, and if I didn't spot that, I'd just think "ooh, pretty cover art," and move along.

This is more or less what I felt as well. Regardless of the cover I am going to buy it. Cat + Prester John = two ares of my life converging into awesome.

Yes. I like the art work and the font for the title. It would catch my eye at least long enough to read the back blurb.

Gosh, it's GOOD-LOOKIN'! It would certainly make me read the back. That and the words "Prester John" in the title. Aside from, you know, the author's name. Speaking PERFECTLY OBJECTIVELY, you see.


The art is beautiful, but I do have to stare at the title font a second too long to read it. I'm disappointed in the lack of flaming skulls, though.

I like it, but my biggest impression is that it really makes me want cover art that's somehow made in the style of an illuminated manuscript.

Yeah that's what I was hoping for too. No dice.

Your name's not big enough, and that's about the least legible blackletter font I've ever seen. But I do like the big glowy book!

I like it. Yes, I'd pick it up to see more.

*blink* Charles Vess?

Edited at 2010-08-18 06:05 pm (UTC)

Or... wait, Kaluta? Has elements of both, I think.

What is wrong with his hands? The artist needs to learn a few things about perspective.

Are those wings behind his head? Or a glowing blonde wig?

I am, I confess, not enthused.

I mentioned the hands. I was not listened to. I'm trying to see the good in it.

It's -- fine. Not terribly exciting, but entirely serviceable.

I want it to be far more Silk Road/Central Asia/Nestorian.

Considering this is a Prester John book.

It feels too European.

The chick is wearing eyeshadow and henna. She has EXOTIC DARK HAIR. Isn't that enough for you?



Why is there a Ghost Rider cover there???

The cover seems cluttered, to me. I think there's honestly too many words - your name isn't something short and quick, like, oh, Tim Pratt for example, and then a three part title that leaves me wondering which part I should focus on, and then a blurb? 'Volume One' seems lost, 'The Habitation of the' out of proportion, and I'm wondering why Habitation and Blessed get special font when the other bits of the title don't. I want your name in gold, and the background of 'Dirge ...' to be the same red from the book.

It all needs streamlining and cohesiveness. I would completely be okay with the picture being dropped a half inch so it's not crowding the titling so much, and your name being emphasized more. Also, a one line blurb, not a three liner. I know blurbs are important, I guess, I've never paid attention to them, but it's just too much.

My final impression is that it looks like YA for boys.

You know, it just occurred to me I read it was YA because there's so much detail and embellishment in the art. Adults' books tend to have one image, one focal point, perhaps even no image at all, unless it's an all-over print. Kids books are all, "How much awesomeness can we cram into this cover?" See: Spiderwick chronicles.

It is very pretty, thought it does look like a comic cover.
I'd at least pick it up to see what it was about!

the bits I like:
-it's wildly colorful and impresses me like graphic novel covers often do. it promises mystery.
-Terri's blurb, right there on the front. WIN.

It's a strong blurb, isn't it? Many thumbs up.

I like the luminous quality of the art, but I think I'm a little bit surprised by the style. It doesn't look like the other books I have you've written. This isn't bad, obviously, but depending on how much your story feels like more mainstream fantasy (which this kind of looks like on the cover), it might not work as well as it could.

It's so close to being really great.

I love the lightness of the feathering, except they look like they're coming directly out of her upper arms, and the feathering should go all the way across the page instead of stopping half-way like a background wig to him.

I love the "art nouveau" style (because if they were trying for medieval, they didn't get it), but why is the guy a skinhead? His hair and facial features look too modern, at quick glance like an alternate reality.

I love the way the light hits him, except if it's coming from the book then it's only coming from the far edge of the left-hand page.

I love the way the pages of the book echo the feathers, and I love it enough not to mind they aren't really pages (or else the perspective is way off).

I agree there's something off about the hands.

I love the title, but the fonts aren't so great. The small words are too thin, too small, the big words too big, too flat. It makes the book look cheap: "let's SQUEEZE things TOGETHER to MAKE them FIT so WE can MAKE the KEY words BOLD". You practically expect exclamation points. And your name is apparently not considered KEY to sales.

I've been reading your replies and I'm sorry you've been getting so many negatives, especially since there's not much you can do. But if passing along our comments could at least get the lettering improved, maybe it's worth a try. (Also, maybe they might consider lightening the values overall a little? that would reduce the flaming head effect. :-))

(Deleted comment)
It's a bit busy for my taste, but I like the colours and style...

put him on the motorcycle, and the chick already has tats...

I don't know how helpful this is, but I find that the guy has a confrontational look on his face that is off-putting to me. I'd find it more appealing to pick up if it was the open book with the woman emerging out of it - so as is, but without the dude. But then, maybe the dude is meant to appeal to male readers...

I like it, and it would certainly tempt me.

That said, I think it's a little suboptimally busy, with too much frame breakout; perhaps the figures would have a bit more impact if they were smaller in relation to the borders and weren't going under the text, which diminishes both the mediaeval- & the art nouveau-ness of the overall design, to my mind.

And whilst a Windling cover quote is more than rubies, my artistic sensibility says it should be on the back and your name should be down there instead of at the top.

To finish off the nitpicking, though: it's great, and I look forward to having it on my shelf, not just to reading it.

Now that you say that about the name/blurb, I totally see it. It would be really HELLO I WAS WRITTEN BY instead of "who is this by?"


Blemmeyes. On fire. Riding motorcycles. NOW

Really though it is very lovely.


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