Sunday, 4 September 2016

Dithering over covers

I was rather proud of my Time Rats 2 cover, until someone suggested it looked like a dystopian thriller cover, and didn't go with TR1's cover. (It was really nice of her to volunteer this; most people politely keep quiet over their doubts.) I'd been fretting gently over the gun, as Amazon is anti guns on covers right now, but didn't have a better shot to use.

I've come up with an alternative, the image in the middle, and would be grateful for any thoughts you have.


  1. I like the alternative and it does fit in better with the style of the first book. The rural setting doesn't really fit in with the 'android apocalypse' plotline though - I'd expect to see something more mechanical to accompany that title.

    To be honest, I think it's confusing that the series title is the largest text at the bottom, and the book title is at the top. It reads as 'Dreams of the Machines Book Two: Time Rats'. If they were flipped then it would make more sense. But that might not be possible now the first book has been out for so long.

    1. Thanks, David. I agree about the placement of the lettering - it just looked better that way with the first image.

      You can't see it, but there's a very thin android hiding behind that tree on the right :o)

  2. Lexi, I don't think that a 'mechanical' appearance is necessary as these futuristic androids could have a very human appearance and feel.

    The cover with the gun may be too similar to the 'Wolf by the Ears' cover and the model looks the same as well.

    I think that the android theme is similar to the 'Replica' theme and a modified cover would suit well. The girl in the foreground of the Replica cover could be Angel and the guy in the background Brian. The flowing golden locks might convey a seductive impression as these 'perfect women' androids no doubt can change appearance to suit circumstance, one being to attract men.

    Yes, Something close to the Replica cover seems good to me, perhaps giving the model a happy smiling appearance as Brian in the background chases her through space-time

    1. Ooh, I don't know, Q. It's got to be Floss on the cover, as she's a constant in the series, and Angel wasn't in the first book. I found a fabulous stock photo which looked exactly how I imagine Angel, but not in a useful pose. Just as well, probably, as a cover should allow the reader to decide what the characters look like.

      When I started, like all newbies I wanted my covers to be like a still from the film of the book :o)

    2. Lexi, Afraid I don't agree with your logic on this. I can't think of many series that stick to a constant feature on the covers, though I don't normally take much notice of covers when its an author that I know well.

      In my experience most series are written so that books can be enjoyed as stand alones even if certain characters pervade or pop up throughout the series. A good example would be Mary Jo Putney. She has a number of series e.g. the Lost Lords. In this particular series the covers portray the heroines in the different books while the various Lords who are tied by bonds of friendship do not appear at all! All of MJP's books are highly popular and sell well with excellent reviews.

      I have only seen the kindle Scout submission, but if the main theme is androids and Angel is the heroine (or one of them) then I think that readers would like some indication of this on the least I would! :)

    3. A big problem when making covers is finding the right stock photo, particularly with people. Models so often 'pose' when you want them looking natural. If I did manage to find the right photo for Angel, I don't know how I'd indicate she was an android to the casual browser.

      I wanted to have the rat at the bottom a robotic rat, all shiny steel and joints, to indicate the theme. But I'd have to make a model which would be time-consuming. Not sure I have the skills to do it in Photoshop.

    4. A suggestion:
      I don't know how your androids are controlled Lexi, but you could add a small antenna to your android, eg a metallic square moulded on to the visible part of the arm and some indication of electro-magnetic waves emanating eg some sort of blurring above the antenna. If chased by Brian, he could be pointing a remote controller towards her. That would probably suffice.

    5. The only way to tell an android in 2135 is by the compulsory robocode on his/her forehead, and Brian removed Angel's during her illegal upgrade.

      Shall I send you a Word doc of TR2?

    6. That's very generous Lexi. I would love to read the full version. Removing the 'robocode' must have left some mark and the underlying circuitry would still be operating, emitting signals, so some blurring above the head to indicate emissions might work?

    7. Ha! I don't think that's how a reader scanning a cover for two seconds would interpret blurring above a pretty girl's head :o) Have sent you the text.

    8. Text received safely ... many thanks.

      I take your point about the blurring! LOL

      There may be a simple way to portray waves radiating from the head region. Perhaps concentric arcs of alternating lighter and darker shading. Probably would need to experiment.

      I'm going to settle down with a scotch and enjoy the story now :)

    9. Great read Lexi!
      I'm wondering if the androids will evolve further in book 3 .... you could be the first to write an android-human romance. That could certainly appeal to the romance crowd ... much better than falling in love with a vampire (e.g. Stephenie Meyer's 'Twilight')!

      Having read the book I like the cover with the gun best. Guns certainly play an important role, so perfectly reasonable to portray that on the cover. The mist and bright area give a nice artistic feel of emerging from the aether after time travel.

    10. Oh no! I'd decided to go for the tree and snow one. Now I'm wondering if either of them is right...

      Android/human romances - what about Blade Runner where Deckard falls for an android?

    11. Afraid I haven't seen blade runner ... not much into dystopian Scifi.

      I looked up a review:

      Among the themes explored are the following: - The dehumanization of people through a society shaped by technological and capitalistic excess. - The roles of creator and creation, their mutual enslavement, and their role reversal, i.e., the creation's triumph over its creator. - The nature of humanity itself: emotions, memory, purpose, desire, cruelty, technological mastery of environment and universe, mortality, death, and more. - Personal identity and self-awareness. - The meaning of existence.

      Romance and love are not mentioned and I haven't seen it under the usual romance categories (I would class some of your books under romantic suspense). Anyway you would bring your own unique spin to the topic. :)

      All of the covers are good so I wouldn't worry too much.

    12. Blade Runner's a good film, but I don't like it nearly as much as Terminator 2. Ridley Scott films are always a bit disconnected and literally dark - watching Alien I kept wanting someone to turn the lights up.

      Thanks for comforting remark re covers - and you haven't even seen the trees and snow variant with a ghostly clock :o)

    13. Do your clocks behave abnormally during time travel? I will enjoy the snow on the final cover when Amazon accepts the book in a few weeks time. :)

    14. None of my characters except Quinn have a watch, relying on their phones for the time. Quinn takes his watch off to wear his TiTrav on his left wrist.

      I hope you are right, but no one knows the ways of Kindle Scout selectors :o)

  3. Dammit I actually went and looked for he thin android behind the tree!

    It is past my bedtime though....

    I love the cover on the right. Very striking! I guess it does look a bit Terminator with the title though, alas. The middle one looks a bit too similar to the first one for me though (sorry!). I suppose you couldn't put the girl from the one on the right into the background in the middle? It's a bit more active a pose and I guess in be 2 Floss knows a bit more about what's going on than in bk1? Though also it strikes me that the title doesn't show so well against that background. Both are good though, I just prefer the one on the right! ;)

    Just been catching up on old blogs, btw, and really glad to find Kindle Scout has worked out for you. I have accidentally written a book not in my main series, which turns out to be another series in itself, so considering a foray into KS with that though I have no expectations of doing as well as you! Worth a go though, maybe.
    If I ever finish the editing, that is!

    1. Thanks for commenting, JA. I really liked the gun one, then started to have doubts...and I now agree the middle one is too like the first. The good thing about weapons on covers is they give you something to wave, making the pose more active. I'm working on other variants now, and if I'm still dithering I'll put the lot on Kboards and access the wisdom of crowds.

      Kindle Scout is brilliant, as long as one's book is chosen :o) I'd recommend it, but don't get carried away with campaigning and waste a month. The Hot & Trending chart is a will-o'-the-wisp.