New cover artwork: better or worse?

Thogron Throatbiter acquires another fresh coat of green paint.

I usually pay other people to do my book covers these days. That’s probably for the best >:-)

In the very earliest days of  Greyhart Press, when it only sold short stories, I wanted to first see whether the eBooks might generate enough sales before paying for professional artwork. When I first thought of publishing eBooks, I looked at the kind of covers other authors and small publishers were using for short stories at the time… they weren’t good, that’s for sure.

Anyway, that proved a false economy and the level of professionalism for cover art has rocketed since early last year. The level of editing and formatting quality has risen too, though not as fast. We are in a peculiar, and (I’m sure) temporary situation where the more quality-conscious  self- and small-publishers have artwork and copy-editing very nearly as good as major publishers (on average) and the internal formatting better than major publishers, especially backlist titles. Selling backlist as eBooks is compelling, but books scanned from printed books need tenacious  copyediting, and those produced via print-ready PDFs need fully reformatting. It’s tempting to miss out these steps.

Not all publishers cut corners like this. In fact, in recent weeks I’ve been delighted to help do the formatting portion of the work to help an author begin to publish some of his backlist, a laborious process that began  with scanning paperbacks.

But I digress.

Of my earlier attempts at artwork, my favourite was a hand-drawn starmap, complete with knowing sci-fi references and puns in the starnames. It took me hours. The is for The Meandering Mayhem of Thogron Throatbiter, which is a humorous short story. Kind of Brian Blessed meets Warhammer 40k, while dressed like Shrek (I did an interview about it here). The alien species who populate this story are a putrid green colour,  so I went to town with garish colour in the cover. I still love it, but I think you have to have read the story to appreciate the cover. Since you need to like the cover to be interested in reading the story… well, you can see why it had to go.

So I made a new cover yesterday. I went for a stock image of a spaceship. A nice one, mind. And played around with colours to put the horrid greens and yellows in, though more subtly than before. I’ve relied upon the title to convey the sense of tongue-in-cheek humour.

Let me know what you think.

After

Before

The Meandering Mayhem of Thogron Throatbiter is published by Greyhart Press, and is currently free pretty much everywhere, including the various Amazon sites. You can get a copy for yourself by following the ‘buy’ links on this page. You don’t even need an eReader, as Amazon provide a good Kindle reader application for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone & Android.

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About timctaylor

Science fiction author and publisher. I live with my wife and young family in an English village. I am currently writing full time, when I'm not roped into building Lego.
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9 Responses to New cover artwork: better or worse?

  1. Tim, nice job with the new cover! It’s a vast improvement. I’m afraid the old cover was just too busy which doesn’t bode well in our attention-deficit prone society. Think you’ve got a winner!

  2. timctaylor says:

    Thanks everyone. Glad you like the newer one. Yes, the picture of the ship was a stock photo I pulled from Fotolia.com by an Italian artist called innovari. I played with colours and added some text using Gimp, which is a free piece of software that more or less does what Photoshop does. I found Gimp took a while to get used to, not having used Photoshop, but there are a lot of tutorials that can be easily Googled for.

    • Andrea says:

      I admire you even more now that I know you made that beautiful cover using GIMP. I lost my Photoshop recently (it was a downloaded old version but, when I switched to Windows 7, it stopped working…) and downloaded GIMP to see if I could replace my old Photoshop with it. And, GOSH! I’m still fighting with it to produce ANYTHING remotely similar to what I want to make. xD I kinda hate it. ^^U

      Amazing work, really!

      • timctaylor says:

        I’ve the advantage of not having much to compare it with. I get the impression that the Gimp user interface is less polished, even eccentric in places. But the guts of the thing that actually does the graphic work is very good… not that this helps much if you’re tearing your hair out trying to get the thing to work :-)

      • Andrea says:

        Hahaha, yeah. From what I’ve seen, it can do a lot of good stuff… But nothing the way I know how to do it or I KNOW how to do it. xD So I have to begin by finding out how the heck does X thing will produce the result I got by doing Y thing in Photoshop. xD And I’m not the most patient person in the world.

        In any case, I hope I can do a magnificent work like yours someday… If I don’t end up rage deleting GIMP from my computer first. xD

  3. Andrea says:

    I absolutely love the “after” one. It looks SO pro! The other one is cool too, but I prefer the “after” one, no doubt! ^o^

    Also, I didn’t know this was available for free! :O I’m gonna check it out as soon as possible.

    Keep up the great work! <3

  4. A.B.R. says:

    I agree with you. It is a vast improvement over the first cover.

  5. I really like these cover Tim, I’m very impressed at how they look for the level you stand at, no offence at all intended. They’re really great, better than some much more bigger hyped books from well known big name publishers I’d even chance. So they’re stock images, and then tweeked in photoshop or that kind of thing? I am thinking of possibly doing similar things for my own books. Great work.

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