Need your help! Book cover

I need some help in designing the cover for a new fantasy short story titled Assassin. I’ve been tinkering with two designs for a few days and could use your comments to give me some direction.

The covers need to be provocative enough to get people interested as well as hold up fairly well when shrunk to thumbnail (111px x 78px) size on the various book sites. And, naturally, I want them to look good when they’re at their full size (823×576). The two sizes can’t be different images, fyi…the thumbnail is always the shrunken-head version of the full cover.

What do you think? Would you click through? What does it say to you? All feedback welcome! (Please comment below so everyone can see.) If you don’t feel like leaving a comment, just vote using the poll at the bottom.

Draft #1, full size. Click on the image for a full-screen version.

Draft #1, thumbnail

Draft #2, full size. Click on the image for a full-screen version.

Draft #2, thumbnail

If you don’t feel like commenting, vote here!


Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

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Posted in My Books & Titles, Tips for eAuthors
15 comments on “Need your help! Book cover
  1. Ritesh Kala says:

    The black-and-white does not really hold my attention, and the coloured hands do not stand out in the thumbnail. I like the second one. Don’t know what exactly, but I like it.

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Thanks Ritesh. On Draft #1, I colored the hands myself and liked the look…then noticed that it didn’t translate in the thumbnail at all. So much for subtle Photoshop effects…

  2. whosliz says:

    They both look very similar to either a computer game or a film that i’ve seen advertised. I think its assassins creed… That’s the first thing I thought when I saw them, not ‘wow I wanna read’, so maybe start over…

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Thanks for checking it out, whosliz. I was afraid of that. I’m familiar with the Assasin’s Creed franchise. They don’t have the corner on “hooded killers”, but that’s what a lot of people will think when they see this.

      There’s a fine line between riffing off that market cache and ripping it off. I’ll have to think about this.

      Based on the title, what would make you think “wow, want to read this”? What elements would you want to see in a cover?

    • Ritesh Kala says:

      Now that you mention it, I thought I had seen it somewhere, but could not remember where. They are somewhat similar.

  3. Cristin Harber says:

    Draft 1 looks like it’s in the same family of books as your other titles, with the exception of Sword of Kings. To me, draft 2 has a historical feel to it (the sepia tone & scroll design) and draft 1 scares me, which automatically is intriguing. I like scary over historical, so I’d click through for draft 1. They are both solid though!

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Thanks, Cristin. Thanks also for the smart comparisons to my other titles…never a bad thing to try and build off a particular look. Interesting take on “scary” vs. “historical”, too.

  4. whosliz says:

    Maybe keep the hooded fellow, but move him into the background with some creepy atmospheric structures in the foreground…I guess it depends on where the story is based etc

  5. barbaraelka says:

    I am not familiar with the series but you can do so much w/ #1. Just make it more mysterious…work with black and give this hood life of its own so it becomes its own presence. Then put down the title.
    Look here what I mean:

    I am going to erase this image but I wanted to show you what I mean. No way words can say it all.

  6. yoga-adan says:

    i voted for the first, cause the second looks too scary ๐Ÿ˜‰

    but i wonder, can you put a little of the warmer colors & gold font type into the first one, as an experiment?

    also sent this to digg and stumbleupon, this is great stuff for folk to chip in on; you might consider reddit, but you’re on your own on that one ๐Ÿ˜‰

    best wishes matthew

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Thanks, Adan. This has all been good feedback and I will certainly be tweaking some more…I was looking for a way to add some color to both and your suggestion hits home.

      I really need to get into digg and stumbleupon…it’s just hard to tell where to sink your social media time, these days. I’m doing at least 50/50 social media/actual writing and am starting to feel like the whole reason I started doing this (i.e., the writing) is starting to suffer! Balance is all.

      Then again, if I got 10k visitors from stumbleupon, I might change my tune. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • yoga-adan says:

        i’d be thrilled if i got 10k visitors ๐Ÿ˜‰

        i tend to like both stumble and digg for several reasons, they have lots of people participating, they don’t usually allow people to gang up on someone simply because they don’t like them (less bullying and ganging up on), and they’re reasonably easy to post to

        on the other hand, joe konrath had a really interesting article, “the value of publicity” recently (with almost as interesting comment thread) at : saying that
        he didn’t feel the time was worth the result vs what simply creating more good material (ebooks in fiction in his case) did

        i’ve really new to epublishing, and i have to say, producing and out-putting more work that i enjoy creating, seems more productive right now than any of the social media, ads, etc

        interacting with things on your site, is another animal ๐Ÿ˜‰ one that means more discussion that helps me with my craft, provides some sense of author community, and oh, is usually fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

        i still have the third short story to read from your recent download, then i’ll post a review on amazon; honest fair and hopefully helpful for other readers

        unless that third short is a total dud, not much to worry ’bout ๐Ÿ˜‰

        thanks matthew, hey i thought you were off on vacation somewhere!

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