The winning design must:
- look right for the genre: minimalist, sophisticated, no photos, probably using original artwork
- and have images and title that stand out clearly even in thumbnail.
But also - most important - it must help people realise straight away that these are NOT stories ABOUT dogs!
(Don't want negative reviews because people thought they'd be nice animal stories...)
The subtitle and back cover text will help with this "not about dogs" message (too small to read in thumbnail, of course, but repeated in advertising).
But the design must also do the same job.
For an example, see the attached temporary cover I've been using (temp_cover.pdf).
- Upper right, traditional theatre masks, comedy and tragedy.
- Lower left, dog sitting, looking up at masks, as if listening.
All just black silhouettes on pale background, instantly recognisable.
So the dog is just the patient audience - but the stories are human comedy and tragedy.
OTHER IDEAS WELCOME (though I do keep coming back to that one - it conveys immediately).
1) The ebook cover MUST convey the "not about dogs" message even in thumbnail - while the the print cover MUST look right for a serious literary book held in the hand.
2) So if necessary the print and ebook covers could use different designs.
(Though it's better if the print design also works in thumbnail, so it can be used for the ebook too.)
3) On the front cover, the author name and subtitle don't need to be readable in thumbnail, only the title.
4) If you do want to explore the "dog & masks" idea:
- The masks must work for any happy and any sad emotions. So quite plain (like the masks on my temporary cover), not full of character.
- But there could be a single blood-red teardrop from one eye of the tragedy mask...
5) For the print cover, original artwork is almost certainly wanted, to match the serious literary ambitions.
On the ebook cover, if it is different, silhouettes from existing sources might be ok.
6) Just in case you want to experiment with the masks and dog I used, I've uploaded these and another sample mask, just as .pngs. The masks I can buy the rights and vector images for, if actually included in a winning design. The dog is very poor quality, no known rights owner, so you'd need to make a similar silhouette.
But in any case, the winning design is more likely to have used all original artwork, especially for the print cover.
For EXAMPLES OF COVERS I LIKE - please see the attached samples_like.pdf.
Happy to discuss and provide as many further details as necessary.
I look forward to seeing your designs!