Sunday, September 29, 2013

Book Cover of the Week: September 25, 2013: Blood Ties







     I bet when you saw this week’s cover you said to yourself as I did, I’ve seen that cover before, how cliché, how boring, it’s been done and redone.  Guess again.  I could have sworn I’d seen this before myself, maybe even multiple times. I even went so far as to use my Google Fu, which I’ve been told is sometimes magical in its findings, to do an image search based off the cover. I found NOTHING.  I know, marvel.  I mean sure I found lots of logo’s for sports places and businesses just cause a clean black/red on a white background makes for a nice eye popping look, but no book covers. I found a ghost story named Blood Diamond that was similarish but that was it. Color me surprised and equally happy at the same time cause I really like this. 

First off we need to give kudos to the author Lavinia Lewis for writing the book and uber kudos to Carrie Spencer of Cheeky Covers for the cool cover art. And with that tip of our hat we’re off.

Look at it closely; do you see what I see? That’s right! You can read it. Small, big, teeny tiny thumbnail size, you can read it. Plus, you can see its blood. So what does that tell you right off the bat? Well, you now know that this fic is about something on the darker side of the spectrum. Perhaps the paranormal realm, did someone say vampires? 

Honestly I when I first saw this cover I was thinking murder mystery but then I realized I’d forgotten what genre I’m actually reviewing for! (I blame my current forty millionth re-read of The Shining for this, damn you Stephen King!!! *Shakes a fist*) So I had to do something I never do before hand, I read the blurb. 

I was just discussing this with Lisa (the owner of TNA Reviews) just last week. She asked if I based my opinions off the blurbs or on the covers alone. Until today, I never thought to explain my process in choosing the covers but thought today’s as good as any to tell you what goes into my choosing.

First off the lovely Lisa sends me a folder with 10 to 15 covers in it from the previous week’s book reviews. Usually thumbnails, which actually works out perfectly because I can see right off the bat what cover jumps off the page in the line of small pics. Sometimes it’s one or two, or even three that jump up and say, hey look at me, sometimes just the one. I then look up the author and find a larger cover. That’s usually when I find the one that stands out the best, because what can’t be seen at thumbnail size can be seen at a much larger size. That means imperfections, weird lighting choices, rough edges on the manips, etc. 

 Note to artists: ALWAYS, ALWAYS work at a large size so you can see these things, otherwise they’re entirely too easy to miss! Trust me, I’ve got some doozy covers that I’ll post up sometime so you can see the travesty of cover work I did about 8 years ago. Drink heavily beforehand is all I’m sayin!

Continuing on, I look at the larger covers and really try to see what the artist is telling me without actually reading the blurb. Is the story within romantic? Is it fraught with angst? Is it suspenseful? What the frilly heck is going on that I haven’t read and do I want to read it? After I’ve done that, I try to capture the little nuances, the small details, the man in the room all alone, the wrought iron fencing, the hands cupping the face, the diving board behind the main character. You know, all the stuff that you see but don’t really look at that your subconscious still records for you, and slowly percolates over without your even noticing.  After ALL that, I read the blurb.

 Usually you can pretty much guess from a cover what the tone of emotion is going to be, even what the very general gist of the story may be, that is if the cover is done well.  Sometimes this takes multiple pics with lots of color and flash, and sometimes it’s just simplicity that sells it, even if you have no clue what type of story resides within the covers. I mean honestly, look at the Twilight books or *shudders* the Shades of Grey Series, their covers are phenomenal.  Visually striking, elegant, romantic, in short good enough I would sell my soul, or at least my favorite set of drawing pens for just a smidge of the sales that those covers have managed to garner.  The cover of the week, Blood Ties? Simple, elegant, visually striking. Carrie Spencer gets it. That’s the point I’m trying to make here.

Go check out her site and you’ll see that Carrie actually has a slew of awesome pre-made covers that you can look through and purchase but she also does custom orders. I’m not sure if Blood Ties was custom or not, but considering the preciseness of the representation, I’m willing to bet it was. 

Really, she’s pretty awesome and does a full range of artwork for covers that encompass every genre it seems, and they’re unique from one another! This is a huge bonus in my humble opinion and tough to find in the book cover arena. Hell it’s so bad that they even have websites dedicated to books that have used the same exact stock photos. Don’t let that make you feel too bad artists they have sites like this for movie posters also. And yes I did scour these sites and I was happy to say none of my meager offerings showed up on these sites, thankfully. *wipes brow* 

Blood Ties is really the best of the best in visual presentation in my opinion. It’s just so clean and tight that it will fit into virtually any type of banner/thumbnail/picture you choose without any problem. And that’s what we like to see. Especially with all the printing companies out there it’s hard enough sometimes just to get the postcard sizes to print correctly that are sent out in complimentary packets from your publishers.  You’re in good company though authors, with the resulting frustration at said sites, we artists feel your pain and wish/pray/build alters to the Gods asking for more universal sizing templates but alas it is not to be.

So in closing, I’m just gonna lay it out there, Blood Ties written by Lavinia Lewis and cover artwork by Carrie Spencer of Cheeky Covers, gets not only a sigh of relief and happiness for a thoroughly uncomplicated but oh so teasing cover, but also an oo and ahh for elegance and taste.

Really fabulous job Carrie, keep up the good work!


Have a great day and may the good books be with you!

A.J.




All thoughts and comments are the reviewers only and not the viewpoints of others. If I’ve made you angry, stepped on any toes, or otherwise ruffled any feathers, I do apologize. This is just for fun, and written in the hopes that it will help fledgling book authors and artists to grow and learn. 





This review is also published and up on The Novel Approach Reviews. A wonderful book review website that you must check out! :)


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