Sequel to Shizzle, Inc – title and cover mock up reveal!

I was working on mock-ups for Amir, the winner of the free cover design contest, when it occurred to me that I should go ahead and create a cover for my sequel, even before it’s finished. That way I can do the same thing that Amir is planning on doing – pin the cover over my desk and use it as the motivation to finish the draft. Also, you guys were amazing in helping me develop the cover for the first book, so I feel comfortable revealing the rough draft and asking you for comments.

So here it is, the mock up for the second installment in Isa Maxwell’s escapades:

Indiot Mock up 1

This is very rough, with images I have not yet bought, so that’s why the resolution is bad and there are some remnants of Shutterstock watermark – that will improve once I buy and download full-size images. I would love for you to comment on:

  1. Title of the book. Isa continues to be…let’s say “naive” in India, hence the “Indiot”.
  2. The overall concept for the cover.
  3. Using “diamonds” for title.
  4. Making “N” in the title different. I will make it look like empty settings, from which diamonds have been stolen.
  5. Should I put “Isa Maxwell’s escapades” on the title? I kinda like the minimalistic look and that the covers are not too matchy, but everyone seems to love series covers that look like versions of the same and tell you exactly which book in the series it is…
  6. Anything else!

Thank you, as always πŸ™‚

80 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

80 responses to “Sequel to Shizzle, Inc – title and cover mock up reveal!

  1. Honestly, I like the cover without anything other than your name and Indiot with the n as you said. The blurb on the back of the book or the blurb will explain enough. The title begs the question: What is this book about? Who is an idiot? What is she an idiot about? Is she in India? Is she from India and going somewhere else? Those are enough questions to get a browsing reader interested, in my opinion. Less is definitely more. πŸ™‚ Happy designing.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I really like so many things about this cover. The diamonds are great, the empty settings on the N are great, and I think the title is pretty perfect. “Isa Maxwell’s escapades” doesn’t sing that well to me, but I think you are right to think about finding a way to make an easier connection to the series and I’m thinking that’s a good way to cram in some Amazon keywords, which will make the book a little more visible. Of course, I’m still in the learning and ramping up phase of this myself and you have a lot more experience, but those are my thoughts.

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  3. Looks great Ana, but you might want to have the ‘missing’ diamonds in the D instead, otherwise the word IDIOT seems to stand out πŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s great Ana. Just one thing … is the title going to show up as a thumbnail on Amazon, especially with the missing diamond?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The white diamonds stand out great, but you’re right, not the “N”…I will check it when I’m doing the “real” thing…what if it at he’s someone’s interest enough to click through and find out what is going on with the title? Wishful thinking …:-) my firs tide was to make them look embroidered into the design, and that was getting lost.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Meghan

    I like the missing N because her naΓ―ve self can make her come of idiotic. It’s a fun play and I do like the sparkling eye catching title

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tony

    How about “Isa’s Indian Adventure ” . And Im sure she would do the dot to feel more Indian and get her coworkers upset with her. Or have debate herself to do it or not.

    Like

    • Thank you, Tony – the debate with herself is a great idea! I have a lot of fun with her inner dialogue πŸ™‚
      Indiot being short and funky was the one similarity I thought it has with Shizzle – short, funny word that’s catchy but doesn’t explain what’s inside… Or did you mean to add a subtitle?

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  7. You need series info on cover for keyword analytics. All info on cover is included in the keywords, so it’s extra keywords to drive readers to your book. And readers need to know it is part of a series without opening it.

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    • Good point! When I put in Shizzle, Inc, the cover did not have a subtitle, but I did put “Isa Maxwell Escapades” in the subtitle field, and Book 1 in another. So it shows up with all that info in searches – do you think it’s sufficient?

      Like

      • I don’t know. What do people actually look at? The cover, we hope. How many times does a person have to be exposed to a message to retain it? Experts say 5 times. Is the cover going to be one of those 5 times? In my mind, cover art is first and foremost about marketing. I want mine to pop so the the potential reader will stop, read the info on the cover and then click. On the first book, series info only speaks to the future. On every other book, if enables the reader to place the particular book in context and we hope they go “This looks great. It’s book four. I should start with the first one.” The problem is that in thumbnail size, cover writing is barely readable and may make the cover look messy or dark. So there’s a tradeoff in terms of the amount of writing or small images that can be placed on a cover. On the cover to my second book, The Computer Heist,(on my website) I’ve got a lot of writing, but I think it scales pretty well. Anyway, those are my thoughts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Michael, I will try – always good to challenge yourself, right?

        Like

  8. K. Hules

    I like the way you did the title, the one thing that bugs me is the eyes. They look a little weird, maybe too photoshopped. It might be the shadowing or that they’re slightly different shades of blue, but something looks off to me. Otherwise, love the colors and the design!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting and unusual – catches the eye. Can’t wait to see the finished version.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have no skill for visual things, although I’ve read something to the effect of what Michael mentions, that if keywords are used in the title itself and appear in the cover that makes it more searchable. From my personal experience with a series of linked stories I published once, even adding in the title the number and a subtitle, people didn’t pick it up. So making clear that’s the sequel to Shizzle, Inc. (maybe adding that somewhere) could make a difference, especially as you have quite a few readers already. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you, Olga – I will need to work on that, as I must admit, fonts and title lettering in general are the hardest for me right now. Will have a couple of options for my next version – and thank you again for providing input! Honestly, can’t imagine doing all this “in the dark”, without feedback…

      Like

  11. I like it. Good job!
    I did wonder for a minute if this was the same girl as on Sizzle.
    Would turning her face in close to the same position, tie the two together marking it as a sequel?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ it is the same girl, but unfortunately I’m limited in the number of photos of her, wish I could do a special photoshoot for this. May start doing photo shoots in the future…

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  12. Yes, love it, Ana. It would mame me want to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I like how you’ve made this cover similar enough to convey that they are both part of the same series, but the overall look didn’t make me think of India. It actually made me think you were superimposing her head on a medieval portrait, and the title, while sparkly, confused me. I am glad you explained what Indiot stood for otherwise I might not have gotten it. But, I will say that now that I do know what you were going for, I do like the fact the N is a different color than the rest.

    I do love the minimalistic look, but as a reader, it is nice to be able to glance at a cover and see that it is book 2 in a series so that I know I am purchasing the next book or starting the series with the right book.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I should have read further…I love the diamonds. I like the idea of Isa Maxwell Adventure. I love the play on idiot in India. I like the N. It’s all good! So inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Tamara Kulish

    I like the play on words you’re successfully pulling off with the “N” being darker! Great idea! I think you should have a little subtitle, just below the title. I think it will help tie it in to the original book and set it apart as a series! The common thread is seeing the image of the blond gal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Tamara! I will try a few options for my next iteration. It seems to subtitle or not is the only major divide.

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      • Tamara Kulish

        Right? The cover seems a little bare, and as Liz mentioned, some people may feel put off by the word Idiot appearing prominently… The subtitle would visually offset that in one glance! My opinion!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks again, Tamara πŸ™‚ I was also thinking of adding a texture of another photo to the top part – it does look like a background of a stock photo atm…

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      • Tamara Kulish

        “Thanks again, Tamara πŸ™‚ I was also thinking of adding a texture of another photo to the top part – it does look like a background of a stock photo atm…”

        That’s a good point! There’s the veil in front of her with the cute texture on the fabric which definitely evokes a feeling that her experiences in India are a new overlay on her as a person.

        The background texture could be a subtle use of the same little flourish, which could imply she is caught up within the new culture, or you could use a texture to evoke a feeling of where she originally came from which could then show a) her past and b) that she’d feeling caught between the two cultures?

        i know, I know, *chuckle* I’m adding more to your plate!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was going to try something really cool – “double exposure”, where two photographs are merged. Hard to explain, let me see if I can come up with something cool!

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      • Tamara Kulish

        I’m not quite sure I see where you’d be going with that, since I can picture a couple of different scenarios… the one I’m seeing is a couple (or three, just to have an odd number for dynamism!) red toned exposures with say a 40-50% transparency in the background behind her… could look dreamlike… is that something that would fit? You’d definitely have to play with around with your ideas!

        Of course if you get some cool, artistic images going, you could upload them to Fine Art America for sale if they don’t make the cut for a front cover!! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am learning “double exposure” technique in Photoshop – who knows, I might start selling t-shirts!

        Like

  16. Liz

    I’m going to be the minority here, but at first glance, I saw Idiot on Twitter and then Indiot, which would be taken offensively and thus turn me off from buying it. Clueless in India might be something I’d figure out after reading the blurb but with a cover like this, I wouldn’t make it to the blurb and just pass and look at other books. I love your first cover – that was genius – this one, I had no idea it was a sari or veil she’s holding till I looked closer on your blog, but again, first glance on Amazon, with the size of the covers they feature on my webpage and worse, on my phone, I’d see Idiot and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Liz! Thank you for that – I was worried it might be jarring or offensive, so the feedback is very helpful. Is it offensive in general, or because it involves a reference to India? At this point I’m glad the majority found it funny and will take the plunge – if Lady Gaga taught us anything, it’s better to be offensive than safe. I’ll just have to wear my “meat dress” and hope for the best…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Liz

        I come from the Philippines and so colonizers have called us “indios” for having dark skin (among other things) and maybe that’s why it jumped out at me right away – so maybe it’s a cultural and regional thing, and if so, then I might not be the target audience for the book anyway. It’s one thing to be offensive but I think you also need to be careful about the novel being tagged as racist because while the story is referencing misadventures of her stay in India, at first glance, it doesn’t look that way (idiot and india a play on words) – at least to me, someone who is not Caucasian. At the same time, it could be a viral thing for you and sell you thousands of books.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Liz – I’m definitely not making fun of Indians, although she befriends an old Indian guy who is quite a character. It does make me nervous, but at the same time I hope people will see it for what it is – a bizarre comedy. Racist would be if she was painted as superior to Indians, which she is not…but then again, anyone could take offence to anything. I chose her to be blonde, which is a cliche, I was worried at first someone would grill me for it. Instead I got grilled for her not getting more of a punishment in the end. One thing I’ve learned, it’s impossible to write a book everyone will like…

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  17. Wow, I LOVE this.

    I didn’t understand the N until it was explained, but think it would look good when you go forward with your plan for it.

    I like the diamonds from afar (like, my first glance of the cover), but if I were to nitpick, I think it would be better if they were more realistic. Otherwise they look like little light orbs.

    But.. again.. that is just nitpicking. πŸ™‚ Great job Ana!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. olivia barrington

    I like the design very much. I didn’t understand the title because I haven’t been able to finish the book yet but the play on words caught my eye and made me think idiot of course. The top background would look great if you could use the red leather with gold leaf over lay. Or just the red leather look to tie it to the first cover in a subtle way. For Amazon I’d only worry about putting Isa Maxwell series into the written info next to the cover because the picture is to small for anything else. On the paperback put it on the back cover and the spine to connect the books. I like it with just Indiot on the cover. It looks great in rough draft can’t wait for the final cover. I wish you could teach me how you do your covers. Is there something I could get a program to learn how? I love art always painted and drew by hand never did design work on the computer but I want to learn. I’ve heard it’s hard but I’m a perfectionist ,too. I like taking photos but I don’t touch mine up on the computer always felt like it was cheating. I love to take nature shots. Have a bunch of them. This cover will be easier than the first since you know what has to be done. It’ll be perfect as the first! Don’t work too hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Olivia – I will be working on it over the weekend. I use Photoshop and you can get a free month trial (Google Adobe Photoshop). There are tons of youtube tutorials, I’ve learned the basics years ago, but I use tutorials to do fancy stuff. Google “photoshop double exposure” for some examples of the cool things you can do πŸ™‚

      Like

      • olivia barrington

        Thanks for the info πŸ™‚ I’ll check it out!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tamara Kulish

        PS Olivia: If you decide you like Photoshop you can “lease” just that one for $9.99 a month. Way cheaper than buying! The only thing is, if you discontinue your membership and stop paying then you can’t use the software anymore and any libraries of colors and textures go away!

        I use it under this plan since I’ll frequently use it to prepare photos for my blog and to upload to Fine Art America (which is a print on demand site for selling reproductions of artwork and photos.)

        Hope this helps!
        Tamara

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Tamara – isn’t it amazing? I remember when you had to pay a thousand dollars upfront for it…

        Like

      • Tamara Kulish

        Right?! By the time you’d pay off the software it would be hopelessly out of date! LOL! I keep getting the most up-to-date version.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Brave new world, I just love it πŸ™‚

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      • Tamara Kulish

        Me too! It was scary at first, but as with many new things, once you try it you find out it’s not scary at all! *smile!!*

        Liked by 1 person

  19. I love this cover! I dont think you should put β€œIsa Maxwell’s escapades” on the title. It looks great as it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gargi πŸ™‚ I will look at option, plus I can always style an ebook cover differently from paperback – they are viewed at completely different scales.

      Like

    • By the way, since you are in India, I would love to ask you to be my beta-reader (if you are interested, of course). The story is a “fish out of water” one of an idiot girl in India, and I myself have never been there, so would love to make sure that its not offensive. Let me know!

      Like

  20. This would definately catch my eye and I would pick it up or order on kindle. The cover is great, loving the simplicity yet the image is eye catching.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. deniseclaas

    Love the picture!! I thought India Idiot sounded good as a title. But with some creativity, you could make the letters INDIOT shine with the diamonds. The diamonds taken away are harder to read. I don’t know if you are using a special font for this, but could it be fixed by outlining the letters in a color (gold) ? Love the picture!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Denise πŸ™‚ once I work on it with full-resolution photos, I plan to make them shine like real diamonds. I might just take away a couple in the “N”, or maybe none…

      Like

  22. I love the cover. the title made me look twice!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you for visiting my author site yesterday! Seeing your site has been an inspiration and very helpful to me. I’m just getting started with marketing (and learning as I go), but thanks to your helpful blog I feel I have a bit of a jump now.

    Congrats on the book, and I look forward to the sequel release!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for letting me know – you’ve put a smile on my face πŸ™‚

      Hope the blog continues to be useful and interesting – marketing turned out to be a great fun game.

      Like

  24. I love the new cover! I do think you probably need to put a subtitle to let readers know that it’s part of a series, but you could probably do that in a small font that doesn’t detract from the overall effect.

    I have nominated you for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Here is the link: https://susanrobertswriter.wordpress.com/2016/01/30/sunshine-blogger-award/

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I admire your patience Ana as I struggle with graphics software. The mockup looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. This book cover is striking and beautiful. Love the diamonds. They sparkle almost as much as your creative talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: Design for the free cover contest winner revealed! | AnaSpoke.com

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