Please help me redesign the covers for Isa Maxwell series – including the third book!

First of all, sorry for the Rafflecopter giveaway starting later than I expected – forgot that it’s in the US. If you’d like to go into a draw to win a $20 Amazon gift card, please enter here.

Now, about the cover design – I’d like to thank everybody who’s helped me along the evolution of Shizzle, Inc Inc cover. I just had a look at the first mock-ups and some developmental milestones along the way, and I can’t believe how much the cover has changed. I did not have a clue at what I was doing, and thanks to you, I keep getting comments on Twitter that people have bought Shizzle, Inc based on just the cover alone.

I love that cover, and the one for Indiot, but the problem is, they don’t look like they belong in a series:

FINAL COVER September 5  FINAL Indiot Kindle cover revised necklace

That’s a problem because my marketing strategy is now relying on pushing the free first book in the series, in hopes that people get hooked and buy the second, and the third when I get to write it.

So this is what I’m thinking of doing instead, and by the way – meet the mock up for the third book in the series! I’ve decided to do a mock up of all three books at once, to see immediately how they will look next to each other. The new idea is to take the rip effect seamlessly across the entire series. In each book, Isa is on top, at the same scale, and at the bottom is the antagonist threatening to ruin her life.

What do you think about these versions? Version A has different title fonts and backgrounds, and version B has the same fonts and background across all three covers.

VERSION A:

All three books together

VERSION B:

All three books together same font

In addition, I would appreciate the input on:

  1. Author name font and size
  2. Series name font and size.
  3. Font for Shizzle, Inc – I will update the rip, and want to update the font, too.

Thank you in advance for your help! To return the favor, I plan to stage another free cover design giveaway shortly, so please stay tuned!

74 Comments

Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

74 responses to “Please help me redesign the covers for Isa Maxwell series – including the third book!

  1. I like VERSION A best. But I think you need to think about how you can display your name so that it shows up properly on all three covers. For instance, on Indiot, because the lettering for you name is white, it doesn’t show up very well against the white material on her clothing. Also, where you’ve got the Isa Maxwell’s Escapades Book 1, the words are not easy to read with the window frames there. Perhaps the solution to both your name and the Series info, is to use a contrasting background colour for the layer containing the letters (if this is possible — I’ve yet to learn to do layering that works!).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sarah – I will try to find a different font that stands out better. Personally, I don’t like it when there is a layer under the words – unless it is clever and works with the design. Not when it’s done just so that you can see the letters better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Raychel Rose

    Version A!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love option B for it’s continuity, and that swipe of red that draws your eye right to the title. You’re doing great!! Such an inspiration, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, Ana

    I personally like the rip on the original AND the script font, but I can see where that script would become detracting on all three…and script fonts vary too greatly to combine.

    I prefer the consistent colouring on style B, they just “flow” when the colours are the same. Is there a way to find 2 more fonts that would complement the script?

    I still prefer the original rip (small start, to larger tear), if there was a way to carry it over across all three; but if I HAD to choose just one, as is, I’d raise my hand to “B”.

    Sorry, but the vastly different colour tones in “A” just don’t say, “One of a Series” to me.

    Just mu humble opinion. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Pearl! I really liked the shape of the rip in the original, too – especially because I had comments that it beckons people to open the book. Unfortunately, it didn’t look great when I put three of them next to each other. I will be playing with the rip shape more today, to make sure that each individual cover looks good on it’s own. I will post an update with better fonts in a day or two.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tamara Kulish

    I prefer version A but I’m not sure if having different fonts will work best? I don’t like the font in version B so that’s pushing me to choose version A! I love your concept!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is just my 2 cents, but I prefer Version A. Although they are part of a series, which it clearly reads, it still gives each book it own identity.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Ana. I think using the same fonts would help people connect the three books (together with the rip effect) although I find typography very complicated. I agree that your name is not easy to read in the second book due to the background colour of the dress. I’m not sure if a single colour would work in all of them (unless it was something quite bright… ) A word of warning. I’m terrible at visuals and my understanding of design is… let’s say limited…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Olga – I appreciate your input as a reader! Designers might argue till they’re blue in the face, but it’s the reader that ultimately decides whether or not to click on the thumbnail 🙂

      Like

  8. I love the sweep of red in B, but name is getting lost on your covers. The girl in the middle of B needs a bit of a touch up. Her hair looks strange against the orange/red sky. The skin tone looks darker in the middle and last covers than in the original. Background on the third one doesn’t look quite right. Neither does the hair. The background’s the same, top to bottom. The first book isn’t. The middle book’s lower half is kind of confusing. Is that a road or a torso in the pic? I love the idea of making the books look like they should go together. Great start!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Juli – this was a mock up, so the execution was “quick and dirty” – once I decide on what to do, there will be more hours perfecting the images 🙂

      I will try to find a different background for the third – it makes it look like a military adventure, whereas it will be in a setting where you wouldn’t expect that. Will try to find a different Indian woman, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The new designs are great! Definitely version A for me, with your name in a bigger, bolder, heavier font in a contrasting colour, and the series name in the same font and colour. If you used a colon and then the series number instead of Book #, you could enlarge the series font without going onto an extra line. That’s my two cents, anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Liz – great tip on the colon and number! I hate writing out “book 1”, makes it feel gimmicky.

      I agree with everyone, font for my name and series needs to be a lot heavier and larger. Off to Font Squirrel…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Version A caught my eye first, not just because it was on top, but I think the eyes travel to things that are different before things that are the same.

    Like

  11. I agree with a lot of what Sarah has said. My first comment was going to be about making your name more visible on the Indiot cover where it’s getting lost at the moment.

    I also prefer the A version. I think this is largely because I love the jewelled lettering for Indiot which picks up the sparkle you have in the title lettering n Shizzle, Inc. If there were a way of carrying this through to the final title font for book 3 that would be great.

    I love the idea of the rip carrying across the front of the 3.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Claire! The most important thing is that I’m now convinced that redesign and carrying of the rip across was a good branding move! I might try some other combinations, like keeping red the same, but font of the title different, etc…

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I may be in the minority in preferring the red rip. I strongly agree with everyone who has pointed out that the text is really hard to read, both at the top and at the bottom, and especially in the middle cover. I also agree with Juli that the bottom half of the middle book is hard to make out. I’m not quite sure what it is. I like your female model: great pics!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – actually, it looks like a slight majority prefers consistent red rip. I might need to separate them and look at each one individually now. Totally agree that the author font does not work. Question is, which one to choose…

      Like

  13. Version A has a more engaging image but version B for the continuity, but with a more distinctive font – I love the red rip!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Suggestions Ana:
    I like Version B – red strip – but try the original font (in white) from your current book, bolder if possible (the A & B version fonts are unexciting by comparison) – increase your name size to be at least 1.5 larger (or 1.5 across X 2 high if possible) – try the sunset colours for your name on INDIOT until you find one that works for THAT book, keep white or silver for Shizzle and the third book.
    The tear with red under and white edges branding is YOU! 👍

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I really like version A. The color differences in the tear set them apart, while the covers themselves bring them together; sort of a “same but not the same” feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree with Chris (although I do like the sparkles of book 2 in version A) .I do love the direction you’ve gone for these. They do feel like more of a series now.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I like version B best – it has clear continuity with the same colours and type face etc. The only thing I’d change is making your name at the bottom bigger, so it’s more noticeable on a thumbnail image. Also, it needs to be clearer on the middle image, as it’s quite hard to make out against the colour of the costume.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I like A better. I feel that the different fonts work with the covers better. However I would change the font color of your name on Indiot, it’s hard to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. @ana The other commenters have said most of what I’d have said – the two things I’d like to bring out are:

    Textually you have three elements – at the top the series name & number, the book title in the centre and your name at the bottom – my concern is your name – which is really the BRAND – is not getting the prominence it needs to. Also, the series name & number makes the entire thing up top quite busy. The Sydney Rye series by Emily Kimelman handles this very nice IMO https://www.google.com/search?q=rye+mystery+dog

    You also have three visual elements – the top pic (nice blond with diff background), the rip (Prefer B) in the middle and the bottom enemy – that IMO is just too many (6) elements on a cover. (the buff guy in book 3 is too broad relative to the other books).

    Of course finally A/B tests work best – you can try such free tests at Usability Hub’s http://fivesecondtest.com/

    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – I completely agree that the author name font needs to change, it’s just the choosing process that’s giving me the heebie-jeebies. I like the example you’ve suggested, in my case it would be “an Isa Maxwell Escapade”, but I still need to let people know in which sequence to read them, as they are not stand-alone. I’m also doing this on Twitter and KBoards – lots of comments, and most importantly, people seem to pick up on the same things.

      Like

  20. Hi Ana,

    I love the rip across all three being red (as in B), but I think that the individual fonts for each title (as in A) are better and more eye-catching for each book. (There are enough linking factors already so don’t sacrifice the individual titles font to it as well.)

    I think your name at the bottom needs to be slightly bigger (you have a short name so make the most of it – it will become your brand), and put a thicker contrasting outline around the letters so it stands out no matter what colour the background.

    Likewise the series title across the top – an appropriate outline on the letters so it doesn’t get lost in the background. With each new book you can do subtle changes to the colour and thickness of the outline to make it stand out and it won’t detract from the overall effect of looking familiar.

    Best of luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Susan! Choosing fonts is the worst part of the experience for me…I might need to change the indian woman in a sari at the bottom of Indiot, maybe it will help. Some people thought it’s a road, haha! I will have to find a chunkier font – Trojan is beautiful, but too delicate.

      Like

  21. tghuguenin

    Version A for sure if you ask me

    Liked by 1 person

  22. tghuguenin

    Actually let me change that–the fonts on Version A are my favorite, but I think you should stick with the red background under the rip

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I personally prefer Version A – thematically cohesive but with enough variety to keep them visually interesting. I agree with an earlier comment that adapting your author name to be more visible will be valuable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Fiona – I will definitely put more thought into the author font. For the rip, I’m thinking of maybe red for all, but unique title fonts for each. Will see how it looks in the mockup, that’s the only way to tell.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. olivia barrington

    I’d say here’s my two cents worth on this but I think my ideas are worth at least five dollars. To start version A is on the right track. If you go back to what was under your original tear it was a red leather book cover under the paper one. That story is finished and Isa is off to another country on a total different adventure and a whole different story which is book two and should have a whole paper cover of it’s own and the cover under the tear. The actual tear and the nemesis under neath will be what is universal about all the covers but you need a different paper book cover and have it different under the tear on each one to show this is another chapter (ha,ha) in her life and that’s it’s a new book. This way you can make the cover you want instead of planning the cover around the red in the tear so that it doesn’t look out of place. Isa is colorful girl to say the least and the cover should convey this to the reader. The font should flow with each cover not be the same on each cover because it might look out of place on one and perfect on another. Just have the series title say the same thing along with your name. The series name should just contain Isa Maxwell’s Escapades followed by the number or just leave off the number and put it on the spine and the back cover. Everybody knows it is a book… I personally don’t even like the number after the series name, looks tacky. You do still need to make your name stand out somehow, really you do and you have the perfect name to do so. I’ve said it before do something with the O in Spoke like putting a diamond in it with Indiot. Or make the N and the O in contrasting colors and the others same color. Imprint your name in their brain!!! On Shizzle’s cover the shading in the tear should stay, that was crucial to the cover, it let everyone know that was a paper cover and a hard back leather was underneath. Don’t play to much with perfection or you’ll mess it up. Remember how many compliments you received? Now make the other covers just as unique and memorable as the first, not the same, because Isa is NOT a generic copy that plays over and over. She is one of a kind and so are her escapades! I have a few more thoughts but I will shut up for now. This all comes from the heart and a someone who admires your work. A lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thank you, Olivia – I’d say five dollars each 🙂 I was just thinking that I forgot to drop shadow from the rip – I will definitely do that. Couldn’t agree more that each cover should be a bit unique as well – I will have to just make more and more mock ups and see which one starts to “sing.”

      I personally hate “Book X” myself, that’s why I didn’t put it on to begin with – but that’s sort of a standard. I might go back and look at some famous series for inspiration.

      I will have to stop at one point, but I do think this is going in the right direction…and thank you again 🙂

      Like

  25. Hi Ana, I think you’re a very talented artist. Someone may have already mentioned this, but have you looked at other series within this genre and compared your covers with theirs. The first two series that came to my mind were Hunger Games and Game of Thrones. Obviously, not the same genre, but even with Outlander, all of the books within the series have the same font type and maybe even font size. Plus, the author’s names are printed in MUCH larger font sizes on the covers. I would recommend checking out these series as good examples. But I do like the page rip that ties your three books together in Version B. Good luck! I think your covers will turn out great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Taara! No, I have not looked enough, to tell you the truth. I did look at Hunger Games, and that one actually bucked the trend – not too matchy. I will definitely make author name stand out more. Enough with the wallflower!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi Ana, first off I’d like to say I think you’ve done a fantastic job at designing these covers – they look great. I’ve also just downloaded Shizzle, Inc and I can’t wait to get stuck in, so thank you very much.

    My twin sister and I are both graphic designers by trade, as well as aspiring authors by night, so I’d be more than happy to help you out with this.

    I’d say that although all the individual covers in version A are well done – good pairings of images, colours and fonts, version B as a set is much stronger. When you look at these three side by side it is obvious they belong in a series. I think using the same font in on all covers works well. I also think using the same red rip is working nicely too, although I think the colour could be variable across the three if you stick with the same font throughout.

    Regarding the author name and font size – for an eBook I would suggest going as big and readable as looks comfortable, without taking away too much from the title. This is so it can be seen when people view it as a thumbnail. It is getting lost a bit on Indiot and could do with beefing up a bit, after all people will be buying the story because it has been written by you.

    I hope this is helpful, and I’m always happy to offer technical advice/help out with anything if you need it! Again, you’ve done an amazing job with both the design and writing. Well done, an inspiration.

    Rebecca – one half of Twincreatives.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I’d go with the A covers, mostly because the rattly font you use in B is pretty hard to read.

    I would rethink the choice of author font color on “Indiot”. You nearly lose the author’s name in the color of the garment.

    I would also blow the author font up a bit.

    You might blow the subtitle up a bit – but it might too darned long to make it worth blowing up.

    Other than that, it looks great. The covers say “fun chicklit” and demand to be grabbed.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Version B looks more like a series. You should make your name stand out more though. I do definitely think you should update the rip a bit. It makes the book stand out but could be a bit better.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Hi Ana, sorry if this feedback has already been mentioned…I like option B–the red slash is eye-catching and indicates its a series. One font for title would further add to consistency i.e. Caps or lowercase; same colour. I also wonder if your name should be at the top and the series name at the bottom? And again, a consistent font and colour for your name, and for the series name (whether the same as your name or something different). Your placement choice (of title, series name, and author) is on point! Hope this makes sense. Thanks for the opportunity to consider book covers! All the best 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Hi Ana, I think on Indiot and the third title your name is hard to read. I think version B is better in that the fonts and tears are consistent. However, just my opinion, I like the font you’re using on Shizzle, Inc. currently. I think it fits the genre more than Versions A and B above. Hope this helps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  31. I really really like the version of Indiot where the name is made as a necklace (new version that’s not rip like) I think if they all looked similar to that it would make me as a reader more interested in the book as the cover is soooo aesthetic 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Rebecca! I loved that cover, but unfortunately will give it up – it seems that a “series” look is the way to go. I will post a near-final version soon, would love your comments then.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Ana~~It would be great if your name was larger and in bolder print.

    Liked by 1 person

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