Let’s compare some book covers…

Professional book cover.

The main mission of your book cover is to help your book ‘pass’ as a traditionally published book. It doesn’t have to be pretty or have your favorite colors in it. An amateurish cover that’s pretty and has nice colors, but that can’t ‘pass’ as a professional book cover screams ‘self-published.’ You don’t want your readers to know you are self-published (if you are) until they have finished your book and ordered another of your books!

Below (at the bottom) you will find some examples of book covers from writers I know online. Some may be great covers, some not so great. What do the covers signal to you? Would it warn you off making a purchase, or attract you? NOTE: I have no idea whether these covers are professional or built at home in someone’s basement. I judge them just by how they look right now.

The books are:

  1. Deus Vult by Declan Finn
  2.  A Warrior’s Journey by Mar McKeown
  3. Living in Times of Dragons by John A. Pretorius (from Pretoria, South Africa)
  4. The Red Rider by Randall Allen Dunn
  5. Blood Song by Robert Mullin

Now, look at the book covers. Do one or more stand out by being more professional-looking than others? Do one or more stand out by being less professional-looking? Do any of the book covers make you more or less likely to want to buy the book involved? Would they make you look twice at the book lest it be too badly written to finish, or do they reassure you, making you think the author must be writing at a professional level to afford a book cover like that.

Please express your opinion in a comment. Be kind— some of the authors involved may read this post and the comments— but tell what you really feel about the book cover. (I will add my own opinion in a comment when I have generated a few comments.)

Wattpad Ate My Soul this Morning

I had actual plans this morning. My short story ‘The Skin Shirt was ready to be unveiled to the public. Or at least a small group of my Facebook and Twitter contacts. So I logged in to Wattpad, made ready to publish, and pressed the button.

Nothing happened. Repeatedly. I could not publish that story. And so, I decided to unpublish some of my old Wattpad stories. I pressed the unpublish button. More nothing happened.

What I did not do was delete my whole Wattpad account to get my stories down. But it’s frustrating. I actually thought Wattpad would be a great way to get some opinions on some of my writing before I self-published it.

But if it isn’t functioning regularly, if I can’t control whether my stories remain available to the public there, what good is it?

TheSkinShirtMeanwhile I still have the problem of my short story. The picture above is the cover I hastily designed for it on Wattpad. I had planned to get some eyes on the story before I published the ebook version on Smashwords. But Wattpad doesn’t seem to work for that. And I wasted time writing a description of the story on Wattpad that didn’t register. I know, I should have cut-and-pasted the story description somewhere safe. Or written it in advance.

What I wanted out of having my story read was not getting a professional critique. Or even whatever it is that other writers’ beta readers do.

I wanted to know that some human beings (or intelligent alien life forms) had actually read the story. If they felt so inclined to ask a question about it or make a statement (‘That story is peculiar.’ or ‘What medication were you on when you wrote it.’ or ‘It made my eyes bleed.’) that would be good, too.

I’m going to go ahead and work on preparing the story for ebook publication soon. I will be sharing the details about it on my Facebook author page and here on my blog. I hope at least some people will be interested it the story.

Writers: what do you do to find beta readers or just some one who will read your story and maybe react to it? Readers: have you ever been a beta reader/First reader for some writer’s unpublished story? How did that work out?

Creating ‘Book Covers’ for Wattpad Stories


Cover #1

On Wattpad, you are asked to provide a cover for your stories/articles/novels. This is easy if you are posting already-published material for which you’ve already obtained a cover. But what I’m doing over at Wattpad is posting a few poems and articles (my better blog posts), and currently a serialized short story. So I have to create covers.

For ‘Death Untimely’, I made 3 different covers with pictures I took myself. I went to Ribbet.com to get them to the recommended size of 512×800.

Cover #2

Cover #2

I had no plan to create a great artistic cover. Just something that wasn’t too bad. I mean, even novelists who are published by The Big Boys sometimes qwetch about their book covers. And for a little short story I’m making available for free— well, I’m not going to spend money to buy a cover for that. Not when I don’t have any money.

Cover #3

Cover #3

So, what do you think of my three covers? Which do you think I should use? Vote in the comments below. Voting ends this coming Saturday. The story involved is available here: http://www.wattpad.com/61914341-death-untimely-introduction


Are you on Wattpad? I’d love to follow you there. My account is at http://www.wattpad.com/user/NissaAnnakindt I follow back whenever I can. I particularly love finding new Wattpad friends who write Christian fiction (Catholic, Evangelical, LDS or other), especially in the realm of science fiction and fantasy. I also like experimental or minimalist poetry. But I’m willing to try other things for my virtual friends.


Did you know: Baen Books is now on Wattpad with free books? http://www.wattpad.com/user/baenbooks