29 January 2012

New Book Cover...to be or not to be?

Once upon a time there was a book called AFTER ILIUM that was not too happy sitting on a shelf, waiting to be discovered. That was common in those days of the late 1990s. Yes, it was the best of times and the worst of times. Books were paper and sat on shelves. To get to an agent or editor they went out in boxes. Then, in summer 2011, the novella known as AFTER ILIUM was crafted into a full novel and offered for sacrifice to the Fates.

That was history--ancient history, ironically. Then came electronic books, a brave new contest and a reading revolution, and inevitably a book cover. I took a deep breath and dove into the Photoshop ocean and tried to swim. I could dog-paddle well enough, but I longed to win Olympic gold. That was not to be. Others assisted me in my cover creations and all was calm. Then a storm whipped up on the horizon, a tempest in a teapot, and blew my book cover away.

So once again, I pulled out my trusty Photoshop and set to work teaching myself everything all over again. The result is that in less than 19 hours I have made a new cover for my novel, AFTER ILIUM. What do you think? It may be bright enough, but does it grab your attention? Especially in a thumbnail form? This is the test for it before I send it out of the nest to fly on its own....


Fantasy Island Book Publishing's own staff artist Ceri Clark created the newest cover, which shall grace  all ebooks and print books from here on out.


Even newer covers made! In response to feedback, I have reduced the "red eye" effect, give Paris some shadow, and popped the title text. This time it only took 2 hours because I still remember how   to do it from a couple days ago. It is better now? (Compare to the previous "new" cover below.)

The old new covers:

front cover

front and back covers
So what do you think? Would you click on this pic? Would you turn it over to read the blurb? Would you buy it after reading the blurb? Would you be scared away by the author's portrait? 

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Here is my Amazon.com author page with links for ebook and print editions of After Ilium.

(C) Copyright 2010-2011 by Stephen M. Swartz. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog, whether text or image, may be used without me giving you written permission, except for brief excerpts that are accompanied by a link to this entire blog. Violators shall be written into novels as characters who are killed off. Serious violators shall be identified and dealt with according to the laws of the United States of America.


  1. Stephen, why not put the existing one up, too, so that people can see them side-by-side?

    I'd question your font choice for this one.

    Isn't Photoshop fun? Addictive.

  2. Yes, frustrating until you reach a threshold of fluency, at which point it becomes addicting.

    I had another font but I changed it to get a capital I with serifs so as not to be confused with the lowercase L.

    The "existing cover" is the problem, hence the need to replace it. I've always liked the red cover, but will tone it down in my remake of it.