Book cover – final say

Images on Cover 4 and Cover 5 are product photos from the fabulous Etsy shop The Twisted Screw. Used with permission.

 

Top 100 sex blogger 2013
Some readers have reported issues with the slideshow, so adding the images in order here. Click to see a larger version.

I sourced some different artwork because I wasn’t happy with the stock photos in the previous lot of covers. See, I mentioned ‘useless perfectionist dithering’ didn’t I?

So I’m asking for your opinion on which you like best AGAIN (I included the two top-rated covers from the previous poll, so if you still like those best, you can hit that vote button again and mutter “FFS, I already DID this!!”).

I know, I know, JUST GET THE FRIGGING THING OUT ALREADY AND STOP BOTHERING US ABOUT IT FERNS, GEEZ!

In case you missed the description from my last poll: The book is an anthology of play stories from this blog: Vignettes of BDSM play that run the gamut from sweet, heart-melting little exchanges to intensely hot pain play.

I want the cover to convey a female dominant/male submissive dynamic while avoiding anything too ‘stereotypical femdom’. I also want something that will engage the interest of a casual browser on Amazon.

[Poll is now closed – results available here!]

 
 

Comments welcome.

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48 Comments

  1. I have voted for number 5 BUT ( and this is not going to help you one little bit) I am not very keen on any of them. The drawings just don’t look right and in the first one for a brief moment I thought that he had some kind of grotesque tongue problem until I relised it was meant to be her thumb. The pendant seems a bit ‘Femdom’ to me and you say you want to avoid that, the shirt stays are definitely the best one but my hubby didn’t know what they were (he never wears a proper shirt!) and thought they were those tags you use in your veggie garden to label your seedling (huh?) and the final one, well, slightly too ‘Femdom’ again and maybe a tad tacky.

    *sigh… Do you hate me now? *does worried face

    I hope not, only trying to be helpful.

    Mollyxxx

    1. “the shirt stays are definitely the best one but my hubby didn’t know what they were (he never wears a proper shirt!)”

      This makes a lot more sense than what I was thinking.

    2. Thanks Molly. And no, no hate (as if!)!

      I really appreciate hearing what you think.

      After I’ve looked at about a gazillion images, I lose the ability to see them objectively, so fresh eyes are most welcome.

      Ferns

    3. Definitely agree re: the drawing. I stared at it for a good 5 seconds going WTF? You NEED a cover that people will get at a glance as their scrolling down a search list.

      Same issue (sorta) with the 4 & 5. Someone searching on Amazon isn’t going to be able to read the test on the search thumbnail, so cover won’t give them a clue what the book is about it.

      7 I think is good, yeah it look ‘femdom’ but it isn’t horridly stereotypical or cliched. And the thumbnail size is perfectly clear.

      1. *laugh* “WTF?”

        Good point about the thumbnail (though the collar stays are readable down to about 105 wide, so should be okay from that perspective).

        Thanks for your thoughts!

        Ferns

  2. Is b0rked for me from the main page I’m afraid (both Firefox and IE). There’s 28 things to select when looking at the image. Of the 7 available when I click on the ‘leave a comment link’ and come through to here, then it has to be image number 5.

    But none of them do a good job of expressing all three of the key nouns in the tagline at the same time: love, passion and domination.

    1 & 2 & 3 = passion (+ maybe some scheming & possible betrayal & … ‘cuckolding’?)
    4 = domination
    5 = maybe love, maybe passion, plus domination
    6 = passion and domination
    7 = love and passion

    Sorry I don’t have a more positive answer. They’re all kinda good, but none of them really do justice to the all of the elements involved in the kinds of relationships you’ve talked about with considerable skill and awesomeness here.

    On the plus side, Australia are winning the ashes.

    But on the other hand, I hate ‘sports’.

    Humbug?

    1. “Shabby Arse”… *laugh*.

      Thank you so much for letting me know there was a problem. I think I’ve sorted it now (but I’ve put a summary image up just in case! Paranoid now!).

      And yes, getting all of the elements in is really tricky, plus I’m not artistic myself, so trawling the internet for images that I like (and that I can find the owner of and that I can get permission to use and that don’t cost a bomb… phew!) has been a trial.

      I really appreciate your feedback.

      “But on the other hand, I hate ‘sports’.”

      I hear ya! Though I still take the opportunity to gloat about it with people who actually care. Because… fun!

      Ferns

      1. Yeah, it’s all working fine for me now. That’s a commendable level of redundancy too. *nodding*

        Oh, and I’d like to change my vote. Am I allowed to change my vote?

        While I unsurprisingly had no-idea what collar stays were, I liked five because it tried to cover all the bases, and I’m a sucker for the romance-y angle. However … I’d like to change my vote from ‘5’ to ‘6’. And here are the becauses:

        – Six is sexy, and sex sells

        – Six unquestionably stresses the “woman in control” angle

        – Six has strongly contrasting colours and easily identifiable imagery which will be crucial to getting noticed, especially on a site like Amazon (as Jess Mahler wisely pointed out)

        – Bright red is a colour that people are drawn to as an indicator of sexual arousal and readiness (I read an anthropology book once, and it made me feel clever)

        – There’s something about the stiletto heels penetrating the handcuffs that sort-of subverts ideas about sexual power and control. It doesn’t quite say “Gonna peg you, boy!”, but does allude to some kind of power exchange.

        So while 6 doesn’t really convey the emotional attachments and, dare I say it, tenderness that you talk about here, it *is* eye catching and does a good job of reinforcing the “Domme” of the title while stirring the imagination. And importantly, I think, it doesn’t use sexy young models ‘faking it’ who might alienate ‘normal’ people and actually make them disengage.

        Yes, six seems a little generic but that might actually be useful in crossing over to the mainstream.

        So …. six, I say.

  3. Cover 1: Font is pretty and stylized, but also, *way* too common (I think it’s called Dear Joe Hand or Dear Joe Four? If I can recognize a stylized font and remember its name, it’s too common).

    Cover 2/3: I like the font — it’s classy and doesn’t too like too many other sex-blogger-turned-book-author fonts.

    Cover 4: The tag necklace looks like something a female would wear — nothing wrong with that, but a reader who might be unfamiliar with you might think it’s F/f stuff?

    Cover 5: My favorite image of them all, but I don’t love the font.

    Cover 6/7: The images seem too cliche… and you are anything but a cliche.

    I kinda want to see image 5 with font 2/3. (sorry, I’m not helping, am I?)

    And I’d have to see it laid out (it could be awful), but I wonder what a typewriter style font would look like with image 5? It might echo the font on the metal stamping (which might be great, but also might be too much repetition). Thinking something like Special Elite?

    I’m sure you need way more choices right now, amirite? :)

    1. *laugh* Yes! I need MOAR choices so I can dither about forever!!

      Seriously, I really appreciate your thoughtful advice, thank you so much for it!

      I will have some more of a play with the fonts – I’m glad you pointed me to a particular one to try. Fonts man… sooo many fonts!!

      Ferns

  4. 3, 4, or 5!

    If I had to narrow that down (as I did for the vote) I’d say 4. I know it says “mistress” but it also has a little heart on it and it looks really adorable to me. Second choice would be “You belong to me” on #5 (though I, too, assumed garden plot markers, lol)…my only worry with that is that it’s a very common phrase. But if you are trying to draw in people who might not give a more obviously BDSM cover a second look, that might be a plus?

    I like the heels and cuffs one too, though that’s going more for symbolism. Might let the reader know they’re in for more of the pain play, I guess.

    1. Thank you!

      It is fun to see your thought process (because I was essentially doing something like that with *all of the images on the internet* to get to this point *laugh*).

      I really appreciate your input.

      Ferns

  5. Number 4. I changed from 7 in the last poll.

    I think 4 has the best photo of the bunch. I never liked the stock photos much. The new photo does not really work for me either. Something about the thumb in his mouth is not right. I do recognize the collar stays, but like the neckless better, mostly because it is a simple clean image that fits well on the page.

    As a smut consumer, I would not be distracted by the fact that it is a neckless. The title is all I would need to look further and the message on the neckless is kind of sweet too once you look further.

    For me, the most important aspect of the cover is that it look professional and well laid out. The actual image is not as important. Cheap production values suggests a cheaper product to me and I am less likely to “look inside.” And once they look, they’ll be hooked I’m sure.

    As suggested by others, you could probably trade out the font for 2/3 or 7, but my favorite cover art is number 4. Hope to see the finished product soon.

    -L

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful opinion.

      I agree with you about the ‘professional’ thing, and honestly, to me, the heels/handcuffs one is the one that squarely hits that mark for me, so I’m a little biased towards it because of the polish of it (vs the actual image).

      P.S. if you were neckless you wouldn’t be able to wear that necklace *snigger*

  6. 6 followed by 5 for me the drawing needs purging with fire it just looks bleah, it’s a good enough drawing just not a book cover IMO ( which is the only one that really matters!)

    Coug

  7. My Two Cents:

    I’m SO glad you’re re-opening this can of worms because I thought the last round of covers were pretty cheesy.

    So, I’m totally nixing #7, and #6 looks like it could be that she’s the one getting cuffed and we don’t need to confuse the kink-curious public anymore than they already are.

    #5 has collar stays and as another commenter pointed out, no one knows what those are anymore.

    #4 is great, but according to your whims – I mean stipulations – it’s too “stereotypical femdom.”

    So that leaves #1-3 which is good, because it’s a pretty hot picture. I’d dismiss #1 because the font is too hard to read quickly, i.e. when browsing casually. So that leaves #2, and #3, and I picked #3, not sure why.

    Good luck!

  8. Interesting choices. The image in the first three is a bit hard to recognize at first, and the second has something going on with the guys nose that looks like a bugger. But once you get it clear that her thumb is in his mouth, that is one very erotic image and I keep going back to it. It draws me like a moth to a flame.

    So I would say that the image in the first three evokes the feeling that I think you are trying to get, at least for me. And the font and picture size in number 3 are balanced the best to my eye, so I would say number 3 is my first choice.

    The collar and tag is nice, but does not stir up passion for me and seems a bit sterotypical of D/s, but a very nice simple composition.

    I think most will not get the collar stiffeners, so it will not evoke the feelings and desire to read that you are after.

    I think the second choice for me would be the heels and cuffs. Dramatic composition, colorful, eye catching. It also makes me want to pick the book up and read it.

    You are doing a good job of teasing us and building suspense….

  9. Checking this morning and my vote got counted, but my comment didn’t make it. Anyway, I like number 2 the best. Followed by 3 and then 1… Hope that helps.

  10. I hit 4 as my first choice. I think it is the most clear, is sweet & sexy.

    I like 1 as well though. It is easily readable as a small icon (which is what people will see on Amazon first) – and it is hot. The comments on the drawing itself are overly critical, in my opinion.

    The collar stays are great, but not D/s ENOUGH to show what your stories will represent. (and yes, I knew what they were as I just bought some for my slave – too bad I didn’t see that Etsy shop first!)

    MistressKimm

  11. I like the image of 1-3 the best and of those three I like #3 because you can clearly tell that’s her fingers in his mouth and hand on his face; she’s also the focus, not him. So many romance novel covers have the woman looking away in passion being held by the hero who’s looking directly out.

    I also like the font and the fade at the top – it’s a bigger picture (literally) and it’s the one that gives the biggest punch.

    I don’t #4 because I actually really dislike that style of jewelery and #5, the collar thingies, well, most women won’t know what those are — see? I don’t even know what they’re called (and lets be honest, mostly women read erotica).

    #6 and #7 are too obvious :)

    Good luck choosing! You’ve gotten great feedback!

  12. Ferns my dear (you just know I’m about to pontificate here don’t you ?) have you considered asking someone on Deviant Art http://www.deviantart.com/ to do your cover? There’s some very good artists on there who would probably do it for a nominal fee or even free just to get it out there

    Coug

    1. I WILL zap you with the cattle prod!!

      OF COURSE I DID!!

      *sigh* Those posh artistes mostly did not return my emails at all. They obviously do not want the fame and fortune that being associated with a dirty porn book will bring them!!

      Ferns

      P.S. For the record, the words ‘dirty porn book’ did not ever leave my fingertips when I communicated my desire to use their lovely art.

  13. First off, I’m just going to mention that I liked the first set of covers better. To *me*, they had a better, more visual display of female power. This lot is just a bit too generic. That said, I voted for No. 7 because it was more like the previous lot.

  14. Hi Ferns,
    I have to preface my comment with my preference, like Tom before me, for the first set, and #1 in particular. However, it is your book! So, if I can no longer cling to the past, I do like where my imagination goes with the new#5… I just don’t quite know what the words are written on, popcicle sticks?
    .

    1. Okay, now I went back to the other comments and got an education on what the heck collar stiffeners look like. I still like the words and that does have my vote (I just don’t like images 1-3, sorry), but the imagery is a bit obtuse.

    1. *laugh* I CAN change it once it’s up, so there’s that. Maybe I will do ‘special editions’ for limited periods.

      But wait! How much would you expect to pay for this special edition with Ferns nude on the cover??!!

      Don’t answer because you also get these great steak knives…!!

      Ferns

  15. I really like the image from 4 & 5. Though I would like it more if it were dog tags. I may or may not have a slight fetish for military things! But I don’t care for the font. I like the font from 2 & 3. Also, the image in 1 & 2 looks like 2 women to me. Though I suppose it could also be a very femme boy.

  16. This is so obvious. #6 is it. Stands out in a heartbeat. It’s RED. That’s what they make prominent on stoplights. Appeals to both sexes. Collar Stays? Have to think about the meaning before I “get it.” “I belong…” doesn’t stand out from the pack on the shelf. The man/woman photo is so expected and posed and “stock.” The pencil drawings look cheap and unappealing. Red heels and cuff. Now, “Just do it” as Nike says.

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