Book 2 Update – Beta Readers & Cover Art

Good news: The Knave of Souls, Book 2 is in the beta-reader stage!

That means the manuscript is complete, and it is in the hands of a few smart reader/writer types who are giving me feedback. They’re looking for problems¬†of consistency, clarity, engagement, fun-factor, etc. In fact, it is now in the hands of the last beta-reader, and I hope to hear from him next week.

After next week, I hit it with revisions and tweaks, and then it’ll be time for the copy editor. ūüôā

In the meantime, here’s a look at the full cover art, including the wrap-around to the back cover (which is the left half of the painting). The characters on the front cover, from left to right, are Harric, Fink, Caris, and Spook. ūüôā


What’s Your Favorite Style of Book Cover?

Since I may be looking to create covers for my own epic fantasy novels, I am curious what sort of cover¬†the top sellers use, and which my friends prefer. To make the choice easy and define the conversation, I’ve identified four main categories in top-selling fantasy novels:

     1: The Definitive Character Close-up

     2: The Open-ended Character Silhouette / Back View  

      3: Otherworldly Landscape w/ Optional Foreground Figure 

       4: The Fantasy Icon

And below I’ve assembled¬†a collection of¬†thumbnails¬†for each category. (Most of these I gleaned from Amazon’s top 30 epic fantasies — the ones with the “Look Inside” graphic. Those without the graphic are from B & N and Kobo.)

1¬† ‚ÄstDEFINITIVE¬†CHARACTER SHOT¬†¬†(single figure, close-up to medium shot)



       + clear, definitive view of character

       + simple and uncluttered (good for thumbnail)

       + can include action and dramatic hooks 

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†– leaves little of character’s appearance to imagination

       Рdefines race*

*I suspect¬†covers that don’t define the race of the main character–that leave race ambiguous–may appeal¬†to¬†a wider readership.



The Broken Eye (Lightbringer)              


       + some setting, fairly simple, high contrast good for thumbnail

       + leaves character appearance and race to imagination

       + can have action and dramatic hooks

       Рabsence of face / fewer details of appearance may provide fewer emotional hooks


3) OTHERWORLDLY  LANDSCAPE  (long shot, optional lonely figure(s) in foreground)



       + inspires dreams of fantasy setting, defines nothing of character appearance

       Рprovides no emotional hook via characters, action or drama


4) ICON COVER   (thematic emblem only )



¬† ¬† ¬†+ defines nothing¬†of¬†character appearance or even setting — the true black box cover

     Рprovides no emotional hook via characters, action, drama, or setting




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