Book Cover Ideas



So I’ve recently seen some other fantasy writers’ cover art (Aurian and Jin, among others) and it’s got me actively thinking about my own.

I’ve spend the past four years considering this book cover idea, and I’ve had several “THAT’S IT!” moments. To be perfectly frank, if this book were a baby, I’d’ve had two false labors and two botched C-Sections. Yeah. Nothing about this enjoyable piece is coming along smoothly. Actually, I’ve come to think of it more as a Pinocchio than a real boy. I redid that poor boy’s left forearm more times than anything else…

So the title was a really, really long process. The words themselves took half of Mr. King’s so-called million words, and the cover art is no better than anything else. I’m not sure if I have many followers, or watchers, or whatever, still interested in this webpage, but I want to run it by people, and if interested, you could leave your vote on your favorite book cover idea.

The tagline for the book is “Soren has run from his demons all his life, but when a priest begs him for help, he can’t help but take up arms against those in the Astral who would go to war against him. And this time? The demons are real.”

Three sentences. Yeah whatever. Given it’s book one in a series of seven (I like series of seven. I don’t know why.), It’s got a few themes. Titles, for instance. This novel is named “Of Salt and Wine,” because those are the symbols/tools most connected with the evil he fights. Book two is “Of Earth and Blood,” and so on. It’s taken from one of the lines he says in the book, 2/3rds of the way through: “Those of Salt and Wine, I come for you.” Kind of like a war cry, I guess. It was originally called “It Gave Me a Name,” because his darkness, yes, a character, gives him the name of a demon. I liked the rhythm, but it had too many words. People would get confused, I thought, so I strived to be more and more simple in my idea. It perhaps could even end up as “Salt and Wine,” although I absolutely love the “Of” at the beginning, as if it were part of a much larger thought. Which it is.

So the book cover should be as important. I began this project with the idea of a layout of symbols or tools, a la Game of Thrones or Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels. Book one would have a series of thirteen horizontal staves, or several pieces of jewelry, or better yet, a vintage 1800’s tattoo of skulls and vines and whatever the evil looks like. Several experts added their thoughts, stating the best way to sell a fantasy is to depict a scene from the book on the cover, with Magic: The Gathering-esque card art for the cover, similar to the Wheel of Time books. It would most likely have Soren standing in a septagram on the altar of a church while a big read, Diablo-inspired demon pours green liquid into a played priest’s throat. I like those ideas, but I’m thinking a little more traditional. Something I could lay out for all seven books in the series, with small but connective variations. In fact, I’ve already rough-draft finished book two. I’m that serious about this stuff.

So, I’ll run through a handful of ideas. If any single one presents more of a visceral response, please please please say something about it. I don’t mind if you’ve never been here before and are never coming back. I’d absolutely love the feedback.

1) Horizontal (or vertical) staves, all of different woods, straight, like prison bars

2) The “O” of “Of Salt and Wine” being Soren’s personal symbol, while the S of Salt is actual salt and the dot of the i in Wine is actually a goblet of wine

3) The wall of masks Soren has in his home, all looming down

4) A tattoo of Soren’s, laid over polished hardwood floor (he has twelve)

5) The Blackwood Shillelagh, his Modus Operandi for the book and most important item he uses, glowing at the bulb

6) Vintage 1800’s art in the form of a tattoo, possibly using a human or demon skull as the focal point, with dandelion leaves spread out (think this, only inked and not so 3D)

7) Closeup of a man in a suit, tightening his tie, with his sleeve cuff charred or burned or even aflame

8) Closeup of a man in a kurta, signing a mudra, the head of a snake tattoo stretching across his wrist

9) “Evolution” type silhouette, with the four demons, Jack, Olivia, and Soren, walking down the street one behind the other

10) Demon symbol for Ferrulous (circular and striking)

11) Soren at the top of the stairs, wailing at a door half-covered in tar

12) Soren in the septagram, hands up pleadingly, in the classical pose like daVinci and other Reformation artists, toward a demon

13) Soren’s childhood door, half-covered in tar, with Soren’s symbol scratched in chalk

14) A goblet of wine, ringed in salt like a Margarita

15) A man in a top-hat, face obscured, standing off-kilter to a backdrop of brick

16) A man playing chess alone in a park


That’s all I got. Any thoughts? 




8 thoughts on “Book Cover Ideas

  1. I like the idea of the symbol carved in wood- I like the idea even better if you had it commissioned by a wood carver then had it photographed, not simply created in Photoshop. More authentic, deep, resonant, all those elements, plus it doesn’t give away anything, being more like a doorway to the story rather than a snapshot of a scene. (I think a lot of the ideas are good though- like the masks or the words could definitely work well also)

    • We think alike. I’m currently leaning toward that one. Mostly because I have spare doors (who doesn’t?) and aim to misbehave. But at the same time, they all have merit. Thanks for stopping by! How is your neck of the woods?

  2. Chris! Sup!

    So, I’m thinking you could combine a few. The one I lingered on was the man with burnt cuffs adjusting his tie. I just like the contrast between sophistication and raging power. Maybe put him in front of the door, his face obscured, his cuffs smoldering almost to the elbows, the symbols tattooed on his lightly glowing arms. The title burned into the wood and still smoldering red in the shadow like he just wrote it with his finger. Then the masks around him, either in an arc to show a unity against him, or haphazardly to represent their chaos.

    Another idea is to have a close-up of the same burnt-cuffed, tattooed hand pouring the kool-aid or whatever that green liquid was from the goblet. Maybe it floats up instead. Maybe instead of pouring, the lemon-lime is just drifting out so that the title can be inscribed upright in the grail. Then in the background, the demonic symbols, faded so as not to crowd the focus.

    I think just a symbol might be too obscure to draw people in, and turning the title into a bunch of different pictures might be a bit cartoony.

    Yea, it’s better with ‘Of’.

    Hope this helps.

    • Hey Pete! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

      So you want me to focus on the bad guy in the cover. It fits the Protagonist’s personality perfectly to not represent himself on the cover, but the thing he’s fighting against. Love the idea. I’m a little afraid it’ll end up cluttering the cover if I put so much on it, and as difficult as this is for me to say, I don’t want to confuse readers.

      I’ll try and make his muscles tearing out of his shirt, too. So you can see the rage. 😉 Haha

  3. Sorry I’m so late getting to this, but my main comment is: if you’ve got a series going on, and they ‘re all going to be ‘Of ____ and ____’, I totally recommend going with one of the ideas that actually features salt and wine. Keep in mind, you’ve going to want your covers throughout the series to have continuity. For this reason, I’m inclined towards the margarita wine glass idea, or the letters. I’d actually recommend the latter, since it would be easily customizable for all seven covers. Simple, I think, also tends to be better. Remember, a lot of people will be seeing this in thumbnail format, so a lot of detail is going to be lost.

    However. Keep in mind, your cover should tell readers a little bit about what’s going on in your story. Is it depressing, funny, whimsical? A mostly-lettering cover has the virtue of being customizable that way too, depending on font and backdrop. People do judge books based on covers, and you want ’em to at least judge you right.

    • Yeah! You make a really powerful point, and now I’m thinking about it in yet another direction.

      Unfortunately, while he does a lot with both salt and wine, I have very few images in mind that can represent it. It’s more symbols scratched with salt, and a room doused in wine, etc.

      Although I had an epiphany last night, after reading your stuff (I had to mill it over before I replied). At several points he uses chess pieces circled in salt to trap spirits. That’d make a great cover pic, and I can do that for every book in the series. I can also have a blurry scene in the background the alludes to being in a church.

      The gears are spinning. Graci!

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