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I am publishing a number of fantasy and mainstream novels and short stories.
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For this project, I'm requesting a design for my first novel. It's nominally a fantasy, but could also be classified as general fiction - there is no magic. A soldier helps the young prince regain his throne. The title is The King's Sword. The novel focuses on the friendship between the soldier and the prince and the soldier's role as mentor as the prince comes of age. This is the first of a series, and I'd like the cover to be somewhat replicable for an easily identifiable look across the series (and with a number of short stories). Typography is important. I'd like to convey both the past sophistication of the culture along with the less-than-wealthy present. Think Europe after the Plague - a glorious past but currently struggling. The tech level is roughly Middles Ages Europe, so nothing too technologically advanced should be on the cover. I will be initially publishing as an ebook, but may publish as POD as well, so I will need a design suitable for paperback printing (300 dpi, etc). Design elements I'd like to include: Green (title, pattern, trees, something) A sword? Although it's in the title, it's somewhat metaphorical, so creativity with this element is ok. If you use this, the physical sword that would be shown would be pretty used and beaten up, not a royal-looking bejeweled sword. A map? A gorgeous landscape? A crown? Vaguely Asian looking would be nice but not required. Celtic look ok only if done very well and it isn't overwhelming. I do not want the cover to reference a specific culture too strongly. Very stylized is ok (illustration, embossed, woodcarved, woven/tapestry, etc.) - I am open to creative ideas Texture Design elements I do NOT want: A cheesy-looking fantasy dude with ripped clothes A dragon Magic-looking anything A leather-clad woman looking sexy (actually any women at all) Anime-look Fire/explosions/etc. A face, unless it's VERY good (see below) Anything that looks computer generated, cartoony, etc. Covers I like - G. R. R. Martin's series (the ones with texture) the top one here: http://speculativehorizons.blogspot this is pretty much the only cover I've ever seen that has a face on it that I like: http://fantasyhotlist.blogspot.com/ this series has fits nicely together although I don't love the font of the author's name - http://www.orbitbooks.net/wp-conten I like this cover of Captain Alatriste: http://www.amazon.com/Captain-Alatriste-Arturo-Perez-Reverte/dp/B000GFR9O4 and the others in the series with the same style. I also like this one: http://www.amazon.com/The-Nautical-Chart-Arturo-Perez-Reverte/dp/B005K5I20U/ref=tmm_pap_title_1 Text for the front: The King's Sword C. J. Brightley Text for the back to come soon - I'm still working on my blurb. ADDENDUM: <p style="margin-top: 7px; margin-bottom: 7px; font-style: normal; font-size: 13.63636302947998px; line-height: 19.09090805053711px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; ">Overall feedback - it seems a lot of the designs have the title and my name really high or really low, which makes the cover design look kind of oddly proportioned. I'd like for them not to look like they're going to fall off the edge of the book. A frame around the design is one option to keep things looking contained and unified, but I'm definitely open to other ideas as well. <p style="margin-top: 7px; margin-bottom: 7px; font-style: normal; font-size: 13.63636302947998px; line-height: 19.09090805053711px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; ">As far as fonts, I do not want an Old English look or a handwritten scripty type look. I'm leaning toward a more masculine, clean-lined type, but the right script could work. I definitely want some level of texture/embossing/effect on the text so it doesn't just look like type right over the design. It needs to be part of the design, even if it's just that the text color matches something else. <p style="margin-top: 7px; margin-bottom: 7px; font-style: normal; font-size: 13.63636302947998px; line-height: 19.09090805053711px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; ">Several people submitted designs with spines and back covers - that's awesome! I would really like a spine and back cover in the final design, but I understand if these submissions don't have them. I will work that out with the winner at the end. <p style="margin-top: 7px; margin-bottom: 7px; font-style: normal; font-size: 13.63636302947998px; line-height: 19.09090805053711px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; ">IDEAS: The sword in question is somewhat metaphorical, but the one that would be most appropriate on the cover would be basically a broadsword, but well-used and beaten up, not very regal-looking and not bejeweled or anything. A soldier’s sword (yes, despite the title). <p style="margin-top: 7px; margin-bottom: 7px; font-style: normal; font-size: 13.63636302947998px; line-height: 19.09090805053711px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; ">A horse is another design element to work with, but it does not need to be included nor need to be the center of attention. There should not be medieval armor imagery.
If this project goes well and the book sells, I'll probably come back to the same designer for future work.
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