It Figures: By the Cover

Because in the end, you have to show, not tell.

A bit of a departure this week, I’ll be showing you more- and less- than the figures that “figure” in my tales. I freely admit I don’t always have the right one; sometimes it would take more than one anyway. But this is what concerns you- there’s another picture, one that all our readers see before deciding to download our work. Our covers are also worth a thousand words, as they say, and you have to show them this one, like it or not.


My faithful publisher has gone to great lengths to help boost my career; I should have known it was only a matter of time before Katharina Gerlach got around to a digital makeover for my tales. The first two books in my series Shards of Light are on tap today; see what you think.


The Ring and the Flag was the first tale I published online (together with Three Minutes to Midnight, not part of this series). I cobbled together a cover based on a map of the area that Justin, the hero, operates in. I knew it wasn’t professional: but the image in Justin’s mind, of that land igniting in civil war if he failed in his mission, was a good one I thought. And the map itself hinted at some level of detail in the world I was introducing. Enough apology- here it is, and now the new cover by its side.

Ring_and-Flag_2011   Shards of Light I - 259x400Notice several things here. The new copy is better-shaped, looks more like a book cover and less like a poster. Plus, the smokey flavor of the first one, the scorches and brown marks, just failed, full stop.

Big make-overs are easy to see and appreciate. As for the critter in question, it is indeed a gryphon and that is indeed an important part of the plot. Here’s mine:

Created with Nokia RefocusThe hero of this tale, Justin, I’m not going to show you. And I’m not going to tell you why yet either. Suffice to say, the tale continues and there may come a time. It is enough, for me, that I can see him.

With Fencing Reputation, the hero Feldspar presents a different problem. It’s not that his figurine isn’t right. It’s that there are too many of him! But first, the cover-compare.

Fencing_Reputation_2011  Shards of Light II - 259x400

What can you say, right?  The difference is subtle, yet clearly better even before you get to the common elements with the one above (like the Hope symbol in the corner, common type-face etc.)

By exploiting a common feel for the series (two tales still to go in Shards of Light and I’m in love with both covers already!), I hope to raise visibility and bring the story-arc together. Even the color scheme is similar; I think they look like series-covers now.

As for Feldspar himself, the question is, what does he really look like? And the answer: depends what the job is. He is, at some point in a typical week, everyone you see here:

Created with Nokia Refocus


Created with Nokia RefocusI’ll try to stop repeating myself to faithful readers of the series. I used the wooden tray this time for a more natural look, but I think the sheen is actually a bit of a problem. Did not try to add light; maybe I should spring for a good desk lamp like the ones in the Pixar logo. As for the covers, of course Katharina took care of all that and credits the design course she recently took, but I’m well aware of the time and effort, and let’s face it, knack that this work requires. I can stare at a cover all day and my dull brain just says “done”. But when Kat showed me these… I began to pick up on the differences.

Hey, maybe I should get a makeover too? I guess there are limits…  but give me your Created with Nokia Refocusthoughts about the rest of it! And if you’re new this week, welcome and feel free to look back at the previous It Figures entries. I’m hoping they will spur you to some new thoughts about your own writing or reading. What would you expect from these tales, judging by their new covers?

4 thoughts on “It Figures: By the Cover

  1. No, Kat, it was probably twice as much! It’s a skill, face it. The only time I get “the knack” is when I’m searching for 80s albums in the music store.

    1. Anne, it’s fantastic to have you drop by! I’ve always said it’s better to be lucky than good. And man, am I lucky- Katharina’s a wonder. The slow burn is coming to a web screen near you. Slowly, of course…

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