Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Karma Covers: 2016

The focus of this post begins where the last post left off. I'm going to look at the changes I've made to Karma Crossed over the years. One of the difficulties I've had with this cover is that there were so many elements I've always wanted to integrate into it. The main character Jonah -who is sort of a superhero- seemed obvious. So did the '68 Dodge Charger, a vehicle which in my humble opinion is worthy of a thousand covers. But then there were the other elements.

This story, after all, is a supernatural urban fantasy. It involves witches and werewolves and magic; all the usual stuff you find in urban fantasy, plus a heavy dose of Christian/pagan mythology. Plus monsters, magic, beautiful women, and a little bit of a mystery. So where to start?

My first Karma cover was an obvious Photoshop job (or to be more accurate, a Gimp job) with simple fonts and images. I don't think it was a terrible place to start. In fact, if I'd been a little more experienced I can think of a few things I may have done to greatly improve this cover. Even so, I never was really happy with it.

So I moved on to some different stuff:

This time, I went all out. Crazy fonts, bright colors, fiery yin-yang symbol in the back, and a full-on 3d rendering of the main character. Unfortunately, a lot of good ideas combined into a cover where everything sort of went wrong. The worst part, in my opinion, is Jonah. The model never did look quite right, nor did the lighting. I still think the fonts are cool, but it would have been best to follow the old rule of using only one fancy/exotic font per cover. This cover is a perfect example of why that rule is so strictly adhered to.

Moving on... this variation on the previous version has a bit more to offer. I did a better job with the fonts and the beautiful witch front and center is certainly eye-catching, although far from perfect. Unfortunately, all the bright colors are eye-catching, too. The reds, oranges, and yellows are just overwhelming, and the contrast that was meant to make the cover pop in small sizes becomes blinding at full size. The result is that the fonts just sort of disappear. They're actually hard to read. The cover would have been better without Jonah and the car, also. Too much clutter.

Which brings us to my latest attempt.

This time, I toned down the colors as well as the clutter. I started with a whole new concept; something simple but subtly conflicted: an angel with black wings and a tattoo of a cross. The idea here is to raise lots of questions and entice readers to take a closer look.

The angel's posture implies a sense of deep thought, or possibly remorse or anger. The color of his wings and his tattoo both imply that he is a bad angel... or maybe a good angel who's misunderstood? Hopefully, the reader will feel compelled to delve deeper into this story and find out what the symbolism is all about. Also, you might notice that I've retained a couple very important elements from earlier versions. The cross is still there, but so is the yin-yang symbol. Trust me, it's there. Can you find it?

I like the new cover a lot, but I'm not sold on it one hundred percent. I think there might be better fonts, for example, but I just haven't been able to find them. But even as it is, I think this is going to be a lot more accessible for the average reader who's looking for a supernatural-type urban fantasy.

In keeping with the update, I've also done a minor revision to remove a lot of the profanity. I had forgotten (or maybe never really noticed) how much cursing there was. That's not unusual in this genre, so I suppose I was probably just following the lead of others who came before me. Reflecting back on it, I really don't see any reason so much profanity is necessary. Not that I get deeply offended by it, but... how can I explain it? I've written before about how swearing is really just using a crude version of another, more socially acceptable word. It's silly to be offended by one word and not another if they both have the same meaning. But some people are, and because of that, other people enjoy using profanity. They do it so they can watch the offended party squirm. And when a writer uses too much profanity, that's how it comes across. Like he just wants to offend somebody. Whether it's true or not, it doesn't matter. If it pulls readers out of the story, it's bad. One of the most important rules of writing is that the author should be invisible. Get out of the way and let the readers enjoy the story. So, to that end, I've cleaned the book up a little.

I've also redone the blurb, which I'll post below. If you already own this title you should be able to update your cover by deleting it from your device (but not your account!) and then re-downloading. If you don't own it yet, Karma Crossed is back in the Kindle lending library. You can borrow it for free if you have Amazon Prime, or you can wait for it to go on sale. I'll try to post a notice here when that happens. Or, you could just buy a copy. It's only $2.99, and that ain't bad for over 300 pages of witches, werewolves, and fallen angels. It's also available in paperback!

There are angels and demons. Then there are those caught between.

There are Angels and Demons. Then there are those caught between...

In the battle between heaven and hell, those trapped in the middle suffer the most. It's Jonah's job to help them. Jonah's mysterious past may have something to do with his uncanny ability to be in the right place at the right time, but unfortunately, nobody's perfect. When Jonah fails to save the life of a Berkeley professor, the consequences may be cosmic.

Jonah wants to set things right, but it's hard enough when you're being attacked by angels, demons, and renegade magicians.Throw in a pack of werewolves and a beautiful but deadly sorceress, and things are bound to get nasty...

Buy it here.


  1. Jamie,
    I absolutely love the new cover that you've done for KARMA CROSSED! The colors are some of my favorites to see on books. 
    The idea of the angel catches my eye more, thus making me want to grab it to read. (Plus of course I'm partial to angels)
    Way to go Jamie! 

  2. Thanks, Anne. It's great to hear that I went in the right direction with this one. Now I just hope everyone else likes angels as much as you do!