My awful cover making skills.

I need help picking an mage for a cover. Let's review the reason why I need others to help me make a sound decisions.  One, I know nothing about graphic design. That's essential, I would think. Two, I might not have good taste. It's subjective, right?

So help me pick an image

My attempt at Second Chances Cover

Prime example #1 (sadly, there are more)


The final Version ( I hired Paper and Sage Designs)


Currently, I'm in the market for a cover for my upcoming release -The Cowboy takes a Bride.  Which image strikes you best? Do you prefer just the guy? The couple? Or does it matter? Cast your vote below.

Option 1:


Option 2:


Option 3


Option 4


Option 5


Option 6



47 thoughts on “My awful cover making skills.

  1. I picked #5 because I like the overall picture. I almost picked the couple, but something didn’t seem quite right. It might be just the colors used, less contrast.

    1. I thought of that one because you can’t tell if her hair is blonde or not, but they look so awkward and you really can’t see her at all. Could that be it?

  2. I prefer a guy on the cover but the other five covers seem too familiar – used by other authors.
    How about a close up of a dusty cowboy boot with a spur on the heel.

  3. The cover with the couple blends continuity with the title. Change his shirt to blue for more visual pop! Thanks for giving your readers this opportunity.

  4. I agree with the comment about changing the shirt color to blue on the couple photo, but I think another reason to hesitate on that one is her body language. If you retake that photo, she needs to put her arm around him, so it looks like she’s actually enjoying that kiss.

    I chose the silhouette of the cowboy on a horse at sunset because it looks the least like other book covers that I’ve seen.

  5. Of course optin 1 is a hot looking guy, but with your title, I think the couple is the best choice. And I agree, I really don’t like it when supposedly the cover depicts the characters and yet their hair color (and sometimes even skin color) isn’t correct. I like the way the couple depicted is more generic. And the “sunset” cowboy silhouettes just set a strange tone given the title of your book…like they’re ridding off into a doomed existence!
    I would switch out the hat for a more conventional cowboy hat, and agree with Regecca about the blue shirt!

  6. I chose the couple, but it is more a summer romance than a wedding. Maybe his and hers cowboy boots or just the cowboy looking either at the reader or off into the distance like he is looking for something.

  7. I preferred cover 4. No lady is actually depicted, so any reader could imagine herself as the heroine. Also I liked the idea of this lean dark shape of a man capturing his ladies interest as well as, I assume, making his lass, oooh.

    1. They all appeal to me for some reason or another but I liked the idea of a silhouette on the cover- something thats not often seen from what I’ve researched (as always- I could be wrong and usually am 😉 )

      1. No 4 really does epitomise strength and determination. A strong male, ready to bring his quarry to his side. I understand that it takes skill to lasso what one aims to capture.

  8. I would have picked option 3, except that the guy looks more like a farmer than a cowboy. I don’t like the others because they don’t contain a girl. So, I voted to return to the proverbial drawing board.

  9. I picked #3 because the title denotes a couple, so I think it should be a couple on the cover. I like how he is keeping the kiss private with his hat. That is very gentlemanly to me and makes me tingle. hee hee hee

  10. Number 5, but I would have it daytime and have a woman in the picture laughing and ready to run, so that he could actually capture her and take her for his bride. Maybe they had been on a picnic?

  11. The only one that makes thematic sense is the couple. While the image is a bit more washed out than the alternatives, that may make the title/author text easier stand out. The one where he’s consoling his horse seems to hint at beastiality. The two silhouettes portray a lasso… and I doubt he married a cow.

  12. Read all the comments and I like Kathy’s idea the best, (in the comment just before mine.)
    I really think what she is suggesting will make a great eye-catching cover, plus it would go well with the title.
    I think that’s it’s best to have a couple in the picture because both the cowboy and his lady are in it but I don’t really like option 3… The models are too much on the left of the picture, so it’s not really balanced.

    And like another said, the lady doesn’t seem to be enjoying the kiss. With her arm like that, my first impression was that he was pushing her in the haystack, smothering her with his hat and that she was struggling to get away !

    So it doesn’t really go with a sweet love story like “The Cowboy takes a bride” promises to be !
    (Maybe I also have an overactive imagination but that’s another problem ;P)

    I think it would be best not to show the face of the girl so the reader can still identify with the character.

    If she’s running while her cowboy is riding his horse, maybe she is in front of him, looking back at him as if they are playing a game in which he has to catch her…

    Well I think I run out of ideas !
    Although… I saw several comments about putting only the boots of the cowboy on the cover and I thought about a way of still including his bride even if we don’t see her (nor him). He could be stepping on a bridal veil ? Unless it seems too aggressive ?

  13. I picked option five because that will fit just about anything. Personally I think the cover should reflect a recognizable scene from the story. I like the couple but something isn’t right about it maybe their clothing.

  14. Personally none of them depicts “cowboy take a bride” to me. The cowboy in image 1, 2, 4,5 does not say bride in anyway shape or form. 3 says cowboys with a little something on the side(hiding behind the hat so not recognized) Just my opinion. But none provide the title even remotely.

  15. They all stink. I would have picked #3, but I think that you should show more of their faces. That’s just my preference, I like to see their faces. Without faces, they are non-entities.

  16. I like the sunset one with him on the horse. It could be better if she was trying to get away and she’s what he is lassoing.

  17. I like the idea of the couple, but the shirt color doesn’t mesh with what I picture and I’d like to see a more traditional cowboy hat maybe something black.

  18. I thought all the pictures were good, some sweet and some sexy. I picked the one with the couple as I thought it best related to the title but the colours could gave been better. I think the cover picture means alot as this us what attracts you to the book so it needs to really grab you.

  19. I picked #2 because nothing says love and loneliness at the same time as a cowboy and his horse. I don’t like the girl in #3. She looks frumpy in that pink dress had he looks like he thinks so too. You want your cover to ilicit positive emotions from the first glance. IN the comissioned cover for second chances the couple looks all brand new, discovering each other and loving the journey. That is what you need—those I’ve got to read this book emotions!

  20. I said 3, but then again 1 is good too!
    3 needs to be a little more racy – like the girl wearing shorter dress, saucier.

    and if it’s 1 – then there needs to be a hot bride, maybe behind him.

    Us girls want to see the hot guy, so showing some flesh is always good. I often pick a book by the cover, the racier the cover, the racier the story.

    So, depending on whether the story is saucy – then the cover needs to reflect that.

    If it’s sweet, no ‘hot’ moments, then 3 with a more modern girl…..

    I’m rambling….. hope that makes sense.

  21. I went with the couple’s picture because it was the couple, all those solo cowboys are not something to connect with any bride. Also, those cowboys look too much like any other cowboys I’ve seen on the book covers. They promise more of a book about a, how one should say, “ride in a saddle” (?) than a romance.
    But… There is a lot wrong with the picture I preferred. The guy is a farmer, not a cowboy, or maybe even summer visitor. So they have to be “cowboy-ized”. Cowboy boots, someone suggested, are a great idea. Change his hat into Stetson. But keep this magnificent discretion. This is what’s missing nowadays from romance. This privacy and discretion. We all know what’s going on, so let’s them do it in private.

  22. I picked number 3 because it is a couple but truthfully, I’m jot particularly fond of it. I think it should be a couple on the cover though. Sorry I’m not much help either! LOL

  23. Choice: I chose #6.
    Reason: The selection looks over used and out dated. Depending on the target audience you want to aim this story towards will make a difference. For me specifically, I envision a dirty blonde or brunette haired cowboy, green or hazel eyes, tanned from working the land and animals, sweaty, rough looking, calloused hands, heavy work boots, a very used Stetson with obvious wear marks. I think the cover should focus on the cowboy not so much the impending bride to be. He should be against a backdrop of the sun high in the sky and he’s wiping his brow and face with a corner of his shirt.
    Sorry, my imagination ran away with me for a moment whilst I was envisioning this LOL.
    Whatever you may choose, I wish you the best of luck! Excited to read the upcoming story when it finally becomes available <3

    1. l like #6 also. l think it would be better if both were in it but l like the sunset picture. l like sunset pictures and it just goes with second chances before the sunset. l love it! How about you???

  24. I agree that there needs to be a female in the photo, one whose face profile can be seen. An all in black silohuette with a sky blue or sunset orange/red background would be striking, especially if the bride held a veil or bouquet in the hand she has wrapped around or on his torso. As you can tell I liked the black stencil photos but a cute couple would really encourage me to read the blurb and most likely buy the book. The author and then the picture and then the price, blurb and reviews are my way of choosing a book. Thanks for the chance to input.

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