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Feedback for ebook cover and title change

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I'm planning to publish a polished version of my story 'Dumb' as a kindle ebook.


First, I'm intending to change the title to 'Perception: A German Love Story'. My first intention was to avoid the similarity in name to the 'Dumb jock' series by Jeff Erno. Our books use the same setting, so this could become an issue. But additionally, the new title reflects the theme of the story quite well.


Second, I've designed a cover. The photo is a standard license image from iStock and the used fonts are open-license. This should cover the legal stuff.


I'd be glad to hear your opinions on both topics.


Best regards

Mario aka Hasimir


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Having not read the story it is tough to say how well I like or don't like the title, but I think you were smart to think about whether you would confuse people.


The cover is certainly eye catching enough for your market so I'd stick with it, for what my opinion is worth.


Good luck with the ePub. Make sure to let folks know when it's available.



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I on the other hand have read it (it's among my favorite listed stories here, though not for much longer, I'd wager :P), and think the title fits the story well. :)


I do agree with Andy, that cover is definitely eye-catching. :D

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The cover looks nice, Hasimir! Posted Image


The man on it makes me think about Kevin - it's the gray sweat pants, that makes it - though, from your other story, I don't quite remember how Tim is described to look in Dumb/Perception other than he is this big bully who really isn't what he looks like, but that's personality, not looks. I also like the font you have used. And I agree with you, the new title fits the story theme.


As for the 'A German Love Story' - I like that too. I don't know if there are many books in this particular genre with other settings than the American/English, so it would probably catch my attention.

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Thanks for your feedback so far! Posted Image


@Quonus: I'm glad that you share my opinion about its "eye catchiness" (is that a word?)


@MJ85: I will take down the story before publishing it on amazon. But as my avid fan Posted Image , I'd give you the kindle ebook for free!


@sorgbarn: Tim is athletic, too. Perhaps the guy on the pic is a little too athletic and a little too old, but I think the picture still works. I've actually added the sub-title having this marketing "trick" in mind: the German setting is a little more "exotic" than the normal high-school set-up. This might attract some readers.

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@jamessavik: Me too... Posted Image


I'm trying to find out at the moment what I've to take care of when self-publishing a book.


My result so far is: as a German, I will be sued no matter what.


I'm really worried about the imprint. German regulations (and I'm not even sure which one really applies) require to give at least full address of the publisher, i.e. me. If the more strict rules have to be followed, add a telephone number to this. Posted Image I have to tell all the wackos out there where I live and invite them to phone me day and night?!? Not doing so may result in a fine. Even before this, I wasn't sure whether I spent more money on this endeavor than I could possibly earn. But I won't give up.


May I ask another favor of the community?

I've written a short glossary (~600 words) and a blurb. Any volunteers for proofreading one of those?

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You are required to give full contact info because if any copyright issues occur they can contact you. The personal information will not be published with the book, unless you yourself put it there. So weird people won't be calling you. When so many people are taking the self publish route, copyright becomes a big deal. There are scammers out there who will "self-publish" a novel even though it's not their own work just to make a few more odllars. Unfortunately, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, can only TRUST that the author is who the author says she/he is. When they ("publishers") are accused of plagerism and stealing novels they can then pawn off the suit (be omitted entirely, which they will be... it's in their terms of use and conditions) to the "novelist" or person who claimed it as their own.


On the privacy thing... I'm not entirely sure. I trying to find Amazon's terms and conditions page (with great difficulty... strange enough...stupid amaazon and their sneaky back stabbing ways) and German laws that would be associated with that.


Now on to the cover. I'll be honest and say I tend to avoid covers like that. It's a mindset and train of thought. It's the sexualization and interesting enough the perception (like in your title!) it tends to make on the gay community. Not that there's any worng with choosing your picture. Like I said it's a me thing. Though the picture you choose is much more in taste than some others.


Have you played with some layouts? Placed your name on the blue band instead? This may sound odd but have you played with the fonts (type & size & width? ... I like the coloring)? The font you choose seems a little playful. Relaxed. It doesn't quite go with the picture. Sorry the years of graphic design training is kicking in. I greatly enjoy the black and blue bands at the bottom. They give a nice weight feel, not too heavy and not too light. Have you tried reversing the two colors? Eh don't reverse I went back and imagined them switched and it doesn't seem to look right.


So in the end, the only possible feedback I can give is the font type. Everything else is personal preference and even the font is almost a preference thing too.


(Disclaimer: I'm not an attorney, I'm am only reciting what I understand.)The title thing don't matter much. Books and songs can share the same names (even token of place). Someone tried sueing before about another stealing her title. Her lawsuit was struck down. Then there's the whole trademark issue to think about. People can't sue you over most titles, but they can if their works are a trademark. Trademarks in the book world typically means: the series' title... the unifying name that lumps a collection of books together, or if the name is famous with a book, i.e. Harry Potter.


Source:http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/titles.html (this is a website made by an attorney in the entertainment/publishing field)

"To quote the USPTO, 'Regardless of the actual relation of the title to the book,' courts treat all single title works as 'inherently descriptive' at best and 'inherently generic' at worst – unless the single title has had 'wide promotion and great success.'" <- I.e. Harry Potter again!


"CASE & COMMENT: When McGraw-Hill, publishers of the best selling PT-109: JOHN KENNEDY IN WORLD WAR II , moved to enjoin Random House from using the title JOHN F. KENNEDY & PT-109 on a competing book, the court found that two terms in plaintiff's title -- "PT-109" and "John F. Kennedy" -- were descriptive or generic terms, and therefore unprotectable. Noting the inherent weakness of plaintiff's title, the court commented that the words chosen by Random House were an apt description of its book, and therefore in the public domain. Rejecting plaintiff's unfair competition claim, the court further noted that because of the weakness of plaintiff's title, combined with the differences in the overall look and feel of the two books (including Random House's prominent use of its distinctive logo on the spine and back jacket) there was no likelihood of confusion. McGraw-Hill Book Company v. Random House, Inc., 32 Misc. 2nd 704, 225 N.Y.S.2d 646, 132 U.S.P.Q. 530 (1962).

As the McGraw-Hill case shows, neither priority in time, nor significant sales alone will determine whether the title of a book has achieved secondary meaning. Secondary meaning comes gradually and can be defeated altogether when the words chosen are merely descriptive of the contents of the work. Similarly, secondary meaning can be lost through extended periods of non-use (after two years of non-use there's a presumption of abandonment), or diluted by permitting third-parties to use similar titles."

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Thanks for the info and hints on the design, John Doe. I'll experiment a little with the cover, as you've suggested.


I've bought an ebook on ebook publishing for amazon.de (I savor the irony in this ^^), which brought the imprint to my attention. The book says that I'm required to put the info into the book itself, so that anyone is able to contact me (mainly for the legal reasons you've stated). Amazon knows my full contact data, of course. They don't act as publisher but as distributor only. That's what makes it difficult regarding German laws.

I took a look at some of the ebooks on amazon.de published by German authors by inspecting the sample chapters. Most of them don't have that info, at least not in the front imprint (it is possible to put more info in the back, but I don't want to buy books for that reason). Perhaps, I'm simply worrying too much, and no one will take legal interest in a book that'll sell 30 copies overall. Posted Image

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A P.O. Box is not acceptable by German law for this purpose.

There are letter services for this, but the cheapest service I've found was 9.99 EUR per month plus a fee for every letter. I doubt that my book will make that amount of money per month.


I've made up my mind about this: I'll put my address in the back of the book, an email address and a facebook account, but not the phone number.

I'm required to offer two ways of communication and this should qualify. By putting the info at the end, a person has to at least buy the book to get my address and can't take it from the sample chapters.


I'm really grateful for all the feedback from this community! Posted Image


Still no volunteer for the blurb and the glossary? No fact checking is required. I only want it to be free of typos and language quirks (which I tend to produce quite often Posted Image talking of misusing words: why did no one tell me that "knocking up" means to "make pregnant" and not to "hit someone"... the editor was quite amused)

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  • Site Administrator

My only comment is to the originality of the cover. I swear I've seen that same exact pose/guy on other ebook covers, which if you got the image from a stock site, is very likely. For me, ebooks aren't quite as important when it comes to the covers as a book on a store shelf, but it is still important. Gay fiction... okay, it's going to have a guy in it, so that's not different. You indicate at least one character is a jock... but what else has meaning in the story? Is the 'A German Love Story' important to say or could you show that somehow?


I like covers with models as much as the next person, but I like to see more of what the story too. I just created an ebook cover for a story I sent to a publisher that she really liked. Instead of a model, I had a night sky with a full moon partially show in the upper corn and a set of clouds opposite lit in places by lightning coming from the edges over the cover, yet the darkest heart of the clouds held a faded wolf staring straight out at you. My story is paranormal, and two major scenes happen at night and the lightning is a key element.


I guess I like covers to have as much character as the stories they decorate. Anyway, that's just my two cents.


Edit to add: I was right, I did recently see this photo used as a mm story cover. It was used by GA Hauser for 'The Last Hard Man'.

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The Hauser book seems to be out of print. It bothers me, but I think I'll stick to the cover.


The model is an eye-catcher for marketing, but the picture also reflects the theme of perception: the man is covering his face, removing himself from perception and denying it to himself.

I chose the black-and-white contrast for the titles to hint at another aspect of perception.

The subtitle "A German Love Story" was also intended for marketing. It helps the book to stand out by showing the "unusual" setting (that's the theory at least :-)) I've thought about your suggestion adding the German theme graphically to the image, but I only came up with clichés or something so vague that it might be misunderstood.


I know that the cover isn't a masterpiece of art (or sublety). But when I bought ebook after ebook from amazon, covers like this attracted my intention (yeah, I'm simple...VERY simple). So I worked from my own experience which is definitely wrong for most other people.

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The model is an eye-catcher for marketing, but the picture also reflects the theme of perception: the man is covering his face, removing himself from perception and denying it to himself.


My first thought when I saw the cover was that the guy was that it was a guy who was stressed out about something, and the picture is his reaction. That's probably cause I was also thinking of what happens in the story, though.


Course, probably more will think it's a hot guy wiping sweat off his face. :P But, I would think a cover that can be perceived in multiple ways would work quite well for a story being re-named "Perception". :)

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Yeah, I'm actually considering to change it. There should be no real legal problem, because the standard stock photo license doesn't grant exclusive rights. But the possibility of confusion bothers me.


There is another stock photo I like:



It's more subtle, but quite romantic, I think. Problem is that this image is almost square while the one I'm using now has a format similar to a sheet of letter paper. This would change the entire "composition" of the cover. The format is set by the size of the kindle screen, so changing it is not really an option.

Other problem is that this photo is so general that it might be already taken as well.

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The only thing I'd change is the blue bar at the bottom. The small cover dimensions (like a search result) image for a cover is 160x160. You can still read the title, but your name is a tad hard to read since it is in the lighter side of the blue bar. I'd either change so that your fade is the other direction, light to dark with your name in the same color, or make the bar a solid color with the darker shade. Especially if you are looking to publish multiple pieces, you want your author name clearly visible.

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