Crowdsourcing My New Book Cover: Trading Hands

by Mark Lovett on October 12, 2012

People often ask me where the idea for Global Patriot originally came from; what was the spark that fueled the movement.  Well, that phrase came to me while writing my first novel, Trading Hands, and you’ll soon have a chance to read the entire story!

I’ve been getting the manuscript ready for publication and I need your help to finish the job.  The good news is, my designer created three amazing comps for the book cover, but that’s become a huge problem, as I can’t decide which one to pursue!

Please take a moment to review all three comps, then post a comment below with your ideas and suggestions!

Comp #1

Trading Hands Book Cover - Comp #1

Comp #2

Trading Hands Book Cover - Comp #2

Comp #3

Trading Hands Book Cover - Comp #3

So what do you think?  Which one is your favorite?  What changes would you like to see incorporated into the next round of comps?  Your input is much appreciated and will help push the publishing process forward!  Leave me a comment below with your ideas and suggestions, and thanks again for your continued support!

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark Lovett October 27, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Many thanks to all who left their thoughts, ideas and suggestions – it’s been an amazing process to review the design comps and reflect on how each of the approaches impacts potential readers. It’s now time to summarize the results and move on to round two of the design process!


Taylor October 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Mark–First off BRAVO friend! Thanks for reaching out for input. At first glance I was most drawn in by the first one, but I’m not too crazy about the eyes or the font. If you could incorporate the font from the second cover and another image into the eyes slot (diamonds? Bomb?)

I might still like it the best. Without those changes, the second would be my pic, minus the bomb as a few others suggested. It’s a very compelling cover and could be a good format to use for sequels!! (White background, bold image, you get my drift–would become recognizable to your readers.)


Johan Burell October 27, 2012 at 7:56 am

I like all three, but perhaps #2 most of all. I do agree with another commenter to get rid of the bomb (rocket?), other than that I think it is near perfect for the description you gave me.

#1 feels a bit too much “Tom Clancy”, then again, he knows how to sell political thrillers. I think you should go in a different direction.

#3 is good and I like it a lot, but might not be as selling as the other ones. It doesn’t sell the idea of suspense the way #1 and #2 does, but what it doesn’t tell makes at least me a bit curious.

I think this is a strong lineup of alternatives, no matter which one you pick


Rachel October 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Mark! I really like the 2nd one. :)


Sandilee October 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

OK, so I checked out your 3 covers, and #1 is my favorite—very dangerous looking & intriguing! The #2 pic with the fingerprint is my 2nd choice, but would be better without the rocket I think…or maybe try and put another one that’s translucent in the background somehow.


alissa October 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hi Mark!

# 2 and # 3 are my favorites – leaning toward # 3. I don’t care for the rocket on # 2. # 3 is most engaging while # 1 definitely conveys a strong sense of intrigue (i.e. conspiracy, drama, etc.). # 1 feels most “traditional novel cover” while I see # 3 as more iconic and engaging in how that imagery and branding could be rolled out.

Congrats! Can’t wait to read it!



joe mohr October 18, 2012 at 10:33 am

#3!!!!! I love it!


Liz October 18, 2012 at 10:26 am

Mark – kudos on this project! All three covers are outstanding. For me, I liked #1 and #2 the best… #1 really grabs me but #2 also is really beautiful too. I think #1 coveys more about a dramatic novel (if that’s what the book is) versus perhaps a political non-fiction piece.


Vanessa October 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Knowing nothing about the premise, here’s my 2 cents:

#1 Political Drama and Suspense.

#2 Thriller, High Intensity I.e. Borne Ultimatum

#3 Cult Classic – Conspiracy and maybe a little quirky humour. I can see this as a poster in some teen-anarchists room 😉 My favorite.


Lisa Eldred October 17, 2012 at 11:12 am

You have all these great opinions posted already, do you really need mine? :) But I like the first cover best.


Anders Sporring October 17, 2012 at 7:47 am

Hi Mark! Long time no see, well…. someday we’ll get together again, that much I know! And regarding your question here, I would choose number 1 as a cover. Looks pretty cool in my humble opinion, and besides that it probably will get more attention too!
Have it the best!


Lorna October 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm

not knowing the story, therefore the audience you are trying to reach, here is my gut visceral:
#1 – impulse airport-buying cover
#2 – has this early 70’s James Bond feel, jetsons cartoonish rocket takes away from the mystery that the fingerprint evokes
#3 – has a Peter Sellers smirk

bravo for finishing and publishing…L


jack October 16, 2012 at 7:25 pm

I like number 1. the rest feel formulaic. That said, there’s a reason for the formula!


Melani October 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I like the dark mysteriousness and intensity of this cover, makes me want to know more right away

I like the concept of of the fingerprint in the background. Not sure I understand how the red rocket comes into play.

Doesn’t seem as refined as the first 2 designs


Bridget Ayers October 16, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Congratulations Mark! I have to throw my vote in for #1, it intrigues me the most and that is what a cover should do.

I can’t wait until it is out!


Tamara Levitt October 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Hey Mark,
I have no idea what your book is about but all three covers offer a completely different impression of what it’s about.

They all look fantastic. Very pro!! I would never think these are self-published books so good for you for taking the time to get this right.

#1 feels like a suspense, drama, mystery. It looks intense, involved and interesting. It’s the most complex looking.
#2 feels like a Malcolm Gladwell kind of book – great if you are going for that kind of thing.
#3 feels like a Tom Robbins or Kurt Vonnegut kind of book. Also great if you are going for witty, dry, smart fiction.

As I mentioned, all look great. I think you should go with whichever one best depicts what your book is about to sell it best.

Congrats and wishing you tons of luck with this!! xo


chris bourne October 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm



Angie Swartz October 16, 2012 at 10:42 am

Hello Mark, What a wonderful idea to crowd source your book cover! I really love #1. It looks very professional and shelf ready. For me, it’s a much higher quality than the other two.

Congratulations on your book. I’m so proud to know you and be exposed to the work you are doing.


Blanca October 16, 2012 at 10:01 am

#1 is the one I love! I am super excited for you Mark! You know I always wish you the best! Congrats on moving forward with this! *hugs


Krishna October 16, 2012 at 9:44 am

I have to agree with comments voting #1 the best. Having read several drafts, I believe it best communicates the story line. I also agree with the font comments. Number 2 doesn’t grab me and 3 looks like it should be a Jennifer Crusie or Janet Evanovich airport read. Congratulations Mark! Wonderful to see this project come full circle!!


Alan Underkofler October 16, 2012 at 6:43 am

I am super excited to see you moving forward on this project Mark! I would echo the input from our friend Ricardo.

Cover #1 is my favorite by far. It’s compelling and pulls you into the book. Almost like you want to pick it up to see what it’s about. I would really like to see new comps with the TRADING HANDS section. Different fonts, colors, sizes. I’m also not fond of the angle.

Cover #2 I like the white space. Conceptually I like the white but all the graphics would need to be changed. They don’t speak to me at all.

Cover #3 is at the bottom for me by far. I’m not sure if I would say children’s book but it definitely feels amateur to me.

I can’t wait to see what you decide and to pre-order my copy!!


Bethe October 16, 2012 at 4:36 am

Wow Mark, well done you. How exciting!! Congratulations on a big accomplishment.

My vote goes to #1, although I am not a fan of the font in the middle banner. Overall, this cover has great impact and will not leave the reader with questions about what type of story it is, which is really important for shelf appeal and when scanning for eBooks.

So happy for you. Hugs- Bethe


Ricardo October 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Hi Mark. First of all, congratulations on this great accomplishment and soon-to-be-published novel! Thank you for letting us give you some feedback on your book cover, especially since it involves very subjective point of views. It is great you have options; however I would definitely go with number 1. Number 2 would be more for a detective story Agatha Christie style, which I don’t know if your novel involves that; and I’m afraid the reader might not take your novel so serious with cover number 3.

Now that I’m strong on number 1, here are my comments. I remember in some marketing class in the university, someone mentioned the great impact of using “eyes” in promotion and marketing design. Eyes really attract the viewer and bring out all sorts of emotions. The eyes of the man on the top part of the cover are right on and definitely add to the suspense and/or drama of the novel (which I hope to read soon).

The graphic design on the cover is very well done, serious, professional, and really gives you the feeling that you are about to read a novel full of action similar the TV show “24”. I imagine we have our Jack Bauer-style hero on top and the enemy on the bottom of the cover represented by the greedy evil corporation trying to take over the world. I like it!

One thing I would work on is the middle banner. I don’t think you need to have it inclined; just set it horizontally straight. Perhaps test with a few more fonts, the font you are using for “Trading Hands” is a bit light in comparison to the other more powerful graphic elements. You obviously want some thick, sans-serif, all-caps kind of font. I saw two examples of fonts that I think could go well for “Trading Hands”.

The first is the font used for the author’s name “Stephen King” on the following link:

The second example is the font used for the title “Defending Jacob” on the following link:

I hope this helps and once again, congratulations! All the best,



Jessica October 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Hi Mark, I really enjoy #1. It captures the action/adventure essence of your book. #2 reminds of a mystery novel and #3 reminds me of the font on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. They’re all beautiful, I just find #1 the most fitting and incredible. It’s up to you about the size and boldness of your name on the cover of #1, but I might consider it being bolder. Either way, it’s fantastic! I am proud of your accomplishments, Mark. You are an inspiration to us all.


Lyndy Moore October 15, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Hiya Mark,

All three are good though for a broad appeal, but I would choose the first cover. The second is a little feminine in its design (though really my favourite) and the third to me represents a comedic read. If mystery and suspense is what you’re going for then the first one wins for me. I guess it’s all about the appeal to your target audience. Up, Up and Away my dear. How exciting!!!!! – Lyndy


Rick October 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

#1 – first choice for me. I might do more of a fade on the eye’s as they are really strong and feel a more faded image would have a better impact and allow the whole cover to stand together. I would also center the eyes height wise with your name and the “Trading Hands” banner.

Looks great! Good luck!


Jenny October 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

Love #2 best – change the font and ‘missle’ image and you’re golden!


Jwalant M October 15, 2012 at 10:06 am

Cover #2, as the visual appeal is strong, but please change the orange N-missile because it looks more like a kid’s DIY rocket kit, and a second look at it reminds me of a retro-ish rocket, and not a weapon of mass destruction.

Using your own (Mark Lovett) finger print would be like a small gift to your audience.


Bethany October 15, 2012 at 6:02 am

Words that come to mind when I see the first cover are: dramatic, riveting, captivating, deep, dark, compelling. I’m not convinced I like the lower image. I also don’t seem to grasp the context of “trading hands” from that image at all. In cover 2, there is more of a liaison as there is a fingerprint but the effect of the cover is not as powerful as the 1st one.

In cover 2, I also think CIA and undercover agents and very matter of fact. The 3rd cover is ‘cooler’ which I don’t think makes for an appropriate cover (you know I think you are cool though!) I also agree with Katie, #1 looks like something off the NYT best-seller list. Hope I’ve been of some help. xx


Starla October 15, 2012 at 5:44 am

I like number 1. It conveys intrigue, is more realistic and dramatic.
The ‘eyes’ have it! If I saw all three on a book shelf I would definitely pick up #1 to read the back, then buy it!
My teen daughter liked the more abstract & cartoon number 3; although she thought it said TraPing Hands!


Kitch M October 15, 2012 at 4:14 am

# 1 looks more of a novel cover than the others. it suggests about reality, tragedies, Human life saga in a way!


Katie October 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

#1 looks like a blockbuster hit! That’s what I’d buy for this genre. A total Ben Affleck directed flick. I don’t really like the “Trading Hands” font, so perhaps change the it to something more like #2, but just a bit thicker. I don’t like the font of “a novel” in # 2… that’s better in #1.

#2 would be my second choice. And…

To be quite honest, #3 seems more like the cover of a chick lit book. I am pretty sure that’s not this novel.


greentechbg October 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Number 1 is more dramatic, Number 2 suggests to me a more sophisticated text. I am not sure which one I would choose…please have in mind your cover will add some meaning to the content. It is important what you would like to stress.


RenVonVit October 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm

I would buy cover #2, I think it would appeal to almost anyone. My second choice is #1, I think it captures the seriousness of the books topic.


PeterMacCracken October 14, 2012 at 11:41 am

I like the first book cover best as it’s more dramatic in style and implies a story that’s full of action and intrigue.


Helen Djukic October 13, 2012 at 9:37 am

Wow, very cool, I love #1 and #2, but #3 is too playful – fine if the book is a comedy. I’m so impressed! So glad you’re not keeping your masterpiece a secret anymore.


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