The Hollow March: Finalized Cover

Good cover art is one of the defining qualities of a novel. Without it, you simply lack that opening dose of eye-catching glory; that certain visual character that will (hopefully) draw the mind as surely as it draws the body near. Oh, money’s involved in there somewhere too, but we try not to think about that part. Makes the whole process seem somehow base.

But this little author’s waxed philosophic on the key qualities of cover art previously. Today, we’re talking the Thanksgiving quality of cover art—or rather, how t-h-a-n-k-f-u-l I am to have the final edition of my own sweet cover to share with you all today. Check out this lower-resolution sample:

Well, final edition might be a little much. The cover art – final, yes, but the text and font of course still need their proper vetting.

Over all, though, what do you think?

Care of British artist Matthew Watts, the piece has taken just under a month now to complete, but I think we’ve settled on exactly the right opening for “The Hollow March.” A touch of flames—for a walled camp, promising war and the unknown—a good dose of characters (two of the main figures from the novel, I might add!), and of course, the snowy, hazed horizon, complete with the foreboding mountains that were telltale of all versions of the cover.

As you saw from a few of the roughs, the process could have gone many ways. We had your up-close shots and your distance shots alike—and while I was a fan of the silhouetted figures, scrambling through distant, towering peaks, I must say I personally felt a more focused spotlight on the figures would draw the eye a little better. Plus, “the thirds” draw that’s pounded into all us photographer-types certainly fed my appetites well on this.

But to all you typography nuts out there: if you’ve any recommendations for quality text stylings for a book cover as such, do let me know! Times New Roman works as a fine placeholder…but it’s certainly not sticking around any longer than that.

And as a final announcement: December 5. That is the day, people. Keep your eyes peeled, because The Hollow March will be making its debut on that first Monday of the new month! While you wait, though, feel free to check out the full chapter preview I offered up last week…should give you a good idea of the style, and a touch of character too…

22 thoughts on “The Hollow March: Finalized Cover

  1. Wow man, most debut authors couldn’t dream of a better cover. I’m a huge fan and this book would soooo grab my attention on a shelf… Well done! Is this going to be a ebook only? Sorry I’m sure you have mentioned this before! I’m new to the site, I saw your a fan of R. Scott Bakker and I decided to check out your blog! Good stuff!

    • A connection over Bakker? Now there’s a connection I like to see! One of my favorite authors, he is. Swing over here from Goodreads, or stumble across the blog by chance? Either way, it’s good to have you about. Thanks for the kind words – and no, sir, it will not be e-book only: it will also be available in print.

      P.S. A lovely selection of books you’ve got going on your own site! Gavriel Kay fan are you? Got several of his on my list I’ve been meaning to get to soon…

      • Yes my friend, I stumbled upon your blog. I love Bakker, his work is my personal favorite, followed by Martin, KJ Parker, and dare I say Kay??? I’ll be purchasing your book. I gotta support a new author following his dream. (even though i’m slightly bitter and jealous lol) Thank you for giving my site a peak! Best of luck my friend!

        • Aw – no need to be bitter or jealous, but I certainly appreciate the support! And it was a pleasure visiting your site – I must say today, by the way, I’m quite impressed by this “Daarken” you happened upon. While I’d be a touch wishy washy on saying whether or not it would make a good tattoo, the image itself is quite fetching – good sample of character design, certainly. Plus it’s a great sample of “See no evil…”

          Also: I do hope you can forgive me, but I must confess I’m not familiar with Parker. What have they written that you’ve enjoyed? Or would that be a, “What haven’t they written that I’ve enjoyed?” sort of question?

        • Thank you for following Chris, very kind of you! Now I can say, “hey that author totally follows my blog” lol. K.J. Parker has a trilogy called, “The Scavenger Trilogy” and it’s brilliant… I have a love/hate relationship with that author, but he/she always writes unique fantasy, which is refreshing. Do you have any specific authors that inspired you?

        • Well, obviously Bakker’s a bit of an inspiration for me, but I’ve also been stirred by Martin, Hobb, and Roger Zelazny. Zelazny’s a love that goes beyond just Fantasy, of course – his novel Lord of Light set my mind spinning long before I ever laid eyes on the Chronicles of Amber. Additionally, continuing in that “beyond fantasy” scope, I also have a great appreciation for Ursula K. LeGuin – “The Lathe of Heaven” was such a thoughtful dose of prose.

          Why the love/hate with Parker?

        • How can you not be inspired by Bakker right? His stuff is so epic it’s almost biblical. I’ve said it before, I tend to get depressed when I read Bakker, his stuff is just so dark, but it’s also intriguing to explore those areas of the human spirit and confront those uncomfortable thoughts. Sorry, I could go on and on about his books;)
          K.J. Parker is just so hit or miss. Scavenger Trilogy had an AMAZING ending, but then his/her second trilogy was okay, but it had an ending that was horrible. They are just unique really. A love and hate relationship! I recently bought “The Company” we will see how that one turns out!

        • You’re telling me. Definitely not lighter fare – the words and scenes Bakker goes through are going to hit you, and hit you hard. He’s a master of that. But the moment I knew I loved him was the moment myself and a friend actually managed to get into a philosophical debate wherein he got pulled. Fantasy author manages that, well – I’m a happy fellow. So I hear you on the “on and on” part of the program!

          Let me know what you think of The Company – I’ve heard mixed things, varying person to person, so any extra opinions would be valued in deciding whether I should dive in or not.

        • Sounds good Chris, and as I said I’ll be purchasing your novel. I really enjoyed the sample. I’ll come let you know when a review is up! Best of luck with all of your endeavors! btw I totally noticed your from Colorado. ME TOO! I grew up in Denver and boy do I miss that city…

        • Is that right? Small world! But well, of course, the term “from” on my end is a little off to be honest – I’m here in Colorado now (and absolutely ADORE it out here, by the way. A writer’s dreamland.), but I’m actually from Michigan originally. Quite the drive – though I could have done without the second half of Iowa. By the time I finally crossed that state line I was desperate for even the slightest change of scenery…oh so flat. So very flat.

          I see you’re out in California these days, though – how do you like the west coast?

        • If your in Downtown Denver, you have to go to a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant called “the Satire” It’s on Colfax… Best breakfast burrito in town my friend. The west coast is cool, although I must say I enjoy the Washington/Oregon side a little more than California. I’m in the navy so I bounce around a lot, I’m trying to get Naples Italy next. BTW quick question, where would be the best place to order your book? I tried Amazon, but couldn’t find anything. Suggestions?

        • The Satire, eh? Alright, I’ll keep that one in mind. I do love some quality Mexican food… But to get a chance to see Italy, and eat authentic Italian, and drink in those cultural sights as well? Now there’s some real beauty.

          As to the book question, well that would be due to the fact that it doesn’t actually publish until Monday. So no worries – check back any time next week though, and it should be there and waiting. Cheers!

  2. Glad you stopped by my blog to comment on my cover. After seeing yours, I’m thinking I must be on the right track. That’s a fantastic cover. I love the aesthetic; it reminds me of Rembrandt. I’m going to keep you and your artist in mind for my other cover.

    • Rembrandt you say? Goodness – now there’s a comparison Matt would be pleasantly surprised to hear, I’m sure! Thanks for swinging on through – the encouragement’s much appreciated, and I’m certainly glad you enjoyed the cover. Come back any time! I’ll hit you up with Matt’s details if you’d like them as well – and cheers on how your own cover’s coming along!

  3. Matthew Watts did an outstanding Job!

    Cover Art is so Important. It is our first impression of the novel really, what the artist tried to encapsulate into a single picture is the image that rolls over in my mind as I read the book. In fact, I personally think of books by their cover art first, and their content second when recalling it from memory.

    I agree with you Chris, on the close up, even though I loved Mr. Watts’ mysterious silhouettes. This one has that mysterious quality but reveals just enough personality to really draw us in!

    Excellente! ^_^

    As a Lover of Font, I’d try Fangsong, AR Blanca, AR Bonnie, or AR Decode, those are some interesting fonts that might go well with the art work. Of course my favorite font is Book Antiqua.

    • Heh, glad you like it Nate. But I must say – first you take the time to craft me that lovely map, now you’re being helpful on the font front as well? I think I need to remember to tell you how great a friend you are several more times in addition to the praise I’ve already been popping out.

      I would have to pass on Fangsong, and Bonnie personally didn’t strike my fancy, but Blanca is a consideration, and Book Antiqua’s certainly a good possibility I’d say. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. It looks fantastic! That whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” thing- we all know it’s bullshit. This cover is intriguing, and that’s exactly what a fine emerging author such as yourself needs. 🙂 Kudos to Matthew Watts. I can’t wait to get my own copy. n_n

    • I don’t know…some folks assure me they only read books on recommendations, and don’t consider a cover at all, but I do tend to quirk and eyebrow at that. I’ve always gone with a, “Of course people judge it by its cover” philosophy, and I’d say it holds true generally so – I think the bullshit call’s a good one.

      Glad you liked the cover, Marcella! Your kind words always brighten a day.

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