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From Handguns to Paintbrushes: A Memoir of Self-Destruction, Rock Bottom, Hope, Change, and Love

From Handguns to Paintbrushes: A Memoir of Self-Destruction, Rock Bottom, Hope, Change, and Love

The art’s not the real problem; it’s the type.


  1. Bugs me that the excruciatingly dull font covers the one interesting aspect of the artwork (considering that, besides the boy, the cover is almost completely blank.) Plenty of room for the title that wouldn’t mess up the art. I don’t care that the author’s nickname is “Jeff” (I mean if it was, like, JOSEPH “THE VOLCANO” de LEYER, then I would be interested.) Small gripe, but I don’t like the graffiti. It makes me want to look at it. That black square in the bottom right makes me think something is being covered up. inorganic.

    1. A lot of covers slap type over the most interesting part of the artwork. It is like they use a cover template that places art, top tag line, center title, bottom byline and then don’t look at the result.

      (The black square is the shadow of a shelf in the larger uncropped art.)

  2. Yes you guys are all correct. Someone told me this was here. This was a self published book and the original painting was phenomenal. But the painting truly gives the book meaning. I thought the black and white would signify darkness. Jeff needed to be put on the cover because no one knows him as Joseph. His family is Dutch and Joseph in Dutch sounds like jeff. Or something like this. But I took the suggestion and changed the text and placed it at the top. This entire thing was a learning experience and although I wasn’t happy to read about this on “lousy book covers” 😳 I took the criticism and hopefully, this will make it look better. I know it’s pixilated but it’s a painting and looking a little grainy I was ok with. Nonetheless thank you all for your input. The new cover should be up in a few hours.

    1. For what it’s worth, I think your book sounds super interesting, and like others have pointed out, it’s the layout of the cover and not the artwork itself that is a problem. Well done taking the criticism in stride and looking forward to seeing your new cover!

      1. Thanks! The kindle edition is up but the Amazon listing is still showing an old cover. I ever pulled the paperback and that takes 24 hours. I just made the title smaller and put it at the top. I think it looks better. Someone said something about a standard template and this is what I used. The author is in prison so the book was handwritten. I just basically typed it up and learned everything I could. It is actually a great story. Reads more like a novel. He’s had a crazy life. A little bit of everything. I’m glad his friend found this, because I wouldn’t have changed the cover even though I thought it was off. I thought this was going to be an easy project. Lol. Far from it. The kindle conversion took me several times but I finally got it. It was a learning experience. But self publishing is definitely not easy and definitely not cheap. This wasn’t even supposed to be the cover. He was going to do something generic like a handgun with a paintbrush coming out of it but when he painted this and sent it to me I knew it was the cover. So again. Thank you! I’m sure it’s not perfect, but it’s definitely better!!

        1. Saw the new cover this morning. The art is more eye catching this way. And works better at thumbnail ad size (the way people browsing the net first see a cover). For self-pub you are taking criticism like a pro. My jaded eyes love to see rays of hope for the indie small press.

            1. Thanks! And I’m certain it could be better, but. . . If anyone has suggestions. Feel free. I don’t want to pull the paperback again right now but the kindle edits are so easy I would be willing to try different things. It’s difficult because I am representing someone else’s book and making all the decisions. Not an easy thing to do.

          1. Thanks! I didn’t know if I should put the title on the bottom and the name above. Wondering if the tag line should have been placed below the title. Different books seem to do it differently. Where I chose to spend the money was the critique edit. We didn’t do a line edit but so happy we did the critique edit. So this didn’t leave much in the budget for a cover. If you have any suggestions, I’ll take them!

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