red food of ghosts: pick a cover and win a book!

We are at the stage of choosing the cover for my new crime novel. Yeh hey! As you can see the title is Red Food of Ghosts. Here are the two  latest cover designs. What do you think? Do they grab your attention or leave you cold? Why not leave a comment here on the blog and tell me which you prefer, or not? It would also be great to know what the cover suggests to you: Cosy crime? Noir? Thriller? Detective? Scary? Gory? None of the above? The names of all those who comment will go into a hat, even the names of  those who don’t like either cover ;o) One lucky  person will receive a signed copy  of my book The Blue Suitcase 🙂



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41 Responses to red food of ghosts: pick a cover and win a book!

  1. Jack says:

    I’ve got to say I think the first cover (grey background) is better, but both at striking. Looking forward to reading the book, great work!

  2. pangolin444 says:

    Monotone cover (with a bit of red) is definitely better than the coloured one which loses the impact. As you’ve got the red colour in the sun, why not leave the word out of the title? Is it important that it’s ‘RED’ food as opposed to any other colour food? ‘Food of Ghosts’ is much snappier – the word ‘food’ could be coloured red to get the point across. Otherwise I like the other elements in the design which suggest witchcraft on a tropical island paradise. Am I right?

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Thanks so much for this, Pam. What a great idea about leaving out the word “red” and colouring the word “food” red instead! It is snappier!Brilliant Will pass it on to the one who makes all the decisions on this stuff! Your name goes in the hat 🙂
      ps: and, yes, it’s set on a tropical island and witchcraft is referred to indirectly – though it’s not about witchcraft. You’re not a graphic designer by any chance? ;0)

  3. I prefer the top one, too.

    It makes me think of a travel theme rather than crime of any sort though.

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Thanks, Juliet! That’s so interesting about the travel theme! Do you think a different title would make you think more of crime? And, of course, your name goes in the hat!

  4. Joy Claridge says:

    Grey for me too – no need to put me in the hat – I have a signed copy – see you soon

  5. Louisa says:

    I like the grey background, too — it has a more sinister feel than the blue background. Also, the red sun and knife stand out better. In the blue background, the palm trees stand out more, which would give it that travel feel… Looks great, can’t wait to read it!!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Thanks, Louisa! I see what you mean about the blue background and trees! Could create that travel journal feel. If I can just get the edits done, I’ll be able to enjoy this fantastic sunshine, before it ends tomorrow – boo hoo!

  6. Connor says:

    Have to say I agree with the growing majority on this one and say the top one! I am also in agreement with Pam’s comments. Look forward to reading it 🙂

  7. Barbara Löfgren says:

    The first one with the grey cover – the other one looks more like it could be a romantic adventure.

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Thanks, Barbara! It’s amazing how colour can suggest so much, so indirectly.
      Your name is in the hat!

  8. Gianna says:

    I also prefer the grey background as it emphasizes the red sun making the cover more striking 🙂 look forward to reading the book!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Thanks,Gianna! Great to get your take on it:) And, yes, I think Marc did a great job in contrasting the red sun against the dark background – also hoping the red in the sun subliminally hints at blood! And your name is in the hat!

  9. Josee says:

    I also prefer the top one and so does damo it definately has a more sinister feel to it. What happened to using the dark purple colour for the background I thought that looked nice.


    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Yeh hey! Thanks (and to Damo!) for this. Will let the designer know your thoughts on the purple 😉 Perhaps you are right and the white/grey background is a tad too pale? Hm? But we are getting close to the final cover, which is great! Your names are in the hat!

  10. Jonathan Foley says:

    How’ya again Marianne,

    Aye am with your Josee there that the top one is better if its
    to suit a more sinister styled piece of work. Not that the bottom
    one is all that bad, but by comparison, the bottom one’s colours
    gave me an urge for a pinna calada and a sing-song of ‘Island in
    the Sun’ (which is great!!! But maybe not for a crime story). Magnum
    P.I and his moustache will want in then. Not forgetting Miamy Vice.

    Ha, only messing there. Hope all goes well.

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hey Jonathan, thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated! And, yep, Red Food of Ghosts is more a sinister crime novel – at least, I think so, ha! So, Islands in The Sun and Magnum P.I. and his moustache will have to wait 😉
      (PS trying hard not to remember Tubbs and Crockett!)
      Thanks for good wishes and your name is the hat!!

  11. Hi Marianne
    I too prefer the grey background…however, I’m not so sure about the position of the knife/dagger. As there is a split in the skull, could it not look as though the knife were responsible for that split? I also think the tip of the blade looks a little blurry though that may just be my monitor. It looks superimposed rather than integral to the design.
    My impression of the story is that it’s modern (hence loungers) meets traditional with consequences…
    Never easy to make such decisions…good luck!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Heather, lovely to hear from you. Interestingly, we’ve just been discussing the dagger and its position against the skull mask and talking about the same things. And, yes, the tip of the blade does look a little fuzzy, so thanks for that! One question, Heather, if you get a second, could you tell me you mean by “loungers” – the little local huts? Yes? I don’t think of them as loungers but that’s fine if that’s how you see them, cause that can work. Thanks again! Your name is in the hat 🙂

    • Heather says:

      Actually that is strange….I thought they looked like sunbeds or loungers! Oops!

      • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

        I think it’s because the “huts” are actually rather small compared to the trees, which could make them look like loungers or sunbeds! It’s good for us to know! Cheers:)

  12. Adrienne Allan says:

    Hi Marianne. Sorry I am a bit late to this but here are my thoughts anyway. The grey cover withe the red sun is better as it subliminally suggests something dark and sinister. There is at least one ghost known as ‘the grey lady’ in popular folklore. I came across that fact channel hopping on the TV one night! I agree with Pam that it is better to omit the word ‘red’ and colour the word ‘food’ red instead as the impact is much sharper. I believe that fewer words in the title give a stronger message. The multi-coloured cover would make me think the story was light and easy despite the word ‘ghosts’ in the title. It would also make me think of holidays and travel more than ghosts. I hope this is helpful and I look forward to reading your book when it is published. Best wishes. Adrienne x

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Adrienne, not late at all. Great to hear from you! And a big thanks for your thoughts! Very helpful. My concern with the colourful cover is exactly as you say, that it is a bit too cheerful, despite the images, and that it could suggest travel (or even an anthropology and sociology study!) and a bit of a light read (like the cheerful, smart designs (by Geoff Fischer)of the Andrea Camilleri Inspector Montalbano books). Your name is in the hat! 🙂

  13. julie barr says:

    Both eye catching versions. I like the grey one as it evokes a ghostly shadowy theme. My teenage daughter prefers the coloured version, and thinks it will be more eye catching on the bookshop shelf! Great graphics, love the Pacific props and think it looks unusual and will encourage people to pick up and browse. Good luck, Marianne! X

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Julie (and daughter!), thanks so much for this.The grey, sombre cover is definitely getting the most votes but your daughter is absolutely right in thinking the brighter colours are more eye-catching. In fact, we (hem, that is “we” as in the the royal”we are not amused” way, cause I did nothing) designed the more colourful cover first for that reason. However, after much research into covers of contemporary crime fiction, sombre dark colours are definitely in, so we had another rethink. Thanks again. Your names are in the hat! 🙂

  14. Lorna Wheelaghan says:

    Hi Marianne!
    Definitely like the first one – against the grey -more striking and sinister looking – the balck palm trees rather than the fuzzy grey ones -the grey sea plus waves leading towards the island suggests more than the sun reflected on a turquoise sea (too many colours) and I like the way you can see the sun through the skull/mask shaped thing….and the dagger/ harpoon thing stands out much more.- the fact that I’m not sure what the objects are is good too -I also really like the title with Red in it’s such a weird juxtoposition..intriguing, makes me want to find out what it’s about……looking forward to reading it!!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Lorna, thanks for this. It’s really helpful to get everyone’s take as it allows us to see it all in fresh way. I also like the way you can see the sun through the mask – it sort of heightens the spookiness, I think. Thanks again 🙂

  15. Kendra says:

    Hi Marianne,

    I like them both. The first one strikes me as a cover for a darker, more frightening story and the second one strikes me as more of a cover for an interesting story which may or may not actually be frightening. I like them both. Best of luck, Kendra

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Thanks for this, Kendra. I didn’t realise the difference the colours and tones could make until we got all of this feedback on the blog, which has been so very helpful. Thanks, again. Your name is in the hat!!

  16. Hey Marianne, great to see you are so close! What a striking cover design!

    I agree with almost everyone else, my instant reaction was: the grey is creepier and has much more graphic impact.

    However, I didn’t know the red disc was the sun. It looks like the sun in the colour version because it’s behind the trees. But in the grey one it is in a different position and looks like a red disc of uncertain meaning.

    Why not nudge it down a bit in the grey version so some of it is behind the trees, and beef up the title (to balance the resulting space) so it’s easy to read on Amazon et al? Needs a bolder font. Shrink it to thumbnail and you’ll see what I mean.

    I’d also like to see the spear thingy on a sharper angle. Just something about the arrangement.

    Of course, if you got us all in a room we’d be there till kingdom-come, tweaking everything a little bit this way, a little bit that way and then putting it back again and turning it round the other way. 😀

    Great cover!

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Belinda
      lovely to hear from you! And thanks for the very helpful suggestions! What you say makes good sense! As it happens, we’ve also been thinking about the positioning of the spear-dagger… as you say, it may need to be at a bit more of an angle?! Will pass on comments to the designer. Thanks again:) Your name is in the hat!

  17. Sue B says:

    Definitely the first one. The grey is much more ghostly and sinister. The position of the sun in the second one, along with the blue sky and the reflection in the water creates quite a nice, relaxing holiday destination-type of image. If you ignore the speared head/skull thingy.

    The ‘sun’ in the first one isn’t connected to the rest of the scene in the same way the second one is. I agree it could be something else entirely. The grey colours make the scene look very desolate, but maybe make the red more of a blood-red colour?

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Sue, great to hear from you here! Thanks for this. It’s reinforcing what others have said. Good point about the red maybe needing to be a tad more bloody! Cheers, your name is in the hat 🙂

  18. Katrina says:

    I like the first cover, best. I think,it suits the feel of the title. 🙂 🙂

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Hi Katrina, great to hear from you here too! Thanks for this. It really helps getting the feedback! Your name is also in the hat 🙂

  19. Pingback: a winner is announced … | Marianne Wheelaghan

  20. Emily says:

    Hi Marianne
    Only just saw this…prefer the grey one, more ‘spooky’, thrillerish and looking forward to reading it… I thought the wee huts looked a bit like lamps???? But seriously, can’t wait…. love Emily

    • Marianne Wheelaghan says:

      Thanks for this, Emily:) Good to know the darker cover is on the right track. The “huts” are definitely proving to be confusing – they are being redesigned as we speak ;0) Also as mentioned in the other comment, there is a competition now until end of June – names of all people who made a comment between now and end of june have their names go in the hat! The lucky winner will be announced on the 30th! Your name is in there!

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