First spec for the cover

Here my first attempt at specifying the cover for the first Abigail book. The artist found it a bit confusing and in retrospect he’s right.

My Spec:

target ages, 7 – 12.

Book title: ‘Abigail Saltminder. 1 – the complex’

Author: Toby Zara.

Background: Set in yet another dystopian future. Mankind is now living in colossal towers, known as v-cities. Abigail is short, round, as sharp as a knife and very tough. She dresses in army style fatigues and large, practical boots. In this first book she discovers she has a special power (yep, I know – of course she has) enabling her to control animals. She joins up with another ‘special’ and escapes from the complex (set in the African jungle).

I have two base ideas for the cover, perhaps you could advise which you think is the strongest.

Cover idea 1: the right half of the cover should be roughly like an isosceles triangle, the long side of which is the right hand edge of the cover, and the apex is the centre of the cover. At this centre is the eye of the head of a small white fluffy dog, and standing in the eye, looking resolutely out at the world is the figure of Abigail. She is in charge. The dog’s head is in outline, and is the first of a series of increasingly large animal heads (which give the triangle shape). These are all animals Abigail controls in the course of the story: chimp, hyena, elephant. There are others, but feel any more would make the cover too fussy. The rest of the cover holds what I think is one or other or perhaps both of the main images of the story: a v-city, massive, old, decaying, stretching kilometres into a menacing sky, and/or: an aerial view of the complex, which consists of six hexagonal compounds, linked by passageways to a larger (also hexagonal) compound, all fenced off and surrounded by jungle. In The main compound there are barracks, a control centre, a parade ground and – parked to one side – a small two person flyer: very fast, capable of space travel) . In the smaller compounds are two buildings: one for living, the other – smaller – a lab.

Cover idea 2: the compound (see cover idea 1) seen from above. Standing in one of the child compounds, looking up at us, is Abigail. At her feet is a small white fluffy dog. In the sky is a bird, which Abigail is controlling. It is the bird’s view we can see, as controlled by Abigail, so perhaps in the bird’s eye we can see Abigail looking down? I’m not sure how the various elements would actually work in this, but feel it might be strong if everything came together.

And his reply:

Hi Toby,

Thanks for contacting me.

I’ve read the .PDF but I find the descriptions a bit confusing, I think they are a bit complicated. Maybe picking another key moment from the book that’s clearer? Take example from the Harry Potter covers as they’re excellent, highlighting the main character in a specific part of the story.