Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards

by Joel Friedlander on August 25, 2011 · 164 comments

Post image for Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards

I knew that the idea of an e-Book Cover Design Award was a good one when people started to submit their covers in the comments of the article, even though I said I was just thinking about it!

So I gave in to necessity. Now I’ve set up a submission page, and invite your entries.

Here’s what I hope we’ll get from this:

  • Have a look at a range of e-book cover designs—sometimes you can learn a lot by looking at books outside your genre. I know I’ve often picked up graphic and marketing ideas that way.

  • See what other self-publishers are doing with their e-book covers—I’m amazed at some of the e-books and covers people send me in email to have a look at. The creativity people bring to this challenge is pretty amazing.

  • Get inspiration for your own cover design efforts—this is true throughout the design world. Every designer has a “swipe file” or “morgue” or tearsheets with particularly attractive elements. I once designed a book based on a graphic I saw in Oprah magazine, and it turned into a very effective book design.

  • Learn why some covers work better than others—sometimes you have to ask yourself, “what were they thinking?” when you see little thumbnails that are straight reductions of a print book cover, and are now unreadable. Isn’t the book worth more than that?

Lots of e-books are being published every month. Every one of those e-books has to have a book cover of some kind. And even though it’s a bit of an anachronism to even call them “book covers” since there is no physical book and therefore no book cover at all, we seem to have agreed on the term. If a collection of digital music files can have an album cover, I suppose a collection of digital text files can have a book cover.

Let’s Have Some Rules, Please

Here’s how I’d like to run this so we can all get something from it:

  • Use the submission form.
  • Please link to a cover at least 200 px. wide (and preferably at least 300 x 300 px.).
  • Please send URLs that go directly to your e-book cover images, no Facebook pages or designer portfolio pages where we have to scan through to find the cover you want to submit. You can usually get this URL by right mouse clicking on the image on the website and selecting “Copy image URL” and send us that URL.
  • There is no restriction on publication date, but the e-books must be published at the time of submission, and I’m interested in current trends.
  • No PDF e-Book covers, that’s a different genre entirely.
  • No HTML e-Book covers.
  • Only the author, the publisher, or the designer can submit a cover, no “third parties.”
  • Only one submission per e-book allowed. We will not accept submissions for previously submitted, even if redesigned, covers unless the submission is for a second edition of an e-book (different ISBN).
  • No inappropriate subjects, please.
  • Although all covers that meet submission criteria will be published, not all will receive critiques.
  • We reserve the right to remove any entry for any reason.

I’m looking forward to seeing what arrives in the inbox. Every calendar month we’ll collect the submissions and publish them, so you can put yours in any time, no worry about deadlines.

Thanks for participating. I can’t wait to see your books.

Badges for Winners

Badges will be sent out by email to the submitters of the winning Fiction, Nonfiction and Gold Star entries in the week following the publication of the awards post. These badges can be shared with the associated e-book cover designers and/or authors and linked to the post featuring the winning submission.

Upcoming e-Book Cover Design Awards Post Publication Dates

January’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – February 9, 2015
February’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – March 16, 2015
March’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – April 13, 2015
April’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – May 18, 2015
May’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – June 15, 2015
June’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – July 13, 2015
July’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – August 17, 2015
August’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – September 14, 2015
September’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – October 12, 2015
October’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – November 16, 2015
November’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – December 14, 2015
December’s e-Book Cover Design Awards – January 18, 2016

Past e-Book Cover Design Awards

e-book Cover Design Awards, August 2011
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 1
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 2
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 3
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 4
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Award Winners
e-book Cover Design Awards, October 2011
e-book Cover Design Awards, November 2011
e-book Cover Design Awards, December 2011
e-book Cover Design Awards, January 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, February 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, March 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, April 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, May 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, June 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, July 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, August 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, October 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, November 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, December 2012
e-book Cover Design Awards, January 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, February 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, March 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, April 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, May 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, June 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, July 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, August 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, October 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, November 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, December 2013
e-book Cover Design Awards, January 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, February 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, March 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, April 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, May 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, June 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, July 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, August 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, September 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, October 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, November 2014
e-book Cover Design Awards, December 2014

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    { 61 comments… read them below or add one }

    Rich E February 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Just wondering if there’s going to be a January cover contest posting… thx!


    Joel Friedlander February 26, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Rich, it posted earlier this week, here’s a link: January 2015 Ebook Cover Design Awards.


    Rich E February 27, 2015 at 3:10 pm



    Heather MacGillivray February 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Hi Joel,
    I belong to a science fiction micro-story writing group and we have put together an anthology of our work which we will publish soon. However, coming up with a book cover (front and back and book spine) is proving difficult and we don’t have much money.

    I was wondering if you know whether there are any contests where book design students or other interested book design amateurs submit their proposals for a specific book cover: with no charge (or little charge) to us, just good advertising of their talents for the winning designer?

    (The anthology consists of 78 micro stories of 1000 words each. I think there’s about 30 authors in total. And the stories are some of our entries in our monthly science fiction micro story contest for each month of 2014. Each month had a different sf theme. This is volume 2 of the anthology. The cover for volume 1 wasn’t very good and the anthology did not sell well.)

    Thanks for any information you can give.


    Joel Friedlander February 27, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Heather, you might do well posting a notice at a design school or querying the faculty. Not sure you’ll find a professional designer willing to take on a cover project in exchange for “exposure” but perhaps a reader here will respond.


    D.G. Kaye February 16, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for gold starring my book, Words We Carry. Where can I take a badge from to post on my blog? Thanks again Joel. :)


    Dawn February 11, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Just check to see if the winners for January are up yet, if so I am having a hard time finding them.


    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Dawn, the post is scheduled for this coming Monday the 16th.


    Kathryn Loch February 2, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Is it okay to submit a “book cover” design of a box set that I did from the ground up?


    Joel Friedlander February 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Kathryn, it’s fine to submit if it looks basically like an ebook cover. We don’t accept “3D” images but other than that, do submit it and we’ll have a look.


    Kathryn Loch February 2, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks Joel! It is a 3D image, but I can try submitting the flat layout before I ran the Photoshop Actions to make it 3D. If it works for you guys, that will be great. If you decide you can’t accept it as an entry, no worries. I can try something else.

    Thank you!



    Valerie Comer January 26, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Your guidelines state that a book must be published before the cover can be submitted to your contest. Does a book on pre-order count? My book is available for pre-order now and will release Feb 1.


    Joel Friedlander January 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Valerie. No, it has to be published and on sale, so just enter it after February 1 and you’ll be fine.


    Valerie Comer January 26, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the clarification! Much appreciated. :)


    Kathleen Lopez December 1, 2014 at 7:24 am

    When will you post the winners for October 2014?


    Louise Findlay December 1, 2014 at 8:05 am
    Louise Findlay July 25, 2014 at 4:18 am

    When will June and July’s contest by out?


    Joel Friedlander July 25, 2014 at 10:20 am


    June’s was published here: June 2014 Ebook Cover Design Awards and July’s will be published around the middle of August.


    jason strange November 6, 2013 at 8:52 am

    Just curious when the ebook covers contest will be out for sept. and oct.?


    Libby Vivone August 9, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Very intrested to see waht you think of the cover. The designer is my sister who has already submitted another cover sevral weeks ago. We love the feedback. This is such an education. Vivone


    Pam Kennedy June 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Is this still an active contest? Just want to make sure before I continue to enter.




    H Babington March 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks Joel! Sorry I didn’t see the Jan award post. I’ll go back and find it.
    Thanks again ~ and for all you do!


    H Babington March 11, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Thanks Joel! Sorry I didn’t see the Jan award post. I’ll go back and find it.
    Thanks again ~ and for all you do!


    H Babington March 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Wondering what’s happened to this valuable monthly award page? I miss it and hope it resumes!



    Joel Friedlander March 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Hi H,

    The January awards were published on February 11, 2013, and the February awards post will be published on March 18, next Monday. Thanks for your interest.


    Marianne December 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Trying to get my Children’s Book with sound converted so it can be viewed on multiplatform devices.
    So far I have run into several disfuctional conversion sites that have no physical addresses, do not call back,or just plain seem to not be to up to date on all the devices.
    Do you have any suggestions or does your company do the conversions for multi devices?
    The book is published and on the market. It is full color 34 pages, sound with every page.
    Thanks, MJ


    Lori Hart Beninger November 10, 2012 at 10:44 pm


    On your submission form for the monthly ebook cover awards there are two URLs requested. The first is for the book cover. Is the second one for a publisher site or…?

    Thank you again for a great presentation today at BAIPA (despite the technical issues).



    Joel Friedlander November 11, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Hi Lori,

    It was great to see you at BAIPA and glad you enjoyed the presentation, I certainly had a good time.

    The second URL is for a site you would like us to link to when we do the post. In the past we didn’t link the covers anywhere but I’m thinking we may change that and this way you can specify where you want that link to go. You might choose the Amazon or or iBookstore page, or your own website, it’s up to you.


    Aron Joice September 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    I submitted my cover and I believe I put the wrong url to amazon in the form. How can I adjust it to the correct one?


    Colin Marks September 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Hi Joel, not sure if you’re aware, but the link to the August covers page is giving a 404! And while I’m here, a quick thank you for your posts, I’ve learnt loads from you! :)


    Angela Oltmann August 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Hi, I’m just wondering when the ebook cover design awards for July are going to be posted.
    Loving your site and contribution to the industry.


    Joel Friedlander August 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Hi Angela,

    We haven’t updated this page yet, but you can see the entire competition here:

    July 2012 eBook Cover Design Awards


    Kirok of L'Stok August 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    My apologies, I checked everywhere except this thread! I see where you’re coming from now – not our niche: we do graphic novels, digests and A format paperbacks on the Issuu platform.


    Kirok of L'Stok August 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve always found the eBook Cover Awards to be packed with good advice but I was surprised to see in your rules section, “No PDF e-Book covers, that’s a different genre entirely”. I’ve never heard you say that before nor does an archive search bring anything up. Did I miss something?




    Joel Friedlander August 19, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Kirok,

    The rules section was part of the original design of the awards posted about a year ago. We’ve excluded PDF ebooks from the start because, as I said, they are a completely different format with different design criteria. I’m principally interested in the way book cover designers (pro and amateur) are managing the transition from print books to ebooks.


    Justin June 2, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Well, I am a ebook cover designer and how could I enter this ebook cover design competition please?



    Joel Friedlander June 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Justin, there’s a link to the submission page near the end of the article, but here it is again:

    eBook Cover Design Awards Submission Page


    Jean Ann Geist April 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I have the same question as Tamara…. I attempted to submit my cover for the next contest, but there wasn’t any indication that the submission was successful. Many thanks!


    Tamara Henson February 27, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Hello! I submitted my cover (I think) for your next contest. I was redirected to another page on the site. If that is normal, then it worked. Will you please confirm that the submission went through so I don’t submit multiples?

    Thank you,
    Tamara Henson


    Richard Alan February 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I did not know what to expect upon entering this contest. I’m glad I did. I learned a lot from viewing all of the covers and from your excellent observations. I hope my next cover will capture the tips you provided. Thank you.


    Derek Murphy January 12, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I’m blown away by some of the cover entries; gives me something to aspire towards. Great idea for the contest, I’ll be entering regularly from now on.


    Joel Friedlander January 12, 2012 at 10:30 am


    I hope you’ll submit the terrific cover you did for Prophecy, that would be great.

    Besides the fun of looking at a lot of covers, the posts are inspirational, with so many ideas for covers. And they are a great way for authors to find designers, so it’s all good.


    Book Graphics November 29, 2011 at 6:41 am

    Who is supposed to submit the design…the author or the designer?


    Joel Friedlander January 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Book, as far as I’m concerned the author, the designer or the publisher can enter here, but books can only be entered once. Thanks for the question.


    Troy Palmer November 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Hi Joel

    Just wondering why you consider PDF a different genre. I would love to enter some covers and get your thoughts on them, but I publish PDFs instead of e-books. I like the control PDFs allow you on page design, but as far as the cover is concerned, what is the difference between the two formats?

    I love this idea, by the way. I see it being a great help for self-publishers.


    Joel Friedlander January 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Hi Troy,

    The typical PDF e-book cover is letter size (8.5 x 11) and sold on the author’s website. The typical ePub (or Kindle) e-book cover is a small to tiny rectangle on an e-book retailer site.

    One of the reasons I decided to create this monthly competition is to help new self-publishers understand how their books compare to other books from a variety of publishers on these sites, almost none of whom sell PDF ebooks.

    Hope that helps.


    Georgi Abbott October 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Where do we find the page that shows past and present submissions and awards?


    Joel Friedlander January 12, 2012 at 10:22 am

    George, use the links at the beginning of this post to see all the entries.


    Elisabeth Grace Foley October 5, 2011 at 9:48 am

    I just submitted my entry for the cover awards, but I had one little difficulty. I wasn’t quite sure what was meant by ‘link my entry to’, so I just put the Amazon page for my book. The submission form wouldn’t accept that; it said it was an invalid URL. Same thing with my Amazon author page. I ended up just putting the link to my blog.


    Arthur Mackeown October 2, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Hi, Joel.
    I would like to submit a cover for a short story that was designed for me by a Smashword writer and cover artist, and I have a couple of questions.
    1) Do you require MY name and email address or that of the designer?
    2) Regarding the cover URL, is it sufficient to provide you with the URL of the Smashword page where the story appears? If so, the story is called Vampire’s Night Out.
    3) In the information box, can I say something about the story or do you only require information about the designer?

    Thanks. A.M.


    Joel Friedlander October 2, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Arthur, thanks for your interest in the Awards.

    1. Your name and email address
    2. Any web location where we can grab a graphic of the cover that’s at least 160 pixels wide. We need the specific page url.
    3. The remarks box is intended for information about the design only.

    Good luck!


    Elle Strauss September 24, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Joel,

    This might be a dumb question, but how do you link to a cover? I have a jpg but I don’t know how to link to a URL. (tech challenged)

    My book is for sale on Amazon.



    Joel Friedlander September 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Elle, we’re just looking for a location where we can grab the cover of the book. If it’s Clockwise you want to enter, use this URL:


    Patricia Royal September 24, 2011 at 8:47 am

    I think this might have to be the best contest I’ve ever stumbled upon. I love book covers. Excited to see the results.


    Joel Friedlander September 24, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Patricia, here are the results of the first month’s contest. The next one should be up around the middle of October, enjoy.

    e-Book Cover Design Awards August 2011


    John H. Carroll September 21, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Hi Joel,

    I submitted a cover a couple of days ago and am looking forward to how it compares. This is a great idea. :)

    Will we be able to enter a new cover each month after the previous month’s contest is over? I’ve got a couple of others that I really like too and it was tough deciding which to send in.



    Joel Friedlander September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Hi John,

    Sure, you can submit a (different) cover every month until you run out. Thanks for participating.


    Kelly Tharp September 20, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Smashwords asks for jpeg covers a 600X800 pixels, are you wanting even smaller? 300×300? If so I need to shrink my smashwords cover down even more. I only have my covers saved as jpeg files, not sure what you meal by “link to a url”. Sorry, not that computer savy. Need some directions.


    Pete Grimm August 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Tried 4-5 valid URL’s to submit my cover for your contest. None worked. Any ideas?


    Joel Friedlander August 29, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Pete, I assume you are submitting through the submission page linked at the end of the article. I just tried it and it seemed to work fine. What error are you getting? If it still doesn’t work, please email your submission info to marin.bookworks (at) Sorry for the bother.


    Michael N. Marcus August 25, 2011 at 6:37 am

    Does your family know that you did a Thursday blog?


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