e-Book Cover Design Awards Information

by Joel Friedlander on September 7, 2011 · 54 comments

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Since announcing the new monthly e-book cover design awards last week, we’ve been working behind the scenes to get ready for the first issue, coming sooner than you think.

And it’s a lesson for all you author bloggers, too. It’s not just about cover design.

Running a competition, of course, is a good method for entertaining readers, bringing the excitement of a mini-event to the audience, creating drama and celebrating the winners.

In the process, you may also

  • attract links in from other blogs linking to the competition
  • get written about if you create a popular contest
  • gain subscribers as more people visit during the contest or to see the “winners”
  • find more great designers and indie authors

And that’s part of the reason I’m quite excited to get them up on the blog for you.


The monthly schedule includes the Carnival of the Indies blog carnival on the last Sunday of the month. That makes me think that the e-Book Cover Design Awards ought to fall in the middle of the month.

My choices are Sunday or Monday. Do you see an advantage to one over the other?

Submissions and Ratings

Last I checked there were almost 40 covers submitted for the August awards, so we should have a good deal to show.

I’m rethinking my original idea. I first thought that I would pick 1 winner in Fiction and 1 in Nonfiction, and leave all the others without mention.

Now I wonder if it wouldn’t be more helpful to sort the submissions into categories, like

  • Top-level, the kind of cover we aspire to
  • Good, professional work you can be proud of
  • Competent and functional cover design
  • Acceptable cover design
  • Still needs work

Would you welcome something like that? Or using some of the submitted covers to show what to do, and what not to do?

I’m interested in how I can make this useful to the most number of people without discouraging anyone.


Although I have personal preferences in design, I’ve looked at so many books over the years I think I can tell the ones that work from those that don’t.

Rather than preferences, I’ll be looking at:

  • Suitability to the selling environment
  • How the cover looks at all the sizes likely to be found online
  • Typography, the hardest thing for many people
  • Impact, or stopping power
  • Innovative solutions to e-book covers

Is there something I’m leaving out?

Don’t forget to submit your covers for the September awards, this is going to be fun.

Photo by Shorts and Longs

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    { 14 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jinjer Stanton July 9, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I love the idea of sorting the covers into categories according to how well they function.


    Toby Neal March 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I want to submit a cover to your contest and can’t find where?

    Here’s the link of it for sale, live as of today:


    Joel Friedlander March 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Toby, here’s a link to the Submission Page


    John Psota-Jenkins January 13, 2014 at 3:37 am

    How do you submit book covers for these awards? I would be very grateful to know.
    Kindest regards

    John Psota-Jenkins


    Ellie Alanko August 23, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for your comment on my FROM FINLAND WITH LOVE, A NOVEL cover. Obviously, you are no big fan of the “award-winner” symbols. Aesthetically, I agree with you…but what is the alternative if one is trying to *sell* books? I’d love to hear your POV. –Ellie Alanko


    Joel Friedlander August 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Ellie, I have no objection to the seals and stickers, and they may well help to sell books. My objection is leaving them on when submitting to a cover design contest like this one, where all they do is obscure the design.


    Ellie Alanko August 23, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Got it. In my case, the book was already/is on the market and I don’t even own PhotoShop (let alone know how to use it :), so I couldn’t have removed the seal without paying the designer more $. Others will benefit from my cautionary tale…


    Melanie July 22, 2013 at 2:03 am

    I like to see your comments and maybe you could use a rating system, but I like the covers mixed up because I like to look at them first, to see if I can identify good and bad aspects before I read what you say.


    Sasha January 15, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I’ve found it immensely valuable to read your comments on the various covers in the contests so far, whether you’ve broken them down into categories or not.

    I’d love to see a book from you on how to design covers! Do you plan to do one?


    ChptsOfMyLife September 12, 2011 at 9:40 am

    So this is just covers? does there actually have to be a book attached to it or just a sorta what the cover would look like if we were to make a book cover? I guess I a little confused.
    Sorry, help! thanks. and I would like to submit as i love designing.


    Gary Taaffe September 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I would very much like to see your contest used as a learning tool for us to learn from you, other experts, and all of us from each other. Showing us what works and what doesn’t. What may have worked better. I also think we should be able leave comments about what covers we like and why and what we think of the judges decisions. This gets us involved and keeps the judges on their toes. The more conversation the better for you and everyone. Above all, I think this should be a constructive learning experience for all involved.
    I think this contest has a very big future and I am very excited about it. The obvious next step is interior design. Although, perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself…
    Good luck to Joel and all the contestants.


    Tanya September 8, 2011 at 8:13 am

    I would love to see covers broken down into categories. We are on the brink of needing to design some book covers and some practical, useful guidelines would really help.


    Roger C. Parker September 7, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Dear Joel:
    I think you have a definite winner here!

    You asked for comments and preferences:

    Preferred day of the week: Sunday.
    Mondays are “work days,” but Sundays is for “pleasure reading” and exploring new ideas, etc.

    Criteria–What did left out?
    I’d like to suggest “Appropriateness to content,” or “Does the image accurately reflect the contents and the author’s style/tone?”

    Another criteria category would be “Positioning (i.e., differentiation) from the competition. How does the cover relate to competing books in the field–“Does the cover just “blend in?” or does does the cover project a distinct, clear, and memorable identity.

    Engagement. Finally, how can you get your blog readers actively involved? Will it be possible for readers to rank, or rate, specific covers, or blog their comments about specific covers–and about your comments about specific covers? I’m thinking of incorporating some sort of survey tools or Squidoo-like ability to rank items in a list–to get an overall view of reader preferences.

    I understand you’re not going to do an in-depth evaluation of every cover, but I hope you’ll combine brief overviews of the pros and cons of every cover, plus an occasional in-depth review–perhaps accompanied by rough hand-drawn sketches of alternative layouts, etc.

    Obviously, I trust you won’t critique without the author/designer’s permission.

    Anyway, I understand your time is valuable, and I look forward to future developments in this project.


    Kim Wolterman September 7, 2011 at 4:50 am

    As long as it doesn’t become too overwhelming for you, I think an evaluation of the covers would be fantastic! For those of us who are not designers, learning about what makes a design really good – as opposed to just looking good – would be extremely helpful. Thanks for doing this!


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