e-Book Cover Design Awards, January 2013

by Joel Friedlander on February 11, 2013 · 49 comments

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Welcome to this edition of the e-Book Cover Design Awards. This edition is for submissions during January, 2013.

Here’s what we received:
78 covers in the Fiction category
27 covers in the Nonfiction category

Award Winners and Listing

I’ve added comments (JF: ) to many of the entries, but not all. Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Please leave a comment to let me know what you think, too.

Now, without any further ado, here are the winners of this month’s e-Book Cover Design Awards.

e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for January 2013 in Fiction


Tanya Eby submitted Tunnel Vision and other stories from the edge designed by David Kolenda.

ebook cover design
JF: Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes, love the spooky, textured look of this cover. Demands to be picked up.

e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for January 2013 in Nonfiction


Meg Akabas submitted 52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom: Effective Strategies for Raising Happy, Responsible Kids designed by Julie Metz & Heidi North/Julie Metz Ltd. “I asked Julie for a “minimalist” look to convey the message that book’s content provides clear and concise advice. I asked for a single strong image that would communicate the book’s format — mastering one skill before moving on to the next, much like completing a puzzle, putting one piece in at a time.”

ebook cover design
JF: Outstanding cover from a great designer with an assured mastery of typography, focus, and color choices.

Fiction Covers


Alex J. Reissig submitted Escape to Freedom designed by Self.

Escape to Freedom
JF: Confused imagery and weak typography don’t help this cover.


Ana C. Nunes submitted The Last Supper designed by Ana C. Nunes. “My previous version of the ebook cover was more revealing of the main secret of the story, so I decided to change to something more representative and less straight-forward. I wanted to rely on a simple colour palette and tried to find a font that was scary but not cliché.”

The Last Supper


Anne Charnock submitted A Calculated Life designed by Mack Manning. “I approached Mack Manning for ideas on a cover image for my novel. He put forward this photomontage and I didn’t hesitate in accepting it. The split face is a neat and minimal device that suggests my main character is not all she initially appears to be; that she’s different to us. Mack and I played around with the colours and settled on this yellow/orange cast that suggests a hot climate without suggesting a polluted environment. I like the contrast between the straight lines in the bottom half of the image and the wasteland vegetation in the top half; the novel is set in two very different locations.”

A Calculated Life
JF: An excellent cover with confident eye-path control, and the color palette helps tell the story, too. Well done.


April Sadowski submitted Lady From Day designed by April Sadowski. “Originally the cover was fairly boring, after I based it off of what I was using for my audio drama adaption. It was just a castle and a cherry tree overlaid with an opaque parchment layer. After a few months, I decided to give it an overhaul and make it more personal and eye-catching, so I found the stunning portrait in a renaissance style which I utilized and blended in with the existing background. Now that I have more books in the series, I am also doing the same effect with different people.”

Lady From Day
JF: A lovely and arresting illustration, but the title treatment looks a bit “pasted on.”


Artemis Greenleaf submitted The Hanged Man’s Wife designed by Alicia Richardson.

The Hanged Man's Wife
JF: Interesting concept that doesn’t quite work, and the very weak title typography isn’t helping.


Charity Parkerson submitted A Secure Heart designed by Charity Parkerson. “Thank you for your consideration.”

A Secure Heart
JF: Despite the fact that the illustrations have a quality look to them, this cover fails to make a coherent statement. There’s just too much visual noise.


Charles Barouch submitted Adjacent Fields designed by Charles Barouch. “My third book. The first worth publishing.”

Adjacent Fields
JF: Although I like the idea behind this cover, it lacks a hook to grab readers. A hook can be many things, but it has to reach out to the potential reader or buyer. Create some excitement. Pose a question with no answer. Imagine a fantastical world. Promise deep dark secrets and passions. Raise a loaded question. The hook, whatever it is, is central to the way you put your cover together and often in these competitions we see careful covers like this one that simply lack any kind of hook at all. Does your cover answer the question for the browser with only a few seconds to spare for you, “Why should I care?”


Christopher Babayans submitted Nonsensical Fiction Pt. 1 designed by Smuggles McTurnt.

Nonsensical Fiction Pt. 1
JF: Holy cow!


Christopher Geoffrey McPherson submitted The Babi Makers designed by Matt Hinrichs. “”The Babi Makers” is a science fiction novel about a future world where there is no hunger or war, and the most important industry is the making of babies. I am pleased to submit this cover designed by Matt Hinrichs.”

The Babi Makers
JF: Another winner from Hinrichs, with perfectly-chosen type and a dynamic color combination. Cool.


Cory Clubb submitted Second Thoughts designed by Cory Clubb/Go Bold Designs.

Second Thoughts
JF: Polished and suave. Nicely done.


Damonza submitted Courage and Other Demons designed by Kate from Damonza.com.

Courage and Other Demons
JF: A strong cover, but I don’t think making the title harder to read is a good strategy.


Danny Cameron submitted The Fifth Plane designed by Danny Cameron.

The Fifth Plane
JF: A very strong design with great type. Art that’s intrinsically telling the story helps to sell the book.


Darian Wilk submitted Vestige designed by Darian Wilk.

Vestige
JF: Red, white, and blue? Really?


Deb Dorchak submitted Bonds of Blood & Spirit: Uncivil Wars designed by Deb Dorchak, Blue Sun Studio, Inc.. “This is the second book in the series (Loyalties was in the August 2011 cover awards). This time I dropped the drop shadows ;)”

Bonds of Blood & Spirit: Uncivil Wars


Don McNevin submitted Emily Anne: A Ghost’s Story designed by Don McNevin.

Emily Anne: A Ghost's Story
JF: A nicely-designed paperback that shows exactly why you can’t just reduce these covers without risking a result like this one that’s barely legible and visually incomprehensible. And it needs a border.


Dorothy Zemach submitted The Lure of Dangerous Women designed by DJ Rogers. “This is a short story collection (gothic/horror/suspense), so the challenge was to get a cover that would fit the mood of all the stories, without illustrating just one (also a valid approach; just not one we wanted). Author had both input and approval rights, and was pleased with the result.”

The Lure of Dangerous Women


Ellie Stevenson submitted Watching Charlotte Brontë Die: and other surreal stories designed by James Allwright. “This cover is meant to represent both the street where the protagonist sees Charlotte Brontë and also the wider aspect of the stories: spooky, surreal and a touch of the unexpected.”

Watching Charlotte Brontë Die: and other surreal stories
JF: I really like this cover a lot. The colors are intriguing, it really focuses our attention, and the quiet title type somehow fits just right.


Ellis Shuman submitted Valley of Thracians designed by Shiran Waldman.

Valley of Thracians
JF: See my rant on “hooks” above.


Evan Willnow submitted Mightier than the Sword designed by Evan Willnow. “Cover is designed by the book’s author who is also a professional graphic artist.”

Mightier than the Sword
JF: But perhaps not a book cover designer? I find this very confused.


Garry Rodgers submitted No Witnesses To Nothing designed by Derek Murphy CreativeIndie Covers. “Hi Joel, Please consider this cover. It made #5 on the Amazon BestSeller KDPS free promotion in the Horror category and 68 in Thriller. A bit of name dropping – Joanna Penn gave a testimonial for the back jacket. Thanks, Garry Rodgers Vancouver, Canada”

No Witnesses To Nothing
JF: Despite your powerful name-dropping, this is drop-dead terrific. Derek Murphy really hits it out of the park, not least because of this fantastic illustration.


Henry H. Johnson submitted Stormy Days designed by hh johnson.

Stormy Days


Imran Siddiq submitted Disconnect: The Divided Worlds Trilogy #1 designed by Character Art by Sendol Art Studio. “The character art was commissioned to Sendol Art Studio. The placement of the character, background design, and text were created and added by the author, Imran Siddiq. I hope I conveyed the Science Fiction with Romance theme of the novel.”

Disconnect: The Divided Worlds Trilogy #1
JF: I also like the strategically-placed subtitle that helps lead us into the story.


India Drummond submitted Druid Lords

Druid Lords
JF: Just beautiful, and the appropriate typography adds to this cover’s magnetic appeal.


J.M. Ney-Grimm submitted Perilous Chance designed by J.M. Ney-Grimm. “Aiming for a fantasy look with a magnificent beast and a sense of energy and power.”

Perilous Chance
JF: Nicely done, you’re on the right track.


J.M.Harris submitted Noosum Foosum designed by Ruth Harris.

Noosum Foosum


Jane Aire submitted Black Rose designed by Jane Aire.

Black Rose


Julie Anne Grasso submitted Escape From The Forbidden Planet designed by David Blackwell. “Here is the cover to my Middle Grade Science Fiction suitable for children aged 9-12. I hope you enjoy.”

Escape From The Forbidden Planet
JF: A cute cover that’s suffering in the reduction from the paperback original.


Karen Inglis submitted Ferdinand Fox’s Big Sleep designed by Damir Kundalic. “My first children’s picture book! My illustrator Damir and I worked together on this – I was keen to make the book title clearly visible on the thumbnail. In the end it was the dream bubble that did the trick!”

Ferdinand Fox's Big Sleep
JF: Lovely.


Kit Foster submitted Oligo designed by Kit Foster.

Oligo
JF: Very atmospheric and intriguing sci-fi cover with a beautiful type treatment.


KT Bryan submitted The EDGE Of Trust designed by KT Bryan and Randa Lee.

The EDGE Of Trust
JF: Typography desperately needs an upgrade.


L.C. Chase submitted Analyzing Emory designed by L.C. Chase.

Analyzing Emory
JF: Very nice but lacking in contrast and, therefore, in drama.


L.C. Chase submitted Gravedigger’s Brawl designed by Reese Dante, for Riptide Publishing.

Gravedigger's Brawl
JF: Attractive art, but it doesn’t come together for me, partly due to the “suppressed” coloring of the whole cover and a bit too much distraction, like the doubling of the title in the sign at the top of the cover that just distracts attention.


L.C. Chase submitted Hard Streets designed by L.C. Chase.

Hard Streets
JF: Well composed, but you might try it without the ultra-distressed type effect, the cover is strong enough that it doesn’t need it.


L.C. Chase submitted Quid Pro Quo designed by Jordan Taylor, for Riptide Publishing.

Quid Pro Quo
JF: Nice concept, the type is being dominated by the image, however.


L.C. Chase submitted When Past Comes to Present designed by L.C. Chase.

When Past Comes to Present


Lance Charnes submitted Doha 12 designed by Damonza. “I asked for a bold, graphic cover with prominent use of typology and got much more than I expected. Damon introduced the idea of a cityscape and a sunset-orange wash that makes the cover pop even in thumbnail size. I’ve received several compliments on the cover already. Now we’ll see if it helps sell the book… Kudos to Damon for his excellent — and fast! — work. I’ll certainly go back to him for the next cover.”

Doha 12
JF: Yes, guest judge and multi-winner Damonza knows exactly what draws readers’ attention, and I think you’ll find you’ve made an excellent investment.


Larry Buhl submitted The Genius of Little Things designed by Damonza. “I’m quite happy with this design. The cover captures the humorous tone, and the science-geek protagonist.”

The Genius of Little Things
JF: I like the idea but this implementation is a bit too crude for my taste, although it might sell well.


Laudea Martin submitted Shakespeare’s Complete Paragon designed by Laudea Martin

Shakespeare's Complete Paragon
JF: The author is also the artist who created these amazing and beautiful paintings of animals, here collected from various other books. A beautiful and arresting cover that combines great illustration with custom lettering for a unique effect.


Linda Katmarian submitted Dreaming of Laughing Hawk designed by Derek Murphy.

Dreaming of Laughing Hawk
JF: Derek Murphy strikes again, here combining elements of romance and Native American genres to create a cohesive whole that really communicates.


Linda Moore Kurth submitted Home of the Heart designed by Tony Locke.

Home of the Heart
JF: Very 1950s.


Lori Perkins submitted A Kiss in the Rain designed by Insatiable Fantasy Designs Inc..

A Kiss in the Rain
JF: Good idea that ended up murky and illegible.


Lori Perkins submitted Nightfall designed by Insatiable Fantasy Designs Inc..

Nightfall
JF: The title has been sacrificed to the design.


Lori Perkins submitted The Passionate Attention of an Interesting Man designed by The Art Department.

The Passionate Attention of an Interesting Man


Lori Perkins submitted The Virgin Witch and the Vampire King designed by Insatiable Fantasy Designs Inc..

The Virgin Witch and the Vampire King
JF: Could be saved by decent typography.


Mark Harding submitted The Last City designed by Pat Naoum.

The Last City
JF: It could work, but what’s with the smoke? Or is it clouds?


Markus Muth submitted M.’s Traum designed by Markus Muth, Michael Maschka. “Everybody dreams every night but most of us do not remember. On the other hand, some people claim that they can plan and actively navigate their dreams. M. was one of them. This is what he said … “M.’s Dream”, a GERMAN short story with fantastic and philosophical elements. The book cover shows “Janus” in an oil painting created by Michael Maschka.”

M.'s Traum
JF: Unreadable and mystifying.


Marquis Boone submitted Til the Last Drop designed by damonza.com.

Til the Last Drop


Matthew Turner submitted Beyond Parallel designed by Matthew Turner. “This is the Book cover for my debut novel, Beyond Parallel. Although I did the design myself, I had A LOT of help from readers, book designer friends, and members of the Kindle Boards. Matthew”

Beyond Parallel
JF: Nice concept, Matthew, but that black/white rule is not helping, it’s a distraction. Try it all black or all white, either would be an improvement. Good luck with the book.


Melissa Andrea submitted Flutter designed by Regina Wamba.

Flutter
JF: I guess if you’re going to do something like this to your type, this is the right place to do it, although it might be interesting if the title itself stood out just a wee bit more. But overall very effective combination of illustration and distinctive title typography.


Michael Watson submitted Treasure of the Anasazi designed by Laura Wright LaRoche.

Treasure of the Anasazi
JF: Nice job, great example of a strong ebook cover: simple, direct, with a clear takeaway.


Michel Sauret submitted Amidst Traffic designed by One Way Street Production. “I’m the author and designer of this book. One Way Street Production is my photography company. Thanks! Michel Sauret”

Amidst Traffic


N. P. Statham submitted System Czech (Hacked Off) designed by . “This book is targeted towards geek girls, featuring as the main character Tove Torv, a Swedish hacker consulting for Interpol. I wanted to make the cover appealing to a public that identifies with alternative subcultures – hacking, gaming, geeks, emos, goths – especially the female public. It should convey a digital/ tech feeling to it, while at the same time being fun and casual, to reflect the light mood of the book. Feedback is greatly appreciated :) Thank you, /N. P.”

System Czech (Hacked Off)
JF: It’s a great start and you are hitting a lot of the right notes, although it’s not easy to make out the title/subtitle. Unless “H4ch3″ means something and I’m not in on the joke.


Notti Thistledore submitted A Frightful Recipe (Chatswood Spooks) designed by Nela Krzewniak.

A Frightful Recipe (Chatswood Spooks)


Oliver Tidy submitted Joint Enterprise – The Third Romney and Marsh File designed by Kit Foster. “Kit was a pleasure to work with and I think that he did a great job in following the remit: suggestive, effective, uncluttered, strong typography and obviously all related to each other.”

Joint Enterprise - The Third Romney and Marsh File
JF: Great example of a series design in which each title is strong by itself, and together they are even better.


Oliver Tidy submitted Making A Killing – The Second Romney and Marsh File designed by Kit Foster. “Kit was a pleasure to work with and I think that he did a great job in following the remit: suggestive, effective, uncluttered, strong typography and obviously all related to each other.”

Making A Killing - The Second Romney and Marsh File


Oliver Tidy submitted Rope Enough – The First Romney and Marsh File designed by Kit Foster. “Kit was a pleasure to work with and I think that he did a great job in following the remit: suggestive, effective, uncluttered, strong typography and obviously all related to each other.”

Rope Enough - The First Romney and Marsh File


Olivia Rivers submitted Frost Fire designed by Olivia Rivers. “Originally, this cover was nothing but a project for my high school art class. It took about 8 images and 20 hours to create. I was relatively satisfied with the end result, and decided to use it for the cover of my YA Paranormal Romance, FROST FIRE.”

Frost Fire


Patrick E. Taylor submitted Wings of Love and War designed by P.Taylor.

Wings of Love and War


Paul Morrison submitted The White Swan designed by John. “Because of the ambiguous nature of the title, I wanted the reader to know that Johnny Jordan, the fake psychic hero of the book is the white swan, which is why the shadow from Johnny on the stage is of a swan”

The White Swan
JF: Interesting effect. Might be even better with the title larger and zooming in on Johnny and his shadow, since the illustration contains a lot of mostly dark space.


Rachel Tsoumbakos submitted The Ring of Lost Souls designed by Rachel Tsoumbakos.

The Ring of Lost Souls


Randall Wood submitted Scarcity designed by Derek Murphy. “When I started this series I asked Derek for three things; Coverart that built on a theme, used bold colors for each book, and screamed “thriller” from across the room. I was very happy with the results.”

Scarcity
JF: It can be difficult to combine elements like these. Here the designer has made shrewd use of color to help out.


RJ Leahy submitted Angel of the City designed by RJ leahy.

Angel of the City
JF: Good texture and composition.


RJ Leahy submitted Fat Chance designed by RJ leahy.

Fat Chance
JF: See lecture on “hook” above.


Robin Lythgoe submitted As the Crow Flies designed by Robin Lythgoe. “”As the Crow Flies” was released on 10 December, 2012. I designed the cover myself to lend a slightly medieval feel to a fantasy story in which a thief named Crow is sent on a quest to steal a mythical dragon egg. The crow portrays the thief as well as indicating a long flight or journey. The crow’s shadow is the mythical dragon.”

As the Crow Flies
JF: I really like the overall style of this cover, but that shadow hanging in the middle of the sky really bothers me. Which scene is the crow in?


Robin Slick submitted Moon Traveler designed by Donald Capone.

Moon Traveler
JF: Cool illustration.


Ron Herron submitted Reichold Street designed by Ron Herron.

Reichold Street
JF: See “hook” above.


Sandra Jones submitted The Wolf’s Moon designed by Sandra Jones. “Cover picture and design by the wife of the author of “The Wolf’s
Moon” taken on the Wolf Moon cycle 2012, Sandra Jones.”

The Wolf's Moon


Sarah Cotur submitted The Erlking designed by Sarah Cotur.

The Erlking
JF: I like the type, but the illustration is going in so many directions my head is spinning.


Seeley James submitted The Geneva Decision designed by Pete Garceau. “Being an amateur photographer with several published pictures, I THOUGHT I could do a book cover myself. I hired a model to represent my character, took a lot of pictures, played around until I realized … NO, this is an area of expertise you don’t have! Hire a pro! I had already engaged The Editorial Department for editing and they hooked me up with Pete Garceau. I told him, you don’t have to use my photos, I’d like the best cover possible. He was nice enough to say, “the model is good, the setting and background needs work.” He came up with twelve variations which I posted for public comment. After several weeks, a very close tie between this one and another came down to 2 votes. I plan to use them both. This one for the current book. The other for the next book. I think Pete’s work is a testament to why indie authors should always go pro. If he can make my photography look good, imagine what he could do starting from scratch! :) Peace, Seeley”

The Geneva Decision
JF: Yes, absolutely. Great job, and I love the little touch of the gun hand overlaying the title.


Shae Buggs submitted Remember This designed by . “I wanted a cover that would draw readers in and I believe I have achieved that by shrinking down a man and floating him on a raft in a wine bottle. The covers seems to be popular among Rom Com readers!”

Remember This
JF: Very cute.


Silvano Williams submitted Spoon-fed Addiction designed by Rene Folsom / Phycel Designs. “Original cover (created poorly by the author) was replaced with this new one, which better illustrates the story’s dark and brooding tone. Cover design by Rene Folsom at Phycel Designs.”

Spoon-fed Addiction
JF: But I don’t think you were going for “murky” which is where this cover is now.


Susan Cardoza submitted What Will Happen to Walter? designed by Susan Cardoza.

What Will Happen to Walter?
JF: Charming, but I’m a pushover for dogs on covers, and this one is pretty sweet.


Susan Illene submitted Darkness Haunts designed by Phat Puppy Art. “The cover design was done by Claudia at Phat Puppy Art, but typography was done by Ashley at Bookish Brunette.”

Darkness Haunts
JF: A solid genre cover.


Ted Oswald submitted Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti designed by Greg Ash (www.designedbyable.com). “Greg Ash did a wonderful job of taking my concept and making it more character-centric. The book is a piece of literary fiction with strong mystery elements. It follows two children in the slums of Haiti as they try to unravel a grisly murder.”

Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti
JF: Fantastic combination of art and type, beautifully put together.


Travis Luedke submitted Blood Slave designed by http://amygdaladesign.net/. “I found this pre-made cover on http://amygdaladesign.net/ and fell in love with it. The artist added the blood on the neck, very powerful and engaging imagery.”

Blood Slave


Vicki M. Taylor submitted Good Intentions designed by Michelle Sybert.

Good Intentions
JF: Nice storytelling style cover, without too much detail and well put together.

Nonfiction Covers


Augusto Pinaud submitted NO designed by Isabel Pinaud. “The book was launched in Spanish and English at the same time. To make it easier to differentiate both versions, the Designer pick the same design but a white color for the Spanish Version.”

NO
JF: Although this cover is graphically very strong (despite the dark-red-on-black problem regular readers will be all too aware of) I don’t think it really does its job. It might work for a novel, but this seems to be a self-help book, and nowhere is it communicated or even implied that the author’s intention “is to show you the distinction between the three types of NO and your adventure will be learning to use them properly.”


Bruna Martinuzzi submitted Presenting with Credibility: Practical Tools and Techniques for Effective Presentations designed by Alex Miles Younger.

Presenting with Credibility: Practical Tools and Techniques for Effective Presentations
JF: Solid nonfiction cover that needs a border.


Cheri Williams submitted How to Castrate Your Man in 7 Simple Steps & Other Oddly Godly Epiphanies designed by Rachel A. Marks. “Hi Joel. It was great meeting you at the Fremont Writers conference on self-publishing. Please don’t let the title scare you–it’s Humor, not Memoir. :)”

How to Castrate Your Man in 7 Simple Steps & Other Oddly Godly Epiphanies
JF: Well, it does catch your attention, doesn’t it? So glad I didn’t know this about you when we met!


Derek Pedley submitted Dead By Friday – How lust and greed led to murder in the suburbs designed by Paul Harnett.

Dead By Friday - How lust and greed led to murder in the suburbs


Eldon Sarte submitted GolfIncome: eBay designed by Eldon Sarte.

GolfIncome: eBay
JF: Simple is strong in this cover for a how-to book.


Eldon Sarte submitted Online Ka-Ching! designed by Eldon Sarte.

Online Ka-Ching!
JF: The essence of a great cover design is when all the elements fuse together into a whole that seems inevitable, and which perfectly expresses the content and the author’s approach. This cover does all that.


Greg Alder submitted The Mountain School designed by Julie Rubtchinsky.

The Mountain School
JF: In the hands of a designer, this photo could be part of a really nice cover.


J. R. MARTIN submitted SELLING U.S. OUT designed by Lori Campbell.

SELLING U.S. OUT
JF: A very strong design that does an excellent job of representing the book.


J.M. Porup submitted Food-Free at Last: How I Learned to Eat Air designed by Derek Murphy. “A tongue-in-cheek parody of diet books.”

Food-Free at Last: How I Learned to Eat Air
JF: I always look at the images before reading the explanations, and this one gave me quite a double take. Funny.


Joanne Kaattari submitted Justice Pies: 20 Delicious and Easy Pie Recipes from the Justice Pie Project designed by Joanne Kaattari. “Who doesn’t like pies? And justice? I tried to create a cover that captured some of the beauty of pies and the love of family and friends that so often surrounds pies. Joel, thanks for your blog and the ongoing support it provides!”

Justice Pies: 20 Delicious and Easy Pie Recipes from the Justice Pie Project
JF: Hey, I love pies! Tarts, too! Might be better off here with one big, luscious shot of a pie. The drab background isn’t doing you any favors. More pie!


Joseph Fehlen submitted Ride On: A Motorcycle Journey to Awaken the Soul and Rediscover its Maker designed by Adam Bradley : www.adamfusion.com. “Thanks Joel for all your mentorship online to help me with the layout and cover design for this book. I worked with a friend to get this final product of an unidentifiable motorcycle on a journey with a vaster horizon. I didn’t want a full bike and have readers say, “that bike stinks”. Left some clear space on the bottom to possibly put an endorsement. Thanks.”

Ride On: A Motorcycle Journey to Awaken the Soul and Rediscover its Maker
JF: Very nice and quite effective. I like the way the horizon implies freedom to the biker, too.


JT Sather submitted How to Survive When the Bottom Drops Out designed by Paul S Beegle. “This cover is a picture that my friend Paul took after we had an evening of cocktails. It was a year later that I wrote the book, and decided that it would make the perfect cover. Paul choose the fonts, and color and put it together for me. This is the first time he has ever done anything like this, and I think it’s brilliant. The cover pic is not staged, and is every bit as real as the content of the book. There is a full page “About the Cover” at the end of the book, as it makes far more sense after reading the body. It will place you there. He has also designed my second book, and I’ll submit it next month.”

How to Survive When the Bottom Drops Out


Kristina Kaine submitted I AM The Soul’s Heartbeat: Buddha’s Eightfold Path in the Gospel of St John designed by Adriana Koulias.

I AM The Soul's Heartbeat: Buddha's Eightfold Path in the Gospel of St John
JF: Could be improved with better typography.


Larry Verkeyn submitted Fight On

Fight On
JF: Please credit the designer. I like the broad graphic impact, but it would be nice to be able to read the author’s name.


Laura Roberts submitted The Vixen Files: Naughty Notes from a Montreal Sex Columnist designed by John Moore Williams. “The Vixen Files is a collection of essays originally written for my “V for Vixen” sex column in the (now defunct) Montreal Hour weekly paper.”

The Vixen Files: Naughty Notes from a Montreal Sex Columnist
JF: Love it, dialed in for your genre, even though I’d like more readable lettering for the title, I can’t fault this cover because it all works so well.


Lori Perkins submitted Deeply Superficial Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Me designed by The Art Department.

Deeply Superficial Noel Coward, Marlene Dietrich and Me
JF: Sophisticated and effective, beautifully balanced. Also note a creative way to use an old photo that probably had a distracting background.


Lori Perkins submitted Flashes Adventures in Dating Though Menopause designed by Scott Carpenter.

Flashes Adventures in Dating Though Menopause
JF: Nice job, but for this title we need to see the subtitle better to “get it.”


Lori Perkins submitted MASTER: The Sexuality, Politics, Life and Philosophy of a Master designed by Scott Carpenter.

MASTER: The Sexuality, Politics, Life and Philosophy of a Master
JF: Whoa. A bit scary, which I think was the intention.


Lori Perkins submitted The Secret Life of E L James an Unauthorized Biography designed by Scott Carpenter.

The Secret Life of E L James an Unauthorized Biography
JF: A great image for a book cover, but the type is weak in comparison.


Marcia Degelman submitted Home Remedies for Colds & Flu Booklet designed by Marcia Degelman. “Due to time and money constraints, I designed the cover myself.”

Home Remedies for Colds & Flu Booklet
JF: In this genre you may not need any more, but the amateur nature of the cover is pretty apparent.


Mark Harding submitted Should Meat Be On The Menu? designed by Matt O’Keefe.

Should Meat Be On The Menu?
JF: Love the graphic sense, curious about the green color choice.


Michael N. Marcus submitted Silent Night: a story about sex, drugs, rock & roll, steel, food and murder designed by Michael N. Marcus. “This cover is from my first experiment at producing a Nook e-book. It’s an inexpensive excerpt from “Stories I’d Tell My Children (but maybe not until they’re adults).” It takes place in and near Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the 1960s. I took the photo on Kodachrome 64 with a Nikon FTn around 1970 at a cemetery on top of South Mountain, and scanned the slide into a digital Nikon D70 around 2006. Looking into the finder on the digital Nikon at an image I had seen more than 40 years earlier was like peering into a time tunnel. The photo is flipped to improve the composition. I matched the title text color to the color of the sunlight reflected on the water tank. There were dust spots on the slide. I removed them from the sky with Microsoft Digital Image Pro but left them on tank for ‘character.'”

Silent Night: a story about sex, drugs, rock & roll, steel, food and murder
JF: A strong ebook cover that succeeds by keeping it simple. You might try it with the same font for the title and author.


Nick Thacker submitted The Dead-Simple Guide to Amazing Headlines designed by Nick Thacker. “This series has three books that share a common design theme, and this one is my favorite. I love the way the colors blend and provide a nice counterpoint to the text.”

The Dead-Simple Guide to Amazing Headlines
JF: Nick Thacker shows his graphics chops in these two covers that are aimed squarely at bloggers and do a great job communicating their message.


Nick Thacker submitted Want to Start A Blog? designed by Nick Thacker. “I wanted to create something that would “pop,” since I only planned to release the book on Amazon as an ebook. It needed to have elements of a construction zone, but still have an inviting feel (hence the almost “cartoon-y” feel).”

Want to Start A Blog?


Robin submitted A Collection of thoughts on getting things done designed by Robin Sochan.

A Collection of thoughts on getting things done


Russell Phillips submitted Red Steel: Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of the Cold War

Red Steel: Soviet Tanks and Combat Vehicles of the Cold War
JF: Despite its rawness, this cover is highly legible and focused on communicating the focus of its subject.


Wahido Marata submitted Beyond the Western Mind – You Are Called To Change designed by Wahido Marata.

Beyond the Western Mind - You Are Called To Change
JF: I admire the energy and enthusiasm expressed in this cover, but the copy and type treatments are hopelessly—and unnecessarily—confused amid the special effects, little branding elements and “stick ons.”


Well, that’s it for this month. I hope you found it interesting, and let other people interested in self-publishing know about the Awards. —Use the share buttons below to Tweet it, Share it on Facebook, Plus-1 it on Google+, Link to it! The next issue is March 18, 2013 and the deadline for submissions will be February 28, 2013. Don’t miss it! Here are all the links you’ll need:

The original announcement post
E-book Cover Design Awards web page
Submit your e-book cover here
Follow @JFBookman on Twitter for news about the E-book Cover Design Awards
Subscribe to The Book Designer Blog

Be Sociable, Share!

    { 42 comments… read them below or add one }

    Debra Robinson April 18, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you! Debra

    Reply

    Debra robinson April 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Joel, are you doing anymore of these cover submissions? I’d love to have the chance to get your opinion on my latest, Sarah’s Shadows!

    Reply

    Debra robinson April 18, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Joel, are you doing anymore of these cover submissions? I’d love to have the chance to get your opinion on mine!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 18, 2013 at 11:16 am

    Hi Debra,

    If you look at the bottom of the article you’ll see links to the main page, which links to the monthly posts since we run this competition every month. You’ll also find a link to the submission page where you can enter your own cover.

    Reply

    Danny Cameron April 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for the Gold Star for my design of The Fifth Plane. This was the third cover I’ve ever designed, so I’m glad it was received well. Hope to design more in the future. It was a great experience coming up with an idea and executing it.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Great job, Danny, and thanks for participating. You have a good “compositional” sense, looking forward to seeing more.

    Reply

    Robin Lythgoe March 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

    I am always coming back to this resource to look and learn, and I look forward to reading the judging comments—though I wish there were comments on each cover, as those who submit them *are* looking for feedback. Given the number of covers and the monthly commitment, that sounds like a job for a team…

    I am glad to be included in this month’s contest, and appreciate your feedback. “JF: I really like the overall style of this cover, but that shadow hanging in the middle of the sky really bothers me. Which scene is the crow in?” The crow represents the main character (a thief named Crow), who has undertaken a long journey. The shadow of the dragon hints at his future, his quest, and transformation. It poses a question and hints at secrets. But I suppose if I have to explain it, it isn’t working!

    The TUNNEL VISION cover is good except for the subtitle, which is difficult to read. I really like RIDE ON—very clean looking wonderfully suggestive of a journey. THE BABI MAKERS is pretty awesome, and probably my favorite. Good work, everyone, and thanks again for your comments, Joel.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

    My pleasure, Robin. I can’t commit to comment on every cover, because I don’t think I would have the time to fulfill that promise. Hopefully you can get a pretty good sense of what works and what doesn’t from the hundreds of covers that do have critiques. Thanks much for your feedback.

    Reply

    Larry Verkeyn March 13, 2013 at 9:24 am

    (Fight On)
    I guess I missed where I should’ve acknowledged the designer… that would be me. The authors name was larger/more clear on earlier versions, however I was overruled. I’ll have to pass your critique onto him. Thanks!

    Reply

    jt February 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    ACK! I was hoping for some feedback from the guru of covers! I already know what I think, I’m dying to know what YOU think!! I know you’re a busy guy, thanks for at least taking a look.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    JT,

    Thanks for participating.

    Nothing against your friend, but it does look a lot like the first book cover he did. You have a compelling title, but nothing about the cover is particularly compelling. The image is dark and hard to make out, and the type is very uninspired and doesn’t create any interest at all. Look, it’s a competent amateur effort with no big mistakes, but it does very little to attract the browser. And I would ditch the “forged by” line, you don’t need it.

    Compare to the other covers in this post. The best ones grab you, give you a reason to want to find out more.

    Hope that helps.

    Reply

    PrimeOutsourcing February 25, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Hi, this is a great installment

    Reply

    Laura VanArendonk Baugh February 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I’m pretty sure the “System Czech” text was supposed to read “H4ck3d” — which, in l33t, would match the “Hacked Off” subtitle. (So yes, it is sort of an inside joke.) Not sure why “Hacked Off” and “H4ck3d Off” don’t match, unless it’s for searchability since most search engines don’t translate l33t.

    I always find these pages and your comments very helpful. Thanks!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 19, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Hey, thanks Laura. Mystery solved.

    Reply

    Ana C. Nunes February 15, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I’ve been following the awards for a long while and always learn something useful. Thanks for doing this.
    I always wonder why you don’t comment every book. I think it would be even more useful to see what you (and others) think of all of them. But I guess that might be tiring.
    Anyways, thanks for this. It’s impossible not to learn something every month (both from the good and bad e-covers).

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks much, Ana. And you are exactly right. If I committed to comment on every cover, then I would have to do every cover every month, and it would become an unwieldy task. And thanks for being a reader, I really appreciate it.

    Reply

    Jessica February 14, 2013 at 11:05 am

    The SHOULD MEAT BE ON THE MENU? cover has to be my favorite. It captures attention *immediately*, making me want to sample it right now.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 14, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Jessica, I really enjoyed that cover also. What I couldn’t figure out was the lack of contrast between the black type and the dark green background, and why the whole composition was pushed to the left, leaving that large “negative space” over on the right.

    Reply

    Nick Thacker February 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Glad to be included here! Thanks Joel!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

    No problem, Nick. I really enjoy your clean and well-crafted designs, they work great in a sidebar size, too.

    Reply

    David Kolenda February 12, 2013 at 3:40 am

    Thanks for recognizing the cover for Tunnel Vision!

    The author and I spent a lot of time deciding on the best way to present the cover so that it would stand out, even as a thumbnail.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

    It worked! Thanks for sending it in, and I wish you all the best with your book.

    Reply

    Notti Thistledore February 12, 2013 at 2:13 am

    Thanks for including my book, Joel, and for another helpful round-up of indie cover designs.

    Reply

    Meg Akabas February 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Thanks so much for recognizing my book “52 Weeks of Parenting Wisdom” for it’s cover design!

    I’m really glad I had the opportunity to work with such an expert designer – Julie Metz. It certainly paid off, and I appreciate that you gave her recognition she deserved for coming up with such a smart cover.

    Best,
    Meg

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 14, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Thanks for entering, Meg. Julie Metz designed a number of covers for me in the 1990s and she is a super-talented designer. It was a thrill for me to see her cover in this month’s submissions.

    Reply

    Eldon Sarte February 11, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Hello Joel
    Another great installment! The judges’ comments are actually what I look forward to seeing — very informative and helpful. Kudos and thanks for this truly excellent recurring feature of your blog. Looking forward to the next one.
    ees

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Thanks for participating, Eldon. Your “Online Kaching!”” cover was one of my favorites this month.

    Reply

    Imran Siddiq February 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    A mega phew is called for. After submitting, I spent many a minute biting my fingernails in anticipation of how you would find the cover to my novel: Disconnect.

    The seal of approval from ‘the most informative’ of reviewers of covers just made my day. Hopefully I will continue the theme with the sequels. And yes, I already know what the tag lines are for those.

    When it comes to covers, I would rather see a snippet of a blurb, a tag line or a few words to intrigue you rather than ***** reviews by Joe Bloggs.

    Reviews should be left for the back.

    What’s tremendous about this site is how there is so much to learn and gauge with a simple scroll of the page.

    Thanks :)

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Imran, I thought your cover was very effective and should attract readers to your book. Good luck!

    Reply

    Ron Herron February 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Joel –
    You liked the idea behind my REICHOLD STREET cover, but said it lacked a ‘hook’ – that reason to make you open it to see what it was about. I took your message to heart … redid the cover, and I’m submitting it again for the next round to see if I found that elusive hook this time.

    It was fun being a part of this. I’ll be back again, for sure. Thanks!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Can’t wait to see it, thanks for participating Ron.

    Reply

    Oliver Tidy February 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Joel, What a terrific resource this initiative is. I found Kit Foster after scouring months of entries here. And now I have his three covers for my series looking good up there. I knew nothing about the various design strands that must be woven together to create a strong cover and now I feel that I know a lot. As well as educational, it’s become a monthly pleasure to make a cup of tea, sit down and scroll through the latest submissions. Thank you.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    That’s terrific, Oliver, and exactly the kind of help I’ve been hoping to offer with these monthly posts. Very pleased you connected with Kit who has in turn given your books a great look. Good luck with them!

    Reply

    Bruna Martinuzzi February 11, 2013 at 11:43 am

    Joel, thank you for including the cover of my book. I am honored. Thank you, as well, for the feedback: “JF: Solid nonfiction cover that needs a border.” We did include a border for the Amazon listing but your comment is a reminder to me to always post the image that has the border.

    Reply

    Tracy R. Atkins February 11, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Another great crop of Covers!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Thanks, Tracy, it was a pretty good month.

    Reply

    Kit Foster February 11, 2013 at 10:22 am

    It is an honour, as ever, to be included in this month’s contest. Lots of great covers this month – as ever, all the work from Damonza blows me away; I also really liked ‘The Geneva Decision’ (I love it when typography becomes a part of the image, rather than just stuck on top), and I thought ‘Because We Are’ worked really well, too. Thanks again for all your kind and insightful comments – another grand month!

    Kit

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Kit, it’s always a pleasure to see your work in this competition, and this month was no different. And yeah, “The Geneva Decision” was on the short list for best-of-the-month, it really works.

    Reply

    Sandy Jones February 11, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Joel,
    This is such a fantastic idea! Thank you for the opportunity to present my cover in this fashion! I had fun just seeing our cover for “The Wolf’s Moon” by Patrick Jones listed on your page! Congratulations to all of the great entries! This is a great forum for authors to see what contribution others are making to the community by providing specific suggestions to each of the covers so we can learn. Kudos for a great “niche” for author’s to show off their work and learn from example! Sandy Jones

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Thanks for participating, Sandy.

    Reply

    Michael N. Marcus February 11, 2013 at 4:03 am

    Thanks for including me, Joel. This is the second cover I’ve done that you like. Maybe going to art school on Saturdays in the third and fourth grade has paid off. Or maybe it was the mandatory mechanical drawing classes in eighth grade. Or maybe it was taking a class in advertising art production at a community college in 1967 so I could sit near a girl I had the hots for.

    All education has value, but sometimes it may take decades to learn how valuable it is.

    Some of what I was taught and figured out myself is in this new e-book:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Look-Book-Publishing-ebook/dp/B00BAPV724

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Your covers have been getting better over the years, and this one is a good example.

    Reply

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