2012 eBook Cover Design Winners, A Request + Gold Stars

by Joel Friedlander on March 4, 2013 · 9 comments

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The first edition of the eBook Cover Design Awards came out in August, 2011.

Since then we’ve displayed hundreds of covers, and 2012 was the first full year we had winners for each month. I thought it would be interesting to look at all the winners for the year in one place, so I’ve gathered them together here.

Just looking through these monthly winners shows some of the imaginative directions designers are exploring. The ebook cover is a unique and new type of display for books. While it’s not surprising that, in most cases, ebook covers closely mimic their print book ancestors, designers are finding new ways to project an image, to create a brand, and to capture attention.

I’m very excited about the directions ebook covers might take from here. Re-imagining what a “book” cover is for a totally new kind of text (one that’s only a book in a metaphorical sense) opens up a pretty wide field for invention.

I hope we see a lot of invention and re-thinking of the ebook cover in 2013.

Stars Enter the Rating System

The most difficult part of publishing these awards is usually picking the final winner. At the end there are 3, 4, or 5 covers that each could win. But you can only have one, and that’s where the dithering starts.

In the reposts of our winners on the Indie Reader site, we’ve included “others to look at” but now I want to institutionalize these worthy covers.

Starting this year, we are also awarding “gold stars” like this: .

Each month I’ll use these stars to let you know which other covers were in the final list of potential winners. Hey, getting a gold star is a good thing, right?

And yes, if you go back to look at the January eBook Cover Design Award post, you’ll see I’ve added about 10 gold stars, so check them out.

A Request for You Designers

The only part of the awards that needs upgrading seems to be the badge itself. The one we’re using now came about in rather a rush.

So here’s my request to all you designers out there:

Design a new badge for this monthly contest. Submit your designs and include a place to note whether it’s for fiction or nonfiction, and a place for the month and year the award was given. And we’ll need a badge for the gold star winners, too.

I’ll publish all the submissions and pick a winner, who will receive a $100 Amazon giftcard in appreciation, plus a link with each badge and the admiration of your peers.

Sound like fun? Send your submissions to marin.bookworks@gmail.com with the subject “Badge Contest” by this Friday, March 8. You can submit a JPG or PNG for the contest, and we’ll request a layered .PSD, .AI or .INDD file from the winner. And if you’ve got more than one idea, enter them all.

Good luck, and thanks!

2012 Winners

Drawn from a pool of 1,290 covers submitted (1,043 fiction, 247 nonfiction), here are the winners in fiction and nonfiction for the year:

January 2012

How-to-Order-an-Italian-Coffee-in-ItalyNonfiction: Sarah Russo, How to Order Italian Coffee in Italy, Designer: Sara Rosso

The man who did too muchFiction: Camille LaGuire: The Man Who Did Too Much, Designer: Camille LaGuire

February 2012
30-failuresNonfiction: Katharine Miller: 30 Failures by Age 30, Designer: Katharine Miller

The-Pathos-of-Rowan-JunFiction: Tamara Henson: The Pathos of Rowan Jun, Designer: Tamara Henson Coffey

March 2012
EneMENonfiction: Pere Ibañez: EneME, Designer: Pere Ibañez

blackbird has spoken by kate wickersFiction: Kate Wickers: Blackbird Has Spoken, Designer: Andy Fielding

April 2012
Walking Tall: A Memoir About the Upside of Small and Other StuffNonfiction: Clay Rivers: Walking Tall: A Memoir About the Upside of Small and Other Stuff, Designer: Clay Rivers

The Story TrapFiction: Masha du Toit: The Story Trap, Designer: Masha du Toit

May 2012
Going the Half HogNonfiction: Spike Wyatt: Going the Half Hog, Designer: Damonza

Fatal DistractionFiction: Diane Capri: Fatal Distraction, Designer: Jeroen ten Berge

June 2012
Giving The Bird: The Indie Author's Guide to TwitterNonfiction: Benjamin Wallace: Giving The Bird: The Indie Author’s Guide to Twitter, Designer: Patty Wallace, MonkeyPAWCreative

An End to the MeansFiction: JC Leland: An End to the Means, Designer: Damon Freeman

July 2012
A Father's AngelsNonfiction: John Waldron: A Father’s Angels

AfterlifeFiction: Eric Edstrom: Afterlife, Designer: Melvin De Voor

August 2012
Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical FolksNonfiction: Alicia Morga: Create iPhone Apps That Rock: A Guide for Non-Technical Folks, Designer: Kyle T. Webster

Beasts of the Walking CityFiction: Del Law: Beasts of the Walking City, Designer: Damonza

September 2012
The Tao of DatingNonfiction: Ali Binazir: The Tao of Dating, Designer: Kit Foster

Sarah & GeraldFiction: Christopher Geoffrey McPherson: Sarah & Gerald, Designer: Matt Hinrichs

October 2012
Why Leadership SucksNonfiction: Miles Anthony Smith: Why Leadership Sucks, Designer: Moxie Creative Studio

Lauren Takes LeaveFiction: Julie Gerstenblatt: Lauren Takes Leave, Designer: Gary Tooth and Brett Gerstenblatt (designers) and Liz Starin (illustrator)

November 2012
Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech ResistanceNonfiction: Charles Novacek: Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance, Designer: Kimberly Glyder

The Ming StorytellersFiction: Laura Rahm: The Ming Storytellers, Designer: Caryn Gillespie

December 2012
100 Days of LoveNonfiction: Åsmund Seip: 100 Days of Love, Designer: Åsmund Seip

Courting the King in YellowFiction: Brian LeTendre: Courting the King in Yellow, Designer: Brian LeTendre / Jeff Rodgers

So, which are your favorites? Let me know in the comments.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com

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    { 6 comments… read them below or add one }

    Colin March 4, 2013 at 4:54 am

    Hi Joel
    Here are my choices…
    Nonfiction: John Waldron: A Father’s Angels
    Fiction: JC Leland: An End to the Means
    Cheers.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 4, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Can’t argue with those, thanks Colin.

    Reply

    Karen A. Wyle March 4, 2013 at 7:26 am

    It’d be lovely to see the designers listed, as they were in the monthly awards.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander March 4, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Karen,

    Now, how did I forget that?? Thanks for pointing out the omission, we’ve gone back and added them to the post.

    Reply

    Lynne Cosby March 8, 2013 at 8:25 am

    My number one favorite is Blackbird Has Spoken.

    Reply

    Bill Peschel March 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

    There are some really good covers here, some covers that are good enough for New York (that is, I could see them on a bookstore shelf), and some meh. Here’s my favorites:

    Fiction: Most important should be how well does the cover convey the idea of what the book is about, assuming you know nothing else about the book. There are some really beautiful, well-composed covers, such as “Beast of the Walking City,” that did not convey enough of an idea of what the book is about. That doesn’t mean they’re bad covers, or even that they should be designed according to this standard. But if you can tweak it to convey more information, why not do it?

    Here’s my top three:
    1. “Lauren Takes Leave” Beautifully composed, cool illos, and conveys the idea of a woman working toward the life she wants (which I’m assuming the story’s about). Written in a light, positive style that’s not too literary, but not too comical.

    2. “Sarah and Gerald” Again, beautiful artwork. With the majority of covers these days emphasizing photos because it’s easy to execute and cheap, going with a drawn cover stands out so much more that it’s worth spending the money to hire a good artist. Adding “A novel of Paris in the ’20s” nails the genre, and the title informs those of us who know she’s talking about Sarah and Gerald Murphy, a wealthy couple who befriended Hemingway, Fitzgerald and many other artists of the time.

    3. “Man Who” It’s similar to the design and colors in the movie poster for Anatomy of a Murder. Too close? I’m not sure, but it’s still effective.

    Nonfiction. They’re all pretty good. Dealing with facts seems to make nonfiction covers easier to handle.

    1. “Walking Tall” Even without reading the tag line, you can get a pretty good idea what this is about. Well done composing the shot with the sun behind the subject.

    2. “Cell Phone Apps” Eye-catching artwork, solid title, no problem understanding its purpose.

    3. “Half Hog” Nice combination of typography (including the color gradiations) and artwork. Same thing with the “Twitter” book.

    Reply

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