e-Book Cover Design Awards, July 2013

by Joel Friedlander on August 12, 2013 · 35 comments

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

This month we received:

63 covers in the Fiction category
12 covers in the Nonfiction category

Comments, Award Winners, and Gold Stars

I’ve added comments (JF: ) to many of the entries, but not all. Remember that the aim of these posts is educational, and by submitting you are inviting comments, commendations, and constructive criticism.

Thanks to everyone who participated. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. Please leave a comment to let me know which are your favorites or, if you disagree, let me know why.

Although there is only winner in each category, other covers that were considered for the award or which stood out in some exemplary way, are indicated with a gold star:

Award winners and Gold-Starred covers also win the right to display our badges on their websites, so don’t forget to get your badge to get a little more attention for the work you’ve put into your book.

Also please note that we are now linking winning covers to their sales page on Amazon or Smashwords.

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 July 2013 in Fiction


Janice Graham submitted Firebird designed by Sarah Pearson. “The designer, Sarah Pearson, was previously head of the art department at Random House London, and is now working freelance. I was very fortunate to find her through a mutual friend who works in publishing. Firebird is a very unusual love story, and place – Kansas – plays an important role in the story. Rather than follow the trending cover styles, we opted for something more classical and elegant, which suits the story and characters and would speak to women’s fiction.”

cover-design
JF: Masterful. Beautifully constructed from many elements, yet completely under control. Notice how the story elements are kept in the background, never overwhelming or even changing the tone of the cover. When you can design at this level, with subtlety and storytelling, you don’t need anything that will take away from the whole.

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


William Ash submitted Futon Daiko: A Japanese Festival designed by William Ash. “Japan has an ancient and mysterious culture that seems impenetrable to the outsider. Experience is the essence of the native Japanese religion of Shinto. This volume of photographs explores the Japanese festival, or matsuri, embodied in shrine Shinto.”

cover-design
JF: This is a book of photography designed solely for the iPad, and in that context it’s a beautiful and appropriate cover whose image really captures the energy of Shinto festivals.

Fiction Covers


Adam Dickson submitted The Butterfly Collector designed by Alex Dickson. “Designer Alex Dickson captured the essence of the novel, which is the elusive and compelling nature of obsession. At the centre of the butterfly is the silhouette of a woman’s body, the wings spread as if she is about to take flight. Alex graduated from UCA Maidstone in 2012 with a BA (Hons) degree in Graphic Design: Visual Communication. For more details of his work, visit http://cargocollective.com/gallery”

The Butterfly Collector
JF: Looks like he has a great career ahead of him. This cover is instantly recognizable, detailed in a simple layout, with a bit of surrealism thrown in. A beautiful ebook cover.


Adriana Koulias submitted Fifth Gospel – A Novel designed by Adriana Koulias. “This cover was made in Photoshop and indesign. I had a crash course in using both programmes over a three week period and came up with four covers for books I was publishing through Amazon and Createspace. It was a crazy hectic time, but, I got there.”

Fifth Gospel - A Novel
JF: Good job, I like the strong image created by the sword, the rest is a bit busy. There’s a lot of visual activity within the Leonardo painting itself, and a lot going on on this cover. The “A Novel” line needs a bit more air.


Alma Alexander submitted Weight of Worlds designed by Kyle Cassidy. “Collection of fantasy short stories”

Weight of Worlds
JF: Considering the title, I would have expected something more emphatic, both visually and typographically.


Andy Conway submitted Touchstone (4. Station at the End of Time) designed by Simon Moody. “Part of a continuing series, this cover uses the regular hand logo that features across all the books, but with this story being almost as much ghost story as it is time travel, a spookier feel was needed. The model was photographed specially and subjected to a great deal of Photoshop pixelfoolery, but the background was a very lucky find: an atmospheric railway station photograph that was available on a Wikimedia Creative Commons licence and simply slotted in right behind her with not one change (photographer: Ian Carroll).”

Touchstone (4. Station at the End of Time)
JF: Quite a bit going on here, difficult to keep it all hanging together.


Andy F submitted House of the Dead: Part 1 of the Triskell Story by Des Sheridan designed by Andy Fielding. “Tara Ruane – sacked from her high-flying job in Boston and experiencing a nervous breakdown – returns home to rural Ireland. What she needs is time to heal but fate has something quite different in store. Researching her grandfather’s diaries, clues lead her to stumble upon a buried megalithic tomb and a mystery centred upon a strange triple-spiral symbol – the Triskell.”

House of the Dead: Part 1 of the Triskell Story by Des Sheridan
JF: Excellent graphic ebook cover, strong graphics, a clear message, solid type, everything works well together.


Angela Oltmann submitted In Good Hands designed by Angie-O Creatioins.

In Good Hands
JF: Literally.


Angela Oltmann submitted Seawolf – Mask of Command designed by Angie-O Creatioins.

Seawolf - Mask of Command
JF: It’s always a challenge to combine very different images this way, but it works here to highlight the series’ heroine.


Beth Caudill submitted Healer’s Fate designed by Ruby Annabelle. “This is for a self-published reissue of a novella previously epublished by Whispers Publishing.”

Healer's Fate
JF: Suffering from weak typography and that “pasted on” look.


C. J. Darlington submitted Ties that Bind designed by C. J. Darlington. “I’ve been fascinated with book cover design for years now, so when it came time to design the book cover for my indie published novel Ties that Bind (through my own imprint Mountainview Books, LLC), I wanted to give it a try. After much research, and some great online tutorials, this is what I came up with.”

Ties that Bind
JF: Great job for your first time out. Your image composite works better than most, provides atmosphere and hints at the story. There are so many good things, you could probably get rid of the torn edges and strengthen the basic message. Less is more.


Carlyle McCullough submitted Nikolas and Company: The Foul and the Fallen designed by Carlyle McCullough.

Nikolas and Company: The Foul and the Fallen
JF: It looks terrific, but it’s so dark I can’t really make it out, not even to read that blue type.


Cassy Campbell submitted Darkwalk designed by Cassy Campbell. “This is a scifi set in a dystopian future. I was aiming for a darker, suspenseful cover.”

Darkwalk
JF: Sullen? Or bored and disinterested? Take your pick, that’s what’s likely to greet this cover.


Cathy Vasas-Brown submitted Safe as Churches designed by Streetlight Graphics. “Safe as Churches is a tale of a malevolent killer stalking women who work the phone sex lines and how one woman’s dark past returns to haunt her. A breakaway religious sect, a killer’s relentless pursuit of his fantasy woman and too many secrets collide in a finale set in the Pacific Northwest. I wanted an uncluttered cover that delivered the gist of the story with a single, bold image.”

Safe as Churches
JF: The light weight of the dark red type will become less and less visible as the cover is reduced, usually a bad outcome.


Ceri Evans submitted Oak and Mirrors designed by Ceri Evans.

Oak and Mirrors
JF: Not sure you need all the effects on the type, but I like it, very attractive cover.


Charles G Dyer submitted Abatwa designed by Charles G Dyer. “The background is a photo of the Karoo and the Abatwa people riding the ants were made with a 3D modelling program.”

Abatwa
JF: The style of this cover seems completely wrong for a book of tribal mythology, it looks like a desert trail guide.


Charles G Dyer submitted Brimstone designed by Charles G Dyer. “More 3D modelling to show the concept of multiple landing modules arriving on Mars.”

Brimstone
JF: Photoshop fun. A designer may have been able to make an interesting cover from this image, but this isn’t it.


Charles G Dyer submitted Torpedoed designed by Charles G Dyer. “3d modelling and a fair bit of photo editing was needed to produce this cover. As with all my covers, I stretch fonts to fit.”

Torpedoed
JF: Yes, stretched on the rack, have pity. There are likely better fonts for these covers, but not with big, colored drop shadows.


Chris Kennedy submitted Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle designed by Giorgio Valentini at Genesis Graphic Design. “”Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle” is Chris Kennedy’s first novel and Giorgio Valentini’s first cover art. The book cover is a collaboration between the author’s concept and the designer’s inspiration. Graphically, the Red Tide is rolling in on Seattle, with the Chinese flag and Chinese characters for the book’s title watermarked in the water. The cover also lends itself well to be modified for the second book of the duology, “Occupied Seattle.””

Red Tide: The Chinese Invasion of Seattle
JF: I like the airy atmosphere and confident composition, but the Chinese characters may detract more than they add, or they are at war with those stars, too much going on. And take the colon off your title, you don’t need it on the cover.


Dan Hallagan submitted Serf (The Climber Series) designed by Dan Hallagan and Tom Walker. “My goal was to feature, plain and simple, the lead character in what will be a seven book series. This character has enough visual interest to hopefully generate curiosity. Thanks for a great site!”

Serf (The Climber Series)
JF: I like the concept, but the typography here is very weak.


Daniel Isberner submitted Schattengalaxis I – Die letzten Tage designed by Art: Daniel Isberner Layout: Peer Bieber. “The book is written in German, but I don’t think that matters much for the cover art ;) The original cover was, to be honest, really bad. So I took the book of the market for a few weeks and redesigned the cover as well as some formating changes and a few minor text changes to the story inside. The submitted cover is from the second edition.”

Schattengalaxis I - Die letzten Tage
JF: Nice job, I bet your sales improve.


Deb Hanrahan submitted Changing My Wardrobe designed by Deb Hanrahan. “Changing My Wardrobe is a tragic high school drama about starting over, fitting in, and discovering the truth about what really matters. It’s a story about friendship, first love, and soul-crushing loss. It’s a story about a person’s choices, good and bad, and the unexpected and far-reaching consequences of those choices.”

Changing My Wardrobe
JF: Fantastic book description that, sadly, isn’t reflected at all in the cover. Where’s all that drama gone? A more expert hand is needed to create a cover for your story.


Elaine H. Baldwin submitted If One Falls designed by Lonnie and Margaret Richards (richards and company art & photography). “Professional photographer/artist, husband and wife team, Lonnie & Margaret Richards, did a great job of capturing the soul of my debut novel. Friendship, betrayal and courage come alive in the backdrop of banished kings, evil emperors and ancient prophecies. If One Falls is a New Adult Christian Fantasy with a niche market of 20/30 something female readers. This cover is used for both ebook and print versions.”

If One Falls


Elizabeth Kaiser submitted Jeweler’s Apprentice designed by Shepherdess Designs. “Jeweler’s Apprentice is a Christian YA set in a low-fantasy world. “When she stumbles across a court secret a bookish lass is apprenticed into a world of strangers, gems, and danger.””

Jeweler's Apprentice
JF: Hard to read, and no fantasy, no danger, nothing to draw us into your story.


ELLIE ALANKO submitted FROM FINLAND WITH LOVE, A NOVEL designed by JACCI BROWN. “THANK YOU FOR REVIEWING THIS COVER: IT WAS A COLLABORATIVE EFFORT BTW ME AND THE BOOK DESIGNER (I PROVIDED THE IMAGE FROM VISITFINLAND.COM, WHICH GAVE ME RIGHTS TO USE THEIR PHOTO BANK). BEST, ELLIE ALANKO”

FROM FINLAND WITH LOVE, A NOVEL
JF: Charming, even with the distracting and irritating gold seal. Pitch perfect otherwise. (Submitters: Please submit a cover (if you have one) without a gold seal. Please.)


Fritz Freiheit submitted The Red Rook designed by Fritz Freiheit. “This is the second book cover that I have designed, and the first one that I created the art. You can see a good chunk of the evolution of the artwork here: http://novagenesisworld.com/wiki/The_Red_Rook_cover_design”

The Red Rook
JF: I think you have an interesting graphic vision, but you need to find better fonts for your covers, it will improve them a lot, and you won’t have to use all those outlines.


Gaelen VanDenbergh submitted Running Against Traffic designed by Todd Engel.

Running Against Traffic
JF: Disturbing in all the wrong ways. The martini glass balanced on the porch railing, and menacing the poor girl at the top is almost a master class in how not to composite images.


J Gordon Smith submitted Cabernet Zin designed by J Gordon Smith. “New Adult novel launched July 4th. Discussion on cover creation http://jgordonsmith.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/cover-evolution-cabernet-zin/ Gimp.org, stock models photo, backdrop a personal photo.”

Cabernet Zin
JF: Smooth and effective.


J. Aleksandr Wootton submitted Her Unwelcome Inheritance designed by Gordon Napier; Jill. “In response to a year’s worth of “meh” reactions and some critical suggestions, we commissioned some new art and completely changed the book’s cover. We’re very pleased with the result! The commissioned artist can be contacted via dashinvaine.deviantart.com.”

Her Unwelcome Inheritance
JF: Yes, the illustration looks quite nice, but you haven’t gotten a good ebook cover out of it. You don’t need all that black, it’s not adding anything, but you do need much better typography. Please see my notes on the cover immediately below.


J.M. Ney-Grimm submitted Rainbow’s Lodestone designed by J.M. Ney-Grimm. “This newly created cover design replaces an older one that, while attractive, didn’t communicate the essence of the story.”

Rainbow's Lodestone
JF: And what a beautiful job. A terrific piece of art combined with confident type use and a luscious tone and texture that take us right into the book.


James Regan submitted Frameworks: The Price of Delusion designed by All of the Answers.com Karen Fodge. “Picture of book at end of book trailer as well”

Frameworks: The Price of Delusion
JF: Yet another example of an illustration that might create a nice ebook cover if it met some type that actually worked.


Jamie Thornton submitted Trip designed by Jamie Thornton. “This is a short story about a middle-aged woman left with a dog, Trip, she never wanted. While on a walk one day she must confront a violent situation and her feelings of worthlessness to keep both her and Trip alive. I’m beginning to get my feet wet with this whole indie author thing–that means I’m a 100% DIY at the moment. I’ve dabbled in photography before, but this is one of my first cover art attempts. I created this cover to (hopefully) convey the main setting as well as the story’s minor horror elements.”

Trip
JF: Smart to keep it simple while you’re learning. Next lesson: typography.


Jay Fingers submitted Orange Mound designed by Rhea Isaacs for YoungEarlGrey (Illustrator) / J. Jackson Jr. for Be Cool Books (Layout Design). “This novel was my foray into the “urban fiction” genre. I wanted my cover to pay homage to the Blaxploitation film genre, but, since the novel is pretty irreverent, I wanted it to also have a slightly playful vibe. I saw Rhea Isaacs’ work on social networking sites like Tumblr and Instagram, so I reached out to her and explained my concept idea. She got it right away; the finished product isn’t too far off from her earlier sketches. After the illustration was complete, my layout guy J. Jackson Jr. used a classic Blaxploitation font for the title and author name. To take his little wink-wink-nudge-nudge further, the color used was “blood orange.””

Orange Mound
JF: It does have that “blaxploitation” film look to it.


Jennifer Quinlan submitted The Dilemma designed by Jennifer Quinlan.

The Dilemma
JF: Unfortunately, that big ornate frame at the top may well be the source of this poor woman’s obvious pain. It’s a bit overdone, and taking up a lot of the visual attention that should be going elsewhere.


Jim Mastro submitted The Hand of Osiris designed by Tony Sansevero. “This is the second book of a science fiction trilogy for kids.”

The Hand of Osiris
JF: Hard to read the title, and intentional or not, those haloes around the figures make it look like a cut-and-paste.


John Picha submitted ePulp Sampler Vol 1 designed by John Picha. “Get ready to explore strange worlds, visit forgotten pasts, and delve into parallel histories. Whether you’re a nostalgian, dieselpunk, pulp fan, fantasy and sci-fi aficionado, or ebook spelunker, there’s something in this collection for you to explore.”

ePulp Sampler Vol 1
JF: Sign me up! Love it, well done.


Jonathon Burgess submitted On Discord Isle designed by Vladimir Verano. “Novel by Jonathon Burgess. Cover art by Ksenia Mamaeva. Cover design by Vladimir Verano, Third Place Press.”

On Discord Isle
JF: Looks just right for its genre.


José María Clemente submitted Tientos y esquirlas designed by Yabata Design. “This book, entitled “Tientos y esquirlas” (only published in ebook: Amazon and Kobo), by spanish writer José María Clemente, is a unusual collection of short stories and micro-stories, based in fragmentation and poetic intention. The cover represents this fragmentation and the artisanal desire of its author.”

Tientos y esquirlas
JF: A strong and confident cover that will catch readers’ eye.


Kathryn Grimes submitted Creatura designed by Claudia McKinney of Phatpuppy Art.

Creatura
JF: Spooky and effective.


Kelly Thompson submitted The Girl Who Would Be King designed by Stephanie Hans. “A handful of really fantastic people were involved in the design of this book. The gorgeous illustration is by comics artist and comic cover artist Stephanie Hans. The text was primarily designed by Adam Greene and Susan Fang. Ultimately Adam Greene (and author Kelly Thompson) pulled it all together for the final look.”

The Girl Who Would Be King
JF: It’s pretty amazing, but the artwork is so explosive it almost makes the title into an afterthought.


Korin Dushayl submitted Choices designed by http://pussycatpress.com/. “From fairy tales to modern legal tradition, society demands we love exclusively, even though many only find happiness with multiple partners. Linda finally confronts her sexual needs when she meets Phil In Chicago. But back in Portland, her husband’s insistence on monogamy forces her to choose between his limitations and her own fulfillment.”

Choices
JF: Incongruous images don’t communicate sexual tension.


L. M. Justus submitted Welcome to the Darkness designed by Derek Murphy. “I was very lucky to have uber-talented Derek Murphy of Creativindie Covers design this cover for Welcome to the Darkness, the first book in the Darkness Trilogy.”

Welcome to the Darkness
JF: Confusing, without any clear message.


Linda McCabe submitted Quest of the Warrior Maiden designed by Iain Morris.

Quest of the Warrior Maiden
JF: Great example of a strong hook, it immediately involves us in the story.


Mallory Rock submitted White Chalk designed by Mallory Rock.

White Chalk


Maree Anderson submitted Liminal designed by Rob Anderson. “Hi Joel. Here’s the latest cover from my husband, Rob. Liminal is a young adult story about a teenage girl who discovers that some of the time she’s invisible… and whenever she reappears, people have forgotten who she is. I love the subtle lighting of the girl on the cover, that’s been carried through into the title etc.”

Liminal
JF: Haunting and appealing. Beautiful use of textures too, just great.


Mark Niemann-Ross submitted Phantom Sense and Other Stories designed by Steve Turmell. “I provided Steve with a copy of the lead story, then just got out of his way. This is pretty much his first draft – he nailed it!”

Phantom Sense and Other Stories
JF: Great use of a stock image transformed by the designer’s vision. Very effective.


Martha Miller submitted Murder at Cape Foulweather designed by Keith Miller.

Murder at Cape Foulweather
JF: The way to start the cover design process is to look at books that are selling well, and which are similar to your book, or would sell to the same readers.


Mary Pat Hyland submitted The House With the Wraparound Porch designed by Mary Pat Hyland.

The House With the Wraparound Porch
JF: Pleasant, but do you notice how the whole cover focuses us on the nozzle of the garden hose? Why?


Mary Vine submitted A Haunting in Trillium Falls designed by Chad Allan Smith. “My real name is Mary Vinecore and I write as Mary Vine. Thank you.”

A Haunting in Trillium Falls
JF: Would have been a lot more interesting and effective without the feathered border.


Melanie Hatfield submitted Kingdom of the Snark: An Affair with Wizards designed by Michelle Zastrow (Independent Artist). “My cover was hand drawn by the artist with some computer work for the layout and the type. If you need any specific details, please let me know and I can relay questions to her. (She’s a private artist who requests that I not give her personal information out.) Thank you for your consideration. :-)”

Kingdom of the Snark: An Affair with Wizards
JF: An accomplished artist, but the type looks like it’s been forced into the shape at the top, and I’m not sure a hat is enough to draw people in.


Melinda Szymanik submitted Sally Bangle: Unexpected Detective designed by Cheryl Smith. “This is a mystery novel for junior readers aged 8 to 11, with a light hearted tone and a fast pace. The main character Sally Bangle transforms from being the unhappy victim of schoolyard bullying to being the girl who takes charge, solves problems and makes friends with her enemy.”

Sally Bangle: Unexpected Detective
JF: Cute, and I love your title type, but the cover suffers from not having any element dominant, and that makes it hard to integrate everything into a unified whole.


Michael Kingswood submitted The Necromancer’s Lair designed by Michael Kingswood. “I designed this one myself using stock photos from Dreamstine and istockphoto, after taking input from a bunch of other people. I think it turned out well, but I’m curious about what you think.”

The Necromancer's Lair
JF: It’s a bit dark and I’m not crazy about the way the two main lines of type relate to each other, but it does work overall.


R. M. Huffman submitted Antediluvian designed by CJ McDaniel at Adazing, cover art by Lucas Graciano. “Antediluvian is Biblical fiction with a fantasy feel, and I wanted a cover that would communicate that. Obviously, the key to this is the amazing cover art by Lucas Graciano. CJ McDaniel at Adazing finished it off in (in my opinion) grand style.”

Antediluvian


Rachel Aukes submitted 100 Days in Deadland designed by Rachel Aukes. “This was my first cover I designed (and I now fully appreciate cover designers!). I wanted a simple cover that made it clear that this was a zombie novel, and I wanted a vintage feel since this novel is a retelling of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno.”

100 Days in Deadland
JF: Looks like the work of a talented and experienced designer, not a newbie. A very strong cover that communicates its offer clearly, cleverly, and with humor. Love this one.


Rasana Atreya submitted The Mosquito and the Teapot designed by Sunaad Gurajada, 11 years. “My 6-year old, Aamani Gurajada, wrote a book. My 11-year old wanted to do the illustrations for his sister, so I downloaded paint.net and pointed him to youtube tutorials. He designed the cover, and also did the illustrations in the book. Would appreciate feedback to help him improve.”

The Mosquito and the Teapot
JF: Absolutely charming and appropriate. Tell him to keep going!


Raymond Esposito submitted You and Me against the World designed by Ricky Gunawan. “Ricky is an amazing cover artist from Indonesia. I may actually love the cover more than my own book LOL.”

You and Me against the World
JF: Looks to be an interesting illustration, but the way the type has been treated and the overall layout is just really wrong. There’s no purpose to torturing the type to the point it’s almost unreadable, and the big dark area of the main figure’s back is the where the title should be anchored.


S T Cameron submitted Young Explorers and the Inca Wraith designed by Chris Cartagena. “Young Explorers is a middle grade early 1900s adventure series and this cover for the first book in the series was designed to give it that adventuring feel for the entire series yet ground it in Inca and South American images specific to the first book. We would love to hear your impression.”

Young Explorers and the Inca Wraith
JF: Well, you’ve got all the right elements, but they are not coming together too well. Typography is confused with too many styles, and the images are struggling to make sense. Why is the boy staring at the pyramid?


Sharon E. Cathcart submitted His Beloved Infidel designed by James Courtney. “Designer James Courtney created this cover for my inter-ethnic romance, set in Paris during the Iranian Revolution. “His Beloved Infidel” is the story of Farukh and Catherine, two ordinary people caught up in the course of extraordinary events, whose newly-found love is challenged by cultural and political differences.”

His Beloved Infidel
JF: Using comic-style art is an interesting approach, although the rest of the cover doesn’t really say “romance” to me.


Simon Cantan submitted The Bite on the End of the Line designed by Soheil Hamidi Toosi. “This is my first published book and I went straight to a professional cover designer to get the best possible results (Found through 99Designs.com). I really love the design of the engine and the flames contrasting with the misty forest around them. The book itself is comic-fantasy with some medieval elements and some more modern elements, so I think this cover does a good job of conveying to the reader that this won’t be typical fantasy.”

The Bite on the End of the Line
JF: Lovely, good decision on your part.


Stacy Claflin submitted Forgotten designed by Bryan Hufalar from bhphotoart.com.

Forgotten
JF: Another paste-up at war with itself.


Susan Edwards submitted Summer of the Eagle designed by Susan Edwards. “I enjoy working with graphics and designing so publishing my book after getting my rights back was a fun and learning journey. I look forward to any comments from entering in this contest. This is book 1 out of 4.”

Summer of the Eagle
JF: We can now hire many of the same cover designers who have been working for traditional publishers for years, and that’s what I recommend to anyone who wants a truly effective book cover—the most important single piece of any fiction book marketing plan—unless you are a trained artist yourself.


Thomas Pluck submitted Steel Heart: 10 Tales of Crime and Suspense designed by Sarah Bennett Pluck.

Steel Heart: 10 Tales of Crime and Suspense
JF: I love this well-conceived and executed image that clearly communicates what we can expect from these stories. And here, the metallic effect on the title type is apt, and helps communicate the cover’s message.


Vincent Eaton submitted Intimate Dialogues designed by Fontana identity & design. “The collection of stories, Intimate Dialogues, was written over the last decade or so.”

Intimate Dialogues
JF: An interesting design, almost a throwback to the 1960s, but that one empty balloon bothers me.


Zane Dickens submitted Lost and Confused: The Misadventures of Jeffery Archer designed by Zane Dickens. “A tongue and cheek cover, meant to tease interest into this particular mission by Jeffery Archer. The cover highlights the first scene of the short story.”

Lost and Confused: The Misadventures of Jeffery Archer
JF: Unfortunately the cover’s a bit confused. Unlike “Steel Heart” above, this book has no business with brushed metal type, does it? Not sure what the message is here.

Nonfiction Covers


Annette Czernik submitted Energetic? Change! Exceptional Leaders Use Leadership Energy designed by Karl-Martin Hartmann & Kerstin Jeckel, Wiesbaden/Germany. “We have chosen pictures of the forest for the cover design of my first ebook “Energetic? Change! Exceptional Leaders Use Leadership Energy”. The forest represents fulfillment, energy and complementarity to modern business life. It’s a place of refuge, quietness and contemplation. The forest has undergone many changes and keeps being exposed to new challenges. The same is true for the corporate world. The concept of sustainability originates in forestry, which is slowly finding its way into organizations. Karl-Martin Hartmann, sculptor and photographer, has taken the pictures in the local forest. He edited the images to align them with the Inspired Executives logo; we felt that a pop-art or Warhol-style of the pictures would fit perfectly to the content of the ebook. It is an unusual look, yet very unique. Kerstin Jeckel, painter, has designed the interior of the ebook.”

Energetic? Change! Exceptional Leaders Use Leadership Energy
JF: A workmanlike cover that doesn’t seem to embody the promise of the title.


Augusto Pinaud submitted #iPadOnly. The first real post-PC book. How to use only your iPad to work, play and everything in between. designed by Radek. “The book was co-write by my and Michael Sliwinski.”

#iPadOnly. The first real post-PC book. How to use only your iPad to work, play and everything in between.
JF: The elements of a lovely cover, but all the type appears to be too small and pushed to the side by the illustration.


Christopher Perdue submitted The Prewrath Rapture: Answering the Critics designed by Christopher Perdue.

The Prewrath Rapture: Answering the Critics


Cynthia Briggs submitted Bumper Crop: Beginning with Apples designed by Brown Media. “Thank you for the opportunity to show off the stunning cover Brown Media designed for my humble book of apple recipes.”

Bumper Crop: Beginning with Apples
JF: A beautiful cover that knows exactly what it’s selling: those gorgeous apples. Showing a finished dish would have been the icing on the cake.


Damien Diecke submitted Sincere Seduction designed by Diviya Nand.

Sincere Seduction
JF: Cute concept, but this fellow looks quite the liar.


David Lowe submitted Deconstructing Lucifer: Reexamining the Ancient Origins of the Fallen Angel of Light designed by David Lowe. “Thank you for your consideration. David W. Lowe www.deconstructinglucifer.com”

Deconstructing Lucifer: Reexamining the Ancient Origins of the Fallen Angel of Light
JF: Very nice, could be improved by making the reflected type much darker.


K G Tuckton submitted Herons in the Orchard designed by K G Tuckton. “For the background I took several photos but the one chosen showed pear-trees trained against a wall. This was as two-dimensional as it could get. For the lettering I experimented with white and orange but yellow sang out. Perhaps it wasn’t crisp enough so I added a drop-shadow and that made the text clearer. The font was one chosen for a different book, with the aid of a designer, and I stuck with that, even though branding wasn’t an issue. The most demanding element was the silhouette of an egret, which taught me previously unknown elements of my photo software. I enjoyed myself! Thanks for holding this competition, Joel – it’s always fun to read the results. Kay.”

Herons in the Orchard
JF: And thanks for entering! Unfortunately your cover has fallen victim to the “pasted on” look, and has no hook to interest the reader.


Karl Woll submitted Best Hikes near Vancouver designed by Karl Woll. “After getting a piece of junk from fiverr, I decided to take a shot at designing my own cover. I went through some of my photos and decided to use this image. The main attraction to hiking is the beautiful scenery, so I wanted a panoramic photo of a classic Vancouver hiking landmark (the mountain pictured is called Black Tusk). Once I settled on the image, I went through 3 different versions before I found an overall design I was happy with. Much more difficult than I thought it would be, but am glad that (I think, anyways) I was able to pull off a respectable cover!”

Best Hikes near Vancouver
JF: Karl, I think it’s entirely respectable, and better than that. I’m not sure I would have chosen quite so forbidding a scene, the Tusk looks like quite a challenge, but if that’s your market, they will eat it up.


Lawrence D. Elliott submitted Oh sh!t, you’re black! designed by Lawrence D. Elliott. “This is a humorous look at how we perceived each other, especially through our beliefs about race and culture.”

Oh sh!t, you're black!
JF: Could be a good comic concept, but I wouldn’t torture the type that way.


Paris Franz submitted Treading Lightly designed by Paris Franz. “I had so many photos from my travels that I initially thought it was going to be easy. Ha! Many of my favourites just didn’t work with text, but then I spotted the red sails of the junk in Hong Kong harbour, and everything fell into place. It’s been quite the education.”

Treading Lightly
JF: Like the photo, not too crazy about the “sailing” type.


Richard Porter submitted Conversations with Tom: The Wit and Wisdom of a Tiny Texan designed by Richard Porter. “This is my first ever book cover for my first ever book. It is a collection of funny conversations my wife and I had with our (now six year old) son over a couple of years. I created the cover in GIMP and used PowerPoint to layout the text. The photo was taken by my wife using a Kodak point and shoot.”

Conversations with Tom: The Wit and Wisdom of a Tiny Texan
JF: The photo is the main attraction, but the rest looks a lot like a business book. It’s not a business book, is it?


Well, that’s it for this month. I hope you found it interesting, and that you’ll share with other people interested in self-publishing.

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Our next awards post will be on September 16, 2013. Deadline for submissions will be August 31, 2013. Don’t miss it! Here are all the links you’ll need:

The original announcement post
E-book Cover Design Awards web page
Click here to submit your e-book cover
Follow @JFBookman on Twitter for news about the E-book Cover Design Awards
Subscribe to The Book Designer Blog
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    { 25 comments… read them below or add one }

    Lucy Gray August 14, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    It was great to see the July covers, I’ve been looking forward to it. Here’s my take on what I saw, with no offense intended. First impressions count in today’s glutted book market, and second chances are few.
    There’s nothing remotely energetic about “Energetic? Change!” Looks like an old Dover book. Some color would help tremendously and support the title.
    Summer of the Eagle: Here I go again with seeing something that isn’t there, but they almost looked like a two-headed creature. His body is way out of proportion to hers, and her head is resting on…I can’t tell. And the waterfall looks like a calendar or screensaver.
    Quest of the Warrior Maiden: I really like the tones in this one, but what is that thing across the side of her face? Part of the helmet? Maybe the sword’s hilt? It’s very distracting in an otherwise realistic, glowing cover.
    The Dilemma: This reminds me of last month’s yoga book with the title forcing the woman down on the cover. The young lady also looks too sulky and woe-is-me to make me want to pick this up and read about her.
    Choices: Hmm, Rose meets bridge tender???
    Trip: Where’s the dog? It needs a white dog.
    Rainbow’s Lodestone: Gorgeous! Wow! I’d buy it just for the cover art.
    Cabernet: The luscious curves in this photo separate it by a galaxy from the standard “couple cover” and pose. This is art, not some cheesy bodice-ripper. (See In Good Hands for unoriginal standard romance pose)
    If One Falls: I can’t really read the title without squinting, and the cover looks like someone posed their two cousins in re-enactor outfits. It doesn’t look professional, it looks like you’re on a tight budget. This book sounds interesting, with a new spin on things (Christian Fantasy), but the cover doesn’t do it justice.
    Brimstone: What the heck? Mars and parachutes? With all the fantastic sci-fi art out there, there’s no excuse for this.
    Oak and Mirrors: I really like this because the girl is not your standard boring model. The girl has an interesting, unusual, believable face, and her eyes catch your attention immediately. She looks like she has something to tell you. Just like…
    Seawolf: Could anyone walk by those eyes and not pick up that book?

    Reply

    Fritz Freiheit August 14, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Joel,
    Thanks for the feedback! I’ve been looking at other fonts, but I’d like a hint from you as what sort of typographic style would be better. Heavier? Lighter? Non-serif?
    Again, thanks,
    Fritz.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Fritz, you might want to have a look here: 5 Great Fonts for Book Covers

    Reply

    Fritz Freiheit August 14, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Joel, Thanks! — Fritz.

    Reply

    Daniel Isberner August 14, 2013 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for taking a look at my cover. I wasn’t sure if you would show something where you can’t get the book in English, so I was pleasantly surprised it showed up. :)
    And you are right. The sales have improved, tremendously. I have no hard numbers for July yet, but from the Amazon charts alone… yes, the new cover was a very good idea and I can see how a good cover will influence sales. I actually hadn’t believed the difference would be that extreme.

    Reply

    Marsha August 14, 2013 at 2:57 am

    Janet, I loved The Butterfly Collector as well. Joel, I learn so much from you. Thank you.

    Reply

    Sharon E. Cathcart August 13, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks for your comment WRT “His Beloved Infidel.” James and I found that the biggest struggle was how to get across that this was not just a romance novel, but a story about politics and how they affect people who just want to get on with their lives. I appreciate you taking the time to have a look.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    It’s important that you settle on a category for your book, because it can’t easily be 2 things at once. Decide this by figuring out who is the best market for it, romance readers or people who like stories about politics, then design the cover for that market.

    Reply

    Lucy Gray August 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Are you folks even aware that there is already a book AND movie called “Beloved Infidel?” Google google google before you name your book so you don’t look like the cheap rip-off or copycat. I liked the couple artwork in the top part of the cover, but the lower half looked pasted on. Maybe you were shooting for something like tilework with the national symbols? The title really threw it off, tho, please research it. Best wishes.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Lucy, I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for quite a while about duplicate titles. Since you can’t copyright the title of your book, and many titles lean heavily on common words and phrases, there are many, many books with the same titles. For some books it might not matter, but for others it can obviously cause problems. For instance, a quick search on Amazon reveals over 10 books currently for sale with the title “Blind Faith.”

    Reply

    James August 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    I liked the cover of CABERNET. This book can be use as a accessory for living room..!!

    Reply

    Greg Strandberg August 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I always like to do a fast scroll down of these covers first to see which catch my eye real quick.

    Three that stood out to me and caused me to take pause were Quest of the Warrior Maiden, The Bite on the End of the Line, and Antediluvian. They’d definitely get my click on Amazon.

    Reply

    Karl August 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks for running the contest and the feedback. I hadn’t considered the mountain in the photo does look a little ‘forbidding’ – something to consider on future books or a revision. Cheers.

    Reply

    William Ash August 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Joel, thank you for running this competition. It is a lot of fun and very informative. And thank you for the award.

    Reply

    Jay Fingers August 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    No gold star? I am sad. :(

    Ha! Tks for the opportunity, Joel! Cheers!

    Reply

    Lucy Gray August 14, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Definitely got the 1970s Foxy Brown movie poster look. Great art and colors. Loved it. Best wishes.

    Reply

    Jay Fingers August 26, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Lucy! Thanks for the comment! Cheers!

    Reply

    Jo Michaels (@WriteJoMichaels) August 12, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I’m pretty sure the author name and title need to be reversed on Orange Mound. It says something I would only expect to see on an erotica novel. :-/ Great round-up this month! I love the cover for Liminal. Very nicely done. Thanks for sharing, Joel! WRITE ON!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 12, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Yeah, that’s pretty funny, I must have missed it during my review, but I’m going to assume it was intentional. And Liminal is lovely, thanks Jo.

    Reply

    Jay Fingers August 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Jo, you’ve got a dirty, dirty mind! Ha!

    Reply

    Chrinda Jones August 12, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Hello!

    I would like to enter an ebook cover in your contest, but I’m not certain what is meant by cover URL.

    Thanks for your time and help.
    Blessings,
    Chrinda Jones

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 12, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Chrinda,

    Thanks for your interest in participating. We need a JPG or other image file of your cover. The “cover URL” is a web address where we can find a suitable file. This might be your own website, if you have a picture of the cover there, or a retailer’s site if you don’t.

    Reply

    Dan Hallagan August 12, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Thanks for reviewing my cover (SERF) above. I struggled with the type, and seeing some of the other strong typography in such close proximity, I see your point! Good advice – working on a revision.

    Reply

    Janet O'Kane August 12, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I can see why you chose Firebird as this month’s fiction winner but my favourite has to be The Butterfly Collector. Simple but effective.
    My cover designer and I have learnt so much from this site. Thank you for it!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander August 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

    It’s hard to argue with the beautiful cover for The Butterfly Collection, and often the final choice about which cover will be the “winner” is quite difficult, since there are often half a dozen great covers from different genres in different styles. This month, I just found the artfulness of The Firebird cover irresistible. Thanks for your feedback, Janet.

    Reply

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