Welcome to this edition of the e-Book Cover Design Awards. This edition is for submissions during September, 2011.
Here’s what we received:
189 covers in the Fiction category
38 covers in the Nonfiction category
Awards and Badges
Winner’s badges in each category are awarded each month. Due to the large number of entries this month, I divided the entries into a series of posts. Here are the other posts in the series:
e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 1 Fiction:
e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 2 Fiction
e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 3 Fiction
e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Part 4 Nonfiction
e-Book Cover Design Awards, September 2011 Award Winners
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.
Here is the first section of covers.
Fiction Covers, Part 1
Piotr Kowalczyk submitted #VSS Anthology, Vol.1 in the Fiction category. Design by Piotr Kowalczyk, saying “A cover of a book with the selection of the best 140-character stories written on Twiter. The common tag for Twitter fiction is #vss, which stands for “very short story.” The book was published in May 2010. More information about it.
JF: I like the abstract coolness of this cover but wonder if the title will show up when reduced.
Julius Thompson submitted A Brownstone In Brookklyn in the Fiction category. Design by Heather McAlendin, saying “Heather did a fantastic cover with the man walking on the shadows in front of A Brownstone In Brooklyn. It was a fanastic job..”
Mary Anne Graham submitted A Golden Forever in the Fiction category. Design by John W. Graham, saying “I love this cover that my DH, John W. Graham, designed for A Golden Forever. He had to create a door for the cage – it was important to the story. He had to redraw and shadow a lot of the cage. And I love the rose and the feathers w/are important to the story as well.”
JF: It’s obvious that a lot of work went into this cover. In the end, the combination of the cursive type over the birdcage pattern doesn’t work.
C.D. Reimer submitted A Leap of Faith in the Fiction category. Design by C.D. Reimer, saying “Since I sell short story ebooks, I can’t afford to put much money into the covers. However, the cover for “A Leap of Faith” is my favorite with the twilight picture of a train station platform that matches the short story perfectly. Everything else is kept simple and elegant.”
Dan submitted Ancheta / The Investigation in the Fiction category. Design by Mediamorphosis, saying “In Romanian. “Ancheta” starts with the case of a missing wife, who suddenly disappears, while the hero must rebuild his life in a twisted way throughout the story, until he finds peace in a remote port city.”
JF: This strong cover utilizes a bit of surrealism that heightens its allure.
DJ Hazard submitted Arcturus Initiative: Book One in the Fiction category. Design by DJ Hazard, saying “Several thousand people have been watched, approached and recruited by an immense secret space program, as told through the journal of one of the participants. Author’s note: I originally published Arcturus Initiative as real time blog entries that, according to the stat meter, allegedly caught the attention of several government agencies and several foreign countries until I revealed it was fiction.”
Susan Day submitted Astro’s Adventures. The Great Escape in the Fiction category. Design by Jennifer Morgan, saying “This is a great design that really captures the look of the shaggy dog that the book was based on.”
JF: This completely adorable artwork feels like it’s jamming the title into a small space, but I love the typography choices the designer has made, they add a lot to the appeal.
Matt Syverson submitted Band On The Run in the Fiction category. Design by Tony Szatkowski, saying “Thanks, Joel! I hope you like it!”
JF: A strong graphic design hindered by low-contrast color choices.
Algor X. Dennison submitted Blinding Moon in the Fiction category. Design by Algor X. Dennison, saying “Cover I did recently for a trilogy of werewolf short stories. Font is Destroy, from fontsquirrel.com.”
JF: This is another graphically-strong cover with questionable type. The distressed look is not going away anytime soon, but I think it affects the readability of this title.
Vanessa Finaughty submitted Boogie Wugie in the Fiction category. Design by Alic & Vanessa Finaughty, saying “A light-hearted children’s flash fiction story where a little girl meets the monster in her closet.”
Stefano Boscutti submitted BOSCUTTI’S DON SIMPSON in the Fiction category. Design by Stefano Boscutti, saying “I love black and white. Hopefully it makes the story look more real, more true (which is my kind of fiction).”
JF: The designer knows how to handle type, and I’m a big fan of black and white when it’s used well, as it is here, but I really don’t understand why the type runs right over the face.
Elizabeth Ann West submitted Cancelled in the Fiction category. Design by Melissa Oyler, saying “The book is a modern romance with a twist. We wanted the cover to stand out slightly from the crowd, instead of a couple in the heat of passion, it features other romantic concepts such as the flowers and wedding invitation. The story is about an engagement called off. Although my author name is smaller than normal, it was a conscious decision because as a first book, my name won’t be as recognizable. The cover also fits into the theme of the collection of books planned: PAST DUE a book about debt and love will be bills stamped red, and SERVED, a sequel to CANCELLED, will be blue court papers stamped red. Thank you for your consideration.”
JF: This cover, the result of a lot of thought, shows the limitations of literalness in cover design. An e-book cover needs one clear graphic, and I’m afraid all the symbolism may be lost on the casual browser.
J. Fields Jr. submitted Casino Shuffle in the Fiction category. Design by J. Fields Jr., saying “I’m an indie author with a commercial art and design background. I painted the cover in Corel X program.”
Chris Fannon submitted Chambers by Sarah Gerdes in the Fiction category. Design by Chris Fannon, saying “Here’s a cover I designed a few months ago for a young adult novel by the author Sarah Gerdes. It’s a lot like Michael Crichton’s TIMELINE, if the time-travelers were teens and went back to ancient China rather than Medieval Europe. Since this was intended to be released as an e-book first, I wanted a cover with a very limited color palate that would look striking even from a thumbnail size.”
JF: An interesting design that again shows the importance of good color choices. Here the lack of contrast between the title and background makes it hard to read.
GEORGE STRAATMAN submitted Converging: Closures in Blood in the Fiction category. Design by SefDesign (Steven Efondo), saying “This cover was designed by Steven Efondo for the final segment of my Converging trilogy.”
JF: All of Straatman’s covers use beautiful artwork and innovative use of lettering and typography. He is creating a strongly branded presence in the market. For an example of how this look translates to a website, check the author’s.
Andrea Parnell submitted Dark Prelude in the Fiction category. Design by Frauke Spanuth, Croco Designs, saying “Dark Prelude is a free novella prequel to the novel Dark Splendor. Dark Prelude is available through the Smashwords distribution channel excluding Amazon.”
JF: This professionally-designed cover uses beautiful art but looks more like a print cover converted for e-book use.
Lucinda Brant submitted Deadly Engagement: A Georgian Historical Mystery in the Fiction category. Design by Sprigleaf.com, saying “Hope it was okay to submit two book covers this month! Thank again for hosting this award.”
R.E. McDermott submitted Deadly Straits in the Fiction category. Design by Jeroen Ten Berge, saying “This cover was done by by Jeroen ten Berge from Wellington, NZ. I left the design completely in his hands and I couldn’t have been more pleased. The cover scene is from the climax and (in my opinion anyway) really positions the book as the fast-action thriller that it is.”
JF: The designer is a highly-skilled cover designer and this cover is a good example.
Steven J Pemberton submitted Death & Magic in the Fiction category. Design by Steven J Pemberton, saying “Death & Magic is a murder mystery set in a school for wizards.”
JF: An effective and atmospheric cover for a series design.
Thomas Burchfield submitted Dragon’s Ark in the Fiction category. Design by Cathi Stevenson/Book Cover Express, saying “The cover for this book seems to be a case of psychic communication. I gave designer Cathi Stevenson (Book Express) only basic information about the story and plot of Dragon’s Ark. She came back with what you see here. It captures the fiendish ruthlessness of its central character and his haunted world, and, it reflects an actual scene in the novel. I couldn’t have been more surprised or happier.”
Laura Morrigan submitted Entangled in the Fiction category. Design by Laura Morrigan, saying “I’m not sure if you consider anthologies in your competition, but they do present a set of unique challenges… Not the least of which is fitting so many names with a title and an image! This is an anthology to raise money for breast cancer research—I donated my services and all proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”
JF: Laura is right to point out the challenges of a cover with many authors to credit, but here I wish she had picked a different color for the title, which is disappearing against the background. And the display font loses its allure when you have to reduce it as much as has been done here.
David Grace submitted Fever Dreams in the Fiction category. Design by David Grace, saying “The background is a photo I took in a Florida Cypress swamp. The body is that of my 18 year-old god daughter. The photo was modified, the cover assembled and text applied in PhotoShop CS2.”
J. Adams submitted Fox: Book Two/ Elmyr’s Angel in the Fiction category. Design by Judy Bullard, saying “On the Amazon book page, click the cover to enlarge.”
JF: I admit I can’t pronounce her name, but Elmyr is very cute. Unfortunately, both these covers suffer from type that has been put against a very busy background. This not only makes it harder to read, but—particularly in Book 2—introduces a visual confusion into the tight confines of the cover.
Fabian Black submitted Fresh From The Sea in the Fiction category. Design by Justin James of Dare Empire, saying “I love the quality of light in this cover, the fresh brightness is perfect for the title and the seaside setting of the story.”
JF: This book has elegant typography, but I was surprised to find there was no print edition, it looks like it was designed for print. Even at this size, some of the type is unreadably small.
Carol Newman Cronin submitted Game of Sails: an Olympic Love Story in the Fiction category. Design by Live Wire, saying “Thanks for doing this! I look forward to seeing the other September submissions.”
JF: A simple but effective e-book cover, just right for this use.
D. Miles Martin submitted Good Deeds in the Fiction category. Design by D. Miles Martin, saying “I used PhotoShop to make a template so that all my covers have the same layout and feel. Good Deeds used a black and white photo that was colored to shades of green, yellow, and brown.”
S.L. Naeole submitted Gossamer (A Faeble Novel) in the Fiction category. Design by S.L. Naeole.
JF: This is an interesting cover, it comes close in many ways. But I find the way the spit of land bisects the girl’s face disconcerting. And although the palette is controlled, there are way too many things going on here, between all the images composited together, the swashes of script type, and the texture in the author’s name.
Alex Russell submitted iDream Ice-Cream iScream : Edward Lear meets The Usual Suspects in the Fiction category. Design by Alex Russell / Jane Booth, saying “I wanted the cover to represent the book’s unsettling nature – a juxtaposition of whimsy and menace. The figure against the jangling
background is a modified image based on Munch’s “The Scream”. Is the person now screaming or about to “munch” an ice-cream? The difference in the size of the hands is also disquieting, as is the ambiguous gender of the figure. The significance of the ice-cream cone is revealed later in a dramatic episode of the book..”
Caterina Nikolaus submitted Il drago e la principessa in the Fiction category. Design by Jasmin Weigelt, saying “A fantastic story for children. The cover was designed to fit the e-book, but to be able to fit also a bi-lingual print edition with both the Italian and the German title – and of course the author’s name – at the cover.”
Sharon E. Cathcart submitted In The Eye of The Beholder in the Fiction category. Design by James Courtney, saying “Cover designed by James Courtney. Models are Rachael Gray and Jeffrey Cathcart.”
JF: Another cover with a lot of work in it, and an interesting illustration, but which just misses. The very blocky layout of the cover doesn’t help, and in the end the choices of design and typography lack dynamism.
Check back tomorrow for another installment.