2014 e-Book Cover Design Award Winners

by | Jan 26, 2015

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

Since then we’ve published literally thousands of covers and critiques, skewered the covers that seemed wanting, and praised the designers who showed real innovation and skill in this new form.

Yet even today the ebook cover has not broken away from the print book tradition, either in the basic strategies designers use to interest and attract readers, or in the way the covers are represented graphically, as clones of their print book cousins.

There’s still a great deal of innovation to explore in ebook covers, and I keep thinking that simplification, using strong and direct visuals and typography, is eventually going to win out.

At least, that’s my hope. These monthly posts provide a great opportunity to see the progress from one year. And they are also a great place to research cover designers for your next project.

Links to all the individual monthly posts, as well as a link to the submission form for future contests are here:

You can view the roundup of winners from previous years here:

Below, you’ll find this years’ winners, month by month (each is linked to its sales page, too). Having just looked over the 2013 winners, I think this years’ covers are even better. Looking at them now still makes me excited about the design skills they show, and the clear, compelling statements they make about the books within. Enjoy.

2014 Winners

Drawn from a pool of 1,458 covers submitted (1221 fiction, 237 nonfiction), here are the winners in fiction and nonfiction for the year:

January 2014

CargoFiction: Michael Berrier, Cargo, Designer: James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
JF: We’re instantly aware of the drama and tension of the story. A very self-assured design that does a superb job of communicating with readers.

The Creativity & Camaraderie Club Handbook: Have More Fun, Live More Wholeheartedly, Encourage Each OtherNonfiction: Mary Reilly Mathews, The Creativity & Camaraderie Club Handbook: Have More Fun, Live More Wholeheartedly, Encourage Each Other, Designer: Derek Murphy
JF: I think the designer got it just right. The cover has fun, vitality, and action. You want to jump in.

February 2014

Napoleon in AmericaFiction: Shannon Selin, Napoleon in America, Designer: Matt Dawson
JF: What a great concept, and the resurrection of Napoleon’s own handwriting makes it all the more believable.

The Strange Case of Dr Terry and Mr ChimesNonfiction: Terry Chimes, The Strange Case of Dr Terry and Mr Chimes, Designer: Milan Jovanovic
JF: Yes, this strong and idiosyncratic cover plays comically with the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde formula to great effect.

March 2014

DogeatersFiction: Jessica Hagedorn, Dogeaters, Designer: Mauricio Diaz
JF: Fantastic. The novel is set in the Philippines, and this cover is striking and memorable in all the best ways. From the mirror images and their intense eyes, to the roiling background to the typography that’s almost bursting out of the frame, everything comes together to create a vivid ebook cover.

Arshavir Shiragian - The Legacy: Memoirs of an Armenian PatriotFiction: Arshavir Shiragian, Arshavir Shiragian – The Legacy: Memoirs of an Armenian Patriot, Designer: Damonza
JF: Damon’s great storytelling skill works just as well for nonfiction. Here he gives us a peek at the historical background, an idea of how bloody this story is, and a sympathetic, if nuanced, portrait of the unusual man at the center, bringing history to life.

April 2014

Chasing the LionFiction: Nancy Kimball, Chasing the Lion, Designer: Alexandre Rito
JF: Wow, now that’s a strong, confident ebook cover from a designer in complete control of his ingredients. No need for confusion, glitzy type effects, or anything else that will distract from the impact this cover makes.

The Princess Guide To RomeNonfiction: Belinda Darcey, The Princess Guide To Rome, Designer: Belinda Darcey
JF: What a great approach for this “cheeky, fun” guide to Rome. I love the simplicity and economy of the illustration style, as well as the tongue-in-cheek series logo. Just great.

May 2014

White Sea RisingFiction: MJ Kephart, White Sea Rising, Designer: James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
JF: An exciting and nearly perfect cover for this thriller. Energy, interest, focus all come together to create a real winner.

Voices From The PastNonfiction: Vahe Habeshian, Voices From The Past, Designer: Damonza.com
JF: Beautiful and evocative, perfectly combining content with the graphic representation of that content.

June 2014

The Broken Heart DietFiction: Tom Formaro, The Broken Heart Diet, Designer: James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
CS: Great cover. The colors work, the illustrations are wonderful. It ties together really well for an awesome result.

Men & Women: Getting Into Each Other's GenesNonfiction: Tracy Kunzler and Bob Nery, Men & Women: Getting Into Each Other’s Genes, Designer: Tracy Kunzler
CS: Great illustrations and title treatment.

July 2014

In A Right StateFiction: Ben Ellis, In A Right State, Designer: Emery Greer
JF: A charming and allusive cover for this novel about intrusive corporate spying. Well done.

The Street or Me: A New York StoryNonfiction: Judith Glynn, The Street or Me: A New York Story, Designer: Guido Caroti
JF: A brilliant cover that shows how the creative process can offer up the perfect image to encapsulate the main thrust of the underlying story. Note also that no distressed, over processed, or effects-laden type was needed to get the point across.

August 2014

The Living EndFiction: Craig Schaefer, The Living End, Designer: James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
JF: Creepy and beautiful at the same time, with deftly treated typography. And the care the designer has taken with every small detail of this cover is impressive. But it all adds up to a real winner.

From Ouch! To Ahhh...The New Mom's Guide To Sex After BabyNonfiction: Sarah J Swofford, From Ouch! To Ahhh…The New Mom’s Guide To Sex After Baby, Designer: Damonza
JF: A great treatment for another sensitive topic. The flower is perfect, and the type treatment helps to amplify the message of the title. Really nice.

September 2014

Field of FireFiction: James O. Born, Field of Fire, Designer: Momir from Damonza.com
JF: If possible, even better than the other submission from the same artist. Here, the hot and violent atmosphere is captured perfectly, strongly implying the tension to be found inside. Almost demands to be opened by a fan of thrillers, and in this one a series of bombings play a crucial role.

Rethinking the CityNonfiction: Steven Liaros, Rethinking the City, Designer: Scarlett Rugers Design
JF: Excellent congruence between the subject matter, the imagery used, and the typographic creativity of the title. A real winner.

October 2014

Up, Back, and AwayFiction: Kim Velk, Up, Back, and Away, Designer: Juan Wijngaard and Scarlett Rugers
JF: Everything you want in a book cover. Fantastic illustration that virtually propels us into the story, and distinctive design and typography that can’t be mistaken for any other book. Lovely.

TRAVEL: The GuideNonfiction: Doug Lansky, TRAVEL: The Guide, Designer: Doug Lansky (art by Nino Keller)
JF: Humorous, dramatic, and a little frightening all at the same time. A full-on winner with great art and packing a real wallop.

November 2014

The Secret HeartFiction: Erin Satie, The Secret Heart, Designer: James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
JF: An absolutely sumptuous cover in which every element, every level of detail the designer has introduced plays a part. The careful type treatments and appropriate textural elements all help to convey both the languor of the scene and the period look and feel.

Aesop's Keys to Profitable MarketingNonfiction: Betsy Kruger, Aesop’s Keys to Profitable Marketing, Designer: 1106 Design
JF: This delightful and perfectly targeted cover is so appealing it draws you right in. Who’s the dog and why is he on the cover? When it’s this inviting, who cares?

December 2014

The Blood of BrothersFiction: Domino Finn, The Blood of Brothers, Designer: James T. Egan of Bookfly Design
JF: Attracts the eye and won’t let go. You can almost physically sense the pent up energy, and the hint of menace only makes it more attractive. Strong impact and a direct message make this a winner. (The “Sycamore Moon” is series branding.)

How Schopenhauer Got Me Through My Mid Life CrisisNonfiction: Charles Alonso, How Schopenhauer Got Me Through My Mid Life Crisis, Designer: Dane & Brittany at EbookLaunch.com
JF: Love the way the designer has brought all the elements on this cover into a vibrant whole including title, art, and background. Combining energy and humor makes this cover magnetic.

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

Photo: bigstockphoto.com. Amazon links contain my affiliate code.

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11 Comments

  1. Deanne

    My top three are Up, Back and Away (evocative), In a Right State (intriguing) and The Street or Me (no nonsense). And yet I keep scrolling to Napoleon, simply for another moment of sharing the view.

    My least favorite by far is Travel. The cover is confusing, indicating nothing about travel. What is that contraption? I went to the Amazon website, hoping for a peek inside for enlightenment and found none. The reviews persuaded me that it is about travel … and insights. Sigh. For me, the cover is simply a miss.

    Reply
  2. Deb Atwood

    These are all so beautiful! My favorites are In a Right State–love the hazy background and the surreal images of the sheep, and The Secret Heart–very evocative with a hint of troubled love.

    I always look forward to viewing the winners. I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award: https://peninherhand.com/one-lovely-blog-award/ Thank you for all you do for the indie writers of the world.

    Reply
  3. Adrijus

    Congratulations to the winner designer James, well deserved!

    Reply
  4. David Ivory

    My favourite is Cargo (author Michael Berrier) from January 2014 by James T Egan.

    The image really evoked the hardship of the character and that juxtaposed with the innocuous title intrigued me enough to read the book. So that’s got to be a measure of it’s effectiveness of the cover. Good book too.

    It also works especially well as an ebook – the strong graphics and large size of the text really standout at thumb size… and greyscale on a Kindle. Great job.

    Reply
  5. Dane

    It’s an honor to sneak on this list in December (nonfiction)! James has such great designs each month and an inspiration as a fellow designer :)

    Reply
  6. MM Justus

    It’s interesting how many thriller covers made the list. Is that judge bias or just the way things came out?

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Well, MM it’s pretty hard to eliminate all judge bias, and I assume anyone who reads these posts knows that every opinion expressed is just that, an opinion. Other than that, maybe the thriller authors are hiring better designers? Your guess is as good as mine.

      Reply
  7. Amanda DeWees

    One of the things that continues to impress me about his work is his range across a variety of genres.

    And Joel, thank you for presenting these awards. I feel like I’ve learned so much from following these posts, and I always enjoy seeing what’s new in ebook covers.

    Reply
  8. Amanda DeWees

    How wonderful to see so many Bookfly winners from James T. Egan! I first discovered his amazing work here on the ebook cover design awards, and now I’m proud to say that three of my books (and counting!) bear covers that he created.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Amanda, I had the same experience when I looked over this post. I didn’t realize James had won so many times, but the quality of his work really stands out.

      Reply

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