e-Book Cover Design Awards, August 2020

by | Sep 28, 2020

By Joel Friedlander

Welcome to the e-Book Cover Design Awards. This edition is for submissions during August, 2020.

This month we received:

40 covers in the Fiction category
10 covers in the Nonfiction category

Guest Judge

We are once again pleased to welcome Tanja Prokop to The Book Designer as a guest judge this month. Tanja was born in Germany, but lives and was raised in Croatia. Her three beautiful daughters and her amazing husband are her biggest inspiration in life. She has an MA degree in German language and literature and philosophy. A few years ago she started her own design company and became a professional book cover designer. She designs covers, and is constantly creating new visual experiences for her clients. Tanja is also a multiple winner of various book cover design contests and has created thousands of covers. You can find her pre-made covers at Book Design Templates, or visit her site at www.bookcoverworld.com.

Comments, Award Winners, and Gold Stars

I’ve added comments (TP: ) 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 August 2020 in Fiction

Damon Freeman submitted Fallen Ambitions designed by Damonza.

TP: I love everything about this cover. It was a true winner from the first moment I saw it. What amazes me most is the typography. Amazing!

e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for August 2020 in Nonfiction

Mytrae Meliana submitted Brown Skin Girl: An Indian-American Woman’s Magical Journey from Broken to Beautiful designed by Kathleen Lynch. ” Art work by Carole Henaff.”

TP: I love the illustration and I really like the simplicity of the typography here. Very well done!

Fiction Covers

AD Starrling submitted Awakening (Legion Book 3) designed by 17 Studio Book Design.

Awakening (Legion Book 3)
TP: A nicely designed cover where I would only recommend to use a bolder font for the title. I like the treatment and it is very genre-appropriate, but it isn’t visible enough.

Amala Benny submitted Riv’s Sanctuary designed by Amala Benny.

Riv's Sanctuary
TP: Strong colors and interesting illustration. The title and author name should be more balanced, which could be achieved by using only two fonts on the cover.

Amy Q. Barker submitted Rue designed by Charlie Alolkoy. “The symbolism of the tangled web of a banyan tree is significant to the story of Rue. On the cover, she is the center of the banyan tree tunnel, but also free and clear of it – independent to a fault while also allowing herself to be vulnerable to its intoxicating draw.”

TP: The title and author name have to be more emphasized. This way they aren’t really visible and they don’t accompany the background image in a good way.

Carey Fessler submitted Dogged designed by Karis Drake. “I wanted the cover of this MG Thriller to show how the MC isn’t afraid to break the rules and run ‘toward’ danger.”

TP: A really beautiful cover design!

Cynthia Marlowe submitted SOLD! designed by Cynthia Marlowe. “The SOLD! cover contains a dove (the subject’s last name as well as the ship she traveled) with its wings spanning her face as if a veil (she was E Indian), shackles breaking free (she won her freedom)with the sky illuminating it, and a backdrop of dull waters (to slavery) to a vibrant sky(freedom).”

TP: This cover has too much going on. Too many different images were used and the typography needs a professional approach.

Damon Freeman submitted What Fresh Hell designed by Damonza.

What Fresh Hell
TP: Perfection! I don’t know where to look at, how beautiful this cover is. Very well done!

Damon Freeman submitted The Spy Killer designed by Damonza.

The Spy Killer
TP: A very well done cover design with all elements in its right place. Great!

Dorota Kluza submitted The Princess and the Valley Man designed by Malgorzata Barcikowska-Nazarczuk.

The Princess and the Valley Man
TP: The illustration is very nice and the typography isn’t bad, but somehow they don’t work too well together.

Douglas Tocco submitted What Can You Do With GOO? designed by Douglas Tocco. “On each of my covers I try to illustrate something not found in the book while still portraying the spirit and emotional center of the books theme. Green was an obvious choice to me for the cover because it seemed more GOOey and mysterious than any other color direction.”

What Can You Do With GOO?
TP: A very interesting cover design. Nice typography and imagery. Very well done.

E.G. Radcliff submitted The Last Prince designed by Micaela Alcaino. “This cover contains a Celtic symbol (the Irish crescent) to telegraph setting and to refer to a significant mark branded onto the protagonist in the book. The flaming crow conjures the origin story of the protagonist, as well as telegraphs semi-medieval Ireland. Orpheus title font.”

The Last Prince
TP: A beautiful cover design!

Elizabeth Bell submitted Native Stranger designed by James T. Egan. “Historical fiction with romantic elements and third in a branded series. An adopted Cheyenne Indian seeks out his birth family in 1859 Charleston, South Carolina, so we have a paint horse on a beach (who is both a character and a symbol) and a Charleston home below.”

Native Stranger
TP: A very recognizable style with great colors and typography. Beautiful!

Haley Kilgour submitted Nanagin designed by Aleska Kirsten. “The girl on the front cover is the main character, Keegan. Also note that in her irises are the elemental symbols that denotes the book’s magical users.”

TP: I love the illustration. A different typography approach would make a huge difference, even though this one somehow works, but the author name isn’t visible at all.

J Scott Coatsworth submitted The Rising Tide designed by J. Scott Coatsworth, Typography by Sleepy Fox Studios. “The cover relates to the setting of the story, a generation ship, while the woman represents the world mind, an AI made of three human minds and one artificial one.”

The Rising Tide
TP: “The” can be a tricky word in the design process. I don’t recommend adding too much space between the letters when you have short words. Other than that, a really nice cover design.

Jovana DDD submitted Publishable By Death designed by Nancy from Deranged Doctor Design. “Cozy Mystery book cover design, St. Marin’s Cozy Mystery Series Book 1”

Publishable By Death
TP: All combined elements work very well together, very nice!

Jovana DDD submitted Entitled To Kill designed by Nancy from Deranged Doctor Design. “Cozy Mystery book cover design, St. Marin’s Cozy Mystery Series Book 2”

Entitled To Kill
TP: I love how the textual elements are so crisp and clear.

Jovana DDD submitted Bound To Execute designed by Nancy from Deranged Doctor Design. “Cozy Mystery book cover design, St. Marin’s Cozy Mystery Series Book 3”

Bound To Execute
TP: The whole series is very nice and recognizable.

Jovana DDD submitted Ana Awakens designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Paranormal & Urban Fantasy book cover design, The Clermont Coven Trilogy Book 1”

Ana Awakens
TP: I have to say that the team at DDD never lets the author down when it comes to professional cover design and eye-catching elements. I really love the moonlight in the back and the typography. Amazing!

Jovana DDD submitted Ana Mourns designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Paranormal & Urban Fantasy book cover design, The Clermont Coven Trilogy Book 2”

Ana Mourns
TP: Strong colors and a great design approach.

Jovana DDD submitted Ana’s Revenge designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Paranormal & Urban Fantasy book cover design, The Clermont Coven Trilogy Book 3”

Ana's Revenge
TP: Very genre-appropriate and appealing.

Jovana DDD submitted Before I Die designed by Marushka from Deranged Doctor Design. “Thriller book cover design”

Before I Die
TP: A strong cover design. I would just like to see the title treated a little bit differently.

Karen E Stokes submitted The Healing designed by Darkstroke Books. “The cover is a montage of a boy and a dark lake which ties in with the story of a ghost boy who is forcibly drowned by his stepfather.”

The Healing
TP: The red writing on the cover isn’t visible at all and it somehow distracts from the other elements of the cover.

Kathryn Kingsley submitted Heart of Dracula designed by Kathryn Ann Kingsley. “It’s not in error, I both am the author and the cover designer. I wanted to go with a traditionally gothic cover for this Victorian paranormal romance, so I utilized a highly elaborate border and kept the other visual imagery at a minimum. Thank you! -Kat”

Heart of Dracula
TP: I would love to see more balance in the title, other than that, very nice!

Katrina Wiggins submitted Black the Tides designed by Christian Bentulan. “The design brief for this second-in-series title was challenging, with a switch from urban to wilderness setting and many subgenres and tropes to get lost in. The designer kept the model and look/feel while identifying the highest impact element to focus on (fanged tentacles!!)”

Black the Tides
TP: Very well done and genre-appropriate. Nice colors and typography.

Kees van der Wal submitted First Murder designed by Truong Kim Khanh. “Cover image and design are all based on the feeling, my wife, the designer, got after reading the manuscript. For the design she used our daughter and our dog in mind, same as I did, while writing the book. In my mind, when writing, I held my daughter as the main character, together with our dog.”

First Murder
TP: The designer did her best to add everything on the cover that she thought was important. The main idea of a cover design is to show something, but not all and the textual parts would be instantly readable. Here one can tell that this wasn’t created by a professional designer and I think every book deserves to be guided by one.

Lara Kinsey submitted Hammer & Tongs designed by Lara Kinsey. “Font: Roshida Valentine. Historical romance, 1920s. The heroine’s wearing masculine clothing, her pocket chain is a plot point. The carrot is a historical romance joke; it indicates the book contains pegging. The background is Birmingham c. 1920. Color palette is from a vintage scarf.”

Hammer & Tongs
TP: Interesting colors and approach. The typography should be treated a little bit differently in order to be more appealing and professional looking.

Lara Kinsey submitted Trouble & Strife designed by Lara Kinsey. “Font: Roshida Valentine. Historical romance, 1930s. The heroine’s tailored dress is period appropriate. One of her hands is making the sign for “I love you.” The hero’s peaked cap indicates he’s a member of a Birmingham razor gang. There is an old-fashioned chocolate pot on the table.”

Trouble & Strife
TP: Again, the background image is very interesting, but the same typography problem appears here as well.

Lexi Revellian submitted The Last Enforcer designed by Lexi Revellian.

The Last Enforcer
TP: A solid cover design. I would only recommend leaving a bit more space around the edges.

Luanne Bennett submitted Dark Legacy designed by Deranged Doctor Design.

Dark Legacy
TP: Oh, I love this cover. Great colors, imagery and typography!

Maria Vermisoglou submitted Beware the Violet (The Eulogimenoi Series I) designed by Adrijana Cernic.

Beware the Violet (The Eulogimenoi Series I)
TP: A nice cover design with a great background image! I would just like to see the author name in a different color.

Mike Sovelius submitted Beyond the Goat Trails designed by Kim Hester. “The image of the barn and color scheme equates to the source of the dark reality stalking the golfers chosen to play a round of golf at secret golf for the elite of society. Only three golfers return home from the sinister secret of Goat Trails Golf Club.”

Beyond the Goat Trails
TP: A very simple cover design. I wish the title was a bit more balanced.

Paramita Bhattacharjee submitted Vanessas Valentine designed by Paramita Bhattacharjee. “This is the 5th book in the series. It’s a romance Novella. Pink, cyan and purple color is used.”

Vanessas Valentine
TP: A very genre-appropriate cover design. Nice colors. I would only love to see different fonts. When you are using a font, make sure that you have adjusted all features the way you need them. For example that apostrophe should be a bit shifted, because it pokes the eye this way.

Richard Doyle submitted The death of the sentence designed by Richard Doyle.

The death of the sentence
TP: This cover desperately needs a professional touch, so that “The death of the sentence” doesn’t end up to be the “The death of my book”.

Ruth Schwartz submitted Cellini’s Revenge: The Mystery of the Silver Cups—Book I designed by Ruth Schwartz. “This book was originally published in. As part of the new edition, Wendy and I decided to focus on the astrology theme in the book, taking two stock images and blending them together in Photoshop, using some old-looking fonts (Augusta and Trajan Pro).”

Cellini's Revenge: The Mystery of the Silver Cups—Book I
TP: A very nicely done cover design.

S.D. McKinley submitted How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal designed by Dirk Hays. “I love his work Mr Dirk Hays work. It is a fun, classic style and matches the overall atmosphere of my book. I requested that he mimic a comic book cover style with neon color and he did a bag-up job on it. The monster is “the jhaman”, the main villian. The car, LJ and Rom’s stolen rally car. Enjoy.”

How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal
TP: I love this cover design. Very well done!

Selina Gonzalez submitted Prince of Shadow and Ash designed by Deranged Doctor Design. “The book takes it title from the primary villain, a sorcerer whose magic often manifests as green light. The male and female protagonists are often associated with/called a lone wolf and a tigress.”

Prince of Shadow and Ash
TP: Such a beautiful cover design. Amazing!

Susie Murphy submitted A Class Forsaken designed by Design for Writers. “A Class Forsaken is the third book in the historical fiction series A Matter of Class, so it was important to maintain design consistency from the first two books.”

A Class Forsaken
TP: A nice cover design.

Tabitha Kohl submitted The Warriors of Bhrea: The Lost King designed by German Creative. “This image is the central character, Lauren. In the book she acquires a powerful amulet and learns she has incredible abilities–telepathy, prophetic dreams, etc. The color purple emphasizes the dreamy and ethereal tone of Lauren’s powers.”

The Warriors of Bhrea: The Lost King
TP: The illustration is very beautiful and it works amazingly well with the typography. Good job!

Tobey Alexander submitted Timothy Scott: Shadow Island designed by Tobey Alexander.

Timothy Scott: Shadow Island
TP: The illustration is very well done, but the textual parts aren’t visible enough.

Tom White submitted Brighton Lockdown Adventure designed by TDL White. “A squirrel assassin features prominently in the book, as does a magical map. And rain too. And pentagons, in a way. Would have liked to combine with some other plot elements, but when I’d mocked up this one I didn’t want to clutter it more.”

Brighton Lockdown Adventure
TP: The typography needs a bit more work.

Nonfiction Covers

Andrés Chiodi Enrico submitted Compás financiero personal designed by Andrés Chiodi Enrico. “There is so much of mental biases on how we manage our own money. But our mind is also powerful enough to grab the most important ideas of finance just using intuition, if the correct explanation are given. Title build a brand and connection for future connected books. Stamps addresses some barriers”

Compás financiero personal
TP: A nicely designed cover.

Helen V submitted Amazon Werbung fur Autoren designed by MiblArt.

Amazon Werbung fur Autoren
TP: I love this cover design. Everything is in its right place! Very well done!

Jasmin NUHIC submitted Leaders Develop First designed by Jasmin NUHIC. “The color of the text signifies the importance of the word „develop“. Depends on how you place the accent on this work, it may have two different meanings (both directly relevant to the content of the book): this is something I elaborate in the book itself.”

Leaders Develop First
TP: The cover lacks a professional touch, which is mostly visible in the typography.

jayagovindan menon submitted Essays on Typography designed by jayagovindan menon. “The book features essays on different aspects of typography such as culture, technology and aesthetics. Typography is considered as the visual notation of language and the first forms of written language were in pictures. The image here is a pictorial language using pictogram, ideogram and rebus.”

Essays on Typography
TP: Very interesting but I have to say that a book on typography should definitely have better typography on the cover itself.

Kkmal Hammouda submitted Calculus of Roots and Periodic Numbers designed by Kkmal A Hammouda. “This cover is for a book as a part of series of 5 books. The objective is simplicity with the minimal satisfied because it’s non-fiction to compete with both categories.”

Calculus of Roots and Periodic Numbers
TP: I would love to see more balance and the designer should make sure that all textual parts are centred.

Penelope Carlevato submitted Tea Lovers Journal designed by Amber Weigand-Buckley. “My granddaughter, Amanda Carlevato, drew the image and then it was designed by Amber Weigand-Buckley to capture the essense of journaling with with a cup of tea.”

Tea Lovers Journal
TP: A warm-looking cover. I would just like to see a different title approach.

Penelope Carlevato submitted The Art of Afternoon Tea designed by Penelope Carlevato. “I designed my own cover using a photo from a friend in England for the castle and took my own pictures of teaset from my collection using my iPhone”

The Art of Afternoon Tea
TP: A solid cover design.

Sandra Wilson submitted Luck Times Two designed by Sedona Wilson. “Luck Times Two, is about the adoption of the designer’s sister. Fu Shuang was her sister’s Chinese name and means double luck. The book title, Luck Times Two refers to her name. The cover displays two Koi fish, painted by the designer. Koi fish represent luck in the Chinese culture.”

Luck Times Two
TP: Very simple and nicely done.

Simeon Davis submitted The Unknown Lives of Jesus and Mary designed by Brother Simeon Davis. “The image on the cover is from a mosaic in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, a suitable subject given the book title.”

The Unknown Lives of Jesus and Mary
TP: A nice cover design!

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.

Use the share buttons below to Tweet it, Share it on Facebook, Link to it!

Our next awards post will be on October 26, 2020. Deadline for submissions will be September 30, 2020. Don’t miss it! Here are all the links you’ll need:

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. stainless steel single handle faucet

    Hi, i feel that i saw you visited my web site thus i
    came to return thefavor?.I am attempting to
    to find issues to
    improve my site!I assume its adequate to use some of your concepts!!

  2. E Jean Simpson

    Sorry, just found the feedback on mine previous month. I generally tend to be doing books and sometimes when I don’t get an email tap, I don’t tend to check back on everything. I think, even though one doesn’t win an award, it would be very useful to have an email saying we have feedback on your cover entry. I write, publish and do all my own work including my covers. I found it very useful especially for future books since design isn’t my area of training. Depending on time, I may rework some covers based on the feedback. Found it very useful. You may consider adding a please email me when results are finalized email for whether one wins or not. Just an observation that it could prove useful for low budget authors who have to do it all. Thanks again!! Very useful feedback!

    • Shelley Sturgeon

      E Jean,

      We run this contest at no charge to our readers and it already takes a considerable amount of time and resources to put together every single month to vet the submissions, review the covers, judge them, write the comments, create the badges, create the blog post, etc.

      While I am glad that you find the feedback helpful (the main reason we run this contest), the onus to check for feedback on submissions has to be on the individual who submitted the e-book cover and I would hope while looking for feedback on their covers, people would also review and pick up pointers from the other covers featured in our posts.


      • Lugy G

        I can’t imagine how today’s new crop of writers would have managed back in the pre-internet days when everything had to be done via snail-mail. It took months to get a response, and a personal note from an editor was like a message from a goddess.
        Keep up the good work. Your reviews are quite diplomatic.

    • Lucy G

      I’ve been in the publishing world for over forty years. When someone is considering your work (and the work of a thousand others), you don’t want to waste their time.
      Since self-publishing became popular, the big sites have become a soggy mess of garbage submitted by people with no experience whatsoever. Any site offering free assistance is swamped with submissions. Staff has to wade through the mediocrity to find those few golden bits that show the author knows their stuff. No matter how busy you may be “doing books,” they are much busier.
      Since you admitted you’re too busy to “check back,” I suggest you keep a log for any submissions important to you, like those extraordinary few who give personal feedback. Or maybe exercise some due diligence yourself. It doesn’t take that long to read these monthly critiques. You would know if you had feedback, and you could learn a lot from the mistakes of others.



  1. Cover for How LJ and Rom Saved Heavy Metal Wins Gold Badge Design Award – S.D. McKinley – a fresh meet blog - […] very nice crew @ The Book Designer have just informed me that the cover for How LJ and Rom…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.