e-Book Cover Design Awards, October 2011

by | Nov 13, 2011

Welcome to this edition of the e-Book Cover Design Awards. This edition is for submissions during October, 2011.

Here’s what we received:
74 covers in the Fiction category
18 covers in the Nonfiction category

Award Winners and Listing

I’ve added comments (JF: ) to many of the entries, but not all. It was great fun going through these and I want to thank 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.

Now, without any further ado, here are the winners of this month’s e-Book Cover Design Award.

e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for October 2011 in Fiction


Lunatic Fringe by Allison Moon, design by Julianna Parr. A fantastic and atmospheric print book design that translated beautifully to the smaller e-book format. This cover signals the tone and style of the book through a beautifully unified design. It’s as clear as a bell, and very cool.

e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for October 2011 in Nonfiction


Tricks, Tactics, and Techniques of Published Authors by Jan Peck and David Davis, design by David Davis. The unusual choices in fonts pay off in outstanding punch and visibility. Simple, clear and direct—just what you want in an e-book cover. I love the vibrant optimism and graphic impact of this quirky cover.

Fiction Covers

Anita Laydon Miller submitted A SCARY GOOD BOOK in the Fiction category. Design by Joel and Anita Miller, saying “Thanks for the contest! This entry is for my middle grade mystery.”

Kit Foster submitted After The Revolution in the Fiction category. Design by Kit Foster.

JF: This is an excellent example of a cover that works really well for an e-book. The simplified graphics, controlled pallette and strong typography are exactly what’s needed.

R. K. MacPherson submitted Antigone’s Fall in the Fiction category. Design by R. K. MacPherson, saying “I wanted to evoke feelings of tension and complexity, to reinforce that things aren’t always what they seem. I liked the final cover, but went through about 30 variants.”

JF: The problems here all revolve around legibility. Both the author’s name and title are way too hard to read, and the negatvie image could become quite confusing at a small size.

Victor Domingos submitted As Confissões de Dulce in the Fiction category. Design by Victor Domingos.

Joe Tantillo submitted Bare-Bones Spirituality: Teachings in a Secular Age in the Fiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo, saying “Book Design 2011.”

JF: The problem of overloading covers with too many elements, largely driven by the author’s desire to embody the symbolism in the book, is in full force here.

Miss Mae submitted Catch Me If You Can in the Fiction category. Design by Miss Mae, saying “Great idea you have! :).”

JF: Another example of just too many elements fighting for attention, not to mention the eccentric typography. Yov?

Chris Barraclough submitted Crack in the Fiction category. Design by Chris Barraclough, saying “Hi Joel, Being broke as hell, I decided to design the cover of Crack myself. I felt a stark, simple image would work best as a thumbnail, and the idea of the discarded trainer came to me instantly. The relevance of it becomes apparent in the first chapter, but hopefully the mystery behind it is enough to draw in readers. The coldness of the image also reflects the harsh themes of the book. Crack was shortlisted in the Contact Publishing Page Turner Prize and is available now for £1.09 at the Kindle Store. Many thanks for running this competition and all the best! Cheers, Chris.”

JF: Nice job, Chris. Simple and stark but effective. When used well an otherwise ordinary photo establishes the tone of the cover.

Robert Scott submitted Crossing the Rainbow Bridge Your Pet: When It’s Time to Let Go in the Fiction category. Design by Me and CreateSpace.

Kealan Patrick Burke submitted DEAD LEAVES: 8 TALES FROM THE WITCHING SEASON in the Fiction category. Design by Kealan Patrick Burke.

JF: This cover shows how effective typography can be at creating a compelling design. It will hold up even when reduced.

Sheila submitted Desperado Moon in the Fiction category. Design by Sheila Keller, saying “Cover art “Moon Horse” by Tania Coletta used by permission. I wanted something simple and eye-catching. Because it is about a girl and a horse, I knew I had to have a horse on the cover. Tania’s artwork (www.persephonestudio.com) stood out after a long search for suitable artwork.”

Margaret C. Murray submitted Dreamers, a Coming of Age Love Story of the ’60s in the Fiction category. Design by Charr Crail, saying “Dreamers is for sale on my website, books being sent by Lightning Source now, book launch 11/10/11 Alexander Book Company, SF. Thank you, Joel!”

JF: Obviously designed for print, this atmospheric cover does not make the translation to e-book cover well, and half of the type is illegible.

Terry C. Simpson submitted Etchings of Power in the Fiction category. Design by Gonzalo Ordonez Arias.

Maria Schneider submitted Executive Sick Days in the Fiction category. Design by Maria Schneider, saying “Third book in the Sedona O’Hala Series.”

JF: I find this cover completely charming, although I wish the title stood out a bit more.

Emlyn Chand submitted Farsighted in the Fiction category. Design by Lee Libro, saying “Thanks for running this contest. I love the crispness of your site. Too many are excessively cluttered these days. Look forward to seeing the results of this contest and learning more :-)”

JF: Another very strong cover well suited to its genre but weakened by the (inevitable) grunge typography and a lack of contrast to really make the title stand out.

Patty Jansen submitted Fire & Ice in the Fiction category. Design by Patty Jansen.

Anthony Bellaleigh submitted Firebird in the Fiction category. Design by Self (Anthony Bellaleigh), saying “Hi Joel, first off, thank-you for producing such a fantastic web site (I now point many fellow authors in your direction!). I’m no cover designer but hopefully have used some of your advice to good effect… My books are (will be, when written!) stand-alone, edgy, thrillers but I wanted from the outset to create a theme to tie them together. I plan to use the general layout and medallions as the common elements to achieve this. I used red leather for the backdrop to suggest heat and animal undertones. The medallion is from a personal hand drawn original though rendering into three dimensions tested both my own artistic skills and the rendering software to it’s limit! The sun rising behind the medallion is a subtle hint at one of the story’s sub-plots. Hope you like it, amateur as it may be…! :) AB.”

JF: A strong cover that doesn’t need the pronounced type effects to work.

Elena DeRosa submitted Fractured Facade in the Fiction category. Design by Marie Elena Aprile, saying “I hope I followed your submission requirements correctly :) Thanks!.”

JF: This dramatic cover design is weakened by the heavily distorted title type which is almost at the point of unreadability.

Maree Anderson submitted Freaks of Greenfield High in the Fiction category. Design by Rob Anderson.

JF: Everything about this cover seems to work together, creating a unified image that will stay in browser’s minds.

Lisa Ard submitted Fright Flight: Dream Seekers Book One in the Fiction category. Design by Book Baby and MK Nelson, saying “Fright Flight is the first book in the Dream Seekers middle-grade fantasy series, for ages 7+.”

Joe Tantillo submitted Grade A Baby Eggs in the Fiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo.

JF: I’m not sure whether the prolific Tantillo meant to allude to The Scarlet Letter with this clever cover.

Steve Williams submitted Grass in the Fiction category. Design by Keli Pollock, Jason Stang, Steve Williams, saying “The gun is a replica. The joint… yeah, it’s a replica too.”

JF: Riiiight, I recognized that replica aroma!

Elizabeth Marshall submitted Haunting Grace in the Fiction category. Design by EmWrites Team, saying “Designed by the EmWrites team for Elizabeth Marshall. This is the first book of 3 for an e-book series.”

Rebecca Melvin submitted In the Brief Eternal Silence in the Fiction category. Design by Dave Shuck and Rebecca Melvin, saying “This cover is actually a revamp of the original. Dave Shuck did the original design and that is him on the cover (male). The female was far in the background and was easily lost. I reworked her entirely from scratch and brought her up to share equal billing with the male. I know that you’ll not like how small the title and author name is, but I did this intentionally to not interrupt the clean lines of the images. People in the UK seem to appreciate it. It is currently in the top ten on two different bestseller lists there.”

JF: In that case, you might have a better result by simply leaving it off.

HW Freedman submitted Irina’s Eye in the Fiction category. Design by Anthony McEwan a/k/a Rugman.

JF: Wow. Okay. What? Wow.

L. S. Fayne submitted It’s Just Magic! in the Fiction category. Design by L. S. Fayne, saying “I wasn’t sure about the url’s. Did you want a jpg, or my home site? https://www.fayneartists.com.”

Teri Heyer submitted Jetting Away in the Fiction category. Design by Ben Heyer, saying “This cover was designed by my husband, Ben Heyer. I love the way it turned out.”

JF: This typeface should only be used for memo pads and recipe books, not book covers.

mercedes cecilia submitted Kusikiy A Child from Taquile, Peru in the Fiction category. Design by Mercedes Cecilia, saying “Please let me know if I submitted everything I need to in the right way. Thank you so much.”

JF: A lovely print book cover that could have used a little help in transitioning to e-book.

Harry Smith submitted Last One Standing in the Fiction category. Design by Harry Smith, saying “This was my first attempt to design my own cover. The girl (a local model) was Photoshoped onto a stock photo of NY.”

JF: A background that’s very busy and which goes from light to dark presents challenges when you try to put type on it, as you can see here. A case where the layout is simply wrong for the image being used.

Michelle McCleod submitted Love Potions in the Fiction category. Design by Croco Designs, saying “3 covers, 2 artists, this was the final result. Don’t settle!.”

JF: Another winner from the very talented Frauke Spanuth

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan submitted Lyon’s Legacy in the Fiction category. Design by Meghan Derico of Derico Photography.

Lily Childs submitted Magenta Shaman in the Fiction category. Design by Lily Childs and Laurence Ranger, saying “This cover uses original artwork by Laurence Ranger (by permission); scanned and manipulated by Lily Childs.”

JF: I love the effects but it’s become really hard to make out the competing parts of the image and the (familiar?) distressed type isn’t helping.

Anthea Lawson submitted Maid for Scandal in the Fiction category. Design by Anthea Lawson, saying “Enjoy! ;).”

JF: Watch that hand, pal!

Rebecca Weinstein submitted Nashoga (Redstone Series #1) in the Fiction category. Design by R. Weinstein, saying “Cover was an original oil painting.”

JF: Nice. Dogs on covers get me every time.

Alan D. Wilcox submitted Neighbors Two – Pillars of the Community in the Fiction category. Design by Jason Paulhamus.

India Drummond submitted Ordinary Angels in the Fiction category. Design by India Drummond, saying “Original vector art.”

JF: Beautiful illustration and sensitive typography make this one a winner.

James Edward Fryar submitted Patrick Patterson and the World of Others in the Fiction category. Design by Dallas Dodd, saying “I was incredibly inspired by a tree I came across in Central Park. In fact, it was so inspiring that it almost became a character in the book. The central character, Patrick Patterson, has dreams of a ravaged planet and the only living thing is an ethereal, glowing tree with pink flowers. So when I talked to my incredible designer, Dallas Dodd, about cover ideas, I sent the picture I had of the tree to him and asked him to get creative with it. Believe or not, that tree on the cover was originally in the middle of Central Park in New York City.”

Jim Wills submitted Philly MC: A Kavanagh Story II in the Fiction category. Design by Sarah Orr, ArtPlus Ltd., saying “Sarah Orr of ArtPlus did a very fine job on the cover, particularly considering the gritty nature of the novel. She set the mood perfectly by using type that suggests but not copy that used on outlaw motorcycle club colors, by showing the back of the main character in an alley and by capturing the main setting with a haunting shadow of Philadelphia City Hall. All in all a complicated task simplified. Well done, Sarah.”

JF: This cover has some great elements but it’s done in by a principal lack of focus and the murky color scheme.

G. L. Drummond submitted Rift in the Fiction category. Design by Myself, saying “Cover for an urban fantasy/romance novelette. I wanted something that conveyed distance between two people, and found this great stock image.”

Rebecca Weinstein submitted Seraphim in the Fiction category. Design by R. Weinstein.

JF: Very clean and atmospheric, but I would worry about the title as the cover is reduced.

Tara Shuler submitted Shelter (Blood Haze: Book One) in the Fiction category. Design by Tara Shuler, saying “I also created the cover art (the 3D image of the three characters).”

Joe Tantillo submitted Sherman’s Chaplain in the Fiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo, saying “Book Design 2011.”

Erik Boman submitted Short Cuts in the Fiction category. Design by Erik Boman, saying “Collage made specifically for the collection.”

Michael Montoure submitted Slices in the Fiction category. Design by Michael Montoure, saying “The photo is Creative Commons licensed image from Flickr user “distill”.”

JF: A terrific combination of photography and typography make this cover really stand out. Visceral and grabby, it’s near-perfect.

Alan D. Wilcox submitted Slip of the Tongue in the Fiction category. Design by Alan D. Wilcox, saying “Cover Design: Alan D. Wilcox
Background image AM 630 Radio Station KJSL, Bryan Kreu, 2008 {{PD}}

Brian Lee Durfee submitted South Severe in the Fiction category. Design by BRIAN LEE DURFEE, saying “?? required field, “Cover URL, minimum: 160 x 160 px” ?? I am not exactly sure what you want me to put there. Hope I did it right. An “upload image here” field would make more sense to me. But then again, I am not all that computer savy so please forgive me.”

Susan Noble submitted Summoned: Book One of The Elemental in the Fiction category. Design by Digital Donna (Donna Casey).

Joe Mirabello submitted The Armpit of Evil in the Fiction category. Design by Joe Mirabello, saying “I hope this is as fun to look at as it was to paint. I feel like e-books need a few more hand-illustrated covers. It seems like no one does them!.”

JF: I like the hand-illustrated look, and I absolutely love the title. Maybe study some of the terrific labels on vintage orange crates, check out the way they combine illustration and lettering, it might suit your style.

Maree Anderson submitted The Crystal Warrior in the Fiction category. Design by Rob Anderson.

JF: Another strong cover from Rob Anderson.

J Smith submitted The Diamond Coronal in the Fiction category. Design by Author, saying “Scanned in hand-drawn sketches and then colorized with Inkscape vector art program. Test marketed background colors, black got the best response for e-book lists. Minimal and clear color palette with yellow font to pop at thumbnail size. Reworked stock font to maximize title size. Love to hear about improvements. Book 2 is using similar elements to carry the theme.”

Anna Patterson submitted The Egyptian Pharaoh’s Perilous Search for a Wife in the Fiction category. Design by Anna Patterson, saying “This book was published by Smashwords in April of this year. I now have five books with them, all are on sell in thirty countries. All of the covers are original and mine. The Egyptian book cover I painted in acrylic on canvas, took a picture of it and did the cover using gimp. I have a degree in Art and thought this was exciting.”

Joe Tantillo submitted The Emancipation of Giles Corey in the Fiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo, saying “Book Design 2010.”

Rodney Evans submitted The Flatulent Pumpkin in the Fiction category. Design by Evans, Wein, Parrott, saying “This is my first time trying and I’m not sure if I linked correctly to the cover.”

JF: Tied for best title this month, and the title lettering is super and shows how you can create a “brand” look with a book title.

Michael C. Boxall submitted The Great Firewall in the Fiction category. Design by Prahlad Delaney, saying “I like the sense of power and menace and sheer wealth this image of Shanghai evokes. That’s the tone of the book exactly.”

Nathan Everett submitted The Gutenberg Rubric in the Fiction category. Design by Nathan Everett, saying “Lead type and printing are key themes in the thriller “The Gutenberg Rubric.” To create this dual purpose print/eBook cover, I set the type using 36pt Artcraft Titling Caps. My associate Dan Shafer inked the type on a Chandler & Price proof press. When he pulled the paper off the type, I snapped the picture. In order to get better depth in the typography itself, I enhanced it to a deeper rich black in Photoshop.”

JF: I really appreciate the work that went into this cover, since I’ve set type by hand and worked on Chandler & Price presses. Unfortunately, there’s no substitute for graphic design, and the typography on this cover is simply too weak to carry the load.

RW Rivers submitted The Mystifying Tempest in the Fiction category. Design by Geri Townsley, saying “The cover for my book is wonderful and quite a few people love it. Well done to my designer Geri Townsley for a great job on my books cover.”

Elisabeth Foley submitted The Ranch Next Door and Other Stories in the Fiction category. Design by J. Simmons, saying “Photographer: Denise Lett. I picked out the photo to evoke scenery from the title story, and J. Simmons did the classic Western design for this collection of short stories.”

Michael Mustizer submitted The Seven Isaacs in the Fiction category. Design by Michael Mustizer, saying “After many tests and many tries, this is the first cover that stuck for me. It is intriguing and the painted on “8” on the goldfish provides even more mystery into the story within.”

Joe Tantillo submitted The Star Seer’s Prophecy: Dark Innocence in the Fiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo, saying “Book Design 2011.”

Ryan M. Welch submitted The Task of Auntie Dido in the Fiction category. Design by .

J. Eathen Satterwhite submitted The Vanguard Society in the Fiction category. Design by J. Eathen Satterwhite.

JF: Although I don’t care for this cover, you can’t deny that it really stands out.

Joe Tantillo submitted The Woman at the Well in the Fiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo.

Serena Casey submitted To Finish the Dance in the Fiction category. Design by Serena Casey, saying “Pink tulips figure into the storyline of this romance, so when I found this stock photo, I knew it was absolutely perfect.”

JF: This lovely cover is working against a genre that is dominated by covers with young women or couples on them.

Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff submitted Transistor Rodeo in the Fiction category. Design by Mark Yoshimoto Nemcoff, saying “Transistor Rodeo is a book about a robot rodeo that runs amok in the city of Los Angeles and the washed up ex cowboy that has to round them up to save not only the city but the life of his son. However, at its heart, thematically it’s a story about what it takes to be a man. As a totally geeky side note, the translucent ones and zeros across the front are actually the book’s title written in binary code.”

Gary Taaffe submitted Tribal Scarring in the Fiction category. Design by Artwork by Toby Quarmby, Design by Bunya Publishing, saying “The only change I’ve made from Toby’s artwork is the episode number in the bottom left and the episode title, which in this case is “Tribal Scarring”. I found the colour black worked well for the title but it needed the drop shadow to make it stand out. I matched the number colour to the drop shadow. Cooper Std is the font which I think works well with the Urban Hunters logo. What do you think, Joel? Does it work or could I have done something differently? Thanks.”

JF: I think the cover is pretty cool, and the title is a unique brand. I would not have chosen Cooper Black for this, it alludes to a completely different era, and the eccentricities of the design are a distraction on this cover.

P.F. Kozak submitted Under the Rose in the Fiction category. Design by P.F. Kozak, saying “Just published my eighth book, my second on Smashwords. I thought the cover for Under the Rose turned out extremely well. I hope you think so, too.”

Maria Schneider submitted Under Witch Moon in the Fiction category. Design by Deb Wentz, saying “Book one in the Moon Shadow Series. Deb did a great job capturing the mystique of this paranormal mystery.”

JF: You can see that the author is an astute buyer of design, since most of her covers are very good, despite coming from different artists. Well done.

M. Louisa Locke submitted Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery in the Fiction category. Design by Michelle Huffaker, saying “One of the reasons I like this cover so much is that it captures the Victorian feel, in the use of Victorian wallpaper, illustration, and a period font. It also is a perfect variation on the feel and look of my first book in the series, Maids of Misfortune, there would be no doubt in a readers mind that this is a sequel.”

Eric Williams submitted United Eden in the Fiction category. Design by Eric Williams.

JF: A beautiful illustration, but the type disappears as the cover is reduced.

Arthur Mackeown submitted Vampire’s Night Out in the Fiction category. Design by Miss Mae, saying “When award-winning author Miss Mae decided to leave traditional publishing and strike out on her own as an indie author, she knew she needed professionally designed covers to grace the front of her books. With a background in Art and proficient in PSP graphics, she chose to become her own cover creator. Little did she know that the owner of a publishing press would visit her website and view her work. She was asked to join the pub’s team as one of their contributing designers. Also freelancing at Smashwords and Kindle, Miss Mae’s portfolio continues to grow. She enjoys meeting new authors and collaborating with them to bring the concept of their books alive in a stunning cover that they, and potential readers, can truly ‘see’.”

Terra Harmony submitted Water in the Fiction category. Design by Keary Taylor, saying “This cover was actually a second try. My first was a product of my imagination and turned out horrible. The second try I left it completely up to the artist and she did a wonderful job. See my blog post about it at www.twainwannabe.blogspot.com titled Mormons, Vaginas, and Cover Art.”

JF: A beautiful cover, but the title is getting a bit lost.

Michael Grant submitted Who Moved My Friggin’ Provolone? in the Fiction category. Design by Michael Grant.

JF: I laughed at this, but it works.

Delaney Diamond submitted Worth Waiting For in the Fiction category. Design by MTheresa Art Designs.

JF: You can see numerous examples this month of covers much like this one. Where are we supposed to look? There’s so much competition for our attention here, you just tend to keep going.

Nonfiction Covers

Joe Tantillo submitted Chaos, Gaia, Eros in the Nonfiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo, saying “Book Cover Design 2011.”

Lori Henry submitted Churchill: Navigating bugs, belugas and polar bears in the Nonfiction category. Design by Lori henry.

JF: I didn’t realize that the title of this book was “Churchill.”

Gil Michelini submitted Daddy, Come & Get Me in the Nonfiction category. Design by Gil Michelini, saying “The photograph is of my daughter on the day she was relinquished for adoption.”

Patricia Charpentier submitted Eating an Elephant: Write Your Life One Bite at a Time in the Nonfiction category. Design by Erin Matherne, saying “Nonfiction category: Sharing tips from years of experience in teaching and writing personal history, Patricia Charpentier makes penning your life story an easy, fun and fascinating process.”

JF: Although this charming cover has a lot going for it, I’m mystified by the three title lines, each with a different treatment.

Elizabeth Rowan Keith submitted Essential Oils Research Bibliography in the Nonfiction category. Design by Author.

David Bergsland submitted Fontographer: Practical Font Design for Graphic Designers in the Nonfiction category. Design by David Bergsland, saying “This cover builds on the cover for my popular “Practical Font Design” books for FontLab, now in it’s third edition. The PostScript paths for the lowercase g are instantly recognizable for any experienced graphic designer. The word “Fontographer” is set in Bordeaux Roman Bold for maximizing the size and impact. I redid it for my ePUB to 600×800.”

JF: The author is an experienced graphic designer and typographer.

Yasmin Morais submitted From Cane Field to the Sea in the Nonfiction category. Design by Yasmin Morais, saying “Book Cover: Photo of Lovers’ Leap, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. Cover Photo by Yasmin Morais.”

E. Jean Carroll submitted HUNTER: The Strange and Savage Life of Hunter S. Thompson in the Nonfiction category. Design by James Lake, saying “Hi, love your awards! The cover for the Hunter book has changed throughout the years. It was Hunter holding a shot gun for the Dutton Hardback, Hunter in a convertible for the English edition, and so on… THIS is my favorite. James Lake caught Hunter’s spirit EGGGZACTLY. It is selling like hotcakes on Amazon, even though I’m giving it away for free.”

JF: Zowie! Love the colors and the illustration, but it needs a border around it.

Alan D. Wilcox submitted Invent Utopia Now in the Nonfiction category. Design by Alan D. Wilcox, saying “Cover: The Garden of Earthly Delights, central panel, by Hieronymus
Bosch (ca. 1450-1516) {{PD-Art|PD-old-100}}.”

Adam Maxwell submitted Lost the Plot? 500 Writing Prompts and How To Use Them in the Nonfiction category. Design by Laura Swaddle, saying “For my first non-fiction book we wanted to create something that fitted with an already established visual style inspired by Saul Bass. As an ebook release the cover’s contrasting colours work well at smaller sizes and hopefully differentiate from some of the more self-help styled books in the genre. Since the book has a rather long subtitle we made the decision to leave my name (the author) off the cover since the market we are targeting would necessarily be swayed to purchase by seeing it (like they would for, oh I don’t know, Stephen King!). Hope you like it!.”

JF: I like it a lot! And the type is perfectly attuned to the Saul Bass era. I think I would have made the subtitle a bit larger, but that’s just quibbling. Great job that really stands out.

Tara Leigh Cobble submitted Orange Jumpsuit in the Nonfiction category. Design by Marlena Sigman, saying “If you need a flat cover as an option (instead of the 3D I’ve linked
to), let me know.”

Don E. Miller, Ph.D. submitted Safe at Last: Refugees in America in the Nonfiction category. Design by Yasuko Bockman.

Joe Tantillo submitted Tantra Goddess in the Nonfiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo, saying “Book Design 2011.”

JF: Another Tantillo, this cover definitely draws you in despite its over-the-top ebullience.

Michael E. Newton submitted The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny in the Nonfiction category. Design by Michael E. Newton, saying “I have a page on my website just about the cover because I am often asked about it. https://michaelenewton.com/the-path-to-tyranny-book-cover/.”

Matt Harrison submitted Treading on Python in the Nonfiction category. Design by Matt Harrison, saying “My first e-Book and first e-Cover.”

Joe Tantillo submitted Wander in the Nonfiction category. Design by Joe Tantillo, saying “Book Design 2010.”

Nathan Clarkson submitted Wisdom Chasers in the Nonfiction category, saying “The cover design for Wisdom Chasers is by Erin Ulrich of Design by Insight (www.designbyinsight.net).”

JF: Although this is a very beautiful cover at full size, it is not nearly as strong as an e-book cover as others from this talented designer.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Elena@blog.co.uk

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    net. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    More people have to read this and understand this side of your story.

    It’s surprising you’re not more popular since you definitely have the gift.

  2. Yasmin Morais

    Hi Joel,

    Thanks for including my cover of From Cane Field to the Sea. It was fun to enter. This was my first foray into cover design, so any comments you have for me would be helpful. Indie authors appreciate you!!

  3. J. Eathen Satterwhite

    Joel, thank you for including my cover. I neglected to provide a description for it. I decided to make the cover very minimal with just a face peering at the reader. The story is written in the second person, and having the face look at you reinforced that. It is in black and white because the story is fairly straightforward; I chose not to use a photograph or a standard typeface because I wanted to emphasize that the story within has familiar elements, but is something unique. In the end, my aim was for the cover to stand out. Thanks for providing a great resource for self-published authors.

  4. Harry Smith

    Thanks for the feedback on the cover design for ‘Last One Standing’. I agree with your comments and didn’t see the layout problem until you mentioned it. (It’s a good read anyway…)

    Let me study up on a few of your ebook cover design articles and I’ll wow you the next time.

  5. Cecilia Fernandez

    Hi Joel. I really love what you are doing. I’m ready to publish a few ebooks and would like to hire one of the designers from your cover contest. Could you let me know how to contact these designers? Thanks so much.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Cecilia. What I do is search on Google for the designer’s name. That seems to work for almost all of them. If there’s a specific designer you want to get in touch with and can’t figure out how, let me know and we’ll see if we can help.

  6. Sally Ooms

    There are some really powerful covers here. So good to see them.

    I have a question: I have a couple of ideas for the cover of the book I am writing. One is a 1992 photograph on a postcard done by a professional photographer. An alternate one is a photo of a child’s drawing in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward that I found posted on a fence. I know I would need to contact either party whose image I might use but am not sure what would be the best way to go about it. Any tips?

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Sally,

      The postcard should have the photographer’s copyright and maybe contact info. You would need to track the person down and request permission, indicating how you intend to use it.

      The drawing is more problematic, and both the artist and photographer could have rights involved with the image. Can’t advise you on that one.

      • Sally Ooms

        Thanks Joel,
        I took the photo on the second one. It would be a matter of chasing down the child and parent in the Ninth Ward. I suppose children’s rights are just as valid as anybody’s and the parents would have to sign something on her behalf.
        Will look at the pro’s postcard and see how I can contact him.

  7. James Edward Fryar

    Hi Joel!
    I didn’t even realize my cover for Patrick Patterson and the World of Others had made it into the contest this month! I saw it up there, but didn’t notice any comments from your. Just curious what you though of it; I mean it didn’t win, of course, but there weren’t any bad comments either :)
    Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi James, thanks for your comment. The cover didn’t work too well for me. I had trouble making out what the image was, and the title was very hard to read.

  8. Rodney Evans

    Hello Joel,

    Thank you for taking the time to professionally review my “The Flatulent Pumpkin” cover and provide feedback. I really appreciate it.

    Yours Truly,


  9. Doug Greene

    Joel … this contest of yours is a great idea! I especially like your comments on each of the covers – what you do/ don’t like about them, etc. Looking forward to more of these.

  10. Joe Mirabello

    Thanks for the kind words about my cover, Joel! This is a really fun thing to check back on every month!

  11. Joe Tantillo

    I want to thank you, Joel, for the opportunity to show my work, of what I’ve been doing over this past year. I was working for a very busy self-publishing service, so I had a lot of opportunity to work out the shift from general graphic designer (for over 30 years) to “book designer.” There is a different mindset and set of rules that you have been very helpful in shaping for me. I will have a new website up soon dedicated to cover and book design only and drop the “general designer” stuff…gulp, don’t know how “prolific” the market will allow me to be this coming year.

    The comments you made for everyone are very helpful…and it fun to see everyone’s work. Keep it going…it inspires us to go on.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Joe, thanks for submitting your covers, the more people who participate the more useful this is.

      As you’ve discovered, there are a lot of traditions and conventions as well as a set of best practices for book and cover design. Not only that, to do both you have to be a little schizo (or at least it helps) to switch from the self-effacing, mostly transparent interior designer to the product-packaging, attention-grabbing cover designer.

      I look forward to seeing more of your work. Let me know when you get your site set up.

  12. Maree Anderson

    Joel, I’m a Kiwi (New Zealander), and Rob is half-Australian *g* And yeah, ‘chuffed to bits’ is very pleased indeed!

    Rob’s actually in IT, so he’s not a professional cover artist, but he’s what I call a talented amateur with the right tools for the job and the know-how to figure out how to use them. He’s also put together my website and a landing page for each of my books. So yep, I’m very very lucky to have him on my team! (In fact, quite a few author friends have been trying to pinch him *g*)

    It’s funny you should mention the process. Usually we stay well away from each other when we’re working. I write the book. In his “spare” time (huh! that’s a joke) he cleans up the html etc, and does all the what he calls “grunt” work that would take me 10 times as long to accomplish. But cover design is an area where we both work together as a true team and somehow — I don’t quite know how — don’t drive each other crazy! So far he’s designed 4 covers for me — one YA, and three paranormal romances that are a series. Next one will be a standalone romance with a SciFi flavor–that one will be really interesting to brainstorm.

    An article… You really think people would be interested in our process?

      • Maree Anderson

        Short and sweet — I like it!

        Guess I have an article to write… and a husband to inveigle into sharing his process *g*

        Thanks for the suggestion and the feedback, Joel!

  13. Maree Anderson

    Hi Joel,

    My husband (Rob Anderson) is chuffed to bits by your comments on his covers for Freaks of Greenfield High and The Crystal Warrior–I’ve sent him the link so he can check out your comments on all the covers featured, as I always find them very insightful and helpful. Thanks so much for all your hard work putting this together!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Maree,

      I’ve been married to an Aussie for many years, but still don’t know all the colloquialisms, so I’m going to assume that “chuffed to bits” is a good thing.

      You are lucky to have him on your “team” and it would be interesting to have an article from you or the two of you that describes how you two go about developing the covers for your books.

  14. Delaney Diamond

    Hi JF,

    Aw, I LOVE the cover the artist did for my book! I felt the emphasis was on the couple and the title. I do agree with you about the beauty in some of the others, though. One of my favorites is the cover for Dead Leaves by Kealan Patrick Burke. It definitely grabbed my attention.

    This is great fun. Thanks for the opportunity and the feedback!

  15. Allison Moon

    Wow! Thank you so much for awarding us the win! I do appreciate this contest and the recognition for Julianna Parr’s terrific work.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Allison, thanks for submitting, and I hope you’ll wear your winner’s badge with pride, it’s a great cover.

  16. Anita Laydon Miller

    The comments you’ve left on some of the entries is really, really helpful. Thank you!

  17. Serena Casey

    Thanks for your comment on my cover. I’ve been a graphic designer for many years, but I’m learning some new ropes when it comes to ebook covers, thanks in part to your design awards!

  18. Megan

    Hi Joel, thanks so much, I am a visual learner and your comments as well as well as your eBook have helped me greatly. Will there be a November contest? My debut novel with cover designed by yours truly came out this month. I would love some feedback.

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Megan, I run this contest every month, so go ahead and enter whenever your book is out. Here’s a link to the Submission Page.

  19. Melita Tchaicovsky




  1. One-Stop Shops for Readers and Authors | Maree Anderson | Author - [...] :) And it was Joel’s suggestion I write an article about the evolution of one of my covers. (Here’s the…
  2. Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards — The Book Designer - [...] https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/09/e-book-cover-design-awards-august-2011/ https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/10/e-book-cover-design-awards-september-2011-part-1/ https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/10/e-book-cover-design-awards-september-2011-part-2/ https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/10/e-book-cover-design-awards-september-2011-part-3/ https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/10/e-book-cover-design-awards-september-2011-part-4/ https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/10/e-book-cover-design-awards-september-2011/ https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/11/e-book-cover-design-awards-october-2011/ [...]
  3. 3 Steps to e-Book Cover Design Success | The Official BookBuzzr Blog - [...] designer as well. If you’d like to check it out, here’s a link to a recent competition: e-Book Cover…
  4. The Book Designer’s e-Book Cover Design Awards | Adventures in Writing & Publishing - [...] the month, but I did get a little publicity from submitting Fright Flight, Dream Seeker Book One to The…

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