e-Book Cover Design Awards, October 2017

by | Nov 27, 2017

Welcome to the e-Book Cover Design Awards. This edition is for submissions during October, 2017.

This month we received:

99 covers in the Fiction category
34 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 October 2017 in Fiction


Sasha- 99Designs submitted A Man with One of Those Faces designed by Emir Orucevic. “The book cover for an Irish crime thriller with strong comedic twist about a small-time conman who gets mistaken for someone else because he has “one of those faces”. The design plays around with the theme of lost identity using distinct comical flavour through asymmetrical font faces.”

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JF: Approaching perfection by perfectly embodying the themes of the book in the graphic image and title on the cover. Also consider the impact made by not showing a face, and the artful use of type, figure, and ground.

e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for October 2017 in Nonfiction


Hollie Shirley submitted What to Expect when youre Not Expecting designed by Tim Pritchard. “For this book, I wanted to make sure that the cover art was something fresh and new, and basically, not depressing! Infertility is a hard subject to talk about and I feel that the cover art for this book represents it perfectly, without being too melancholic of a tone.”

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JF: Handles the subject clearly and with a bit of amusement and a loose illustration style that adds to its attractiveness

Fiction Covers


Adina Chiles submitted The Deadly Seven: A Hollow Hunger designed by Steven Novak.

The Deadly Seven: A Hollow Hunger
JF: A well thought-out and effective cover.


Anita Moore submitted The Battle For The Four Realms: Dragon Bone designed by Anita Dugan-Moore. “This is the first book in a new fantasy series. The design on the cover depicts a pendant the main character wears.”

The Battle For The Four Realms: Dragon Bone
JF: The pendant is beautiful; the typography and layout are weak.


Anna-Marie Abell submitted Holy Crap! The World is Ending!: How a Trip to the Bookstore Led to Sex with an Alien and the Destruction of Earth designed by Anna-Marie Abell.

Holy Crap! The World is Ending!: How a Trip to the Bookstore Led to Sex with an Alien and the Destruction of Earth
JF: The illustration is fun, and the title is, too, but the layout demonstrates the difficulty of working with a very long title: subtitle. And what’s that asterisk doing on the title?


Annie Arcane submitted In a Flash: The Wounded Hero Collection designed by Annie Arcane. “This ain’t my best cover design-wise, but I noticed that topless male covers (and their sexy models) were receiving some heat so I thought I’d give those misunderstood buggers a little love, eh? ^_~ Seriously, though, fantabulous site! Thanks a bunch!! x”

In a Flash: The Wounded Hero Collection
JF: You’ll find out with this one. Sexy type treatment, too.


Annie Arcane submitted Beautiful Confusion (Pride and Honor, Book 0.5) designed by Annie Arcane.

Beautiful Confusion (Pride and Honor, Book 0.5)
JF: These two make an interesting series, although I’m not a fan of the extreme lighting effects on the title, which limit legibility and don’t really add anything of their own.


Annie Arcane submitted Beautiful Surrender (Pride and Honor, Book 4) designed by Annie Arcane. “This is a cover I designed for my friend to match her pre-existing series”

Beautiful Surrender (Pride and Honor, Book 4)


Barry Nugent submitted Forgotten Warriors designed by Barry Nugent. “I really wanted this cover to show Steph Connisbee (the character on the cover) to look like a professional soldier who had been to hell and back.”

Forgotten Warriors
JF: I don’t think you quite got there, sorry.


Beth Martin submitted Quality DNA designed by Beth Martin. “Quality DNA is a science fiction novel. I wanted a cover which would make people look twice.”

Quality DNA
JF: Pretty good job for an author-designer, and it is arresting.


Brhi Stokes submitted Caligation designed by Brhi Stokes.

Caligation
JF: I like the focus the circular element gives to the cover, and with the dark landscape an interesting title typography, it works.


C.L. Hoang submitted Once upon a Mulberry Field designed by Derek Murphy. “I selected all the individual components in the pictures (the girl, the field and lake, the sunset, chopper, and mountains, then Derek put them all together in the composite picture and selected the fonts for the title and author’s name.”

Once upon a Mulberry Field
JF: It’s challenging to combine disparate elements like these and have them combine into a clear message, but I think you’ve carried it off. The images immediately spoke of Vietnam and the conflict there, although I’m mystified by the font choice for the title because it seems to have no connection to the topic or the era, and it’s odd to see the word “a” capitalized in a title.


C.S. Patton submitted Seed designed by C.S. Patton.

Seed
JF: Effective, would have preferred a font for the title more in line with the implications of the tools.


Cailee Francis submitted A Masquerade in Time (The Fae Souls Book 1) designed by Cailee Francis. “My book is a lesbian fantasy romance, and the name I used with my submission is my pen name. Thanks. :)”

A Masquerade in Time (The Fae Souls Book 1)
JF: A lovely cover with lots of emotion, but with too much going on. Although the mask element at the bottom is pretty, does it really add anything?


Candice Brown Elliott submitted All The Stars Are Suns designed by candice brown. “The book’s main protagonist is shown on the cover, looking up at the stars, as she does in the opening sequence of the story, in wonder and longing.”

All The Stars Are Suns
JF: Good use of a stock photo and adept typography make this cover stand out.


Caylen D. Smith submitted A Thief’s Game designed by Daneila Owergoor. “A card game, a beautifully crafted dagger, and a women’s archery arm guard. My cover designer brought my ideas to life perfectly, telling the story of beauty and danger.”

A Thief's Game
JF: A beautiful illustration, too bad the typography doesn’t hold up. The title is too small and the author’s name is very hard to read.


Chris Africa submitted The Elf and the Amulet designed by Peter Thorpe, Olivia Africa, Chris Africa. “The original cover concept was created by my daughter, Olivia (age 11), and me. Peter Thorpe took our concept and polished it substantially. I hope you love it!”

The Elf and the Amulet
JF: I like it just fine, and I’m sure your fans will, too. To nitpick (after all, the purpose of this article) I believe the cover would balance better if the vertical space was more appropriately arranged. For instance, there’s no good reason for the bottom margin to be so large in relation to the top and to the space between the pendulum and the title.


Christina Pilz submitted Oliver & Jack: In London Towne designed by James Egan. “This is the sixth and final book in the Oliver & Jack series. James visually linked this cover to the previous five, adapting the layout of the previous covers with the more upbeat and happy tones of book six.”

Oliver & Jack: In London Towne
JF: Another beautifully drawn period cover. All of the books in this series remind me of a woman’s cameo, and the typography is exceptional.


Christine Dillon submitted Grace in Strange Disguise designed by Joy Lankshear. “This novel is contemporary Christian fiction.”

Grace in Strange Disguise
JF: Perfectly targeted to the intended market, sophisticated but with a light touch. Could you find a different spot for the “Book 1”?


Clay Rivers submitted Christmas Is: Mischief and Merriment in Manhattan designed by Clay Rivers. “This comedy is set in Manhattan during the Christmas holidays. The iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is the most recognizable landmark in NYC during the holiday season. Also, a pivotal moment in the story takes place underneath it. This energetic and graphic approach was an novel solution.”

Christmas Is: Mischief and Merriment in Manhattan


Cortez Law III submitted SERIAL RITES designed by Fantasia Frog Designs.

SERIAL RITES
JF: Way too many textures and elements. For instance, the effect on the title doesn’t really add much to the cover and competes with the textures in the background.


Dan Van Oss submitted Denial (Girl Undercover Book Two) designed by Dan Van Oss.

Denial (Girl Undercover Book Two)
JF: Strong elements clearly communicate the tension in the story and draw us in.


Dan Van Oss submitted No Justice designed by Dan Van Oss.

No Justice
JF: Some very strong parts to this cover (love that figure with the flashlight; it’s impossible to not look at it) but overall it’s visually confusing.


Daniel Leigh-Brown submitted I’ll Never See That Cloud Again designed by Dan Leigh-Brown. “With Felipe’s beautiful images I was spoiled for choice when it came to the front cover. Then I figured an adventure built around the wonders of a child’s imagination couldn’t be summed up any better than riding an airship up among the clouds. I flipped the chosen image and everything fitted nicely!”

cover design
JF: A beautiful image that could have used a stronger type treatment.


Darja DDD submitted Skipping Stones designed by Marushka from Deranged Doctor Design. “Historical Romance cover design by Marushka from Deranged Doctor Design”

Skipping Stones
JF: A strong historical romance cover that combines character and setting with a custom type treatment to good effect.


Darja DDD submitted A Shot In The Dark designed by Marushka from Deranged Doctor Design. “Romance cover design by Marushka from Deranged Doctor Design, Dark Series Book 1”

A Shot In The Dark
JF: Very effective series design that highlights romantic interaction and motorcycle action. The dark palette emphasizes the “Dark Series” theme.


Darja DDD submitted Into The Light designed by Marushka from Deranged Doctor Design. “Romance cover design by Marushka from Deranged Doctor Design, Dark Series Book 2”

Into The Light


Darja DDD submitted Death of a Dead Man designed by Kitten from Deranged Doctor Design. “Cozy Mystery, Thriller & Suspense cover design by Kitten from Deranged Doctor Design, Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery series, Book1”

Death of a Dead Man
JF: The two-dimensional look suits these books well, not sure if the wooden sign title treatment is strong enough to balance the rest of the covers.


Darja DDD submitted At Death’s Door designed by Kitten from Deranged Doctor Design. “Cozy Mystery, Thriller & Suspense cover design by Kitten from Deranged Doctor Design, Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery series Book3”

At Death's Door


Darja DDD submitted Death of a Santa designed by Kitten from Deranged Doctor Design. “Cozy Mystery, Thriller & Suspense cover design by Kitten from Deranged Doctor Design, Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery series Book4”

Death of a Santa


Darja DDD submitted No Direction Home designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction cover design by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design, The No Direction Home Series , Book 1”

No Direction Home
JF: Another strong series design that emphasizes action and story, using the “back to us” characters to pull us into the scene.


Darja DDD submitted Eastwood designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction cover design by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design, The No Direction Home Series , Book 2”

Eastwood


Darja DDD submitted On The Edge designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Post-Apocalyptic Science Fiction cover design by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design, The No Direction Home Series , Book 3”

On The Edge


Darja DDD submitted Tombyards & Butterflies designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Science Fiction, Action cover design by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design, Montague & Strong Case Files series, Book 1”

Tombyards & Butterflies
JF: Strong colors, typography, background texture, and illustration for this series design, although the interactions between the characters seem a bit awkward. The third title adds a third character and a bit of confusion about how these people are supposed to relate to each other.


Darja DDD submitted Full Moon Howl designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Science Fiction, Action cover design by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design, Montague & Strong Case Files series, Book 2”

Full Moon Howl


Darja DDD submitted Blood is Thicker designed by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design. “Science Fiction, Action cover design by Milo from Deranged Doctor Design, Montague & Strong Case Files series, Book 3”

Blood is Thicker


E. Christopher Clark submitted Missing Mr. Wingfield designed by E. Christopher Clark.

Missing Mr. Wingfield
JF: Economical, yet memorable.


Earl T. Roske submitted Tale of the Music-Thief designed by Aubrey Watt. “Aubrey Watt approached me on Reddit when I was sharing my amateurish attempt to design my own book cover. She had learned I was a new dad and had no job. She did the cover gratis. I had hoped to envoke the darkness of the mysterious thief and a sense of music. I think she did it perfectly.”

Tale of the Music-Thief
JF: You’re a lucky man, she gave you a cover that captures an air of mystery while making a great impact.s


Evelyne Contant submitted The Moonstone , Enchantment book 1 designed by Boudesign.

The Moonstone , Enchantment book 1
JF: Interesting series design, might have benefitted from more readable type, especially for the titles, but the focus on both covers is good.


Evelyne Contant submitted Atlantis , Enchantment book 2 designed by Boudesign.

Atlantis , Enchantment book 2


Frankie Bow submitted The Nakamura Letters designed by Hawaiian Heritage Press. “The Nakamura Letters is part of The Professor Molly Mysteries, but it’s a bit of a departure from the series. It’s a mystery novelette told entirely in emails from Professor Molly’s best friend Dr. Emma Nakamura. The cover straightforwardly shows Emma typing; her device shows the author name.”

The Nakamura Letters
JF: Matches the other covers in this series. The different illustration styles all used together are problematic.


Gino Cox submitted Ice Cold designed by Gino Cox. “The title Ice Cold, a neo-noir thriller, refers to a contract assassin named Ice and his dispassionate demeanor, and to a night club planned by the Thai ex-wife of an Italian-American gangster, where beers will be served ice-cold, not lukewarm and chilled/diluted with ice, as at most Thai bars.”

Ice Cold
JF: I get it, but it has the unmistakable “self-published” look.


Hollis Thompson submitted Affinities designed by Hollis Thompson. “Made with Paintshop Pro X9 and stock imagery from Fotolia. And a little filter work from Snapseed on iOS to tweak the pallet.”

Affinities
JF: The arresting image is the best part of this cover. Good idea to try to avoid vertical type, it adds a significant distraction to browsers.


James Egan submitted Curtain Call designed by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design.

Curtain Call
JF: The broken glass effect dominates everything else on the cover, so the impact will rely on the sharp-edged image.


James Egan submitted Boom Girl designed by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design.

Boom Girl
JF: A fun and exciting cover for this basketball/fantasy novel.


James Egan submitted Serial Killer Z designed by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design.

Serial Killer Z
JF: A terrific presentation for this thriller, from the slices in the textured background to the iconic “Z”, the solitary figure, and the “splatters,” each of which is a part of the overall effect.


Janine Pestel submitted The Bucktown Babies designed by Cover Mint.

The Bucktown Babies
JF: A solid job.


Jennifer S. Alderson submitted The Lover’s Portrait: An Art Mystery designed by James of GoOnWrite.com. “This cover was actually a pre-made I found on GoOnWrite.com while searching for a book designer. However, it is as if James designed it for the book: the wallpaper, frame and even stenciled font conjure up the historical setting and missing portrait central to the plot.”

The Lover's Portrait: An Art Mystery


Joan Dempsey submitted This Is How It Begins, A Novel designed by Damonza. “The “orange woman” conjures a political firestorm, arson, and WWII firebombing, and her bag and backward gaze symbolizes the burden of a 70-year old secret. The ghosted American flag represents freedom of speech and religion, and paint splashed on canvas indicates the centrality of art in the novel.”

This Is How It Begins, A Novel
JF: Yes, but despite all those cues—which only you understand—the cover succeeds because it communicates a sense of mystery and intrigue due to its clean and contemporary design.


Judith Simpasa submitted The Prisms of Sarsen designed by Swann Books.

The Prisms of Sarsen
JF: Very pretty, but with all the room on the cover, was it really a good idea to jam the woman’s face under the title type? I think not.


Kari Trumbo submitted To Honor and Cherish designed by Evelyne Labelle. “Evelyne is a fairly new artist, but her work is so amazing. I was so proud of this cover, I had to submit it.”

To Honor and Cherish
JF: Even though I usually try to discourage using 3 different type styles in one title, overall it’s delicate and attractive.


Kelly Stock submitted Accacia’s Curse designed by Arizona Tape.

Accacia's Curse
JF: Moody and effective.


Kelly Stock submitted The Soul Guide designed by Charlie of Sapphire Designs.

The Soul Guide
JF: Most of the type is disappearing into the illustration.


Kimbra Swain submitted Abomination designed by Hampton Lemoureux. “Hampton and I endeavored to make this Urban Fantasy cover imply the genre without overt visualization. We also wanted to show the faces of the characters, because we were lucky enough to find excellent stock models, but avoid the “romance” novel implications.”

Abomination
JF: But putting two attractive people on the cover naturally leads to thoughts of romance… Nice use of the symbol to add import to the background.


KM Paradice submitted The Chronicles of the Sons of None – Connor designed by Kristen at Astrea Creative. ” The book concept is built around something very ancient, very intriguing, very enticing. Astrea has communicated these concepts very effectively with the columns, the lighting, the entrance to this structure that draws you in, luring you, tugging at your senses, begging you to have a look inside.”

The Chronicles of the Sons of None - Connor
JF: Intriguing, with an interesting illustration style.


Kristi Saare Duarte submitted The Transmigrant designed by Alexander von Ness. ” A somewhat controversial novel about Jesus traveling through Asia while studying Hinduism and Buddhism. I wanted the cover to convey the physical and internal journey and the spiritual aspect of the story. It also had to show this was not your traditional Jesus. Nessgraphica did an amazing job. ”

The Transmigrant
JF: It’s a lovely and evocative image, although I’m not sure there’s anything to let me know the divine nature of the protagonist, and I’m not a fan of the “Trans” part of the title.


Laura Greenwood submitted Chasing Aledwen designed by Arizona Tape.

Chasing Aledwen
JF: The brilliance of the illustration and stylish typography set this cover apart.


Lauren Brown submitted Behind The Pines designed by Cinyee Chiu.

Behind The Pines
JF: Perfectly spare and atmospheric, well done.


Laurie Jameson submitted The Waystation designed by Anna Marie Abell.

The Waystation
JF: Rather murky.


Leila Dewji submitted Hypnosis: A Return to The Past designed by Rachel Lawston. “We wanted to create something that reflected the Portuguese seaside setting but also gave the feel of literary fiction with something mystical at play.”

Hypnosis: A Return to The Past


Mark Edgar Stephens submitted The Very Best Christmas Tree EVER! designed by Mark Edgar Stephens. “I created this cover design using online tools and help from the Create Space/Amazon Cover Creator.”

The Very Best Christmas Tree EVER!
JF: If you intend to be a commercial publisher (i.e. sell books) I strongly advise you to hire one of the excellent professionals whose work you see here.


Mark Reid submitted Fenmarsh designed by Mark at AuthorPackages. “The author wanted to convey the damp, marshy, and misty world, as well as include one of the central artefacts from the book. In the end, we went with the magical Bogstone and its inner light. In the mist we have a very (deliberately) subtle nod to the March of Progress featuring marsh creatures.”

Fenmarsh
JF: An artful cover that promises lots of excitement, and I particularly liked the tone established by the title treatment.


Mark Reid submitted The Incarnadine Thread designed by Mark at AuthorPackages.com. “Our client wanted something that reflected her genre but gave a mild hint of something ominous in the past. She also asked that red notes be used to signify the tragedy in her story.”

The Incarnadine Thread
JF: A competent design that never quite achieves a unified result due to some discomfort in the layout of elements. The winding path, though, is very effective at focusing us on the woman and leading un into the story.


Mark Reid submitted Animal Instinct designed by Mark at AuthorPackages. “The author wanted to avoid the trappings of the vampire-based covers, with no blood, biting, or gaping mouths. Instead we focused on her protagonist’s arrival in the city, using the title to hint at fangs, the gloomy moonlight to show the underworld aspect, and the tagline to tie in the blood.”

Animal Instinct
JF: The eerie tone is what’s most pronounced about this good-looking cover.


Mark Reid submitted Mystic Princess designed by Mark at AuthorPackages. ” Kelli had no specific idea in mind, but when she mentioned that the protagonist “spends a lot of the book travelling to the Mystic City, a safe haven for mystics that is hidden deep in the woods”, I wanted to capture the beginning of her journey. Ornaments were included for future series theming.”

Mystic Princess
JF: It works. Doorways are also great focusing devices, as you can see here.


Mark Reid submitted Catfish designed by Mark at AuthorPackages. “Madelyn had a very specific concept in mind in terms of the era, characters, location, and feel. While it was tough to source the assets required to build the characters (as well as remove twenty years, and a beard from the man), we were able to meet her exact requirements.”

Catfish
JF: Although it has a lot going for it, the whole cover comes across as oddly passive and not quite believable.


Matt Hill submitted Lost Solace designed by Matt Hill. “In Lost Solace, Opal is a cool badass who for much of the novel wears a beaten up suit of space armour that’s loaded with surprises. Karl wanted to have her front-of-stage on the cover, showing off her calm, no-nonsense personality while suggesting the cold harshness of the adventure ahead.”

Lost Solace
JF: Focusing on the heroine brings a strong human element to a genre usually dominated by technology. Artful use of colors, particularly the electric blue, help tie it all together.


Matt Hill submitted Sparks: An Electric Anthology designed by Matt Hill. ” This collection of short horror stories all have the theme of electricity. Burdizzo Books wanted a cover to communicate the theme and genre in a style similar to an old public service announcement. Hence the exploding electricity pylon and thunderous skies! ”

Sparks: An Electric Anthology
JF: Dramatic and right on target.


Matt Sinclair submitted Lost Wings designed by Sarah Tregay. “For this urban fantasy, we wanted to convey its San Francisco setting, a dark sense of menace, and angel’s wings. Overall, I’m pleased with the result as is the author.”

Lost Wings
JF: It works.


melisa ruscsak submitted The New Reign designed by melisa ruscsak.

The New Reign
JF: Hard to decipher; no color control; type is hard to read.


Michael Dirk Thalmann submitted Static: Androids, Cyborgs, War & a Homicidal Baboon designed by Vincent Griffin. “This cover depicts a scene from the book after the Lunar Colonies, as well as the Earth’s surface, have suffered catastrophic bombings”

Static: Androids, Cyborgs, War & a Homicidal Baboon
JF: I’m a fan of black and white covers, but I’m not sure this one works. Although the bottom half has great contrast and interest, the rest looks washed out and lacks impact.


Michael Evans submitted Control Freakz designed by Lance (Palmetto Publishing Group).

Control Freakz
JF: Succeeds by paring down a dystopian cover to its essentials, with a clever type trick in the title “Z”.


Michael Gallagher submitted Diamond Rain designed by Michael Gallagher.

Diamond Rain
JF: Amateurish; colors illogically taking over the cover; ineffective composition.


Patricia Furstenberg submitted Joyful Trouble designed by The Book Khaleesi.

Joyful Trouble
JF: Hard to go wrong with a cute dog, and I like the playful title. Just wish the designer had put more effort into making the dog’s hat look more natural and not so pasted-on.


Philip Blows submitted James and the Rainy Day designed by Gareth Lucas. “James and the Rainy Day is a book about where a boy’s imagination can take him, with just a little bit of help from his mother. The beautiful cover which the super-talented Gareth Lucas designed for me captures both the sense of adventure and the fun nature of the story.”

James and the Rainy Day
JF: Absolutely delightful illustration and concept, with the boy and the boat in full motion. Even title on the sail is lovely and helps the whole cover present one, coordinated message.


Preston Fleming submitted Maid of Baikal designed by Richard Trask.

Maid of Baikal
JF: Nicely done but rather static.


Raine Baushke submitted Mystery in Montmartre designed by Joseph Brancik. “My cover places the reader in Montmartre/Paris with a photo of Sacré Coeur, the Eiffel tower in proper perspective. Intervening Paris is faded out. The painting informs the reader of the Parisian attorney’s mindset. The model resembles a woman he met in the U.S. as a teenager. A search ensues. ”

Mystery in Montmartre
JF: Expert image combining, and both illustrations are quite good. The top image of a woman from underwater is maybe a bit too complex, with the ornate frame and odd perspecitve, to work well here, and the compressed type is pretty extreme.


Ray Lamboy submitted Moral Hazard designed by Damonza. “This cover combines two stock photos, one with a “ghost mannequin”/”hollow man” effect. The building in the background is a significant element in the story.”

Moral Hazard
JF: Makes its point, and the type is well done.


Renee Gauthier submitted Christmas Miracle in July designed by R.M. Gauthier.

Christmas Miracle in July
JF: The many nice details in this cover are overcome by the ineffective composition and bizarre color choices.


Richard Sullivan submitted The First Ward IV: His Lips Forgot The Taste Of Truth designed by Richard Sullivan. “The First Ward novel series’ principal character’s menacing face epitomizes his personality and actions.”

The First Ward IV: His Lips Forgot The Taste Of Truth
JF: A strong photo and poetic title largely obscured by the way-too-prominent series identifier which is probably the least important element on the cover.


Robert Borg a.k.a. Louise Roberts submitted Dragoon Serenade designed by Dusktildawn designs. “The cover covers the 4 main aspects of the e-book: The heroine, the location [France], the historical content [Swastika], and Resistance Fighters [machine gun].”

Dragoon Serenade
JF: Visually chaotic.


Robert Deason submitted Super Shy designed by jeshart. “This is a revised cover of my first novel. I selected jeshart on fiverr.com to design covers for my next two novels. Then, I asked him to redesign this one so it would look compatible with the sequels.”

Super Shy
JF: Is she really. . . walking on the wall?


Robert Gilbert submitted Trans Tasmin designed by Robert Gilbert. “The cover features Raukawa Tuhura, a Trans actress who played the lead role in a professional public reading of the play. The photograph is used with her permission. The photo design and editing was done using an online photo editing service.”

Trans Tasmin
JF: With such an attractive character, it might have worked better to zoom in, allowing us to interact a bit better. The image has an Instagram-my look, not necessarily a bad thing, and the type seems like a default.


Rosemary Kind submitted New York Orphan designed by Katie W. Stewart. “The cover gives a wonderful flavour of the story, bringing together several key components as well as providing an indication of the atmosphere.”

New York Orphan
JF: Approaching perfection by perfectly embodying the themes of the book in the graphic image and title on the cover. Also consider the impact made by not showing a face, and the artful use of type, figure, and ground.


Sasha- 99Designs submitted Mock my Words designed by Leonardo Gonzalez. ” An original illustration for a genre-melding novel cover about a Chinese literary genius at an important crossroads in life. The cover design drew inspiration from the bold, 1970s vintage-style book covers to showcase the many defining aspects of the protagonist’s story in a clear but comical way.”

Mock my Words
JF: The strong framing device, amusing illustration and clever title all make this cover stand out.


Sasha- 99Designs submitted Princess the Cat versus Snarl the Coyote designed by Gottl Dorottya. “Whimsical, hand-drawn style of illustration for an endearing children’s book about the misadventures of a cat and a dog.”

Princess the Cat versus Snarl the Coyote
JF: Lovely illustration and a good cover for its audience, but I’m not a fan of breaking the title into three disparate parts.


Sasha- 99Designs submitted In The Middle designed by Andrea Orlic. ” The story of a girl who moves into a small town and somehow gets involved with the local residents’ disappearances needs a mysterious yet eye-catching cover. The side-angle image of a girl hints at the female protagonist, and extensive tree roots superimposed on her clues in on the mystery to solve. ”

In The Middle
JF: A subtle cover that succeeds because the central spotlight provides enough contrast to make the more muted images make sense.


Sasha- 99Designs submitted Stunde Null: Ultimatum designed by Andrej Rudolf Semnic. “This thriller about a man avenging the death of his father needed a book cover that conveys its dark and foreboding mood. The dark color theme hints at the mystery the protagonist must solve in the story.”

Stunde Null: Ultimatum
JF: It does have mystery and impactful type, but the real mystery is what are we looking at? I have no idea, maybe a gas mask? Too obscure to know.


Sasha- 99Designs submitted Deadfall designed by Emir Orucevic. “A new vintage-style book cover for a sci-fi thriller about superhumans. Adding texture to the font of the book title against the red background helps convey a dark and gritty anti-hero tale.”

Deadfall
JF: A deadly effective graphic cover that shows how an economy of means can lead to a cover with real impact. The cleverly inverted “A” adds a unique twist.


Skye MacKinnon submitted Winter Princess designed by Arizona Tape.

Winter Princess


Stephanie Sobchak submitted Unending Hunger designed by Stephanie Sobchak.

Unending Hunger
JF: Well executed and squarely aimed at readers of this genre.


Susannah Nix submitted Remedial Rocket Science designed by Ebook Launch.

Remedial Rocket Science
Well laid-out, artful type, and an attractive heroine make this cover just right for romantic comedy.


Tanja Prokop Bookcoverworld submitted One Way Out designed by Tanja Prokop.

One Way Out
JF: Creepy and menacing, emphasizing the appeal of the story.


Tanja Prokop Bookcoverworld submitted Absturz ins Leben designed by Tanja Prokop.

Absturz ins Leben
JF: Artful although the silhouettes get a little lost in the dramatic scene.


Tanja Prokop Bookcoverworld submitted Geliebter Macho designed by Tanja Prokop.

Geliebter Macho
JF: Expertly done, but I wonder if the imagery would have been more prominent without the “glitz” on the title type.


Tanja Prokop Bookcoverworld submitted
Ominous:Borders:Coffee designed by Tanja Prokop.

Ominous:Borders:Coffee
JF: There’s a lot of artistry in this unusual cover, from the image combining to the odd orthography of the title. Does it all work? It does seem to represent the book well.


Tanja Prokop Bookcoverworld submitted Nineteen Eighty Two designed by Tanja Prokop.

Nineteen Eighty Two
JF: Some interesting art, but the whole doesn’t come together and lacks impact.


Timothy Browne submitted Maya Hope designed by Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott. “Part of the story takes place in Guatemala where the main character (Nicklaus Hart, MD) searches for answers after his best friend was murdered at the base of a Maya temple.”

Maya Hope
JF: Stylish, although the tree looming in from the right seems extraneous. If you wanted to show “jungle” you would need a lot more foliage.


Zoella Rose submitted Sati designed by Zoella Rose.

Sati
JF: Atmospheric and complex, this cover works well. Is the title “SatI” or “Sati”? Hard to tell.

Nonfiction Covers


Alvinya Key submitted Love or the Illusions of Love designed by Ciley Carrington.

Love or the Illusions of Love
JF: Weak and ineffective. Needs a border around it to prevent “bleeding” onto white web pages.


Brian Stubbs submitted A Mental Health Survival Guide: How to Manage the Severities of Multi-Mental Health Diagnosis designed by Steve Fata.

A Mental Health Survival Guide: How to Manage the Severities of Multi-Mental Health Diagnosis
JF: Incomprehensible unless you, too, associate weeds with mental illness. Needs a border around it to prevent “bleeding” onto white web pages.


Cathi Stevenson submitted Planet Ben designed by Cathi Stevenson / BookCoverExpress.com. “Trying to find a fresh way to convey narcissism was a challenge, but the speech bubbles seemed perfect and weren’t being used much on books back in 2014 when I did this cover. I needed an older model, so I ended up using my husband’s forehead wrinkles on a stock image (don’t tell him. ;) ).”

Planet Ben
JF: It works, and best use of thought bubbles award for sure.


Curtiss Witt submitted Gaming to Innovate – The Innovation Game: How to Leverage Gamification to Unleash the Breakthrough Beast in Your Organization and Create an Unstoppable Innovative Culture designed by Steve Fata.

Gaming to Innovate - The Innovation Game: How to Leverage Gamification to Unleash the Breakthrough Beast in Your Organization and Create an Unstoppable Innovative Culture
JF: A subtitle that’s almost a mini-course in high flying keyword stuffing. Good concept on the design, weakened by the gratuitous and distracting effects on the title, along with the obvious fact that the “chart” makes no sense whatsoever.


Daniel Prince submitted Choose Life designed by Abdel. “Step inside the realms of long-term family travellers, worldschoolers and digital nomads.”

Choose Life
JF: A good graphic that completely buries the key appeal of the book (“tips for family travel”) and combines it with an off-topic title.


David Almeida submitted Decision Diagnosis: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination designed by Steve Fata.

Decision Diagnosis: Seven Antidotes to Decision Procrastination
JF: Interesting idea, the line around the title type degrades the image.


David E. Gates submitted Access Denied designed by David E. Gates. “The background is an array of DNA coding – this is the crux of the discovered lie within the story. The representation of an adult and child’s hand, signifying attachment and love, is a powerful image of the relationship between the father and daughter featured in the events as told within.”

Access Denied
JF: It’s important to understand that to the viewer, the background isn’t “DN coding” because only you know that. It’s lines of incomprehensible digits and letters. The two hands is a clever and symbolic graphic, but the cover as a whole comes across as very amateurish.


Debbie Miller submitted Move or Improve?: The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Housing Options and How to Choose What’s Right for You designed by Steve Fata.

Move or Improve?: The Baby Boomers' Guide to Housing Options and How to Choose What's Right for You
JF: Once again, a layout that completely subsumes the real message of the cover and the book (“The baby boomer’s guide to housing options”) beneath far less meaningful (and discoverable) language and images.


Dirk Loon submitted The Secret of Influence: Mastering the Art of Inspirational Leadership! designed by Steve Fata.

The Secret of Influence: Mastering the Art of Inspirational Leadership!
JF: Influence… over books? Typography is clean and effective.


Eamon Rooney submitted Get Naked : How to Create a Business You Love through Radical Transparency designed by Steve Fata.

Get Naked : How to Create a Business You Love through Radical Transparency
JF: A clever pitch for this business book.


Ed Kinsey submitted The 5 Money Myths: Time Tested Money Principals For A Retirement You Can Bank On designed by Steve Fata.

The 5 Money Myths: Time Tested Money Principals For A Retirement You Can Bank On
JF: Mines familiar territory and does it well. A good solution for a type-only cover that emphasizes the authority of its contents.


Frederic Martini submitted Betrayed designed by Brandi Doane McCann.

Betrayed


Greg Thredgold submitted The Depression Miracle: Seven Keys to Shattering the Chains of Anxiety, Depression, and the Unfulfilled Life designed by Steve Fata.

The Depression Miracle: Seven Keys to Shattering the Chains of Anxiety, Depression, and the Unfulfilled Life
JF: A solid, if static, nonfiction cover that enforces the theme of alienation.


Jason Blake submitted 10 Things I Learned Living on an Island designed by Damonza.

10 Things I Learned Living on an Island
JF: Clever visual combines with expert type handling to create a really well-targeted cover.


Jennifer Newcomb Marine submitted How Fear is Kicking Your Creativity’s Ass: Why It Matters & What to Do About It designed by Jennifer Newcomb Marine. “I searched high and low for an image that would create a vicarious experience for the viewer and fell in love with this one.”

How Fear is Kicking Your Creativity's Ass: Why It Matters & What to Do About It
JF: There are some spacing problems in your type block, which is otherwise good looking. Not sure that the image communicates anything about overcoming fear in service of creativity, but it does capture some of the moment of creation itself.


John Smith submitted The Authentic Man: A Guide to Happiness and Purpose designed by Steve Fata.

The Authentic Man: A Guide to Happiness and Purpose
JF: The version on this book’s sales page sports a large and meaningless “Best Seller” badge but I guess they took it off for this contest?


Kashonia Carnegie submitted Raising Love Consciousness: Together We Can Change the World designed by Chris Bull. “The book is based on the current RISE in feminine energy, hence the need for a fresh, clean, gentle appearance, with the RISING moon (symbol of the feminine) & the tree indicative of the potential for growth and change as a result. The white cover & black spine as per Dave Chilton’s advice.”

Raising Love Consciousness: Together We Can Change the World
JF: With these strong themes, it seems you could have developed a much more dynamic visual message instead of this whisper campaign. (We don’t judge spines since this is an ebook cover design competition.)


Kenny Chapman submitted In-Home Sales Acceleration : How to Create Raving Fans, Increase Sales, and Improve your Online Reputation in 30 Days or Less designed by Steve Fata.

In-Home Sales Acceleration : How to Create Raving Fans, Increase Sales, and Improve your Online Reputation in 30 Days or Less
JF: Cool graphics make this book stand out. Needs a border for web page display.


Kevin Harrington submitted Put a Shark in Your Tank designed by Steve Fata.

Put a Shark in Your Tank


Mark Lumia submitted Thinking Outside the Money Box: Simple Steps To Increase Retirement Income, Reduce Taxes And Protect Your Nest Egg designed by Steve Fata.

Thinking Outside the Money Box: Simple Steps To Increase Retirement Income, Reduce Taxes And Protect Your Nest Egg


Mark Tosoni submitted Six Figure Commission Sales Secrets: Access Your Highest Potential, Eliminate Your Competitors, and Generate Big, Fat Paychecks! designed by Steve Fata.

Six Figure Commission Sales Secrets: Access Your Highest Potential, Eliminate Your Competitors, and Generate Big, Fat Paychecks!
JF: Is that an Earth shot in the background? Professional grade typography makes this cover work.


Marty Hill submitted The Professional’s Guide to Technical Ministry designed by Melinda Martin. “The Professional’s Guide to Technical Ministry is about tech, but also people and doing ministry. Melinda captured this well on the cover by showing the tech booth with the silhouette of the operator, along with the praise team leading the worship ministry, leaving plenty of space for readable text.”

The Professional's Guide to Technical Ministry
JF: Nicely done, although it seems too dark at this size.


Matt Hill submitted Habits that Ruin your Technical Team designed by Matt Hill. “Marcus wanted an eye-catching cover that would suggest the chaos that results from a badly managed team, while also conveying the humorous style of his writing. The cartoon “fight cloud” and bold colour scheme ticked all the boxes and he loved it.”

Habits that Ruin your Technical Team
JF: I love it too, because it graphically communicates the theme of the book with humor and style.


Mitch Russo submitted The Invisible Organization: How Ingenious CEOs Are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies designed by Steve Fata.

The Invisible Organization: How Ingenious CEOs Are Creating Thriving, Virtual Companies
JF: That’s a pretty big challenge, to visually show an “invisible” organization, so we should give some slack for using the circuits/org chart graphic, which is anything but invisible.


Mitchell Batavia submitted Wisdom from a Chair: Thirty Years of Quadriplegia designed by Mitchell Batavia. “The memoir is about the life of Andrew Batavia, a disability activist who fought for the rights of people with disabilities and wrote US regulations for the American Disabilities Act of 1990.”

Wisdom from a Chair: Thirty Years of Quadriplegia
JF: The classic self-published look.


Rina Flanagan submitted Africa, my Africa. designed by Maria (Rina) Flanagan. “I purchased use of the original image from Stockfresh, and used Paint to make it into a cover fitting the correct dimensions for Amazon e-book covers.”

Africa, my Africa.
JF: The simplicity and directness of this cover work in its favor, which shows it’s not the tools you use, but the vision you have, that’s most important.


Rita Ferraro submitted SAVE YOUR LIFE A GUIDE TO DETOXIFICATION FOR 21ST CENTURY ILLNESSES designed by Steve Fata.

SAVE YOUR LIFE A GUIDE TO DETOXIFICATION FOR 21ST CENTURY ILLNESSES
JF: Obviously professional, although I’m not sure a dead bird is a strong draw. And there’s that inane “Best Seller” badge again. Authors should be told that using badges like this, rather than helping their book, will mark it as a bit phony and a bit tawdry.


Rob Nixon submitted The Perfect Firm : Your Playbook For Building A Perfect Accounting Business designed by Rob Nixon.

The Perfect Firm : Your Playbook For Building A Perfect Accounting Business
JF: Looks like the cover of a thriller, not an accounting book.


Robert McFarland submitted Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew designed by steve fata.

Dear Boss: What Your Employees Wish You Knew
JF: Simple and effective.


Robert Rolih submitted The Million Dollar Decision: Get Out of the Rigged Game of Investing and Add a Million to Your Net Worth designed by Steve Fata.

The Million Dollar Decision: Get Out of the Rigged Game of Investing and Add a Million to Your Net Worth


Ruby Mabry submitted Moments of Inspiration: Thought provoking insights to uplift, impact and inspire designed by Steve Fata.

Moments of Inspiration: Thought provoking insights to uplift, impact and inspire
JF: A genuinely good cover cheapened by that irrelevant and useless “Best Seller” badge.


S. A. Soule submitted The Writer’s Guide to Character Emotion designed by SwoonWorthy Book Covers. “Thank you for your consideration!”

The Writer's Guide to Character Emotion
JF: The title treatment isn’t bad; the rest of the cover is a communications disaster. Not how to create an effective nonfiction cover. And did you see the variant on the “Best Seller” badge?


Tyler Lloyd submitted Service Disrupted: My Peace Corps Story designed by Tyler Lloyd. “Service Disrupted is a memoir of my two years serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso, Africa (represented by the baobab tree) and testing positive for HIV (the red stripe).”

Service Disrupted: My Peace Corps Story
JF: A strong cover nicely put together. You might want to add a border or find some other way to keep the bottom from “bleeding” onto white web pages.


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, Plus-1 it on Google+, Link to it!

Our next awards post will be on December 24, 2017. Deadline for submissions will be November 30, 2017. Don’t miss it! Here are all the links you’ll need:

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

25 Comments

  1. David E. Gates

    Site hasn’t been updated in two years.

    Reply
  2. branding services

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into your website and thorough information you present. It’s amazing to come across a site every now and then that is not the similar old re-written material. Excellent read! We’ve bookmarked your site

    Reply
  3. David E. Gates

    Surprised at the comment in respect of “the background isn’t “DN [sic] coding” because only you know that. It’s lines of incomprehensible digits and letters.” for Access Denied by David E. Gates.

    Maybe the image was viewed on a small tablet or phone? It seems the one you looked at didn’t show it clearly enough but it’s quite obvious to see (even on the cover that is featured here when viewed via a PC) that it is only letters and that there are no digits. The letters which are featured, to many others and not just myself, are the denominations of the four bases of DNA: Adenine (A), Cytosine (C), Thymine (T) and Guanine (G).

    You can see this explained clearly in this picture: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=1tPvw%2fRt&id=34468DEB607D9101CADD98186FB9F90B4DBDEB2B&thid=OIP.1tPvw_RtUTEjwcx7p5eOMAHaGX&q=DNA+Genetic+Code+Letters&simid=608038891502831856&selectedIndex=6&ajaxhist=0

    So, not incomprehensible at all.

    I appreciate your comments – everyone has an opinion, even if that opinion is of someone not knowledgeable in certain aspects of life such as DNA sequencing (I’m sure that’s ironic).

    I’ll keep the cover as it’s already award-winning and has won first prize in other cover competitions.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      David,

      Thanks for participating in the contest. I view all images in this contest on a 21″ iMac Retina screen. To be more accurate, I would revise my comment to reflect your correction, to read: “… lines of incomprehensible letters.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t help the cover one bit to the average browser. Good luck with the book.

      Reply
  4. Anita

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Reply
  5. Jade

    I always do a quick scroll through first, before I go back and look properly and read the critique. And bam, one stopped me in my tracks. James Egan of course, with Oliver and Jack. It’s so beautiful.

    Reply
    • DJ Edwardson

      Yes, that one was far and away the best.

      Reply
  6. Rina Flanagan

    Joel, thank you so much for the gold star for “Africa, my Africa”. The time you take to consider covers – and all the recommendations you give on self-publishing – are MUCH appreciated!
    Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays!
    Very best regards,
    Rina.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      A pleasure, Rina, thanks for entering and wear your badge with pride.

      Reply
  7. Cailee Francis

    Thanks for posting the feedback on my cover that you did (for A Masquerade in Time). You’ll see more covers because I entered two (I think) for next month’s competition. One has a similar design element to the one you pointed out, because it’s part of the same series. I think you’re right that it could’ve done without that element. I feel driven to decorate my covers more than they might need at times. :)

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Thanks for entering, Cailee. Every element you put on the cover should help move your message forward, and nothing should detract from that. Look forward to seeing more.

      Reply
  8. Rory

    Ah, sad to see a friend’s book cover not on the list at all! I was really looking forward to it!
    Does the decision to display the book cover here have anything to do with quality? Or is it a random pick out of the ones that didn’t win the first prize?

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Rory,

      No, we don’t pick and choose the covers here, we publish all that are submitted. However, occasionally a submission will get “lost” in the submission process, so if that’s the case your friend should just re submit. This month I eliminated 4 submissions simply because we had over a dozen from one designer, and that’s just too many in one post. Perhaps it was one of those, but we plan on running them next time around.

      Reply
      • Rory

        Thank you for the response. I thought you must get a lot of these entries so you could only choose some here.
        I will let my friend know, and thank you again for the prompt response!

        Reply
  9. Nancy O'Neill

    It’s been months since I’ve looked through your monthly e-book cover awards. (My dad died in January and I lost all of my creativity and inspiration to work on my books.) Today, I opened your October awards email and as I was looking at all of the book covers and especially reading your comments, it was the first time I’ve felt like I wanted to get back into writing. I guess timing is everything but just wanted to thank you for taking the time to give feedback to all authors/designers. I was lucky to have one of my books on your list last year. :)

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Nancy,

      I’m sorry for your loss, but happy I could provide some encouragement. A lot of what I do involves helping authors realize just how much influence they can have through publishing, and how much fun it can be at the same time.

      Reply
  10. Patrick Samphire

    Glad you picked up on those “Best Seller” badges. There’s nothing that turns me off a book quicker. It’s like “dishonesty” flare shooting up off the page. (A real bestseller, like NYT bestseller is another thing, of course.)

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      It’s one thing to put “New York Times Best Seller” or “Amazon Best Seller” on your book, but if all you have is “International Best Seller” with no attribution, I would take that to mean you are in fact not a best seller because that’s the only case in which you would try a lame stunt like claiming something with no attribution. So yes, it does work against you.

      Reply
  11. Solveig Hansen

    I like the simplicity of Africa, my Africa. Generally speaking, isn’t there a lot of covers out there picturing a woman dressed in red walking into a forest. Maybe it’s just me…

    Reply
    • Rina Flanagan

      Thank you, Solvein! I appreciate your feedback.
      Best regards,
      Rina.

      Reply
  12. Jennifer Hill

    When, oh when, are designers going to knock it off with those “#1 Best Seller” badges? Tip for writers who are going with that tactic: readers are fully capable of seeing your sales ranking, and it’s printed (at least on Amazon) on the exact same page as your book cover. When we see that badge combined with a sales ranking that’s very much NOT a number-anything best seller, the immediate mental response is “Well, the author’s a con artist, nothing to see here.” I’ve instantly abandoned books I was going to buy when I see those badges, and my friends have too.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      I do the same thing, Jennifer. As explained, it really works against you, and if more authors understood that, they wouldn’t put these kinds of statements on their books.

      Reply
  13. Michael W. Perry

    Groan! Last month was good. This month not so much. All too many covers with the usual flaws from topless narcissistic males to over-saturated colors. Most of the good ones seem to be business and finance related. No one is going to take investment advice from a book with a cover like that of A Man with One of those Faces.

    Reply
  14. Christine Dillon

    I am delighted to see that my designer won a gold star. This seems to be the only cover design award I can find.

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      It’s really a lovely cover, thanks for participating and good luck with your book.

      Reply

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