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e-Book Cover Design Awards, April 2013

15 May 2013

Book designer Joel Friedlander has his April e-Book Cover Design Awards up:

e-Book Cover Design Award Winner for April 2013 in Fiction

Simon Jenner submitted Ethan Justice: Origins designed by Ares Jun. “I originally designed my own cover – big mistake. I’m so much happier with this pro version – I think it fits well with the thriller genre and the skyline gives readers a clue that the book is set in London”

ebook cover design

JF: Smart move! An excellent ebook cover that touches all the bases. Strong and recognizable imagery, dead center aim on its genre, and a sense of excitement that draws readers in.

. . . .

[Passive Voice regular] Eric Lorenzen submitted Fallen King designed by Eric Lorenzen. “The book is an epic fantasy novel. Cover design by Eric Lorenzen, Cover photo copyright by Ragne Kabanova/ Dreamstime.com”

Fallen King

JF: Very solid.

Link to the rest at The Book Designer and thanks to Eric for the tip.


10 Comments to “e-Book Cover Design Awards, April 2013”

  1. You are welcome for the tip, PG. My poor-man’s covers are getting better, but I know I still have much to learn. I would encourage readers to click through and look at all the entries and read Joel’s comments. This fellow has a passion for design.

  2. I love these montly round up of Joel’s. It’s fun to look at the covers, and I love his commentary.

    @ Eric – nice job – seems like a great cover for fantasy.

  3. I love the award posts because it’s a good way to learn about what works and what doesn’t. I’ll be applying all of that knowledge when I start designing covers for my work.

  4. Packaging or art? There’s often a difference.

    The best place to look for excellent covers if you are a *writer* is the best seller lists for your genre. Why? Because the point of a book cover is to attract a reader, and when readers love a book, they go out looking for a book that’s going to give them the same wonderful experience; the most natural way is to look for something that “appears” similar. Similar cover, blurb, reviews. That’s why if you go to the Top 100, you’ll see (in the same genre) a bunch of covers that all look about the same.

    But I love some covers just for their aesthetic, even if it wouldn’t necessarily make me buy it. But I like art of all kinds and some cover art is art, not just packaging.

  5. While I always find these posts interesting, I also find that I disagree with Joel on what he thinks makes a great cover. (I don’t generally disagree with him when he thinks a cover needs work.)

    For example, an epic fantasy novel with a photograph for a cover. I disagree that’s a strong cover *for a fantasy novel*. It looks like a great mystery, or even an historic novel. But what about that cover tells me it’s fantasy, except for the text? Fantasy novels, currently, don’t use photographs.

    Could that change? Absolutely. But for now, I will just have to agree to disagree with some of Joel’s selections.

  6. I agree with Leah, although I do think it’s theoretically possible for fantasy novels to use a cover photo if it’s the right one. This one isn’t, IMHO – I wouldn’t have pegged it as a fantasy if it didn’t say “A Fantasy Novel” on it.

    And this is me being an utter type snob, but using the text-weight Cambria font (not an elegant font at the best of times) at display size (for “Fallen King”) is always going to look wrong. The layman may not know why, but your brain recognizes a subtle difference that can easily ring “self-published” warning bells.

    Lord knows there’s lots more egregious typography out there – it’s not breaking any obvious rules – but it’s not doing anything beautiful or particularly productive either. (With apologies to the designer; not meaning to bash anyone’s work here.)

  7. Have to agree with Leah. The first one is nice, but I don’t know that I’d halt in my browsing to take a closer look at the book. I thought the second one worked great as a Medieval mystery (a la Brother Cadfael) but not an epic fantasy. I think it’s because I’ve been programmed to expect a more illustrated work for fantasy novels instead of photography, which can be challenging for a self publisher, because illustrated work is pricey. If, however, you’re writing fantasy and can get a cover like Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves (Gentleman Bastard series) – http://www.amazon.com/The-Republic-Thieves-Scott-Lynch/dp/0553804693 – you’ve probably made a sale with me just for the artwork alone.

    • FWIW, some of the stock photo sites have good quality illustrations that can be used for sf/f rather than photos.

      • True, but I’m always leery of those. There have been cases where the “stock” posted was actually artwork lifted from an artist’s online gallery and the watermark removed. Everytime I see one of those polished illustrations on a stock photo site, I start searching Deviant Art, Epilogue and other art sites to make sure I’m not about to purchase art taken without the artist’s permission.

  8. Another vote for Leah. I did a double, triple, quadruple take when I saw that the cover was supposed to be for an epic fantasy. The genre doesn’t require a knock-off of Boris Vallejo/Frank Franzetta–the Republic of Thieves cover looks damned good–but it DOES require that you show that the book takes place in a setting that’s different from the real world. If I saw Fallen Kings in a store I would have thought someone mistakenly put it in the fantasy section. Its cover is jarring, and not in a good way. You can play with reader expectations in the story, but I don’t think they’ll forgive you for thwarting their expectations of what kind of story they’re buying.

    No one would buy the Republic of Thieves book expecting a cattle ranchers vs. railroads story. If there’s magic in it, they won’t be shocked. If there’s epic sword fights and battles they won’t be shocked. They saw the cover: They were fairly warned.

    That said, typography alone is one reason I will farm out cover design to a pro; I already know I will need custom cover art. I know there are display and text fonts, and can usually spot the difference, but I also know I’ve seen text-weight fonts used for display. Those people may have been “doing it wrong,” or maybe there was an exception to the rule. I just know this stuff is mystifying for the non-visually oriented (like me), and I respect anyone who tries to get a grip on it.

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