Happy Wednesday, and welcome to the second of my We’ve Got It Covered posts. Today is the start of the Indie Cover Hall of Fame competition, and I’m asking all readers to nominate their favourite indie-author cover. Here are the ‘rules’:
- You can’t nominate your own cover, or one that you’ve designed (if you’re a cover designer)
- One nomination per person please
- The book can have been published at any time but must be self-published and available for sale now
- Please provide the link to the book with your nomination, the author and the title.
- Tell us why you like the cover so much. What is it about the design that really grabs you?
It’s as easy as that! Last week we talked to cover designer Berni Stevens, who mentioned that many author-designed covers were identifiable because of typeface design. I’d have to agree – one of my pet hates is inelegant lettering on covers. (And don’t even get me started on Comic Sans!) Which is why, after much deliberation, my own nomination for the Indie Cover Hall of Fame 2013 is …
I happen to know a bit about this cover, as it was designed by my own cover designer Chris Howard. Look at the attention to detail on the lettering – the way Grace seems to sit on the wall, with the G almost appearing to tip over, and how the word Lost is disappearing behind Girls. I also love how the background is blurred and the girl really brought into focus. This is the best kind of indie cover, and not only because it would sit happily beside any trad-published book – it’s the best kind because the author had a big hand in it. In fact, this is a re-design of Celina’s own author-designed cover. And this is where it gets interesting. Celina’s original cover used the same image – this idea was hers – but because, like most authors, she didn’t have access to the best graphic design experience or technology, Celina had to resize to fit the photograph and use her own skills to produce a cover. Here is the original version (I had to hunt high and low to find this!):
The only thing intrinsically wrong with this is the narrowing of the girl due to aspect ratio – the lettering is still very, very good for a self-designed cover. (Look how the C and G of her name are bigger.) But it’s fascinating to see how the designer turned a great idea into a beautiful cover – and that is, after all, what we pay them for!
So, over to you. You’ve got 2 weeks to nominate your favourite indie covers, then I’ll display the Hall of Fame on the blog and ask 3 professional cover designers to choose their favourite, and ask readers to vote as well. The winning cover will have its own special feature.
THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED FOR NEW ENTRIES – VOTING STARTS ON WEDNESDAY 13TH FEB
- We’ve Got It Covered – Berni Stevens (joannegphillips.wordpress.com)
- When It’s Not OK To Judge A Book By Its Cover (joannegphillips.wordpress.com)
January 30, 2013 at 11:30 am
I haven’t read it yet, but I really like this cover:
It’s striking, the design is clean, and it makes me want to read the story.
January 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm
I like that too http://www.amazon.co.uk/Alberta-Clipper-ebook/dp/B00A04SDSC/ Very crisp and clean, and intriguing too. Thanks for our first nomintation Pauline!
January 30, 2013 at 4:13 pm
Andy Harrod’s Living Room Stories http://www.decodingstatic.blogspot.co.uk/p/living-room-stories.html is the perfect example of what self-publishers can do. It is artisanship and creativity at its best. The book is presented in the size and format of a 45 record single sleeve, and is built up from layers of paper, photographs, and camera film. Unforgettable and beautiful
January 31, 2013 at 11:57 am
Hi Dan, thanks for this nomination – I don’t think the clip I saw on the blog did this cover justice. It sounds amazing, and makes me feel nostalgic for my own records (which I still have in the garage but I’ve nothing to play them on!)
January 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm
I’d like to nominate Bagpipes and Bullshot. Simply because the book delivers everything that’s on the cover: Scottish fiction with humour and heart. Yes, I have read it. Loved it. Janice Horton has developed a brand that is easily identifiable. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bagpipes-Bullshot/dp/B004PLMI4G/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1298842893&sr=1-1
January 31, 2013 at 11:55 am
Hi Sheryl – what a great title! And you really appreciate the cover even more when you look at it alongside all her others. Yes, I love the brand. Does Janice design her own covers, do you know? x
January 31, 2013 at 5:51 pm
I’m so thrilled to see Sheryl has nominated Bagpipes & Bullshot in this Indie Cover Hall of Fame competition. To answer your question, Joanne, I did have a hand in the concept of the design but the cover was done by the fabulous cover designer JT Lindroos. I’m sure he will be thrilled to see Bagpipes & Bullshot nominated here too. Thank you Sheryl for the nomination and thank you Joanne for your lovely comment! xx
January 30, 2013 at 8:23 pm
The perfect book cover should create exactly the right expectations in the reader. It’s an overture to what’s inside, a menu to the meal. If the cover’s wrong, even the best content is going to disappoint the reader.
II’d like to nominate Girl Cop by Sandy Osborne. Without needing to read the title, you can tell at a glance which genre the book falls into and what it’s about: a modern romance about a policewoman in an urban setting. Taking the standard issue policewoman’s uniform as its starting point, it adds glamour, excitement, femininity and frivolity by cleverly combining sobre navy blue with gorgeous, girly shades of turquoise and twinkly stars, so that you know it’s going to be a tale with a light touch.With such an uplifting, upbeat cover, you just KNOW it’s going to have a happy ending!
This book looks beautiful on the bookshelf or on the bedside table, and in real life it has a silky finish that makes you want to stroke it. It’s one of those books where an ebook just isn’t enough – it makes you want to buy a hard copy so you can admire the cover on display (especially if, like me you have a black and white basic Kindle!)
Published just before Christmas, it was officially launched on 16th January in Bath Waterstones, who were proud to devote a whole window to its display, which indicates how impressed they were. Girl Cop is now nestling on Waterstones’ shelves next to the new editions of George Orwell, hot writer of the moment thanks to Penguin’s recent launch of Orwell Day last week. For a debut indie author, that is quite an achievement!
January 31, 2013 at 11:54 am
Thanks Debbie, I like the cover very much. Was it designed in-house at Silverwood? Glad to hear Sandy’s book is in Waterstones, no small feat in itself! Come back in a fortnight to vote for this, and please spread the word so we get lots more nominations 🙂 Jo xx
January 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm
I thought you’d like it, Jo! Yes, another SilverWood triumph! They are so flexible there too – if you take a look at their online bookshop, you’ll see they can come up with something suitable for just about any genre.
I was wondering whether you might like Sandy to do a guest post for you, maybe on the theme of “write about what you know”. She’s getting super feedback from all over the place, both from other police officers who say she’s got it exactly right, and from the general public (like me!) who are fascinated by seeing behind the scenes in a police station – not at all like “The Thin Blue Line”, my favourite police TV programme! (I’m such a lightweight!)
I’ll be glad to tweet links to this post to spread the word 🙂
February 2, 2013 at 10:02 am
This is a great idea, Joanne. I’d like to nominate Spirit of Lost Angels http://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Lost-Angels-Liza-Perrat/dp/2954168102/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1343736937&sr=1-1 for the Hall of Fame. The colours appealed to me immediately, as did the French farmhouse in the background. I was also intrigued by the pendant. I think it’s a clever use of a face, too. You can’t see the eyes, which makes it mysterious. This cover seems to draw you in and say ‘There’s a story in here …’
February 3, 2013 at 1:24 pm
Thanks Jill – that is a lovely cover, really nicely put together.
February 2, 2013 at 10:10 am
This competition is a great idea, Joanne, and an excellent way of showcasing well-designed covers on self-published books. People really do judge a book by its cover.
First impressions count, and it’s said that a potential reader will make up their mind in about 8 seconds whether they’re going to look further than the cover. There are lots of pitfalls awaiting the unsuspecting self-publisher, and poor cover design (along with no proofreading and amateurish typesetting) can result in a book no one wants to buy. In an over-crowded market (32 million books in print, and counting) it’s essential that writers make sure their book matches the productions standards set by traditional publishing houses.
Your covers are wonderful, Joanne – appropriate images, elegant typography, perfect balance, continuation of the “author brand” in the way your name is presented on both covers. Your books look indistinguishable from the mainstream and you really deserve your success.
Looking forward to seeing the other nominations!
February 2, 2013 at 10:12 am
Thanks Helen 🙂 Would you like to nominate a couple of covers from Silverwood? (Although it will be hard for you to choose your favourites!) x Jo
February 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm
If it’s okay to nominate a couple, I will! You’re right, it will be hard to choose but I could nominate covers which represent particular design choices, and styles which went on to be crucial to the success of the particular book.
February 2, 2013 at 12:11 pm
I’d like to nominate a local history book about the National Trust’s Tyntesfield Estate during WW2: http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk/product/9781781320716/tyntesfield-in-wwii
The book is stocked by the National Trust in their shop within the Tyntesfield estate, which is a real triumph for the author and a testament to the quality of the design and production.
The colours used on the cover are inspired by the WWII US Army uniforms, predominantly the olive green, while the red stripes and medal stars represent the American ‘stars and stripes’. The font (Boston Traffic) gives a sense of the stencilled military type that was often spray-painted on US Army vehicles. The original photographs retain their documentary style with a grain overlay to add depth and an older feel.
February 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm
That’s a really nice one, Helen. I love the typeface. Thanks for the nomination 🙂
February 2, 2013 at 11:38 pm
Hi Jo I have a couple of book covers I would like to nominate for your fabulous award.
First up is this beautiful cover design for a Julia Hughes – Celtic Cousin Adventure called ‘A Ripple in Time’. I love the use of colour with the ‘Angel of the Titanic’ in pastels in contrast to the bold drawing of the Titanic that looks set to sale right off the cover. It is a design that makes you want to read the book. http://www.juliahughes.co.uk/a-ripple-in-time.html
My second is for a striking cover for a YA novel by Jess Sturman-Coombs called Poker face Her book cover is a simple, clean design in black and white and it makes the reader want to delve deeper and learn more about the character it depicts. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Poker-Face-ebook/dp/B00655U9XC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1359847346&sr=1-1
February 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm
Thanks for the nominations 🙂 My favourite out of these two is Poker Face – and it’s pitched just right for the market. Julia’s covers are great too – and thanks for introducing me to her blog, loads of interesting stuff on there.
February 3, 2013 at 9:37 am
I’m going to nominate Cathy Harmon Helms here. She’s an incredible artist and the work she has done on Helen Hollick’s books are amazing. This is the one for Sea Witch: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=PBdIVnBT6ivvOM&tbnid=8sDZLTI69UntnM:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.helenhollick.net%2Frevuseaw.html&ei=Zy8OUffVKou20QWBrIHwBQ&bvm=bv.41867550,d.d2k&psig=AFQjCNEDvHSsKi3lampzEt_M1pVT7j9UtA&ust=1359970533304035
These images really draw you in and you just know an adventure lies between the covers. Romantic, wistful but at the same time with a hint of a a challenge in the story. Definitely a prize winning image!
February 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm
Thanks Rachel, that is a beautiful cover. I’m going to look up Cathy’s website to find more of her work x
February 3, 2013 at 3:29 pm
Hi Joanne, I would like to nominate Gillian Hamer’s Closure cover. I feel it evokes the essence of this story: the surreal, the mystical, and the wild, isolated Welsh backdrop. http://www.amazon.com/Closure-ebook/dp/B00A6DL1RW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359905181&sr=1-1&keywords=Closure+by+Gillian+Hamer
February 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm
Thanks for the nomination. That’s very striking – simple but effective. Can I just check that Closure is a self-published title?
Thanks again, Jo x
February 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm
Yes, Joanne, Closure is definitely self-published.
February 3, 2013 at 4:23 pm
I’m recommending The Little Book of motherventing as the cover pretty much sums up @motherventing herself. It’s also a brilliant read by a talented writer. Funny, moving and often both at once.
February 11, 2013 at 11:24 am
Thanks Spencer, that looks like a great read too!
February 3, 2013 at 4:29 pm
I love this cover by Anna Bell http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Tell-the-Groom-ebook/dp/B00APO97IW/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1 It gives you a very clear idea about what the book’s about, it looks fabulous at thumbnail size and it’s simply beautiful. I love the use of the reverse silhouette. Anna has also managed to do something which I failed – become a member of the RNA new writing scheme. Lucky minx!
February 11, 2013 at 11:25 am
I like this A LOT! In fact, it might be my favourite so far … 🙂 x
February 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm
I,too, would like to add my praise for Cathy Harmon Helms covers. Her artwork for Helen Hollick’s Ripples in the Sand draws the reader into sunset on the sea. Beautifully evocative.
February 5, 2013 at 5:51 pm
I agree, Julie. Ripples is lovely! So eye-catching.
February 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm
Thanks Dan for the nomination and Joanne for the reply. The images shown are the original artwork, now in Australia and the Philippines respectively. The cover is a print of the artwork onto transparency and so hard to photograph for the blog.
A wonderful idea and good luck with it.
February 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm
I’m posting this for my client as he tried to post it twice and was not able to. I thanked him for his nomination and said I’d give it a go. (posting that is) So, from William DaFoe:
>> It can be extremely difficult to get the essence of a fiction novel
displayed in a picture on a book cover. But, Tamian Wood of Beyond Design International http://www.BeyondDesignInternational.com did just that. She managed to merge political intrigue with sci-fi and create an excellent cover. For Humanity is available in all formats the website is http://www.alienconnection.ca
Also on Amazon athttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B5U8W18<<
I promise, it came from him not from me.
February 4, 2013 at 4:48 pm
Sorry, that was Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00B5U8W18
I goofed it up so it didn’t show up as a link.
February 11, 2013 at 11:27 am
Thanks Tamien, I got that fine. Thanks for the nomination, lovely cover 🙂
February 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm
Thank you Joanne. It has a sequel that can be seen at http://www.alienconnection.ca (The Emissary) but it’s not quite available yet, so doesn’t quality. Sooo excited about both of them.
February 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm
Following on from the Tyntesfield WW2 book I submitted, I’m going to enter something completely different!
Alison Morton’s alternate history thriller INCEPTIO is due for launch next month at Waterstone’s Tunbridge Wells: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inceptio-Roma-Nova-Alison-Morton/dp/1781320624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1360082519&sr=8-1
Our designer created a bespoke emblem for Alison’s city-state super-power Roma Nova, displaying its power with classical Roman elements, an Imperial colour scheme, and strong typographic treament. The font Trajan is used because it’s based on classical Roman proportions, and is elegant and well-balanced.
The book is the first in a series, so the layout has been devised to suit all the books, to retain continuity and to establish an “author brand” for Alison. Each title will stand well on its own, but also sit perfectly within the series. With the continuity of the insignia throughout the cover, the spines should look very stylish gathered together on a reader’s bookshelf!
The cover also works well on promotional materials, as you can see on Alison’s blog: http://alisonmorton.com/
February 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm
Gosh! Thank you, Helen, for the nomination. When the design arrived, I stared at the screen and couldn’t believe it could be so right for the story. I hate the word ‘stunned’, but that was me.
February 5, 2013 at 6:52 pm
i studied bookjackets for several months to find out what made a good cover: what bestsellers were dressed in, what immediately attracted my attention, and crucially what would entice me to pick it up in a shop or click through online.
I think I’d pick all of these up. I don’t know how on earth you’re going to pick one out, Joanne.
February 11, 2013 at 11:28 am
Thanks Alison 🙂 Thankfully it’s not going to be up to just me – I’m having a reader poll, and also asking my guest cover designers to vote for their favourite. Your cover is lovely, well done x
February 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm
That sounds a very fair way to judge the competition and you’re likely to get a more even result.
Thank you for your kind words about my cover; I’m just in love with it!
February 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm
Reblogged this on mattjohnsonauthor and commented:
Hmmm… wonder if I might get a vote? You never know!
February 14, 2013 at 8:45 pm
I would like to nominate The Bitti Chai by Jane Gray to win the award for “We’ve got it covered” best book cover award. It is a love story about a young Romany girl who falls in love with a young non Romany boy. The cover depicts a young girl against the backdrop of a windswept Dartmoor. Reigneth, the young heroine, sits in the left hand corner, her beauty and enigmatic gaze contrast against the ragged, wildness of the moorland giving you a feeling for the place in which the book is set in Devon. The thing that strikes you most about Reigneth, is her eyes. She has special gifts and one can see by her dark eyes that these are the eyes of no ordinary girl.The sky in the background is clouded and the name of the author stands out distinctively at the top of the book , dominating the beautifully written title in contrasting classical italics. The bare hill in the background gives the impression of a stark, isolated area, with lonely rocks toward the forefront of the picture, sentinels of a guarded place, Reigneth’s place. On the rear of the book a Dartmoor stallion stands against the beautiful but dangerous moors in the background leaving you with no doubt that this book holds the promise of an exciting but illicit adventure as Reigneth embarks on her remarkable journey to discover who she is.
February 14, 2013 at 8:47 pm
I forgot to leave a link to this SilverWoods published book!
The Bitti Chai
February 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm
The Bitti Chai is also a Cathy Helms design
February 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm
I would like to nominate Sons of the Wolf by Paula Lofting for the “We’ve got it covered hall of fame” competition book cover award.
The cover was designed by Gayle Copper a gifted tattoo artist and I believe a friend of the author.
Both book title and author’s name are legible and clear. The runic style lettering echoes the time period in which the book is set and this attention to detail focuses the reader and leaves no doubt that we are reading an historical novel.
The muted colours used echo the ancient natural dyes which would be used during 11C and are therefore entirely suitable. The images created I believe representing the flames of the razing to the ground of Hereford.
The hero is depicted astride his horse giving a strong and powerful image that this man is a fearsome warrior. The attention to detail does not end on the front cover as cleverly the graphics are continued down the spine of the book where the image of the warrior’s sword has been used. It would appear the two most salient things which define the hero, his horse and sword, are featured strongly.
Finally we see the eyes of the wolf, set towards the top of the cover, entirely apt as the wolf was the totem of Wulfhere’s ancestors in pagan times when they first landed on these shores from the continent. Those ancestors too were known as Sea Wolves. The positioning of the eyes give the feeling that the animal is watching over Wulfhere.
I believe the book delivers a strong and powerful image drawing the reader in.
A Silverwood Books published book.