eBook Covers – Good Design, Bad Design

If you’re determined to create your own ebook covers, you need to learn what works and what doesn’t. It isn’t an overnight process, but you can do it yourself, just like many other things you’re told you can’t do. I can look at my three book covers now and see what’s wrong with them. That wasn’t possible when I was just starting out.

Learning book cover design is like learning to write. You need examples of the good stuff and, just so you can see the difference, examples of the bad stuff. The Book Designer’s monthly ebook cover awards is one place to see both. This month’s awards is a good place to start: e-Book Cover Design Awards – December 2011


8 thoughts on “eBook Covers – Good Design, Bad Design

  1. Re the book cover post … I guess my only training in book covers is looking at a lot of them. And I get irritated by a book where the cover has nothing to do with the story. You read the story and you go back and look at the cover and you can find absolutely no connection. This happens a lot in the more sensational and commercialized SF.
    Catana, I like your covers for your “Boundaries” books (nice perspective) although the only connection I can see to the story is that they may depict the setting and also give a sense of being closed in and enslaved.
    I hope that my self-drawn cover for “The Termite Queen” is both eye-catching and fits the story. One may not know how it fits in the beginning, but reading the back cover gives a clue, and it will be perfectly obvious before one proceeds very far into the text .

  2. I’m glad someone thinks my covers are okay, but Crossing Boundaries is the only one that really satisfies me. I should redo the other two, but that means submitting the books again, and I’m just not going to take the time. Maybe the Ancien, once the novel is ready to publish, since I’d like to keep the look uniform.

  3. My original idea for FIVE (current novel) was just the word FIVE, gold on maroon. Not only does that not say anything about the book, but, curses, neither does the title. It is amazing how hard it is to reimangine something that’s been in your head for years. (

    1. Tell me about it. The original name of my novel is Privileged Lives and Other Lies. Much too long. But almost every variation of privilege is taken multiple times by other books. Something to avoid if possible. I’ve been banging my head, trying to find something short that will work. Finally settled (I think) for Privileges and Lies. Single word titles are probably the worst to deal with. Finding the right word, and one that hasn’t been used to death. I never have trouble finding a working title, but that usually doesn’t fit by the time the story is written.

  4. As usual, I never seem to react like other people. First, for Richard W. Scott, I took a look at your website and I guess there must be lots of people who need tons of support and encouragement when they’re writing, but I never did. I just wanted to be left alone so I could pour it out. I didn’t want anybody telling me how to do it. I had two people that I shared my writing with – my mother and a very close friend and that was it until recently. My mother would help me proofread and my friend gives me some occasional generalized advice, which I sometimes take and sometimes don’t.
    And titles: “Monster Is in the Eye of the Beholder” is pretty long, but it fits so perfectly. One day it just came to me and I checked it out and was surprised to find it hadn’t been used anywhere. And “The Termite Queen” – it’s short enough but kind of blah, I’ll confess. But it also is a perfect fit, as becomes clear during the course of the book, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
    Catana, personally I like just plain “Privileged Lives.” (I haven’t read it yet, though.) “Privileged Lives” has punch; “Privileged Lives and Other Lies” offends my poetic sensibilities because of the similarity of “lives” and “lies.” It makes it a tongue-twister – “Privileged Lies and other Lives”? And “Privileges and Lies” – that conveys nothing to me, I fear to say. Whose privileges? Whose lies? There is a forcefulness to “Privileged Lives” that appeals to me. You immediately think of a certain class of people and it could even have an ironic implication.

    1. Lorinda, sometimes a long title is exactly right. I just want the one for this novel to be brief and punchy. I do prefer Privileged Lives, but it’s been used several times, which I try to avoid. Identical titles make it harder to do a search, especially if you don’t know the author’s name. And it is meant to be ironic, which means that giving it up would be really hard. More thinking ahead. Maybe I’ll just abandon “privileged” altogether and go in a different direction.

      I’m like you in being pretty independent about my writing. I’ve learned a lot from articles and blog posts, but I’m not interested in hand-holding. A few informal beta readers have been helpful, but mostly I depend on my feeling for language and what I’ve learned by osmosis in many, many years of reading.

    2. Aw, too bad it’s been used a lot! – because I do think it’s a good title. Guess that’s why it’s been used a lot! “The Termite Queen” is mainly reminiscent of entomological studies and such. I didn’t find any other work of fiction with that exact title. Of course, now that I’ve divided it into two volumes, I’ve got the volume titles, too, which makes it more distinctive.

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