eBook cover adventure

The last week or so has been too packed to blog. Happy family visit, soft proofs to check, print cover to approve and The Great eBook Cover Design Competition. I was the lucky winner of a free Book cover from the Writer’s Workshop. This came too late for the print version, but seemed like a good idea for the eBook. I was given £189 credit for a bronze cover design from 99Designs.

First, I had to fill in a Design Brief including images to give potential designers a direction. Being naive, my brief was misleading and my reduced heading read: ‘An upbeat story about suicide, love and Slovenia’. Then, the brief is opened up to designers worldwide online for 4 days. You select the best designers during that time and then go on to refine entries until you choose to award a winner (total 7 days for bronze).

To start with I didn’t have many entries (though there were things I could have done to increase this). The ones that did appear were often distressingly inappropriate. Prettily-coiffed girls with computers in meadows and mountains – sort of modern Heidi on Holiday style. I rated (stars) and commented on each entry, and updated my brief to explain that in my story a computer is only used at night in Devon and that the girl had unruly hair (difficult for designers with limited English). Some Wild Girl in Wild Landscape designs followed –teenage adventure style. I tried asking for something a bit more grown-up and got raunchy, steamy romance covers, then Airport Monumental, I asked for sad and got Noir (I wish I could show you). By this stage I was struggling between laughter and tears. One designer was particularly persistent and I worried that he was putting in so much work with only negative feedback from me. I assumed that he was on a different wavelength.

There are also ‘watchers’, that is designers who follow the competition, looking at the entries and the feedback. You can go and check their designs and invite them to join in. However, out of the blue, my persistent designer produced a perfect (stock) image for my story. With enormous patience, and feedback from me, he adapted it, tweak by tweak, until it was just what I had hoped for. Here is the winning entry from didiwahyudi.trend all the way from Indonesia. It links quietly to my print cover, while giving me the all-important figure I need for the eBook thumbnail. Hope you like it.


My proofs and the print cover went back to the printers last night and my new eBook cover arrived on my desktop 20 minutes ago.

Now I shall go and cultivate my garden.

DSCN6286 - Version 2


27 thoughts on “eBook cover adventure

  1. Lovely cover Hilary – so pleased you got there in the end. I had no idea this process even existed. It does seem a lot of effort for the designers for £189, even for the eventual winner.

    • It was a fascinating exercise. I quite agree about the designer fee, and my daughter, an artist, was concerned about this. I think it depends where you are trying to make a living and also on the input from the person commissioning the design. I guess anyone can have a go, so good for start-ups.

  2. I haven’t read the book but the cover, in and of itself, seems excellent to me.
    I have recent experience of working with an illustrator at a distance,
    which often left me wonderin if words had meanings any more.

  3. Hilary, that cover is fantastic. I’m in the process of finding a book cover for one of my novels and I came upon a few books on the power of a cover and the title. I think you have a winner in both title and cover. I would certainly pick the book up and see what it’s about. All the best. 🙂

  4. It’s absolutely TERRIFIC, Hilary ! – and I see that super underlying design through the window … I’m so happy you got to the right place in the end: your tales of getting there made me tear my hair a bit, though …

  5. It is a shame you can’t use it on the print version. It looks a winner. The process sounds too wearing for me. A bit like agreeing a shopping list with Mrs. Ha. I’m definitely more for the Voltaire approach to life. If only I had a garden worth cultivating.

    • The print version works best for some people (and I guess I will be mostly hand-selling that one). You could try the time-limit approach for the shopping list; with only a total of 7 days, I couldn’t be endlessly indecisive. The garden is a wonderful luxury.

  6. Congratulations on the cover. I like the mystery of it. Why does the lady look so pensive? The landscape behind her might be a clue of a sort, at least to the title. And, simply put, all the lines (window panes, mountains, her arms) on the cover foreground, middle, and background flow seamlessly back into the title. It looks good; I’d pick up a copy, or e-copy as the case might be.

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