Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ebook cover awards

It seems that The Book Designer web site runs a monthly competition for the best designs for an ebook cover (or e-book cover, as the site chooses to spell it). If you follow this link you will arrive at the page recording the winners for November 2012.

The results make interesting viewing, and almost without exception they confirm my belief that most ebook covers -- or at least those designed by 'professionals' -- are grossly overburdened by information and are generally less than wonderful in meeting what ought to be the design brief.

Anyone with any wit surely knows that ebook covers are going to be viewed mainly in thumbnail form. And that is the key format, because that's the one which determines whether a potential reader cum buyer is going to bother to look at the sales page at all.

But... If you got to Amazon.com, books, fiction, last 30 days, and list by publication date, you get a reasonable set of examples of what is being offered by way of 'design' for the covers of today's new ebook novels. And most of these designs, quite frankly, are bloody useless. Here are three chosen pretty much at random from the first page:

In each case the title and/or author's name is largely illegible, at least to my elderly eyes, and the illustration gives very little clue as to the genre. The one on the left might be a Regency romance, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

My own view (doubtless hopelessly biased) is that any reasonably computer-savvy author can easily design her own cover, and in most cases it will turn out to be at least as good as something commissioned from a professional. Why? Because the professionals (on the evidence of Amazon) seem to be still thinking in terms of mass-market paperback.

All a good ebook cover needs is a highly legible title, highly legible author name, and perhaps an image of some kind to reinforce  the perception of genre which is created (ideally) by the title.

Here's a good example which author Camille Laguire designed for her own book:

Many of the other honorable mentions in this months's Book Designer competition were also designed by the book's author. Go take a look.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Rescue of Bertie's Mummy

Despite my best efforts, there seems to be less and less time for writing these days. However, I have managed to turn out the odd short story. (Odd in more ways than one.) The Rescue of Bertie's Mummy is my latest.

This is a story intended for those who have been given a Kindle (of one sort or another) for Christmas. Such giftees will no doubt be looking for free stuff, so this one will be offered free for 5 days from 24 December. In the meantime it will cost you 99 cents or the equivalent in your local currency.

The narrative begins on Christmas Day, and it involves a little boy who is lost, together with some not very bright policemen (apart from our hero, PC Moreton); and it has a love story with a happy ending.

What more could you possibly want?

This book is the first in what I hope will be a series of 'coffee-time' short stories. That is to say, they will be short enough to be read over a cup of coffee. This one runs to just over 4,000 words.

Hurry, hurry, hurry, while stocks last. Or some such misleading drivel.