The Most Awesome SF/F Book Covers 2015

Often these types of posts are written by design people and the covers are very design-y and full of the latest design fads. They might win design awards, but do they sell books?

To me, and most genre readers, the function of a cover is as follows:

1. Indicates genre.
2. It’s pretty or otherwise clickable.

So without much further ado, here are some covers of books published and selling well in 2015 that have caught my eye.


Because there is no list complete without a Tom Edwards cover.



I’ve seen this cover around, and it intrigues me. Excellent design and genre-appropriate.



Because Ravven is an awesome designer. I wish she still took commissions.



Rebecca Frank is another awesome designer. Her covers stand out because of the bright neon colours.



Awesome use of space and typography.



So very fairy-tale. Wonderful.



Because no list is complete without a Damonza cover.



I wish I knew who designed this.



Because, steampunk.



Another Rebecca Frank creation. How to turn both a font and a stock image that have been used to death into something awesome.



Really eye-catching cover. I have no idea who did this. I would like to know.


These types of dramatic covers are highly effective for epic fantasy. They usually have a high light-dark contrast and soft/misty tones in the light area. This says “fantasy” in one hit.


On the flip side of all this awesomeness, here are some trends that I wished would go away:

1. Cinzel Decorative. Seriously, this is the Papyrus of 2015. Awesome font, but so terribly, terribly overused.
2. That horrible allcaps handwritten-looking font. Urgh. Just urgh.
3. Headless dude, and man-titty in general. Not on fantasy covers, not on SF covers. Go and play in the genres where you belong.
4. Upside-down images. Because WTF?

The Most Awesome SF/F Book Covers 2015 was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

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Showing off all new covers for the Ambassador books

AmbassadorNewMedium

Ambassador1AcoverMedium

Ambassador2Medium

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Do I need to add words to this to say how awesome they are? Click on images to learn more about each book, or go to my Amazon page.

All done by Tom Edwards. He will be working on book 4 Coming Home soon. I better hurry up writing The Dragon Prince (for which I also have the cover but will show off a bit later) so I can start on that book.

Showing off all new covers for the Ambassador books was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants

Soldier’s Duty Cover

Soldiers Duty medium

It was high time that I did something about redesigning the cover now that Soldier’s Duty is going very well. I’m still aiming for October as official release date, but I may or may not start distributing copies earlier.

I liked the bronze colour, but the figure was very static, so I’ve spent a bit more time on it and re-done it. I’ve re-drawn the hair and added highlights. I might need to do a bit more fiddling, but I’m pretty happy with this.

Incidentally, I’ve had some really good ideas for book 4. It will be called Heir’s Revenge, and the main character is Vayra, whom we have seen briefly in Trader’s Honour. Admittedly, he was only a toddler then, but now he’s all grown up and he carries the expectations of his family and the freedom of his father’s nation on his shoulders. To him, it’s not a light load. Everyone expect wonders from him, and everyone in every place that matters is watching him.

So he decides to renovate a house. You remember what happened to the Andrahar house at the end of Trader’s Honour? Well, it’s lain like that, uninhabited, ever since. Various people have tried to dis-own the family, or buy the property, but the family has refused.

Vayra quietly moves into the ruins. Of course the house is in enemy territory, and in order to rebuild it, he must not only defy his family’s strongest enemies, but must win support from those who can help him. The house is the symbol of the glorious history that was but is no longer, the marriage that could have been, but did not happen, and the family that is a big influence in a city that is not the one where they should have lived. He uses the rebuilding of the house to reconstruct the past as it should have happened.

ISF-Allion Universe series

This is part of the revamp of those stories in that loosely-related series. The stories themselves will remain untouched, but a few sites have upgraded to larger size requirements for covers, and I want to redo the covers of the existing works in this series to give a feeling of uniformity. Hence the small blue and white logo, which I will also enter as series name. All these stories, novellas and soon-to-be novel can be read independently. I’ll go through and redo the covers one by one.

Image of the Day: Melati

For some reason, the image I generated for the heading of the Shifting Reality chapters will no longer work. OK, I still have the image, but because it is too small, I wanted to re-render it, but that didn’t work. Yeah, this 3D stuff is not quite stable. I recently upgraded to the latest version of DAZ.

Anyway, re-rendering it was the lazy option anyway, because I didn’t like the suit she’s wearing, and her skin map was a lazy-arse job. So I decided to re-do the figure with a better skin map and some clothes that she would actually be wearing.

A quick render (errr–anything except quick because this hair takes aaaages), and this is the result. Now all I need is a stonking big gun, some spooky lighting and some smoke.

Rule Zero of Self-publishing

A while ago, I wrote about the Ten Home Truths of Starting in Self-publishing

It seems I forgot something that is so basic that I more or less assumed that everyone would know this:

Learn how to format a book.

Sub-rule number one:

Learn what the formatting conventions are for your genre. For the basics, you don’t need a course or how-to guide or any other hocus-pocus. All you need is to pull a book off the shelf. Copy its formatting. It’s not that hard, right?

Most specifically:

– A book has indented first paragraphs (fiction) or empty lines between paragraphs (non-fiction). Not both
– Indents are about 5mm. Not 20 or 25 (this is the standard Word provides)
– Paragraphs are left-justified with the ‘fix ragged margins’ option turned on. This provides a neat right-hand margin while keeping sentences with just a couple of words together.

Sub-rule number two:

Pleaseplease get yourself some decent software to do all this stuff. In the previous post, I spoke of investment in your book. This should be your first investment. GET SOME DECENT SOFTWARE! I see people struggling with OpenOffice or other free shit that just can’t handle the demands, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Take note of the second half of that sentence. If you’re a layout whizz or a computer whizz (or willing to spend a lot of time), sure you can get many of the free programs to do the job, because you know what it is supposed to do.

If you don’t, just FFS spend a few bucks and get some software.

Like before but only better

I announced a while ago that I was working on a print version of The Far Horizon, to be sold on Createspace and Lightning Source. One of the disadvantages of self-publishing is that—argh!–you have to do it all yourself, so it gets pretty darn busy.

I did the cover and the layout. I’ve done file layout for print before, so that should be easy, right? Sure, but it takes a lot of time. Anyway, I uploaded the lot to createspace, ordered a proof and settled in to wait for the sloooooooow boat to deliver it to me. Then the proof arrived, and I didn’t like the way the cover came out. It was what I would call ‘acceptable’ but no more than that.

So I decided to get a Real Cover Artist to design a cover. The cover you see here was done by Tom Edwards in the UK who has, amongst other things, also done covers for XBOX games. Since the story involves online games, he was an obvious choice.

So I’ve just re-uploaded it all to createspace and am waiting for the hamsters over there to do their thing. Next: Lightning Source.

What was this thing called ‘writing’ again?