Short Story Cover Challenge

The Unicorn is tearing out his mane! Usually Katherine’s publishers design beautiful covers for her books, and all she has to do is look at the artwork and say if she likes them (or not). Sometimes they let her suggest changes... which is not always a good idea, since she doesn’t know very much about marketing books. But now she is putting together a collection of short stories for you to read on Kindle, and it needs a cover image, so she has asked me to design one from scratch.

Believe me, even though I am a muse, this is a lot more difficult than it looks! First of all it's an e-book cover, so it must work well at small “thumbnail” (or hoof) size. On a Kindle it will only display in black and white, so the contrast has to be good, although it’ll show in colour on most other devices so needs to look good on them, too. And, as if that wasn't difficult enough, there are seven different stories in the book and the design has to give a general idea of all of them.

Here are a few clues. The stories all contain some fantasy/magic, ranging from historical settings to purely imaginary worlds. They all have heroines and some gentle romance. Two of them are about death. The Muse thinks this book will appeal mainly to teenage girls, though the stories were originally published for adults in fantasy genre magazines. (If this book were a film, it would probably be cert 12A.)


The title of the collection will be either Death Singer or Rubies (both of these stories are in the book). Which title do you like best?

Here are some covers I’ve done for DEATH SINGER:

and one that looks a bit different...

And here are a couple for RUBIES:

Which cover would inspire you to click on the book and download a sample?
Please help the unicorn! Or my lovely mane will soon be in tatters…


Unknown said…
I'm not sure I'm the right person to have an opinion on this as I haven't used an e-reader so I don't know how the covers will transfer. I like the Rubies colour one. It says "Christmas" to me and I like Christmas. I could ask my Year 6 girls for an opinion for you if that's any help. But they may be slightly younger than the age group you are targeting.
I just asked my 20-year-old daughter, and she likes the second 'Death Singer' cover. The pale one.
Ann Turnbull said…
I like the red Rubies one best. The cover suggests romance and you have the word "fantasy" there. The sphinx-like creature is good too, but much more scary. It depends what message you want to convey.
catdownunder said…
Oh miaou Unicorn! Your human is not has to work in black and white and it has to work hoof size. The sphinx like covers are too compurrlex for that. The rubies covers - hmmm...maybe. I have not read the stories but I would purrhaps go for something a little less compurrlex and therefore more dramatic...
Yours aye
A. Cat
madwippitt said…
I like the first (red) Rubies cover best ... and the firstr (dark) Death Singer one as being more atmospheric - but although they'll look good on the Amazon page, they may well be too dark when reduced in size and in black and white, and the detail will just merge into murkiness. Have you tried it to see?
Well, at least nobody likes the pink one... The dark "Rubies" seems to be favourite at the moment.

The stories are a blend of fantasy (SF/F genre type) and romance, so really fall between the sphinx and the heart. I think the dark sphinx goes a bit too far down the horror route, though, so if I use that one I'll go for the pale version.

Cat, don't worry. Some detail is obviously lost at thumbnail size, but they need to look good larger as well. I might need to change the title font on "Rubies" if I use that one, since that is a bit difficult to read at a small size.
Ann Evans said…
I really like the dark Death Singer it looks intriguing. Next favourite is the dark red Rubies cover.