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Reading Time: 9 minutes -

The ninth annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off AKA SPFBO is now underway! And as per tradition, the ten participating blogs are running a cover contest to pick their favourite covers from this year’s batch. There’s an exceptional number of amazing covers this year. Truly, the quality of self-published books keeps on getting better and better. These authors have really knocked it out of the park! We love salivating over pretty covers, but a good book cover has to do more than just look pretty – it has to sell the genre and story as well!

We didn’t want to miss out on the fun, so we’ll be pretending to be judges and choosing our favourite covers. Scroll down to see which book covers Nils and Trudie have picked from each blog and find our winners at the bottom. Did we match with your favourite covers this year? Find out below!

Fantasy-Faction

Nils’s Picks:

Trudie’s Picks:

Fantasy Book Critic

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Lynn’s Books + The Critiquing Chemist

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Trudie’s Picks:

The Weatherwax Report

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Trudie’s Picks:

Becky M

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Trudie’s Picks:

 

Before We Go Blog

Nils’s Picks:

Trudie’s Picks:

Queen’s Book Asylum

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Trudie’s Picks:

Bookborn

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Philip Chase

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Covers With Cassidy

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Trudie’s Picks:

Our Finalists

Well done to our top picks so far! It has been incredibly difficult to pick just three from each group, but now we’re whittling it down to our top cover of the year! We couldn’t just settle on a few, so we decided on five finalists. Here’s what Nils and Trudie chose as our top five:

Nils’s Top Five:

There were some great covers this year, but some stood out more than others, and a few stood out above the rest. Some covers look amazing, some covers make promises and tell stories of their own, and some covers make me want to drop everything and start reading right away.

The covers below manage all of that.

After looking through all these covers, I’ve found that I enjoy books with strong but few colours, silhouettes, and contrasts. I passed on many of the slick, flashy covers in favour of drawn or painted images, and often selected ones that are a bit rough around the edges.

 

Kill Your Darlings shows a strong title and a striking silhouette. It hints at a touching and personal tale.

Rebel Unicorn is just plain shameless fun, and it’s the exception to what I mentioned above about covers with few colours. Fast paced Urban Fantasy, for sure.

I love the images and the fonts on the cover of Daughter of the Beast. There’s a kind of feral violent insanity that I can’t resist here.

The cover for A Single Spark is mysterious and hints at secrets and magic. There’s an animal companion and an enchanted forest. This too feels like a personal story.

There’s nothing I don’t love about the cover of Bob the Wizard. The art, the characters, the lack of colour. The font and the title. I just have to read this.

Trudie’s Top Five:

There have been so many amazing covers this year that picking only three per group has been torture. To me, a good cover has to do multiple things, including standing out from the crowd and conveying an idea that intrigues me. I’m especially drawn to illustrated covers more than 3D or object covers, and I generally prefer characters on covers too. Even with these, I consider typography important – it’s no good having a beautiful image with terrible typography or an awful font choice! Nice colour choices also add to the overall look, feel, and polish to a cover.

Of the covers I chose above, I loved the colours and font choice for Panacea by Alex Robins the most. I also love when typography interacts with the elements of a cover, which The Price of Power by Michael Michel and The Briar Crown by Helen Rygh-Pedersen does well.

But ultimately, when you’re one book (or five!) amongst thousands in an online book store, these were the top five covers that stood out the most and grabbed my attention:

A Gallery for the Barbarian just looks different and fun! It immediately grabbed me and would not let go, so now I have to rush out and buy it to learn more.

The artwork for Sul looks incredible and definitely makes me think this is a different kind of fantasy, which are the ones I enjoy most.

Edgar and the Flyboys also intrigues me. The typography is fantastic, and I’m just fascinated by how the cover (and presumably story) evokes Edgar Allan Poe.

I was instantly drawn to A Low Country. I wouldn’t say the typography really stands out, but the framing of the illustrated character on horseback with the castle and clouds in the background really interests me! It’s wonderfully done.

Finally, Bob the Wizard just oozes cool. When I first saw this cover, I knew I needed it!

I note that my favorites also seem to varying shades of bronze and brown which is just to my personal tastes these days.

Our Winner

But there can only be one! Of the 300 covers entered into SPFBO this year, which was our favorite?

While Nils and Trudie ultimately varied in their tastes, they both came to the conclusion that there could only be one choice:

Bob the Wizard by M. V. Prindle, as designed by artist Sean Mauss!

Congrats to the winners of our fake cover contest! Of course, all of this is in good fun and there are some truly amazing covers this year. We hope that you’ll be drawn to some of these covers and books as we are. Would you have chosen any of our favorites, or do our choices surprise you? Drop us a comment below with your favorite covers of the contest!

And don’t forget to visit the official SPFBO cover contest over on Mark Lawrence’s blog!

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