Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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SPFBO cover contest

I meant to follow the cover contest for Mark Lawrence’s self-published fantasy blog-off this year, but I must confess I lost track and didn’t. However, the results are in, and here is the link.

Here’s the winner of both the judge’s vote and the public vote:

This cover falls into the category of: I like the cover quite a bit as a piece of artwork, but (a) I wouldn’t hang it on my wall, and (b) it doesn’t make me want to read the back cover copy.

Neither of those facts is a criticism! I expect people who are more likely to enjoy this book will be attracted by this cover. Let me look up this book on Amazon … okay, here is the description:

The race is on! The gods careen toward the Blackened Nevers. Pray you don’t get in their way!

An army of criminals runs to reclaim its honor. An old knight wakes to find a child pointing to the finish line. A prison guard is cursed to return to the start. And the last two members of the Rowlach tribe run to ask their god why the race was more important than his creations. Meanwhile, deep inside their mountain, a brother and sister run to prevent the awakening of a leviathan. Will it rise to destroy creation, or is it just their god’s cynical attempt to increase his odds of winning?

I actually can’t tell for sure whether the gods themselves are competing in this race — the first bit makes it sound like that — or whether they’re wagering on mortal people they’ve chosen to drop into this race, which is what everything else makes it sound like. I have to admit, the overall description makes the story sound more appealing than the cover led me to believe. Still very possibly too gritty for my taste, but not as much so as I expected.

You can click through to see the other finalists for the cover contest. I don’t care all that much for the second place winner. I don’t like anything abstract or cartoony, and although I think the cover design is clever, I don’t really like the cover itself.

Of the covers that got at least one vote from the judges … let me see … I like this one best, and it’s not close:

I think this is a great cover.

Here’s the description:

Stolen from her jungle home and sold to a zookeeper, Pip knows only a world behind bars, a world in which a Pygmy warrior and her giant ape friends are a zoo attraction. She dreams of being Human. She dreams of escaping to the world outside her cage.

Then, the Dragon Zardon kidnaps her into a new life. Pip rides Dragonback across the Island-World to her new school – a school inside a volcano. A school where Humans learn to be Dragon Riders. But this is only a foretaste of her magical destiny, for the Dragon Assassins are coming. They have floated an Island across the Rift and their aim is nothing less than the massacre of all Dragons.

This basic scenario could be fine, but given this description, I have enough concerns about the overall writing quality that I don’t offhand plan to try a sample. I think the plethora of capitalized words would start to have a fingernails-on-a-chalkboard quality after about one chapter.

Quite a lot of really nice covers got pulled out by various judges. Click through if you have a minute and see what you think of them.

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