Announcing the July Book Cover of the Month

Announcing the July Book Cover of the Month

Hello everyone,

The July Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. This turned out to be the second-most voted on tournament in the nine-month history of the bracket. It was great to see all that participation, and fun to watch the leads change hand. We had 5,750 votes. I want to offer my thanks to everyone who got involved. We don’t get those kinds of numbers without a lot of people getting involved.

Five different books took the number spot at one point or another in the tournament, but one had the championship spot when the time hit 0:00:00.

The July Book Cover of the Month is…


The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

History of how X won.

Hayes received 260 total votes. It actually finished fourth in overall voting, but it won where it needed to (the semifinal and final). He beat The Queen of Swords 26-14 in the Final Four, and he beat The Girl Who Could See 15-8.
July_Cover_CollageThe Girl Who Could See did manage to tie a record. First, she had the most votes in the tournament. Next, she finished as the runner up, which means she is only the second book ever to receive TWO extra chances to become the book cover of the month.


That said, Hayes is the winner this month, so let’s look at his book.

Amazon blurb.




This is the 2017 self-published re-release of The Heresy Within by Rob J. Hayes.

As any warrior will tell you; even the best swordsman is one bad day away from a corpse. It’s a lesson Blademaster Jezzet Vel’urn isn’t keen to learn. Chased into the Wilds by a vengeful warlord, Jezzet makes it to the free city of Chade. But instead of sanctuary all she finds is more enemies from her past.

Arbiter Thanquil Darkheart is a witch hunter for the Inquisition on a holy crusade to rid the world of heresy. He’s also something else; expendable. When the God Emperor himself gives Thanquil an impossible task, he knows he has no choice but to venture deep into the Wilds to hunt down a fallen Arbiter.

The Black Thorn is a cheat, a thief, a murderer and worse. He’s best known for the killing of several Arbiters and every town in the Wilds has a WANTED poster with his name on it. Thorn knows it’s often best to lie low and let the dust settle, but some jobs pay too well to pass up.

As their fates converge, Jezzet, Thanquil, and the Black Thorn will need to forge an uneasy alliance in order to face their common enemy.



As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s coverJones’s CoverHubert’s Cover,  MacNiven’s cover, and Jon del Arroz’s, and they are also on my TBR. Manning’s review is here.  Howard’s review is here. I finished Deyo’s cover, but I haven’t posted a review yet. (About two weeks away.) Jones’s book is third on my TBR at the moment.


 Hayes’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

I don’t know who the artist is yet, and I’m a bit behind with interviews, but I’ll get back on that soon since I’m nearly done drafting Repressed, a novella featuring Kaitlyn from Caught

The August bracket is still under development, but it looks good so far. It’ll kick of Sept. 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading


Text: The Element that Makes or Breaks Your Cover Design

Text: The Element that Makes or Breaks Your Cover Design

As July’s Book Cover of the Month comes to a close, I started thinking about what to do for this week’s blog, and decided to share a few insights regarding what to think about when anyone commissions a cover. I’ll probably sprinkle a few of these posts in as the more I think about it, the more I realize there is to talk about. So for this installment, I want to talk about the things that can devastate a cover or make a cover try special.

Text: This is simply critical. I’ve seen so many well drawn illustrations completely ruined by poor typeface, font, and color choices. Most just lump this all into the term font.

What is font? Font is a specific style of characters. This is the complete set of characters for one typeface at one particular type size.  Usually, people mix this up or toss it in with typeface and family, which are different things. Arial 12 is a font. Arial is a typeface. Whatever you want to call it, when designers just slap text onto a design, it can destroy a cover. However, when someone puts a bit of thought into how text can become a visual element, the results can be stunning.

What to think about: Your designer should either be sure to leave negative space to use or consider how to integrate text into the design. As long as they do one of these things, the design should come together.



This designer was brilliant. The title of the book wasn’t just something the designer threw on the cover, but it became the central design element of the cover. By doing this, you create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.





The negative space (the space left after the raven) left the designer a location to place text that seemed logical.  The designer took it a step further by placing the letter “A” in the gap between the tail feathers and feet. This term (called grouping) makes  several elements (like letters in a word) feel like a single visual uint.



Color/Legibility: These two go together in a lot of ways. When it comes to text the typeface you choose and the color you use are the difference between a visual element that stands out and words people can’t see, let alone read. I won’t call out bad covers. I’m not here to belittle anyone.  What I will do is say a few things:
I want to say, “red font never works,” but that absolute (while I tend to lean that way) isn’t denotatively true. What is true is, “dark colors on dark backgrounds are impossible to see.” The characters in the text needs contrast to be seen. Mose designers address this by selecting a color that contrasts with the background in some way. For the love of Gestalt, please don’t:

Ever use drop shadows. Ever use stroke that’s nearly as thick as the width of your text.

Designers (professional designers) see that and immediately recognize the technique as lazy. It looks like the designer choose to just take a ham-handed shortcut rather than simply plan his/her design effectively.



This text isn’t particularly flashy. Placed in the lower negative space, the letters are distinct. The black text is well chosen against a bright background.




This typeface is a bit more eye-catching, but notice how it’s embossed and brighter than the dark background. Notice how  neither have drop shadows or glowing edges? There’s a reason for that.





I really could go on forever. This post (as I was writing it) has gone from one post, to a few posts, to a series that I’ll play with, probably during BCOTM tournaments. But I think this is enough information for one post. When you higher a cover designer, make text the first thing you talk about. Most illustrators are worth more than you pay them. Placing text poorly or making it distracting feels like an insult to the artists who work so hard to create interesting imagery.

Thanks for reading,