Bad Covers Happen. They sometimes even happen without the Author or the Designer even realizing it. On today’s post we have the obvious…and the not so obvious. I tried to go for the subtle, instead of the crazy bad which we love to focus on.

Design, of course, is a matter of style and tastes, but there are some “rules” of good and bad design.

Here’s my two cents…


1. Function vs. Form – Before you design a cover, you should understand what you are designing, what the book is about, what to convey and IMPORTANTLY the books around that particular book. You don’t want to appear too similar to another design…or…maybe you do.

This one jumped right out at me. A Beautiful Bastard by J.L. Perry. Who do I give the stink eye to? The author or the cover designer? Who is to blame for this?

Bad Cover Design

This is another example of Function and Form – know your subject. This new cover reveal for Karen Marie Moning’s Feverborn had twitter going WTF? No really, WTF?

Bad Cover Design 2015

2. Simplicity –  When you go to design your cover, simplicity is always a great fall-back.

This one is like a Monet, just when you start paying attention you are all like, what?  Raven Pirate Assassin Spy by Landra Graf (no buy links available)


3. Align – Use a Grid –  Objects have to relate to other objects in a specific way. If you center align one thing, but left align others, at least make sure it all follows a grid based pattern.

A beautiful cover, but my eye is continually drawn to the title…not in a good way. My eye gets draw there and then rejects it. What is going there? I have no idea…run away. This style actually worked on Knights other covers when the font was horizontal, but the moment it was turned on its side…the style didn’t make sense. Corrupted by Sapphire Knight.

Bad Cover Design

4. Matchy Mathy – Finally, design should make sense.

When stitching covers together, using different backgrounds, adding a person, adding a horse, the THING that makes it look fake is the lighting. It is obvious that it is too different times of the day, that two different cameras were used…the focus is off etc. Take a look at Addison by Jennifer Foor, revealed only a few days ago. The designer should have at least dropped a lighting filter on top of the spread – to make the tone match. But, then it wouldn’t have fixed the unfocused look of the girl – who looks like she wants to hump the horse or at least give it a strip tease.


And now for the PRETTY! I couldn’t be all negative. This is a self-published novel that managed to WOW me.

clap. clap. clap.

Beneath Blood and Bone by Claire C. Riley  Madeline Sheehan, the cover is designed by Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations. Hey lady – you are more than okay.

Great Cover Design.