nickpetrarch got their new book cover by running a design contest:
Create a steampunk/sci-fi/thriller book cover (first of a series)
Check out nickpetrarch's Book cover contest…
Nicholas Petrarch is an up-and-coming indie author spinning new tales out of timeless themes. As a reader he is well versed and greatly influenced by such classics as Frankenstein, Les Misérables, David Copperfield, and The Count of Monte Cristo. Acquainted with the difficulties of the day, he hopes his stories surface timely truths and kindle the better parts of his readers—even in the face of adversity and circumstance. A husband and mentor also, he lives among the Rocky Mountains with his wife and teaches high schoolers how to read, think, and write.
Plagued by misfortune all of his life, Chance, a frustrated alchemist living in the dregs of a luckless coastal city, struggles just to maintain his own laboratory. Alchemy is a dying craft, replaced by the obsession of the forward-thinking meritocracy for their newfangled clockwork mechanisms. Every waking moment is a trial just to endure the injustices imposed on their humble circumstance as the meritocracy continues to overlook them. But when his mentor, Ashworth, reveals that he has secretly unlocked the hidden mysteries of creating raw aether—the very fabric of men’s souls—their days living in obscurity are limited. Chance’s world is about to become a bit more volatile as all eyes turn toward him and one particular mechanist, seeks to merge their discovery with his own life’s work. It’s a struggle to safeguard their secrets and earn the recognition they deserve, but at what cost? Full of desperation, intrigue, discovery, and disaster, Aether Spark is a compelling first installment that shows just how far reaching and destructive man’s ambitions can be.
Steampunk & sci-fi enthusiasts; new adults (18+/millennial readers), likely more appealing to males; pays homage to some classics, so classically read readers will likely find it satisfying
Book cover type
Other color requirements
The upper parts of the city in the book are bright, while the lower streets and such tend to be grungy. Playing on these two contrasts is optional.
This is a story about things coming apart, so the cover should have that feel as well. I'm looking for a few things specifically, and I'll try to break each element up so it is as simple as I can express it. The larger part of the front cover (centered) should be a transparent clock-face (steampunk stylization appropriate), as though one were looking out of a bell-tower clock on a coastal city built to follow steep, sloping cliffs (cramped victorian/london-esk rooftops, bordering a bay, rocky cliff-face). The city-scape is a rust/gold color scheme, and there should be a sunset visible. The clock reads 8:19:10 (roughly sunset). The clock is damaged in one corner--a corner of it completely torn away between the 10th & 12th hour (some damage immediately around the torn away portion, but the rest of the clock is fine). The edges around the break are torn, bent, or damaged in whatever way seems good, and an electric teal/blue mist seeps out of the broken part and drifts around to the back of the book faintly (could also be used to shroud parts of the cover near corners and such). The font (simple Serif, bold but thin) for the title should be all caps, and I love the idea of having it breaking apart in fragments, almost like electric-blue embers (more connected at the beginning of the title and more broken toward the end). Last thing is that I'd like the outer edge of the clock to be not so crisp. It should have other clocks, dials, gears, etc. that give the whole apparatus an asymmetry that even crosses over the spine and onto a portion of the back (see examples for concept inspiration). Finally, I'd like to add a humanizing element if possible. If it works, I'd like to have a figure in the foreground staring through the clock at the city, not in great detail. Perhaps mostly silhouetted because of the sunset. But the character would be a young alchemist (18-22), in ragged Victorian-aged costume (pinstriped vest, loose white shirt underneath, messy hair). The most important thing about this would be the way he stands--determination as he looks out the window. And one last note: this is my first experience with cover design, so I hope to keep an open forum about how to refine this concept to best practices and to adapt based on the artist's skill. This theme would evolve over the course of three books, so this is laying a foundation (which means I'd like to work with the same artist for the following two books to keep consistency.)
What to avoid
The mist should never become so thick that it seems heavy. It's a leaking mist, not a fog. No top-hat on the visible character. They should not have the typical high society steampunk feel. Instead, they should have a grungy, street-rat quality passable for a victorian age. While I want to include some steampunk creativity in the clock and such, I don't want it to become saturated by steampunk imagery. The story has a steampunk flavor, but is not steampunk entirely.
It all began with a design brief.
A quick, interactive guide helped them understand their design style and captured exactly what they needed in their book cover.
Designers across the globe delivered design magic.
nickpetrarch collaborated with designers to refine their ideas
When design entries come in, you can rate them so designers know what you’re looking for in your logo design.
99designs has great collaboration tools so you can pinpoint and capture your ideas
And then… they selected a winner!
Along the way, they met lots of talented designers…
We think contests are a super fun way to get design.
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