CemBilici got their new book cover by running a design contest:
Dark urban fantasy book cover - Ward of the South
Check out CemBilici's Book cover contest…
Ward of the South
I am rebranding my book covers for my dark, contemporary fantasy/horror series and starting with the first book, "Ward of the South". The series is about a hidden army of people with glowing tattoos - the Wards - who fight to protect Earth from dark, shapeshifting, inky and almost Lovecraftian creatures - the Umbra. The main character is Stacey Trampler: late 20's, overweight metal head/kindergarten teacher/roller derby queen-wannabe with bright red-dyed hair from Melbourne, Australia. She's loud and opinionated and has to join the Wards to save her missing boyfriend and girlfriend, who were taken by the Umbra. The main character Stacey is a metalhead so think: black band t-shirts, black jeans, purple Doc Marten boots are her signature. I've included a few images of hair colour and a few models etc to give some idea of her looks.
Typical readers would probably be 20 plus, lovers of dark fantasy, snarky kick arse characters, action and horror.
UPDATE: The contest has been extended as I didn't quite get what I was after and I am updating what I have in mind to hopefully get designs that match that. Cover dimensions will need to fit across all stores accordingly. Mood wise I want something dark and gritty that fits the theme of modern monsters (again think more Lovecraft, the Thing than werewolves etc) and modern magic. The "good guys" in the books use tattooed symbols, runes, etc that glow white when powered up and shoot energy blasts and are magic only in that sense and tend to be on their palms. So no showy, urban fantasy rune circles in the air etc. I had a thought that it could be something that looks like it belongs on a heavy metal cover given the main character's love of heavy metal, but it obviously still needs to be read as a book cover and appeal to readers. It will also need to be something that can easily be carried across to books two and three thematically along with a further two books should these do well, which I will want to discuss once this competition is over with the winning cover designer.
What to avoid
Stock images are fine, but I want to avoid any female figures that make it look too "urban fantasy", and the main character description probably makes that harder also. Font wise, for the main title I've also always had something that kind of looks like it could be on a heavy metal cover in mind, but nothing too over the top. I'm open to new ideas. Some previous entries included octopus tentacles and I have to say I really don't like that. The monsters are Lovecraftain'ish in only that they are dark, shape changing, and while yes there are a lot of tentacles, think more Venom from the Marvel comics - especially the standalone film version, very organic and inky and gross looking skin (see sample images included for reference), or The Thing from the John Carpenter horror film and steer clear of nautical if. The monsters absorb living creatures and can take on multiple forms, often mixing together different creatures, human and animal, earthly and alien. A few covers also seemed to completely ignore the dark/horror element and that needs to be communicated. While it's not a straight horror, there's definitely a lot mixed in there with the action and suspense. I've included what sort of things I like for reference.
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.
CemBilici 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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