Book covers are works of art. They’re also marketing tools. Being in complete control of your book cover can be a huge advantage of self-publishing. It’s also harder than you’d think.
We authors (and by “we” I mostly mean “me” 😅) aren’t always savvy marketers, and designing a book cover that sells in a particular genre is a completely different skill from writing said book. And the cover of an author’s dreams isn’t always within one’s budget. With that in mind, I love it when authors overcome these challenges and get that perfect eye-catching cover that makes me drool over their book.
Here are 10 covers by self-published authors and author-run small presses that knock my socks off. Some I’ve read, and some I haven’t yet, but you can bet the covers played a big role in putting them on my to-read list.
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No Man Can Tame by Miranda Honfleur
This is one of the books on this list that I’ve read, and I’m happy to report that the story lives up to that gorgeous cover. I like so many things about it from the clothing to the flowers and moon in the background. It sort of depicts the first meeting of these two characters but also seems pretty symbolic. Overall, it’s just a beautiful cover for a beautiful story.
Of Deception and Divinity by N.D. Jones
I haven’t read this paranormal romance yet, but the cover caught my eye on Pinterest. Look at those colors! The blazing fire and her red dress really pop against the darker background, and I just love the expression on her face and the way she’s striding forward. She looks so badass.
No Man of Woman Born by by Ana Mardoll
Speaking of badass-looking characters… Every element of this cover works for me: the sword, the long flowing hair, the beautiful dress. The way the shadows work with the lighter color palette is great too. This book is a collection of “fantasy stories in which transgender and nonbinary characters subvert and fulfill gendered prophecies,” and the reviews are excellent, so I’m looking forward to checking it out.
Cradle of Sea and Soil by Bernie Anés Paz
When I saw this cover, I immediately wanted to know more about the two characters on it. Their clothing and weapon design are great, and furry ears and tails are always fun. According to the book description, they’re mother and son, which is so cool! And the misty primeval forest around them is an excellent background.
Cursed Tides by Jade Kerrion
First off, I’m a huge fan of the blue and purple color scheme on this cover. The stormy sky and splashing water combined with the lighting give this image a great atmosphere. I can practically hear crashing waves and thunder rolling in the distance. If you’re a mermaid fan, I’d imagine this cover calls you like a siren song.
Blaze Monroe and the Broken Heart by Alex Villavasso
Alex Villavasso’s books have such great covers. I featured another novel in this universe in my Urban Fantasy Book Cover Appreciation Post, and his superhero books look awesome too. What I like about this cover in the sense of place. The dark alley with swirling mist, brick walls and that hotel sign in the background–it gives this cover a noir feel, and you get the sense that this is a place where supernatural dangers lurk.
Jack of Thorns by A.K. Faulkner
It was hard to choose just one cover from A.K Faulkner’s Inheritance series. They’re all so awesome looking. The thorny vines are perfectly on theme for the title, and the roses are a wonderful shade of deep crimson–just like that bit of blood on the edge of the knife. It’s a very sharp cover (pun intended). 😉
Heart of the Fae by Emma Hamm
I enjoyed this fantasy romance, though it does end on a slightly frustrating cliffhanger. (And now I feel the weight of the glares from every reader who finished Poison and Honey and found a cliffhanger, lol.) The art depicts the characters perfectly–look at the detail of those veins of cursed crystal running along Eamonn’s face and back! The misty magical island in the back is just like I imagined the setting, too.
Castles by Ian Thomas Healy
You know I can’t make a list like this without including some superhero fiction. 😀 The group shot of a superhero team is such a go-to visual for comic book covers, and I love how Castles adapts it for a cover to a prose novel. It has a nice portrait-style feel, like it deserves to hang framed on a wall somewhere.
The Lady Thief by Ginger Li
Can you go wrong with a lady holding a sword on a book cover? Okay, yes, I’m sure there are bad examples out there, but The Lady Thief gets everything right. I adore the character’s practical-looking armor, and that deep burgundy color looks so nice against the starry blue sky. And it gets bonus points for the dragon in the background!
A Secret in Onyx by Jessica Florence
The more I stare at this cover, the more I see: the flames, the arrows, those dark leaves. The typography is great too. It’s neat how the letters look like they’ve been cut apart, and I like the gleams of orange light reflecting off them. This subtle cover is so rich in detail.
Those are my picks. How about yours? What indie book cover do you think is just perfect? Let me know in the comments!