Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

The Challenge of E-Book Covers

By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the excellent cover put together by three of my readers. Jerry, Mike, and John helped put this bad boy together:

Now, that’s an awesome print wrap and a wonderful wallpaper, but look what happens when I chop the front off for the ebook cover:

The shape of the silo disappears! On the print edition, I think this’ll work okay, because it continues across the spine and onto the back. However, when scaled down to Amazon thumbnail size, I worried about the legibility and aesthetic of this piece. It also felt like the title began to disappear. So here’s a slight modification:

Better? Worse? Lemme know.

15 replies to “The Challenge of E-Book Covers”

I kind of like how the shape of the silo goes over the edges in the first one, but I get what you are saying. The second one reminds me of the power button on an Xbox360. But maybe that’s just me.
PS- Hi again, everyone! I haven’t had time to visit this site in a while! I’ve missed you all!

I honestly like the first one. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to word placements and composition of images, but since you’re asking… If you moved up the silo image to give it an even amount of border of the silo, then it’ll give the illusion of the circular shape since the mind will complete it even though it’s cut off.

And while we’re at it.. do you mind centering your name in that box evenly? It’s secretly killing me.. lol :(

I don’t know if it’s possible, but I’d totally love to mess with the layout if you e-mailed me the .psd or whatever you’re using to edit it! It’s cool if you don’t! :D

Welcome back Jill!, I probably checked this site too much, so I had you covered! Can you do both covers Hugh? one for the book jacket and one for the e-book. I agree with Jill that the book jacket will look good with the airlock drifting over on it. BUT, I do prefer the e-book graphic for my Kindle, but I’m a nerd and will likely stare at that cover a lot imagining the silo…is it also wrong that the nerd in me would love to know where is the sheriffs office on this map, the kitchen, the mayors office? yeah, I’m a nerd…okay back to work on making my own “cleaning suit”… ;)

I say yes then, tweak it for the e-book. Plus I like how the air lock stabs up at the title. Looks good!

Bob, I would assume that the Sheriff’s office is in the top left of the map. There are two desks and it is “guarding” the way out with an area for a holding cell there on the way to the air lock. I can’t remember if there was anything mentioned about the location of the Mayor’s office, though. Maybe the big office next door?

As a member of the design team I would have to say… AHAHAHAHA… no no no, I kid, I kid… I’m not that up my self… yet… but anywho… enough jokes… bad or not…

I would have to agree with the current trend, the one with the silo pointing up would look great for the eBook… but I do have one thing to point out… Bottom Left corner… where the name plate was on the original… you kinda chopped off the blueprint… but other than that, yeah… I like it!

hard to pick Hugh, they are both eye appealing, esp in sea of blues; the color it is said it most attractive to most samplings of men who say they like it for various reasons: worklike, demin, sky, water, etc. Just an .02 from a designer/author.

A few things:
1. You have some eye line issues. You should bring down the words “A Silo Story” so the very top of the fine line exit of the silo is parallel to the top of the words, and then move the word LEGACY over so the serifs on the L line up with the outside of the thick silo wall. The way the words are lined up right now, SHIFT and LEGACY are lined up on each other, which is presenting a weird gap in FIRST SHIFT. The eye perceives a bigger break between first and shift than between shift and legacy. Can you bring the horizontal rule over farther so it bridges the gap between first and shift and then move Legacy over to the right far enough where it doesn’t just look like a bad alignment job?

If you want a real big redesign, shift the silo over so you are getting a the exit to face up about 1/3 across the cover, make LEGACY flush up against the exit, and then move A Silo Story over into the created blank space on the right side of the cover.

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