Book Cover Award Thing 2016: The Results!

I’ve organised the contenders into eleven places. Lots of joint positions. It was a fun exercise. Thanks for everybody’s input and comments! I should say up front, that these were all quite good covers.

Joint First Place: Two clear favourites from the start. If I was to do a tie-breaker I’d give it to Tommy Arnold’s Updraft artwork. However, Sam Weber had two great covers in the running.

12 points – The Traitor, Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson : Artist/Designer − Sam Weber(Artist)

12 points – Updraft – Fran Wilde : Artist/Designer − Tommy Arnold(Artist)

Joint Second Place: A really nice selection of covers. Lots of variety and different approaches. I really like each of them in their own way.

11 points – Arcadia – Iain Pears : Artist/Designer − Nameless Hero(Artist)

11 points – The Book of Phoenix – Nnedi Okorafor : Artist/Designer − Joey Hi-Fi, aka Dale Halvorsen(Artist)

11 points – The Grace of Kings – Ken Liu : Artist/Designer − Sam Weber(Artist)

11 points – Rolling in the Deep – Mira Grant : Artist/Designer − Julie Dillon(Artist)

10 points – Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard – Lawrence M. Schoen : Artist/Designer − Victo Ngai(Artist)

10 points – Updraft – Fran Wilde : Artist/Designer − Stephan Martiniere(Artist)

10 points – Uprooted – Naomi Novik : Artist/Designer − Scott McKowen(Artist)

10 points – Uprooted – Naomi Novik : Artist/Designer −

10 points – Karen Memory – Elizabeth Bear : Artist/Designer − Cynthia Sheppard(Artist)

Joint Fourth Place: Another good bunch but a few are more conventional

9 points – Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie : Artist/Designer − John Harris(Artist)

9 points – Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm – John C. Wright : Artist/Designer − Jeremiah Humphries(Artist)

9 points – The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass – Jim Butcher : Artist/Designer − Chris McGrath(Artist)

9 points – The Watchmaker of Filigree Street – Natasha Pulley : Artist/Designer − David Mann(tbc)

9 points – Way Down Dark – J.P. Smythe : Artist/Designer − Nameless Hero(tbc)

Joint Fifth Place:A mix of the brave and the conventional.I think this group would scatter very differently depending on the scoring method.

8 points – Ctrl Alt Revolt! – Nick Cole : Artist/Designer − Nameless Hero(tbc)

8 points – Envy of Angels – Matt Wallace : Artist/Designer − Peter Lutgen(Artist)

8 points – Half a War – Joe Abercrombie : Artist/Designer − Mike Bryan(Artist)

8 points – Raising Caine – Charles E. Gannon : Artist/Designer − Bob Eggleton(Artist)

8 points – War Factory – Neal Asher : Artist/Designer − Larry Rostant(Artist)

8 points – Voices in the Night: Stories – Steven Millhauser : Artist/Designer − Janet Hansen (Designers)

Joint Sixth Place: I think this is the most conventional set of covers. Solid cover designs but with few risks taken.

7 points – Children of Time – Adrian Tchaikovsky : Artist/Designer − Nameless Hero(tbc)

7 points – Hell’s Foundations Quiver – David Weber : Artist/Designer − Stephen Youll(Artist)

7 points – The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers : Artist/Designer − Christopher Doll(Artist)

7 points – The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett : Artist/Designer − Paul Kidby(Artist)

7 points – The Shepherd’s Crown – Terry Pratchett : Artist/Designer − Jim Tierney(Artist)

Joint Seventh Place:Another very diverse set of styles. Each is playing with the form but maybe not quite hitting the target as well as the number 1 and two places. All really nice work.

6 points – Arcadia – Iain Pears : Artist/Designer − Thomas Cole(Artist)

6 points – Seveneves: A Novel – Neal Stephenson : Artist/Designer − Jonathan Knowles(Artist)

6 points – The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers : Artist/Designer − Christoffer Meyer(tbc)

5 points – League of Dragons – Naomi Novak : Artist/Designer − Nameless Hero(tbc)

5 points – Son of the Black Sword – Larry Correia : Artist/Designer − Larry Elmore(Artist)

Joint Eighth Place: Two covers resting on the strength of the art alone. Nice but not exceptional.

5 points – Souldancer – Brian Niemeier : Artist/Designer − Marcelo Orsi Blanco(Artist)

5 points – The Deep Woods – Tim Pratt : Artist/Designer − Galen Dara(Artist)

Ninth Place: This is a great cover and probably the best choice for the book concerned but it isn’t a particularly notable cover.

4 points – The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin : Artist/Designer − Lauren Panepinto(Art director)

Joint Tenth Place: It is only at this point where I get to covers I wasn’t keen on.

3 points – Europe at Midnight – Dave Hutchinson : Artist/Designer − Clint Langley(Artist)

3 points – Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho : Artist/Designer − Nameless Hero(tbc)

Joint Eleventh Place: Now I feel like a really mean, bad person. This cover didn’t deserve 0 points. I avoided looking at the scores for earlier stages, so as to not try and compensate too much between criterion. I also avoided tallying the scores so that the result would be a surprise to me. Look, this is a nice cover, its just a bit busy.

0 points – Sorcerer to the Crown – Zen Cho : Artist/Designer − Nameless Hero(tbc)

So, congratulations to Sam Weber and Tommy Arnold. Congratulations to the nameless heroes of cover design. Hooray for book covers!



  1. Mark

    Obviously I’d have given some different scores but the overall sweep of results is pretty fair. It’s been interesting to look at covers in more detail and wonder why they work.
    The one that’s placed notably higher than I would score it is Way Down Dark – it’s got lots of clever elements, like the font and the arrangement, but it just doesn’t add up to anything meaningful for me.
    The one I’d bump up a way is Karen Memory – every time I look at the art I like it more, and it strongly illustrates the contents.
    A fun series of posts!


  2. David Brain

    I was pleased that the Arcadia cover did end up near the very top after those early rounds where it simply wasn’t competing against the others in the same way. But for me, it was the single standout image of the set. (Although, yeah, that Karen Memory cover does a lot of good things too.)

    Thanks for doing this, in an enjoyable impartial partial way. 🙂