AshEdit—News About Books & Writers

July 3, 2011

E-Book Covers with Rebecca Forster, Thriller-Chick

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashedit @ 2:20 pm

Everybody knows by now that Elaine Ash is the culprit behind the Anonymous-9 short stories. All 11 of them are going into an e-book, and  writer/E-book maven Rebecca Forster, known for her thriller novels, whipped up 3 versions for me to choose from. Before moving to e-books, Rebecca was published most recently by Penguin/Putnam, also Harper Collins and Pocket Books, so she speaks knowledgeably about design and cover-appeal.

I would love to get your opinion—yes please, your opinion—on 3 possible covers for HARD BITE and OTHER STORIES. Below, which cover attracts your attention most? Would you buy an e-book of short stories based on any of these covers? (Please keep in mind that small tweeks like kerning (spaces between letters) and other small polishing effects have not been done):




Which is your favorite? And which is your second choice? Please feel free to leave your opinion below in the comments. Any other observations you’d like to make are also helpful.


Elaine Ash
: When making an e-cover, most people choose an image to work with their title. I purchased a photo in jpg format from Getty mages for $20. unlimited use, but I also hear Dreamstime is very good for photos. Just finding an image on the web and using it without permission is a bad idea. You could be guilty of copyright infringement. So that being said, Rebecca, what makes a good cover image?

Rebecca Forster: Your lead story features a monkey, so you chose a photograph that represented him. It’s riveting. Great expression,  with or without eyes showing. The black background was very helpful. Pure white is tough to work with although I do like it for Sci Fi.  

RIGHT: Original photo as purchased from Getty Images

The lines on that picture were sharp (teeth, shoulders etc.) I also liked the fact that there were a range of colors in the same color family (note the sort of salmon pink and beiges). I’m not a graphic artist but I worked in advertising for years, had New York make over 20 book covers for my work  so I know which ones sold well and the ones that didn’t.  I’ve seen my own e-book sales affected  by the choice of images.

Elaine: I know you use Powerpoint to create covers, which is a lot cheaper for a do-it-yourself-er than Photoshop. What other considerations went into making the Hard Bite and Other Short Stories covers?

Rebecca:  You had three genres represented (noir, horror and satire) so I didn’t want to focus only on one. For instance, a smoky feel represents noir while a red background that might look like blood is suitable for horror. I had to find a middle ground.

Elaine: Why three images for Cover # 1? Was it to give a feeling of movement?

Rebecca: The repetitive image to me was like a good alliteration. Visually I think it sticks with the viewer.  Subliminally you were talking about three genres, and we’ve got three images. On the other two options I liked the sense that your cover was ripped in some way to give it an active feel and to leave a little something to the imagination. Covering the eyes of the monkey focused on the mouth and led the eye from the words Hard Bite to the visual. The black background gives a really good sense of the cover being torn to pieces, the colors on the other hand simply pull the viewer in by virtue of the bold, primary colors and the fact that they are situated in an unusual manner (diagonal as opposed to a more expected horizontal).


You’ll also find cover designs for Rebecca’s legal thrillers as well as romance novels, and informative articles like this one on “Covers that Sell.”

RIGHT: I met Rebecca through writer Brian Drake. She designed his cover; isn’t that a great title? Buy it here for 99 cents.



COMING SOON ON ASHEDIT: A one-on-one conversation with T. Jefferson Parker about movie rights, and first person/third person novel-writing (think LA OUTLAWS).

PLUS Paul Brazill’s Brit Grit report with commentary from Nigel Bird and a flash-fiction sample of quintessential style from across the pond by Alan Griffiths.

Don’t forget to leave your 2 cents below in the Comments. Thanks!— Elaine Ash


  1. I like I would go with #2 first and #1 as a secondary.

    Comment by Brian Drake — July 3, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  2. Those are all cracking covers, but like Brian, I favour number two.

    Comment by Paul D Brazill — July 4, 2011 @ 4:54 am

  3. I actually like number 3, with number 2 as a backup. Number 3 is in your face, like the cover story.

    Comment by Charles Gramlich — July 4, 2011 @ 6:36 am

  4. I like number 2. #3 is too bright and #1 too complicated.

    Comment by oscar case — July 4, 2011 @ 9:04 am

  5. I’m a fan of #2. Have you checked them to see which you like best in black/white/grey, since the Kindle itself doesn’t do color, as other readers do?

    Comment by Brent Garland — July 4, 2011 @ 9:29 am

  6. Hey, thanks guys for voting and the extra thoughts on color and greyscale are much appreciated. Keep ’em coming!

    Comment by ashedit — July 4, 2011 @ 9:34 am

  7. I like # 3 best, then # 2. But I would put Hard Bite across the top, and Anonymous 9 on the diagonal.

    Have a great 4th!

    Comment by Mark Boss — July 4, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  8. Hmm. I’m definitely in the minority here, because I definitely prefer no. 1. The other two are missing something with the monkey’s eyes obscured.

    A small point: our regular readers know what “noir” means, but “noir crime” might make the content clearer to general readers.

    Comment by Al Tucher — July 5, 2011 @ 3:05 am

  9. Glenn Gray is vacationing in Iceland (!) but let me know via email that he prefers cover # 2. Mark and Al, you make good points Thanks for the input.

    Comment by ashedit — July 6, 2011 @ 4:34 am

  10. # 2 is my fave. I like the black “Anonymous-9” blindfold over Sid’s (I mean, the monkey’s) eyes. Also love the combination of type treatments. # 1 is my second fave. I don’t like the color banners in # 3: blue, red, and purple are too distracting. Stick with black banners. Offsets the monkey’s coloring nicely.

    Comment by Cindy Rosmus — July 6, 2011 @ 5:59 am

  11. I like #3, then #2 and then #1. I actually don’t care for #1 all that much, truth be told. I like the color because it’s eyecatching – and you need to catch eyes. But if it’s an issue on Kindle and will be a detriment to people downloading, I’d go with #2. I like the fact that something is obscured. Makes you wonder what’s up.

    Comment by Phyllis Ungerleider — July 6, 2011 @ 10:57 am

  12. I prefer Cover #1 first choice, and #3, second choice.
    Jo Ellen Krumm

    Comment by Jo Ellen Krumm — July 6, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

  13. I like number 3, then 2 and then 1. They are all fabulous covers – but number three really screams HARD BITE!

    Comment by Bruce Raterink — July 7, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  14. Cindy, Phyllis and Jo Ellen, thanks for putting in your 2 cents!
    Bruce where have you been hiding? Nice to hear from you. Thanks much.

    Comment by ashedit — July 8, 2011 @ 4:29 am

  15. I like #3 because of the different colors–very eye-catching and makes me want to know what’s inside.

    Comment by Nan Vaughn — July 8, 2011 @ 6:40 am

  16. I’m late to the party, but #2 is my fav. Love the blindfold– mystery and danger!
    #3 would be my second choice, although I feel the colors are a bit loud.

    Comment by Jodi MacArthur — July 10, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  17. Hi Jodi! I’d rather you be late to my party than not show at all. You’re always welcome here.

    Comment by ashedit — July 10, 2011 @ 9:53 am

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