Seregn’s first chapters! And… what’s in a book cover design?

What a week! In the past 7 days Seregn’s formatting has been completed, I’ve received the preliminary cover design, it’s locked in for a proofread, and I’m just awaiting printing cost quotes to work out the first edition print run size, recommended retail price (RRP), and start considering a release date.


Most excitingly, I have Seregn‘s first chapters ready for YOU! They’re available to all my email subscribers right now. So, if you’d like to receive Seregn’s prologue and first three chapters, you can sign up at the end of this blog post!

But, on to the topic for this blog – cover design…

Of all these recent happenings, one of the ones that took me most be surprise was the book cover design. The wonderful team at Ocean Reeve Publishing had been working on it in the background based on a brief I supplied at the start of the process with them. So, you can imagine my delight when, out of the blue, an email arrived in my inbox with the preliminary design!

It’s got me thinking back over the various cover ideas I’ve had for Seregn. It’s strange, as an author I have a sense of the story, and how it feels and ‘looks’, in my head, but pondering what the cover would look like almost felt strange.

As I thought about what the cover could look like, I started googling fantasy books to see what sort of covers came up, I began looking over my publisher’s catalogue, mulling over free images, and coming to decisions about what I do and don’t like.

Covers seem to be such a strange thing… they’re an image encapsulating part of your story, but also need to appeal to industry trends, and – regardless of the cover – everyone will envisage your story differently.

But, on personal preference alone, here are my thoughts on book covers. I should note this is specifically for fantasy – different genres have wildly different styles and expectations.

1. No characters please

I don’t want a character’s face on the front of Seregn. When I’ve read books with this, the characters never quite look the way I imagine them, and sometimes look completely wrong. I’d rather leave it up to the reader’s imagination, and save the book cover for something else. That said, some cool art can sometimes work. For example, I enjoy the Australian paperback covers of the Stormlight Archive, with their colour decisions and stylised art. There’s enough in that artistry that means I don’t feel like I’m expected to envisage the characters that way.

2. Give me the moody vibes – with brilliant text

I love covers that are dark and moody – not black mind you, but deep blues or purples are *chef’s kiss*.

And the title? Give it to me white, brilliant, stark against the darkness, so it almost glows on the page.

3. Simplicity is key

I’ve found some book covers can end up looking messy or overcomplicated if there are too many elements going on. To me, when I look at a front cover, it should entice me in, spark curiosity, so I flick to the back cover blurb. The blurb should take it from there. To that end, I enjoy a book cover that is simple, elegant, and draws in the reader.

4. Some illustration can be gorgeous

Not going to lie, who doesn’t love a stunning illustration for a front cover? I’m thinking a hard cover The Lord of the Rings with Alan Lee’s beautiful watercolours, or the Stormlight Archive’s beautiful paintings. For me, this is a little out of my price bracket for Seregn, but I do love a good piece of artwork.

So, those are my top picks for fantasy book covers. I’ve got some examples of personal top picks here to show you what I mean…

House of Dark Shadows

I LOVE this cover. It’s dark, but still has colour and depth to it, with a bit of artistic application with flourishes and a slight pattern in the background. It has a clear, visually pleasing image that perfectly encapsulates the story (without showing any character faces), and that gorgeous glowing title? Stunning.

King Raven Trilogy

Once again, I love the dark, moody vibes of this omnibus edition of the King Raven trilogy. A simple castle graphic with a dark blue background, and the bow graphic amidst the title… gorgeous! And, like House of Dark Shadows, bonus points for a lovely hardcover edition!


I love the simplicity of this cover. It’s elegant, gets the point across vividly, and is simple while still conveying some symbolism and mystery. It’s not a fantasy book, but the rules still apply. This is not at all the genre I tend to read, but I saw the cover and was instantly intrigued!

The Priory of the Orange Tree

This cover really stands out for obvious reasons. Not my normal choice, but the strong colours and gorgeous illustration makes it absolutely stunning. It’s bold, there aren’t any (human) faces in sight, and it’s really just and gorgeous!

The Wolf of Tebron

I love the illustration here. I love the colours, the way it blends, and (though you can’t really tell in a photo) the cover itself has this incredible, slightly-pearlescent shine to it. I’ve never seen it on a book before and I adore it.

So there you go, my personal taste in book covers. What about you? What do you like or not like in a book cover? Let me know your thoughts below!

As for my thoughts, you’ll definitely see some of these preferences in the final cover for Seregn. It’s been so much fun and I’m so keen for it to be all done and ready to reveal!

Now, as promised, if you’d like to read the first chapters of Seregn, you can sign up to my mailing list here and they’ll be on their way! Just don’t forget to check your junk/spam folder in case it ends up there!

Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply