Judging a Book – Totally Got This Covered

So, did something a little bit wild, a little bit cray-cray last night.

Minds out of the gutter people, minds OUT of the gutter.  Thankfully the days of that kind of behaviour are ancient history,  lost in the shadows of the nineties. Blessedly before the time of camera phones and social media.


(You may remember Rejoicey the Squirrel from my Blog post – Step Away from the Keyboard.  This little red bundle of nut-seeking happiness needs to be in my life on a regular basis.)

I digress, I do that.

So, weird night thingy that I did. Hold onto your butts people- I booked a cover designer. 

Like, for a book.  For my book. Cause I’m going to self-publish and stuff.


Settle down, everyone just settle down.  This crowd of one is getting way out of hand, don’t make me set Rejoicey the Squirrel on you….


I couldn’t hold him back. Sorry.

Look, at some point, no doubt,  the time will come for me to break the internet with book sales. The time will come for endless queues to form at the one remaining book store on Earth when I do book signings in a years time. But this is not that time. THIS is about book covers. And how insanely talented some people are and how insanely jealous I am of that talent.

Artists, man. Artists.  The ones who draw stuff.  Design stuff.

They say not to judge a book by its cover, they also say that more than two glasses of wine a night is harmful. My liver begs to disagree and it will do so once it gets out of rehab.  I am a sucker for a beautiful book cover.  My little radar of book-cover-awesomeness will spot a thing of beauty a mile off and woe betide any poor unfortunate who is crouched in that aisle attempting to read an entire book without having to pay for it. Woe betide them.

Woe betide.

(Those two words shall join my list of things-that-must-be-said-everyday.)

They would do well not to get between me and my pretty.  So much pretty.

Now I’m going to restrict my show-and-tell to YA book covers cause that’s what I’m writing. Did I tell you I’m releasing a book this year? No? How remiss of me.

Feast your eyes on a mere morsel of what is out there-

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Personally I don’t love seeing actual humans on covers, but if I don’t get to wear a dress like this one, just once, preferably with some hot guy trying to stop me falling to my inevitable doom, then what the hell is the point, people?


And look at all this swirly, twirly amazing drawing stuff. Who can do that? What fresh fucking sorcery is this? These people are witches. Burn them. It ain’t natural folks.

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Armed with only my dreams and Hubster’s credit card, I started scrolling through the interwebs looking for cover designers and illustrators. It gave me a little eye stroke. Had to have a little lie down and fan myself against the onslaught of talent-I-shall-never-have.

Case in point, these guys from Adelaide – http://achristouillustration.com/


And this guy from Perth, WA –http://www.austenmengler.com/


INSANE. All the stickmen I’ve ever drawn are currently throwing themselves off the pages I fist-drew them onto when I was five, falling to their crayon-shaded deaths.

Of course, it ain’t all peaches and cream out there.

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And of course, it doesn’t mean that her Universe isn’t a totally awesome thing and we shouldn’t all own flat-headed cats who desperately need dental appointments, but I’m not really inclined to find out. I don’t want to reach for her golden, golden face and hold her universe against me. Okay, before anyone points it out, this is really just a comment on my own shallowness, as this author James Schmitz got enough short stories published to paper the entire exterior of my house. He got nominated for a Hugo. The dude knew what he was doing when it came to writing.  And this cover is probably old enough to be my book-grandma. But aren’t all humans a little shallow when it comes to shiny things? We’re visual beings. Easily mesmerised by sparkly.

Writing, good writing, is the jaws of an Angler fish. Cover art is the little dangly, light bulb. I am Dory.

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So now, as I sit with a ‘design brief’ questionaire glaring its blank spaces at me, demanding to know what I want from my cover, what themes, what colours, what crowd-pleasing awesomeness I want to portray about my book, I am quietly shitting myself.

I’m sure Hubster will notice eventually, but in the meantime I must take off my writer hat and throw on a beret or perhaps something like this…..whatever this is…  Kids_beard_hat_1024x1024

And find my inner artist….the drawing/designing artist….the one responsible for the graveyard full of stickmen….and give the real experts something to work with.

These are the poor suckers who must try to draw meaning from my ramblings, literally.


They did this little gem for a fellow Melbourne author, who wrote a novella you should all read. Cause I said so.



Good luck Deranged Doctors – God have mercy on you witchy souls.


  1. Alex on June 28, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Yay! You will have the bestest cover!

    I want to at least attempt to design my own covers. But I’ll have to work on my art skills and my graphic design and typography skills and all that first. And be willing to accept that I’m not good enough. But I wanna try.

    • DanKG on June 28, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Fingers crossed! For both my cover and your future cover designs 🙂

  2. M. Unchie on June 28, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Woo hoo!! Cover design cover design…all the sparkly 😃

    • DanKG on June 29, 2016 at 8:04 am

      Yah! All suggestions gratefully accepted…

  3. chaitali gawade on June 28, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Loved the designs you posted here. My best pick would be Red Queen. All that tension and drama in such subtle and clean design! Good luck on getting an awesome cover for your book:)

    • DanKG on June 29, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Hi Chaitali,
      Welcome! And thank you.

      Yep, Red Queen is one of the covers that really blew me away. Its simplicity is really breathtaking. I was so disappointed that the book itself wasn’t quite what I’d expected – because I wanted to buy all of them just for the cover art!

  4. Kristen Kooistra on June 29, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Looking for cover designers is so over-whelming(I already had one so, but was looking for a friend one day). How do you even begin to go about narrowing it down?

    So much talent, so many different things, and ARGHHH.

    I judge books on their covers. Not to say there aren’t gorgeous covers hiding dull books or vice versa, but in a world with so many books it’s one of the easiest ways to narrow down choices.

    • DanKG on June 29, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Hey Kristen,
      Thanks for reading! Yeah, I think I was a bit lucky with this one because I just went with someone who a friend had used, but seeing all these amazing artists gets the mind ticking over for the next series. I’d love to save my pennies and get an independent illustrator to do some pieces for me, ultimately. I can dream right?

  5. Heather Hayden on July 1, 2016 at 1:39 am

    Covers are definitely a draw for me when it comes to finding new books. I love a beautiful cover. I can’t art at all, so I hired one for my scifi; my sister, though, is an artist and might be doing the covers for my fantasy novels when they reach the point of being publishable!

    Can’t wait to see how your cover turns out–I know it’s going to be awesome!

    • DanKG on July 1, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Oh that is a great family connection to have! Look forward to seeing those fantasy covers. I’m finally starting to get a few ideas for a cover so fingers crossed I can translate it into artist-speak 🙂

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