Cover Cafe’s 2013 Cover Contest Results

Thank you to everyone who nominated covers for the 2013 contest and to everyone who voted in the online contest in May.  Thank you to the Category Chairs and the contest committee for all of their work this year. The results are now online and ready for their debut.  See how the sixty finalists fared in public voting and see which covers captured the top spot in their category. Make sure you visit each category page and read the always interesting voter comments.

If you have any general contest comments, please leave them in the comment section below.  Thank you for being a fan of Cover Cafe’s annual romance cover contest.   We’d love to know if you enjoyed the results and how you feel about the voters’ top choices for 2013.

Cover Contest 2013

2013 Cover Contest Results


Update: We often receive contest comments from authors and publishers via email, Facebook or Twitter.   I’ll post a few of them below so you can read the feedback, too!

Christine Trent – Author of Lady Of Ashes – Avant Garde – First Place

This is wonderful! Thank you so much! I just shared this on Facebook and will also update my web site. I totally did not expect this, especially given a couple of the covers in the Avant Garde category.

Amber Argyle – Author of Winter Queen – Two Image Covers – First Place

Wow! So exciting! I’m honored. Thank you!

Jennifer Laam – Author of  The  Secret Daughter of the Tsar – Avant Garde – Tie Second Place

Oh awesome news! Thank you so much, Linnae! I will go over there right now. This has been fun :) Jennifer

MaryLu Tyndall- Author of  Forsaken Dreams – Historical – First Place

WOW! That is so cool!! Thank you so much! I’m out of town at the moment with limited internet access so I’ll check the link when I return. This is so exciting!!!!

Alan Ayers – Illustrator of The Last Debutante – Historical – Second Place and The Switch – Sixth Place

Just made my day! Many thanks! Best, Alan

Bridget Hartzler, Publicist – St. Martin’s Press – Horizon – Contemporary – First Place

This is wonderful news!  Thank you for letting me know.  All the best,  Bridget

Barbour Publishing @BarbourBuzz via Twitter –  Forsaken Dreams – Historical – First Place

We’re excited to announce that we’ve just won a cover design contest for our book Forsaken Dreams.  Thanks @CoverCafe

Freda Warrington, Author of – The Grail of the Summer Stars – Avant Garde – Tie Second Place

Thank you so much for sending me the link to the Cover Cafe results, I really enjoyed looking through them. (the “Worst Cover” comments were so funny!) Of course, I wish Kinuko had won in her category, but second is good, and the cover that did win was beautiful, a very deserving winner indeed. I posted the link on my Facebook page. Thank you, I’ll look forward to voting in the contest again next year!  All best wishes,  Freda

2013 Honorable Mentions – Annual Cover Contest

Welcome to Cover Cafe’s 2013  Honorable Mentions!  We’re celebrating favorite 2013 nominations that didn’t make the finals but impressed the category chairs.

As a reward for the work they do all year,  the  chairs determine the last finalists on their slates.  There are always several nominated covers deserving the last positions but the chair can only select one lucky or unlucky cover.   Dear Publisher’s Honorable Mentions post salutes  a  few more deserving covers that didn’t make the final slates.

Our first category is the Avant Garde category.  I’m the lucky chair who gets to select an Honorable Mention for our new category.

My Avant Garde Honorable Mention cover is from a November Harlequin Nocturne,  Siren’s Secret by Debbie Herbert.  The blues and greens make a lovely backdrop for the underwater siren.  I love the gauzy, multicolored gown used to replicate the mermaid’s tail. You can tell the model was really under water for the photo shoot and that fact alone makes this an Avant Garde cover.  Even the photographer was “under the sea”  during the shoot.  (OK, swimming pool but he did an amazing job.)  The illustrator also created a terrific sea background to complete the illusion.   Here is a link to   Harlequin’s Paranormal Blog Post about Siren’s Secret.

Siren's Secret

Harlequin Nocturne – November, 2013

Next is our Contemporary Romance Category – This category includes Category Series,  Contemporary Romance, and Contemporary Alternate Reality covers.

Lee’s first choice  – “Sea of Love by Susan Donovan because I love wind chimes and summer and beach houses.  I want to be there!”


Signet – December, 2013

Lee’s second choice –  “I also loved the cover of , The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson.  The colored bricks are so pretty and the veil draws your attention to them.”

The Icing on the Cake

Revell – August, 2013

Kat’s choice –  “I picked That Reckless Night by  Kimberly Van Meter.   This cover is fun and makes me smile.  It really looks like they are having a good time and they are ready to make a double snow angel. The snow and the positioning of the couple make this cover stand out from the rest.  It makes me feel cold (from the snow) and warm (from the embrace) at the same time.  It’s cozy and fun.”

That Reckless Night

Harlequin – November, 2013

Our Historical Romance Category is one of the all time favorites in our contest. It includes Historical Series, Historicals, and Historical Alternate Reality covers.

Jenny’s  first choice  – “The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson – it was so close to making the finals,  it deserves an honorable mention.   Intriguing cover and play on the old fairy tale.”

The Fairest Beauty

Zondervan – January, 2013

Jenny’s second choice – “It Happened at the Fair  by DeeAnne Gist – such a beautiful dress,  nice backdrop and sepia colors.  I just like this cover.”

It Happened at the Fair

Howard Books – April, 2013

Our Two-Image Cover Category is one of our most popular and also the most difficult to administer because stepback covers are seldom included online with the front cover.   Here are the 2013 Honorable Mentions for  TIC.

Lee’s choice -  ” Loved Jillian Hunter’s The Mistress Memoirs.  The dress on the cover is gorgeous and I love the colors of the accessories that surround the woman.  The stepback is simple and classy.”

The Mistress Memoirs

Signet – March, 2013

Kat’s choice –  “Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt is a beautiful cover. I love the mix of colors with the peach dress and green background. I also love the details of the dress including the the bows in the front and the lace at the sleeves. I especially love the attention to detail with the pattern and color of the dress being used on the bar at the side. Elizabeth Hoyt’s books always have great covers.”

Lord of Darkness

Grand Central Publishing – February, 2013

Last but not least, is our infamous Worst Category. I have the  somber duty of selecting  an unlucky cover for Honorable Mention.

My choice is Out of Smoke and Ashes by Tymber Dalton because of the cluttered “everything but the kitchen sink”  layout.  Where should I begin?  I will start with the  male triplets rising out of a pair of sinister eyes or it could be a man with his two clone sidekicks.  I can’t tell.  Below the eyes, there is something furry surrounding the woman’s head and the fur seems to morph into a male arm or her arm.  I still can’t tell for sure what is going on.   Are the furry eyes and arm consuming the woman legs first?  Are the triplets or clones trying to rescue her?   Just between you and me,  striking a pose is not the best method for rescuing a woman being absorbed by a hairy beast.  I’m sure this release is a sexy story about shape shifters but the cover is one hot mess.

Out of Smoke and Ashes

Siren Publishing – July, 2013

That’s it for the 2013 Honorable Mentions! On Thursday, the 2013 contest will go live for public voting. Make sure you mark your calendar and visit Cover Cafe between May 1st and May 21st and vote in the annual cover contest. There are 60 covers waiting for your votes!

Cover Cafe’s 2013 Cover Contest Is Online


We’re celebrating the best and worst in 2013 Romance Books Covers!

Update 05/22/14:  Cover Cafe’s 2013 Cover Contest online voting has closed.

Contest results will be posted online in early June, 2014.


We will be posting comments received via email, comments, and social media on this post throughout the voting. If you have a general comment about the contest,  please leave it in the comment section below.

Update:  Below are a few comments we’ve received from authors.

Freda Warrington – Author of the Grail Of The Summer Stars – Avant Garde Finalist
Fantastic to see Ms K.Y. Craft’s cover to my novel GRAIL OF THE SUMMER STARS on the shortlist! She is a fantastic artist, and an author’s dream – she reads the whole book before starting work, and the painting is full of details from the story.

Myra Johnson – Author of  When the Clouds Roll By – Avant Garde Finalist
Thanks so much for this news! I have always been super-pleased with Abingdon Press’s gorgeous book covers, and this one (naturally!) is a personal favorite!

Jennifer Laam – Author of  The Secret Daughter of the Tsar – Avant Garde Finalist
Hi Linnae–This is so cool! Thanks for letting me know. The cover design credit is Lisa Marie Pompilio at St. Martin’s Griffin… Thanks again :)  Jennifer

Samantha Young – Author of Down London Road - Contemporary Finalist
Thank you so much for letting me know. Fantastic news!

Lucy King – Author of  The Reunion Lie – Contemporary Finalist
Hello, Thanks so much for this fabulous news! I have to admit, the cover of  The Reunion Lie is my absolute favorite so far. I’ll publicize the contest on Twitter & FB, and keep my fingers crossed that it does well!! Best wishes.

Rachel Gibson – Author of Blue By You – Contemporary Finalist
Thanks for the FYI. I love the cover of Blue By You. It’s one of a very few covers that Avon has let me pick out.

Cindy Gerard – Author of  The Way Home – Contemporary Finalist
Hi Lee – Thanks so much for this great news! I love the cover for The Way Home and so excited that it made the finals.

Cover Cafe’s New Category – Avant Garde Covers

In the past, the annual contest categories were added or deleted  based on changes in publishing and the romance industry.  In 2013, the Alternate Reality and Category Series were combined with the Contemporary and Historical categories based on the time frame of the story.    The decision was based on a category’s previous contest popularity and the number of publishers releasing pure romances in that category.

We’ve made another change this year but this change involves adding a new category.  One of the primary goals of the contest is promoting excellence in cover design.   However, eBooks & stock photos have created a glut of cookie cutter covers and excellence is often sacrificed.  To honor the brave designers who think outside the trend,  Cover Cafe is  launching a new category showcasing creative, unique cover designs.

Avant Garde

We are proud to introduce the “Avant Garde” category for the 2013 contest.  This year, the committee chairs will select ten finalists for the spring 2013 contest.    Nominations for 2014 Avant Garde covers for next year’s contest are open via our Nomination form.   We want  covers that do not follow the latest trends, or if they do follow trends, they have a unique spin and the trend seems fresh.

We are looking for covers that are cutting edge, unique, future trend setters, inventive, and/or  feature a fresh approach in cover design. The covers can be from any of the existing contest categories but they can also be from women’s fiction, historicals,  straight mysteries, or even thrillers. We are looking for the trail blazers in cover design.