What's Behind Book Covers?


The first three Dooven Books have been extensively rewritten, re-recorded, re-produced and reborn to ensure they're worthy of the arrival of their newest sibling. Their release coincides with new ebook and audiobook covers, an exciting new website and explosive new cinematics.


Let’s take a look at the principles behind digital book cover design.


An audiobook or ebook cover is arguably the most important aspect of digital book presentation. It must make an immediate emotional connection with the right reader while conveying not only the book’s style, but something of its story. In the case of the Dooven Books, this communication is complicated by them being New Fable, an emerging fiction genre, and not readily exploited by genre-specific imagery.


The new covers, designed by Manfred Holland of Highway 51, aim to counter obscurity in several ways. “We needed to communicate a lot of information to potential readers,” he says, “without the advantage of leveraging preconceived stereotyping, which relies of the reader, being a fan of a specific genre, to fill in the blanks. This is often achieved by using a single representative image to ensure a non-cluttered space, and the use of appropriate colour and well-chosen font.”


Digital book covers, by virtue of being browsed as thumbnails, require simple, often single images to ensure they’re comprehensible on screens. Along with effective colour use, this is the most efficient means of conveying what a book is about in order to pique the right reader’s interest.


“That said, it's often it’s not about the imagery,” he says, “but the font use and colour composition that conveys atmosphere. Anyone who’s experienced memorable fiction knows it’s the vibe that remains long after the book’s been read, rather than character or plot. A good cover design must convey something of a book’s vibe in an instant. It must also be truthful, and not make promises the text can’t keep.”


In the case of the Dooven Books, it was decided that four characteristics needed to be conveyed: high adventure, anthropomorphism, romance and escapism, being the books’ principle themes. In addition, the vibrant characters and humour would be conveyed through font.


“It was obvious,” says Manfred, “that a film strip motif would be the best means of conveying multiple images within a single mechanism, and also hint at the books’ cinematics, as the Cinematic Audiobook editions are the titles’ most popular format. As a result, three images per title, stemming from the book’s scenes would be incorporated alongside the Dooven Books’ logo, which is not only essential for branding, but would meet the requirements of representing their anthropomorphism.”


Although the proposed covers impressed Simon Collington of Panda Books Australia, the books’ author found far less enthusiasm for them. Indeed, Thomas insisted that he preferred the previous covers because they were simpler to read and didn’t hurt in the brain. When the rationale outlined above was explained, Thomas covered his ears and said he wasn’t going to listen if long words were used. Fortunately, due to signed contractual clauses, Thomas’ opinion was ignored, as were his subsequent temper tantrums, one of which was so intense it resulted in spontaneous defecation.


“Although we’re becoming accustomed to Thomas’ ongoing opposition to our attempts at improving and promoting his titles,” says Simon, “his tantrums are becoming increasingly spectacular. This was certainly the first time I’ve had to wipe him down afterwards.”


These new and vibrant covers will complement the re-written and re-recorded titles, and allow the Velvet Paw of Asquith Novels to become the quintessential examples of the emerging New Fable genre fiction.