Book Cover Contest – Making Lemonade and Spreading the Sweets

Contest Announcement!

As you likely heard, I’ve been obligated to remove my first novel, “The Sauder Diaries – By Any Other Name“, from the shelves as a result of a copyright infringement issue stemming from the systemically unethical actions of my former publisher. This is a bit of a kick in the teeth, since the book was doing remarkably well for a new author’s first release by any metric I was able to determine from blogs and common wisdom.

This has left me with a problem of likely not being able to have another publisher of any size touch the title due to legal mire issues. So, I’ll be self-publishing this one to get it back out on shelves where people can enjoy it.

The other issue that comes out of this, of course, is cover art. So here is what I want to do…

A contest! Essentially, I’m asking everyone who is an artist of -any- grade at all to take a shot at doing my cover art for “The Sauder Diaries – By Any Other Name”. The rules are really simple:

Starting today, send your submissions to, subject “TSD Cover Contest“.   In the email, ensure the image title, your “artist name“, preferred contact email address and preferred portfolio website are there, as well as your image.

I will also need to see the following phrase in your submission:

I promise that to the best of my knowledge this is original artwork to which I own all rights, royalties and ownership. If I win, I understand this work will be reproduced as a book cover on an eBook, Trade Paperback and possibly Hardcover edition of “The Sauder Diaries – By Any Other Name”.

… if that isn’t there, I can’t accept your submission. Sorry. Burned once already. 🙁

Your image must be 300dpi, 6.75in x 4.125in (172mm x 107mm). Send me anything else, and I’ll just resize it to those numbers and put that up for you — wether it looks good or not. 😉

On the 14th of February, I’ll put a gallery of submissions up where everyone can see them and folks can comment/ vote for favorites. On the 28th of February, I’ll take a look and in conjunction with popular opinion, I’ll chose the winner. (see the update below)

Everyone who participates gets a free copy of “The Sauder Diaries – By Any Other Name” with the new artwork. All entries will be permanently hosted here on my site on a dedicated page with full attribution and link back to the artists email address and portfolio website.

The winner gets $100 and I’ll use thier image on the re-release of “The Sauder Diaries – By Any Other Name” with full attribution on the back cover and in the book blurb where ever it is hosted.


  1.  If you won’t want me to use your image as my book cover on a book that has already been selling in North America, South America and Europe, please don’t enter.
  2.  If $100 plus word-fame is not enough recompense for your time and work on this cover, I’m sorry but that’s the best I can do, so please don’t enter.
  3. By entering into this contest, you’re agreeing to the terms and conditions of the contest. If you don’t like them, please don’t enter.
  4. By entering into this contest, you are making a legal declaration that you have full rights to anything you submit and that I’m not going to get a call from Marvel, Square Enyx, Morano or The Artist Mafia Collective about my book cover. If you can’t do that, please don’t enter.
  5.  Just because you have entered doesn’t mean you will win. Just because you and everyone you’ve never met on Twitter voted for you doesn’t mean you will win.  If I really don’t like what you’ve done, I’m still allowed to say no. It’s my book, after all.  If you can’t get that, please don’t enter.
  6. If you want to have some fun, help a starting novelist get his feet back under him, and maybe wind up seen by readers and Steampunk art fans on three continents, PLEASE DO ENTER.

Welcome to the Cover Games!

(8th Feb 2012) Update on the contest:

Thanks to a $200 donation from Alexandre Quesnel of Seattle, WA, the prize stack for the contest just got richer. Instead of $100 for first place, prizes will instead be:

First place …. $150
Second place … $100
Third place …. $50

… as before, everyone who enters gets a copy of the ebook with the winning artwork when it is re-released on Amazon.

Also, I’ve had one artist submit a front and back cover piece, which is very cool. To accomodate that here are the art sizes, revisted:

Front Cover Only: 300dpi, 6.75in tall x 4.125in wide (172mm x 107mm)
Front & Back Cover Ensemble: 300dpi, 6.75in tall x 9.25in wide (172mm x 235mm)

If you’re looking for a “quickie” about the book, it’s a Steampunk airship-pirate adventure-romance. Be sure to check information found at the “About The Sauder Diaries” tab. You can also read the first chapter of Book 1 on Scribd at

(8th Feb 2012) Update to the Update on the contest:

After some consultation and recommendations from artists interested in participating and participating in the contest, I’m moving the dates back to give more time to folks to really rock this.

So, on the 28th of February, I’ll put a gallery of submissions up where everyone can see them and folks can comment/ vote for favorites. On the 14th of March, I’ll take a look and in conjunction with popular opinion, I’ll chose the winner.

The idea is for the eBook to return to the shelves on April 1st, 2012.  Stay tuned for details.

7 thoughts on “Book Cover Contest – Making Lemonade and Spreading the Sweets

  1. Michael,
    I am another author who pulled works from Trestle. He even ‘borrowed’ the Trestle logo!

    I presume the same about not being able to have anyone else publish The Red Notebook. The second piece I sent to him, The Bridge, was not yet published. Were there any precautions you took as far as severing your relationship with Trestle other than an email?

    Anyway, I see that you are having a book cover contest – great way to get back in there. I am going to let my talented daughter-in-law know about it.

    I work with another epublisher here in the states. Do you need a name?

    Pat Bohnert

    • Hi, Pat.

      I’m in Canada, so my experience will likely be a bit different than yours. The biggest thing is sending a registered letter to anyone you stop doing business with saying that you are ending the business relationship, any contracts or agreements between you and they are closed as of that letter, and that all rights to your creative work revert to you.

      Beyond that, your best option is to call a local lawyer and get a quick opinion about what you have to do to ensure that the creative rights to your work are indisputably yours.

      Best of luck with your own stepping out. Feel free to have the ePublisher take a look at might blog site and contact me if they are interested. Who knows where it might go.

      I hope your daughter-in-law gives it a shot. I really am trying to turn this experience into something positive for everyone.


  2. Pingback: A quick update about the state of progress for “The Sauder Diaries” | Split Horizons

  3. I’ve read about the Trestle Press scandal, sorry you had to get caught in the middle of it 🙁

    Though on the bright side, my sister is a freelance designer and I’m emailing her the details of your contest right now. Hopefully she can whip something up for you 🙂 Do you have any specific vision in mind for the cover? Is there maybe an inspirational blurb you can put up / link to as a prompt for the artists?

    • Hi, Dasia! Thanks very much for the kind words. If you tell your sister (and any other artist for that matter) to click “About The Sauder Diaries” in the menu bar at either the top or the bottom of the page, they should be able to find a fair amount of information.

      As well, the entire first chapter is available on Scribd to read for free:

      As well, tell anyone that is interested that they can email me at and I’ll be glad to answer any questions they have.

      As for what I’m looking for… hmm. The best I can tell you is “something that says Steampunk airship pirate adventure romance”.

      Thanks again for stopping by!

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