Friday Book Cover: Behind the Scenes with Audio Covers

Hello and happy Friday to all the Story Empire readers! P. H. Solomon here today with the Friday book cover post and some behind-the-scenes information you may find helpful. First, let me say we aren’t big on self-promotion at Story Empire and often shy away from it. However, today I’m straying a little with some of my own work for a purpose so please be patient.

This week marked the release of my first audio book, published on Audible by Podium Publishing  (a company which cut its publishing teeth on none other than The Martian). I’m honored that Podium sought me out based on sales of my series, The Bow of Hart Saga. The first book, The Bow of Destiny, was released on the 25th and is performed/narrated by Tim Bruce.

What does this have to do with a book cover?

My series was a self-publishing effort in e-book only and, because of this fact, I had to work with an artist with my covers. For me, I found the task rather simple because my artist is great and nailed the covers easily based on my descriptions. Fantasy requires original artwork so it can be costly and getting good results is very important. Here’s the e-book cover for the first book:

Here’s where it gets deeper behind the scenes. When you reach an agreement with an audio book publisher, they begin asking for a lot of information, one of which is for the cover-art. This is where things let you know it’s very different than what you’ve experienced previously and this was the case for me.

Cover artists don’t always want to give up control of their content for understandable reasons. Some may charge for the original development files while others may be unwilling to provide them to the author. In my case,  after an introduction to the Podium representative and a request, my artist was willing to send the necessary files directly to Podium which was very generous on his part. Main hurdle cleared and on to the rest of the tale.

Audio book covers have different dimensions from e-book covers which is why a publisher wants the original artwork files – they need to make some conversions and add their own information to the title. The dimensions of an audio book cover are square which is much different to what was originally created.

Also, if you intend to move into the audio book arena, be aware that the narrator will get a billing along with you, the author. Likewise, the publisher wants to brand the audio cover with their logo so it’s clear who released the edition.

As a result, a self-published author will have less input on the end result, but in my case, that was fine since they were re-using the original cover-art. But it is clear to me that Podium has their own way of doing things. Yet they were most gracious in working with me at all. So here’s the cover of the audio edition:

These covers are enhanced with an almost 3-D effect and the artist has brought out more detail than seen on the smaller e-book cover. It’s a very nice result and, coupled with the narration, it makes for a wonderful audio book if I do say so myself. The cover stands out even more and is a definite upgrade. If you missed it, our own C. S. Boyack examined these original e-book covers in depth earlier this year with his take on why they work.

Here’s a couple of bonuses in terms of covers today. First, this is a bit of a cover reveal for the next audio book in The Bow of Hart Saga, An Arrow Against the Wind, which is due out on Audible in late October. I don’t have links yet for the pre-orders so check my site for updates if you are interested. The e-book cover is first and then the audio:

That’s pretty exciting to have at this early stage. Again, you can see the differences in the two types of covers, with the audio version being even more eye-catching than the one for the e-book. If you are working on audio or have an offer, this is what you can expect to be different. As a reader/listener, you can see that the publisher really enhances the cover-art and sets it apart at the same time. By the way, if you are interested in self-publishing an audio book, our own Harmony Kent shared her experiences with her own projects last December.

Now for the last bonus. Podium also published The Bow of Hart Saga: Prequel Pack which is a combined edition of my two series prequel novellas entitled Trading Knives and What Is Needed. The covers were a DIY project since these were intended to be free and I could not afford artwork for them:


Podium published the prequel pack with a variation of the cover from An Arrow Against the Wind, just to keep it similar. The result is attractive and, even better, it’s also a free edition available on AudFans. If you want to hear a good sample of narrator Tim Bruce’s performance, just click the link or the cover. Personally, I was mesmerized by Tim’s work, but more on audio in general on an upcoming regular post day.

So there you have it, the differences between e-book (self-published) and audio (traditionally published) covers with the why and how they are different. What are your reactions to the results? Have you ever considered the cover differences between e-book and audio, or even the requirements when shifting between self-published and traditionally published? Have you self-published audio? If so, what were your experiences with the differences? Please leave your thoughts and reactions in the comments and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for being a part of Story Empire today!

P.H. Solomon

23 thoughts on “Friday Book Cover: Behind the Scenes with Audio Covers

  1. Pingback: Working with an Audio-book Publisher | Archer's Aim

  2. I’m late to the party but I found this whole process fascinating. The covers are absolutely gorgeous! Podium did an outstanding job.
    Thanks for the look into how this all works. I’ve never done audio but it was interesting to see the transition from ebook to audio.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

    • Hi Jacquie! Good question. Podium takes on all the risk just like a traditional print publisher. The chose the narrator, the release day, etc. At first, they wanted to publish the entire series in one big edition but changed their minds in August. I can only guess that they like the production so well they wanted three editions plus the free one. The only difference in this traditional is that they used my covers to create the ones for audio, but that’s commonly what audio publishers do with the big publishers anyway.

      ACX varies where you can do all the work or share the risk with a producer/narrator team so it’s more self-publishing.

      I was very fortunate to be offered the contract from Podium because I doubt I would have ever been able to produce this high a quality audio book on my own. It has been a pleasure to work with Podium and I’m thankful for the opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, those audio covers are truly gorgeous! It’s amazing how they managed to keep all the beauty from the book covers, even with the extra info added. I’d buy one of those . . . except for that part where my hearing is so far gone that I can’t understand much audio, even with state of the art hearing aids. 😦 But they sure would look PURTY on my shelves. Thanks for an informative (and did I say PURTY?) post!

    Liked by 1 person

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