The Best of the 30 Covers in 30 Days Project

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By now, most of you probably know about NaNoWriMo, the annual month of writing sponsored by nonprofit the Office of Letters and Light. What you may not know is that every year 30 novels-in-progress being written through NaNoWriMo are chosen to receive the full cover design treatment, courtesy of a team of professional designers organized by the mega-talented John Gall. Each designer is given the title and synopsis of three novels, and must pick one and design a cover for it in a mere 24 hours. Though many of them are top-notch, there are, of course, some that really stand out — we made our choices based on originality, skill, and which covers would make us pick the book off the shelf. Click through to see our ten favorite cover designs from the 30 Covers in 30 Days project, then check out the rest of the designs over at the Office of Letters and Light blog, and let us know whether you agree with our picks in the comments!

On the Breath of Rita by figsandthistles

Designed by Zut Alors!

29-year-old Rita has long admired Matthew, the bike messenger who picks up her envelopes at the office to courier them to downtown courthouses. But one day Matthew arrives solemn and concerned. She asks him a question that will carry her into the heart of his strange life, and in the days that follow, into a strange universe filled with muses and half-humans in the middle of a war, for which Matthew is of the utmost importance.

Rita has to decide if she will stay with Matthew and risk becoming a part of this universe in which her human breath is valued for the power it contains to bring things to life, or turn away from the battle with the elements in this realm that are slowly taking over her mind.

Switch by caropuig

Designed by Jon Contino

In a world where body switching is not only possible but also highly illegal, Ann Porter is a federal agent in charge of pursuing rogue switchers — that is, when they survive. Ann and her partner, Jeffrey, are thrown into an investigation of a series of odd cases. Seemingly unrelated at first, they slowly begin to find small clues and similarities tying them together.

By pure luck and chance they find themselves after an underground ring of switchers. Their leader claims they only help people perform consensual and agreed upon switches, but a rebellious enemy group has decided to use the technology for their own means. Kidnappings and forced evictions (switching bodies without consent) are only a few of the things they are willing to do to get their plans in motion.

It is now up to Ann and Jeffrey to find the group and bring them to justice. But will they be able to find them in time? Or will they get sucked into the dangerous and almost lethal game of switching?

WANTED: Monster Making Apprentice by Ayesha123Play

Designed by Bráulio Amado

Adrienne Vaudelay, a teenage girl, is desperate for money to go on a safari. After searching through newspapers she comes across a strange advertisement in the job section:

“Interested In Working With Fascinating and Unique Creatures? I seek a diligent young adult to assist me with working with these amazing creatures. The faint-of-heart need not apply. Must be unafraid of fangs, and venomous, dangerous living things. Must have high level of curiosity. Contact J. Delerone”

Assuming it’s just snakes, Adrienne goes ahead and applies for the job, without looking closely at the contract. Until she realizes this isn’t any old job. She just signed on to be an apprentice in making the strangest and most DANGEROUS monsters that only myths spoke of. Well, they WERE myths until now…

The Wonder Room by MrHeywire

Designed by Christopher King

In the 1940s, Hazel is a strange woman who has an obsession with time travel and wants to spend an eternity exploring the far reaches of time. A deal with the devil looks like it will make her dreams a reality. But, of course, there’s a catch.

In the 1970s, Fletcher is a lonely child whose only friend is a stray dog. When the dog is caught in a house fire, Fletcher goes in to save it, only to need to be saved himself. After his rescue, he becomes strangely disturbed.

In 2009, Andrew meets an old homeless man who seems completely insane, but the things he says seems to make more sense than they should. The friendship that forms between the two leads Andrew closer towards understanding more about the nature of his existence.

The story of an eternal soul that enters a new body when the person dies. Each person the soul possesses is strangely drawn to The Wonder Room. Inside, the soul is temporarily freed from the body and its host fully understands their existence in a moment of ecstasy before dying and the soul is thrust through time and space into another body. Fletcher, however, accidentally breaks the cycle by being rescued from The Wonder Room before dying when he is a child and so spends the rest of his life understanding his existence, though it makes him sound deranged to everyone until he meets Andrew, his next incarnation. And so, a battle with fate begins.

Clash of the Pulps by nbcabaniss

Designed by Edel Rodriguez

1947. The war is over, and the heroes are gone. Once shining and glorious and everything humanity aspired to be, the heroes of the 1930’s are now either retired, missing or dead; their golden age brought to a screeching halt with the advent of the Second World War. Now, three of the world’s greatest adventurers must return:

There’s Alexander Steele, III, one of the smartest men in the world and an Olympic-level athlete, someone on whom the war has taken its toll. He spends his nights now alone – waiting, hoping for a chance to restart his glory days.

Albrecht Engel, a German-born fighter pilot – some say the best in the world. He carries the burden of the destruction of the Phantom Legion, his own private army of pilots and airmen, for which he feels responsible.

And Dusk, the masked vigilante who haunted Depression-era Manhattan, cleansing the mean streets of the dregs of society. But is he really who he claims to be? Just who exactly is it under that mask?

Now, all three must put aside their personal demons and return to stop one of their oldest, most powerful foes…

The Seawrack Wars by tomato-greens

Designed by Chris Silas Neal

The first time Zee Khalil saw a mermaid scalp for sale, she was ten. Six years later, the mermaid tourist trade is the only thing standing between her small island fishing town and its absorption into one of its larger mainland neighbors. Though the town has received some negative press, Zee’s never seen a problem––mermaids are legal prey, and traps have come a long way since the first mermaids were netted. She should know; after all, her dad was one of the first fishermen to adopt and promote the new humane policies.

Then his body washes up on shore, wrapped carefully in mermaid hair. All of a sudden, the town is flooded with big city reporters and the governor’s being pressured to shut them down. Someone’s not following the rules. And Zee plans on finding out who.

A Maddening Science by Vega

Designed by Tal Goretsky

Bullets fired into a crowd. Screaming. Blood. Police sirens in the distance, coming closer, making me cringe against old memories. Making me skulk into the shadows, hunch down in my hoodie. The last place I want to be is the centre of attention for the cops again. I sink back into the fabric, shying from the broad helicopter searchlights. But there are people bleeding into the gutter. Children screaming. Women crying. Men crying, too, not that any of them would admit it. The scent of gun powder, rotting garbage, vomit, and misery.

If this had been before, I might have leapt into action with one of my trusty gizmos. Or, failing that, at least with a witty verbal assault that would have left the moron too brain-befuddled to resist when I punched him in the esophagus.

But this isn’t before. This is after, and I am a supervillain no more.

… Let me tell you about before.

Marigold Man by Argyle Schield

Designed by Mark Abrams

A regular joe named Paul, anonymous office worker by day and gardener by other times, discovers the incredible fecundity of marigolds: one plant produces hundreds of seeds, each of which can produce hundreds more.

He hatches (or plants) a plan to change (or at least brighten a bit) the world with marigolds. He starts his little revolution solo, planting seeds wherever he can, but soon discovers his noble but (frankly) pathetic efforts barely make a dent. The world is still the useful, practical, prosaic place it has always been. He finds a group of (somewhat) like-minded people who, next planting season, join the quest.

The small group, by the third year, becomes almost an army (a word Paul hates because it’s the antithesis of everything marigold), a veritable congregation of marigold planters, determined optimists who only want a world with a dab of color and poetry. His revolution grows to sizes and takes him to places he never dreamed he’d get to, so much so that he almost loses himself and everything he values most in the process.

The Lying Division by Chillibean

Designed by Jacob Covey

Sixteen-year-old Klyte is the reluctant new recruit of the Lying Division. His job is to keep the peasants content by twisting the truth, but it’s not that simple. Visere says everything they do is legal, but Visere’s a Liar. And a killer.

Within days, Klyte sees just how good the Liars are at their job. The King always has his way, and everyone who opposes him are ‘persuaded’ otherwise. Any whisper of rebellion results in a mass interrogation. Any vigilantes looking for a revolt are supposed to be stamped out. But they aren’t. And they will kill for freedom.

Then Klyte realizes that his worst fear shouldn’t be the vigilantes. It shouldn’t be the impending civil war. It should be the person right under his nose, smiling that knowing smile and twirling a knife behind his back.

James: or the Boy Who Eventually Grew Up by melbelle0418

Designed by Jennifer Carrow

Before Peter Pan lived in Neverland there were others. James was the first who lived alone until he and his fairy, Flare, met Lily. James and Lily started a home for the lost boys and girls who ended up on Neverland, all accompanied by a lovely fairy.

James was the accepted leader of the children who lived in the woods, and they all knew to stay friendly with each other because the more you think and feel like a grown up, the faster you will become one. Then a child is brought to the island, a baby who is more angry than any other child.

He grows into a boy fast, and an arrogant boy at that, who claims to be the leader of the “lost boys.” James enters into a downward spiral: he loses his fairy to a non-believing moment, his only girl he ever loved to the sea where she lives as a mermaid, and his best friend Lily to the plateau where her skin grows red and she calls herself Tiger. James ages quicker than ever as he tried to find a way to bring down Peter Pan.