30 Book Covers in ONE Day (A NaNoWriMo Experiment)

30 Book Covers in ONE Day (A NaNoWriMo Experiment)


30 book covers nanowrimo

I almost, but then didn’t, start writing a novel this November. I’ve got way too much to do.

But I did hire two writers to work on my book ideas for me, which is thrilling.

And I want to do something fun to participate in the NaNoWrimo movement – which is a huge and supportive community of indie writers.

They have an ongoing tradition of “30 Covers in 30 days” where they feature different book cover designers, but I didn’t get involved.

So instead I’m offering my own version – but I’m going to do all 30 covers in ONE day of espresso-fueled cover design madness, to replicate the kind of intense focus and constant creative production that NaNoWriMo is all about.

I think it’s fitting to do it on December 1st.

I prefer doing makeovers, so if you’ve got a very poor mockup made and I can give it a shiny makeover, that’s easiest.

But if you have no idea about the cover yet, just send me (you can post in the comments):

The Title, Author Name, Tagline/subtitle/blurb or other text, a very short synopsis (your elevator pitch. What’s the central idea?) You can briefly describe the main character, but keep it short and don’t post a ton of info about the plot. Setting, genre, major conflict.

I’ll pick 30 out of the comments. I charge $629 for ebook covers right now, so this is an $18870 Giveaway.

This offer is meant for NaNoWrimo books, and I’ll choose them based on the elevator pitch. If you have other books already that are selling well, please let me know (you can link to your Amazon page).

PS) Obviously I’m going to make these quickly, they won’t be my best work, and they may not be perfect, but they’ll be very decent covers and you can use them if you like them.


  • Simone Pond Posted

    This is an amazing offer! I’m a participant of the torture aka NaNoWriMo. I’m currently at 9130 words and plan to have a really shitty first draft by the end of November. December will be National Editing Month! I’d love the opportunity to have you design my book cover!!!

    Voices of the Apocalypse

    Simone Pond

    During the 21st century, a group of elites implemented a program called “the Repatterning.” They marketed it as a way to restore society, but in reality it was a man-made apocalypse designed to kill off a majority of the population. This is a collection of short stories about the people who fought against the Repatterning.

  • Jim Kukral Posted

    This is one of the coolest promotions I’ve ever seen. Here’s an idea Derek. Turn on Screenflow when you start. Record the entire day. Then, take the video and put it in an editing program and fast forward the playback at like 10x speed. Would be a really fun video to show the work being done all day wouldn’t it?

    • Derek Murphy Posted

      That’s a freaking awesome idea! Will do!

    • Jason Croft Posted

      Fantastic idea!

  • pd workman Posted

    Oh, and I should mention, if mine is picked, that the stalker is not her ex-boyfriend, as she originally assumes, but a woman, so if there is a figure on the cover, gender should not be obvious…

  • Bronwen Fleetwood Posted

    A fantastic idea!!

    Title: Statutory State
    Author: Bronwen Fleetwood
    Setting: Contemporary, central New Jersey
    Genre: Young Adult
    Major Conflict: Daughter vs. Father, faith vs. secularism, sexuality vs. purity

    At sixteen Janine Harper knows her own mind, and she makes sure others hear about it. Her father Reggie is on the cusp of a mid-life crisis that leads him to an evangelical church, which inspires him to radically change the rules of their household. Janine bristles against anyone telling her what to think, and humoring him becomes harder and harder as Reggie increasingly tries to dictate her personal life, from who she should date to how far she should go with them. When he ropes her into a Purity Ball, and a vow that goes against all she believes in, Janine has to decide what she values more: Honesty, or her father’s love. If she lies, she becomes the morally bankrupt teen delinquent her father is afraid of. But can she bring herself to sacrifice the love of her father in the name of honesty? Statutory State is a blend of Easy A, Saved!, and the Confessions of Georgia Nicholson.

  • Vijay Narayan Posted

    Thanks so much for doing this, Derek!

    Title: The Wing Collector
    Author: Vijay Narayan
    Genre: Middle Grade Mystery
    Setting: Mid-Atlantic, Small University Town

    Plot: Everybody believes Melody Klesmer is sabotaging her own elaborate prize-winning butterfly displays.

    Twelve-year-old detective Andre Laurent and his loyal assistant Toad are on the case to clear her name. But this mystery is more insidious and psychological than anything Andre’s ever seen before, and he’s forced to bring on a mysterious consultant named Neel Sheth, who may or may not have an agenda of his own.

  • Nikki Davis Posted

    Thanks for this. I’m at a loss for a cover on this project.

    Title: Under the Fresh Turned Earth
    Author: Nikki Davis
    Genre: MG Magical Realism
    Setting: The Drutherton Cemetery. I had envisioned this as an old cemetery with crumbling headstones.

    Like all fifteen-year- old girls, Nel has friends who are alive, but she spends most of her time with the dead in the Drutherton Cemetery. Her idea of a perfect afternoon is lying in the dirt of the fresh dug graves, imaging what stories those buried beneath hold onto.

  • Wilson Geiger Posted

    Great idea, Derek! And a fantastic chance for 30 people.

    Title: Ash and Flame
    Author: Wilson Geiger
    Genre: Urban fantasy/horror
    Setting: An abandoned cement plant, stationed off the coast of the Mississippi, a few miles south of what used to be St. Louis.

    The Accord between Heaven and Hell has been broken, and armageddon reigns on the shattered husk of the earth as the war between angels and demons rages on. A father, Ren, and his young daughter Emma flee from the darkness, stalked by nightmares. Rescued from one of the Fallen by an angel, Ithuriel the Spear, and a band of human survivors, Ren must come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t coincidence that the Fallen found them. Hell has a plan for his daughter, and he might already be too late to save her.

  • Serena Bianca De Matteis Posted

    I just learnt about you thanks to the March to a Best Seller event on Facebook: so happy for this, and what a chance you are giving us, thank you very much! Below my NaNoWriMo novel, and here’s the link where you can see the picture I’m currently using:

    Title: Crystal
    Subtitle: The Elemental War – book 1 (…or something like that?)
    Author: Serena Bianca de Matteis
    Genre: Paranormal Romance/New Adult
    Setting: Medium University Town. There’s a forest and a wild National Park Forest in the neighbourhood.

    Since her childhood, 20twenty-year-old Anna has never had the normal life she dreamed of, because of her strange psychiatric disease. Just when a mysterious monk finally helps her heal, she discovers that she belongs to a supernatural world and finds herself in the middle of a war, torn between two great and undeniable loves.

  • Rio Haldane Posted

    Thirty covers in one day? Wow. That’s a big undertaking. Good luck!
    I have to say, I’m excited for another round of Murphy Cover Makeovers.

    Title: River by the Demons (book one)
    Series title: Deeper than Dead
    Author name: Rio Haldane
    Genre: YA urban fantasy/paranormal
    Setting: City of Sydney

    When an aggressive, obscure plague he is apparently immune to erupts in the suburbs of Sydney, ten-year-old local boy, River Noble, is one of the first quarantined. After five years enduring near constant solitary confinement in which he is subject to experimentation in order for scientists to learn more about the plague, River is inspired to escape and into action by the return of an old hallucination. To help cleanse the world of the demons that are slowly wiping everyone out under the guise of an illness, River not only has to team up with one, but he has to do it fast, before the angels find him.

    I have a pretty poor mess of ideas I’m hesitant to call even a mockup, but I’d be happy to supply it if need be. Also, the MS will be workshopped. Thanks!

  • Matt Kurtz Posted

    Hi, Derek! This is an awesome opportunity for writers on a limited budget! Thank you so much for helping us out!

    Here’s my submission for consideration:

    Title: Backwoods
    Author: Matt Kurtz
    Genre: Action/Thriller/Horror

    After turning from predators to prey, criminal brothers Ray and Eric must fight their way through the backwoods of Texas against an inbred family of bloodthirsty maniacs.

  • S.M. Hill Posted

    What an awesome (and generous!) idea. I can’t wait to see the outcome. I’ll throw my nanonovel in for consideration.

    Title: How To Be a Monster
    Subtitle: A Freak Table Novel
    Author: S.M. Hill
    Genre: Contemporary YA
    This book is about a high school basketball player involved in an accident that claims both his legs and leaves half his face horribly scarred. Now he must learn to navigate his changing place in the high school hierarchy and the world at large as an amputee.

  • Jessie Costin Posted

    Title: Chasing Summer

    Author: Jessica Copely

    Synopsis: Amber chases summer around the globe, from one tanned-body filled beach (and bed) to the next. Her life is perpetual sunshine. But she can’t outrun time.

    When illness traps her in a hospital bed in the middle of an miserable Australian winter, everything she was trying to escape starts catching up with her. Will the one male nurse in her ward be enough of a spark in the darkness to bring her back, or will her shadows over take them both?

    (I have a really crummy mock up I can send with this too.)

  • Laura Roberts Posted

    Love this idea! I did a totally quick mockup of my NaNoWriMo book, “A Cheater’s Guide to NaNoWriMo,” which is workable but not the best for grabbing attention. My tag line is “Tips, Tricks & Hacks to Win This November.” It’s a nonfiction title, because I’m cheating at NaNoWriMo this year, but aiming to help others get their novels done — even if they don’t hit 50K. You can read it as I write it at http://cheatersguidetonanowrimo.wordpress.com.

  • Vidya Posted


    Author Name:
    Vidya Samson

    Genre: Young Adult
    Paranormal Romance

    YA paranormal
    romance covers usually consist of a pretty girl in a long flowing dress.

    For mine I thought
    perhaps a handsome teen boy and beautiful teen girl in each other’s arms. The
    boy could be in a suit. The girl in a beautiful flowing dress in some rich,
    striking color like mauve/plum/violet. Perhaps a tiara on her head and a castle
    in the background. Perhaps some pretty colors of a sunset in the sky behind
    them. Or even some kind of dark creepy background.

    In case its of any
    use to you, I found many free castle images on:


    And also on:


    But if all that is
    too time-consuming I would appreciate even any simpler cover that you would
    prefer to come up with.

    The blurb:

    When eighteen-year-old Iona flies to the Mediterranean island of Idylla to live with
    the father she never knew, she finds the island is a kind of modern-day utopia,
    a virtually crime free society filled with benevolent people. But what lies
    beneath the tranquil surface? Iona encounters mystery after mystery about the
    Idyllans and their way of life and is determined to unlock the secrets behind
    their utopia.

    One of Iona’s classmates at the University of Idylla is visiting student Prince Ariston, the
    Crown Prince of the neighboring island Kingdom of Perdia. The two bond over
    their love for Elizabethan poetry and the Renaissance, and find they share a
    passion for reading and learning.

    But not all knowledge is safe. When Iona starts developing powers of contact telepathy,
    Ariston must shun her, or risk her learning that he is a dangerous paranormal
    creature who has killed before and is in Idylla to kill the very people she has
    grown to love. The man with many demons
    to conquer realizes he is unable to stay away from the only girl in the world
    who can heal his mind.


    Thanks a lot,


  • Lady Quixote Posted

    Oh, I did not see your email about this until now, hope I’m not too late. I’ve been super busy NaNoWriMoing. I made it to the Winner’s Circle with 53,523 words, YAY! I think the book cover I’ve designed is already good, thanks to following your brilliant tips and suggestions. However, I trust your eye more than mine, so here’s a link to my cover: https://ptsdcanheal.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/2goingcrazyalainaholtadamsfront500.jpg

    Thanks for all your generosity!

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