book cover

I’m a writer; apart from assembling book covers out of stock photos, I don’t art. But I do keep tabs on fiction magazines (mostly fantasy, horror, and science fiction) who are looking for cover artists and illustrators. Below are some of the many markets out there for artists. They’re looking for cover art, banner art, and illustrations; some take reprints, while some are looking to commission original work. For more information, click the magazine name–all links go to artist guidelines.

If you know of something that should be on the list, let me know. Good luck!

(WARNING: I’m not affiliated with any of the following markets, aside from being published in a few of them. I don’t keep very close tabs and can’t promise all the information below is up to date and correct. As when submitting fiction, always, ALWAYS read the guidelines on their website before clicking SEND.)



What they want:

We are interested in professional-level, mostly realistic work. Photographs are not normally used, but artists illustrating for us have worked with photos, using surrealistic effects.
The illustration must be able to visually interpret the story in such a way that it accurately represents the story, hooks the reader into reading it, and doesn’t give away the ending. The subject matter of the stories usually contain a wide range of things that you must be able to draw. We would like to see an ability to illustrate an entire scene; one that not only has a character or characters, but also has a detailed background. You must know anatomy, perspective, balance, and figure proportions. We are not a comic book company, so please don’t send samples of comics pages.

How to submit:

Send four to six samples of your best work. Do not send us your originals. Send only copies. They can be photocopies, stats, slides, transparencies, or tearsheets.

For either black and white interiors or color covers, you can use any medium. Many of our artists use pencil, pen & ink, airbrush, watercolor, scratchboard, etc. Electronic files are acceptable as long as it is in Mac format, eps or tiff, but please send a disk – DO NOT E-MAIL THE FILES!

Please include a self-addressed stamped, business-sized envelope for a response, or a large one if you want your samples returned to you.

Apex Magazine

What they want:

We offer $60 for digital reprint rights for cover art.

How to submit:

If you’d like for your art to be considered for Apex Magazine please send an email to that includes a link to your online gallery. We do not commission original work for the magazine, only preexisting art.

Ares Magazine

What they want:

We need cover and interior art. We can work with most media — oils, 3D, Photoshop — but we are particular with respect to the subject matter. See the genre list, below. If we know what game title and theme we wish to use for the next issue, we’ll post it so you can provide submissions in line with what we seek.

How to submit:

Please eMail all submissions to

Bards and Sages Quarterly

What they want:

Cover Art: Art should tell a story in its own right, and not just be a character sketch. While artists may submit a low resolution file for consideration, we will need a 300 dpi or better file for publication.  We will consider reprints of images that have not previously appeared as cover art elsewhere.

How to submit:

Artwork can be either black and white or full color, and should be submitted as a jpg, png, or tiff file attachment. Art should be sized for 8″ x 10″ page (full bleed). $25 plus one copy of the print journal

Bete Noire

What they want:

At this time, we are only accepting interior artwork.  It must be your original work and in black and white only, no color artwork will be accepted for the interior of the magazine. And it should go without saying that the artwork should be dark in nature.  However, we cannot accept anything with graphic nudity or sex.  Dark humor is always an interest to us, so if you have a comic of dark humor send it along as long as it’s no more than six frames. We are also accepting black and white photographs for the interior of the magazine.  All photos must be original and dark, but again, just like the artwork we cannot accept anything with graphic nudity or sex.

How to submit:

All artwork needs to be in JPEG format and attached to the email.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

What they want:

We only buy a few pieces of artwork a year, so we don’t take submissions of artwork. But we are interested in names of artists and links to their portfolios, so that when we are ready to buy art, we can check out their work.

How to submit:

If you’re an artist and would like us to put your name on our list to check out the next time we’re looking for artwork, please take a look at our past Cover Art, to see what sort of artwork we like (usually landscapes or vistas of fantastical-looking places). Then feel free to send us your information using our Contact page, and include links to a couple of your pieces that you feel might show the sort of vibe we’re looking for.

Black Static

What they want:

We are always happy to hear from artists wanting to illustrate stories and/or supply cover art.

How to submit:

Send us a portfolio through the post that we can keep on file, or use this website’s contact form to point us to your website or gallery.

Cemetery Dance

What they want:

We solicit all our cover and interior artwork directly.

How to submit:

Query first with samples. At this time, Art Director Mindy Jarusek would prefer to receive and view artwork samples and submissions online, if possible. Please do not send LARGE attachments. Links to your website, online samples, or a web-based portfolio would be best. If you must send attachments, please email first for our requirements. For all artwork related questions and submissions, please contact and Mindy will reply if she’s interested in seeing more. Thank you.


What they want:

Cicada seeks talented artists who are making thoughtful (or flippant), beautiful (or unsettling), exuberant (or quiet) comics, zines, visual poems, sequential graphic narratives, or any other work in image and/or text. We commission original stories from a brief pitch, and give developmental feedback through the production process.

How to submit:

We’re always looking for new artists! If you’re interested in sharing your portfolio with us, email

Cricket Media:

What they want:

Illustrations are by assignment only.

Before submitting, be sure to familiarize yourself with our magazines.  Sample copies are available for viewing at the Cricket Media Store where you can also purchase a current issue. Issues are also available at many local libraries.

How to submit:

PLEASE DO NOT send original artwork. Send postcards, promotional brochures, or color photocopies. Be sure that each sample is marked with your name, address, phone number and website or blog. Art submissions will not be returned.

The Dark

What they want:

We purchase pre-existing pieces of art and rarely commission original art for covers.

How to submit:

Submit an inquiry along with samples (preferably a link to an online gallery).


What they want:

The Drabblecast is a vibrant art market, with more than 300 original pieces generated. Lay your eyes upon the maddening scope as you scroll through back episodes. All styles, media, and skill levels will be considered.

How to submit:

To donate your talents and join our art core, contact art director Bo Kaier at and express your intention. A portfolio link or some work samples will help Bo pair you with a story.

Expanded Horizons

What they want:

We are looking for high-quality artwork that furthers the mission of the magazine.  Please read our general fiction submissions guidelines, as those apply here too. All work should be speculative fiction themed. We are also interested in artwork that illustrates existing stories available on our site. If you decide to illustrate a story, please mention the story title in your e-mail.

How to submit:

The files should use one of the three standard web image formats: JPG, GIF or PNG, saved at 72 dpi.  Please do not submit more than three pieces at one time. If the total filesize is over 2 MB, do not send the files in e-mail – use a free web-based filesending service or some alternate method. (Ask us if you need assistance.)

Fantasy Scroll Magazine

What they want:

We are looking for interesting art that complements the type of stories we publish: speculative in the science fiction, fantasy, or horror genres. We publish four times a year so we need four covers and a few images for each issue.

Since we publish speculative fiction, your art should be a match to the stories we like. We are talking about robots and dragons, castles and spaceships, swords and lasers. Anything goes; the weirder the better.

How to submit:

We have a dedicated art submission form that you can use.

Future Science Fiction Digest

What they want:

We’re seeking non-exclusive rights for high-quality art to be used as issue covers. We’re also asking for the rights to use issue cover art to produce promotional items such as bookmarks and banners as well as to display the partial crop of the image at the top of the issue’s web page. We pay $200 per image.

How to submit:

If you wish your artwork to be considered please reach out via email or social media and provide a link to your gallery.

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly

What they want:

HFQ is looking for quality banner art to accompany each new issue. Please review art from the past two issues to see the style we prefer. Image dimensions should be approximately 850 x 250 pixels.

How to submit:

If you’d like us to consider your work please email a link to the website where your art is displayed.

InterGalactic Medicine Show

What they want:

All illustrations and artwork in IGMS are by assignment. If you wish to be considered for art assignments, we would like to be shown samples of your work.

How to submit:

After filling out our submission form , you will be asked either to send us a .zip file containing .jpg files showing your work in black and white or color, or provide us with a link to your website, where we can see free and easily accessible samples of your art at a size that lets us see details of your technique.


What they want:

We are looking for primarily full-color illustrations to serve as cover art. In addition, we occasionally feature both color and black-and-white sketches, comics, cartoons, photography, loose odds and ends that might also fit elsewhere. Elsewhere is typically with the Horoscopes, so typically humorous, though that’s not a rule set in stone. We currently do not commission new cover artwork or pieces to appear with individual stories and poems.

How to submit:

If you would like to share a link to your online gallery, please do so, preferably indicating art that you would like us to consider.

On Spec

What they want:

We accept submissions from Canadians and non-Canadians. We accept both existing art and proposals. Note that if you’re sending in a sketch for a proposal, we still require an example of your colour work. Please include ONLY pre-existing works in colour as we print the cover in colour. Include your website–we can take a look of other examples of your work. We pay $400 for cover art (both pre-existing and original), plus $50 for interior art. The artist owns their artwork–we only license the artwork as part of the front cover and interior of an issue. Our cover dimensions are 5.25 width by 8 height in inches (note that images can be scaled down to a similar ratio). We incorporate the following: the On Spec logo, price and other information in an upper corner and the contributor’s names.

How to submit:

We only accept JPG files through Submittables. If we feel your work fits as a cover, we will contact you to discuss using an existing artwork OR commissioning an original for the magazine.

Persistent Visions:

What they want:

Persistent Visions is looking for illustrators to provide art to complement our stories.

How to submit:

If you would like to be considered, send an email to our art editor. Please include a link to your portfolio, your typical turnaround time for a single-page full-color illustration, and your rate.

Strange Horizons

What they want:

Beginning in January of 2014, Strange Horizons will run artwork with one story each month. This artwork will be commissioned or selected by the fiction editors to accompany the story’s tone and content.

How to submit:

If you would like to be considered as a potential artist for Strange Horizons, please send a link to your portfolio and/or up to 3 example image files (as links or attached as .png or .jpg, not more than 1000×1000 pixels) to

Turn to Ash

What they want:

Turn To Ash is a horror fiction zine. I’m looking for submissions of short fiction and black and white artwork.

How to submit:

Artwork subs can be made in whatever file format works best for the artist. If we agree on printing your artwork in Turn To Ash, we’ll work out the best way to get print-ready files into my hands.  All submissions can be addressed to “Ben”, “Benjamin”, “Editor”, or “hey, you”.

Uncanny Magazine

What they want:

Uncanny pays $100 for reprint art.

How to submit:

Please feel free to email art queries to uncannymagazine [at] gmail [dot] com with a link to your portfolio.


What they want:

We generally pay $35 for single images, and $75 per short story illustrated, which involves 2-3 full-page images, and some smaller incidental drawings to decorate the pages. Higher amounts will be offered for especially detailed illustration projects. If an illustration is chosen to also act as the cover of an issue, you will receive an additional $15. For an idea of how we illustrate our stories, you can look at our free minizine, though we now require all illustrations to be in color.

How to submit:

To apply to be an illustrator, please submit 1-5 pieces that best display your style and talent, as well as links to your portfolio or website where your work can be found.


Want to learn how to send out your short fiction to magazines like a pro? Check out my Total Beginner’s Guide to Submitting Short Fiction for Publication.

Was this useful to you? I wouldn’t turn down a delicious coffee.

Or check out the book I assembled with my sister Megan Engelhardt, Wolves and Witches: a Fairy Tale Collection

My premade ebook covers are designed to get your novel out the door with a dynamic cover quickly and seamlessly. Each cover is unique and sold only once.* I’m initially focusing on romance, young adult contemporary, new adult, and women’s fiction, but check back often for new covers. (If you don’t see exactly what you want, I’m also available for custom coverscontact me for a quote.)

How It Works:

  1. Fill in the form below with the required information.
  2. I’ll add your information to the cover you chose and email you a low-res proof copy.
  3. After you approve the cover and send payment (PayPal or check accepted), I’ll email you the final 1400 x 2100 pixel version in the format of your choice.
  4. Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!

– $35
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33 blue_dress_gate
– $35
34 roadrage
– $35
35 secret
– $40
36 kingdomcome
– $40
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19 tulip
#19 – $35
20 littlehouse
#20 – $35
21 couplekissing2
#21 – $35
22 poppies2
#22 – $35
23 scarytree
#23 – $50
24 suitman4
25 snowyroad
– $35
26 purplecorn
– $40
27 bluetrees2
– $40
28 pinkclouds
– $40
29 yellowswamp
– $35
30 staircase
– $50
31 suitman3
– $40
32 bluesky
– $35

*I use stock photos**, so I can’t promise the image is exclusive to your book, but I won’t resell my designs. After they’re claimed, they’re gone!

**Right now all of my source photos come from CC0 sites like Gratisography, Skitterphoto, Unsplash, and the like. I’ll send you information about the specific images used on request at purchase. I suppose that means you could hunt down these photos and create your own versions, but my typography is ace, and you don’t want to miss out. ^_^

For this week’s weekend book cover, Rhonda Parrish asked me for a cover for a collection of her late mother’s poetry.


I liked the idea of snowy owl imagery. Unexpected difficulty: owl faces are hilarious. I couldn’t build a contemplative poetry cover out of this guy. To get around that, I went looking for an image of a snowy owl flying away. I thought that included some relevant symbolism as well.

Then: background. Turns out Rhonda (editor, author, doer of all the things) is also a great photographer. Her Flickr account gave me plenty to work with. I really liked this lonely mailbox, and I like the imagery, that this book would be stuffed with messages the author left behind for her loved ones.

snowy-owl-12893020 mailbox_sm

For the font, I wanted a script that was neither too flowery nor too grungy. One called “Chemist” seemed to fill the bill. I put a shadow behind it to help bring out the words. For the subtitle and author name, I’m just a perpetual sucker for Century Gothic and its variants.

I colorized the owl and mailbox, then eventually the post, then put a gradient behind the author name, then desaturated things a bit.


I like it! The author and her daughter didn’t love the owl element, so I made two variations: no owl, and extra owl.

lovesandra4 lovesandra5

They preferred the one with no owl, so that’s the final. Huzzah!


This one came together so smoothly, it was awesome. If I could change one thing, I’d put something across the top or in the top right corner. Maybe part of a representative poem?

What do you think? How’s the composition? Does the cover seem to match the contents of the book? What tweaks would you make?


  • Chemist
  • Century Gothic
  • Century Gothic Bold



  • All of two and a half hours including image searches and final tweaks.

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

This week’s entry in my weekend book cover experiment is a fantasy novel by Denice J.D. The book is still in concept form. She sent me a synopsis and several photographs.

beachpics info2

These are good vacation pics, but not useful cover images, especially for the story described. They may not scream “Atlantic City” but they don’t look much like the Mediterranean, either, which is largely surrounded by cliffs and richly blue-green. They don’t contain any information except “on the beach”. Alas, I can’t use them for this cover.

This is a problem, because: what CAN I use?

I ask about the “twin beasts of night and day”, which is the most intriguing part of the synopsis to me. I work up several concepts based on this. Since I cannot art, they are terrible.


I set it aside for weeks. Eventually I decide to make a very general “royalty-themed fantasy” cover. It’s better than nothing!

I use a parchment-ish background texture and find a free image of an amulet, because nothing says “royalty” like big crazy jewelry and a parchment will tilt the feel toward a medieval setting. (Thank goodness for that texture pack; it’s much better than the two attempts above.) I’ve been wanting to use this font for a while, so I grab the chance.


That’s not terrible. I start tweaking the font colors and sizes. I match the title to different colors within the amulet.

There’s not enough going on, so I decide to add two overlays: a seal, hopefully invoking things like trade, wealth, and official deals, and a seagull shadow, which I hope brings in something of the sea. Also free images of dragons are hard to find.



The bottom one wins out, but I still have to make a final version because I’ve been spelling her name wrong this entire time, because I am the absolute worst.


Man oh man this was difficult. The ability to create (or commission) original art would have come in extremely handy. But this synopsis was also difficult to pull specific imagery from. I’m guessing that a synopsis written after the book was done would have a lot more hooks for a designer to start with.

What do you think? Can you guess something of the book’s contents by the cover? Does it look professional? What tweaks would you make?


  • Colonna MT



  • Ugh, like eight hours fiddling with my original concept and maybe two to create and complete the final one

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

This week my weekend book cover experiment is a personal one: I made an alternate book cover for my collection of funny horror, Suddenly, Zombies. Below are the original cover and the jacket copy.

SuddenlyZombies300 Zombies in space! Giant zombie gorillas! When life gets weird, all you can do is stick by your friends and hang on to your brains. Amanda C. Davis dishes out two short stories (and a bonus drabble) from the lighter side of the zombocalypse.

Stories first appeared in Zombonauts (Library of the Living Dead Press), Zombie Kong (Books of the Dead Press), and Necrotic Tissue (Stygian Publications).


This is one of the first covers I made, and I wanted it to be clear that this was lighthearted horror. I also had far fewer tools and way less experience back then, so I drew the elements myself from the two main stories in the collection. Here’s my rough iterative process on this one.


I like it, but I wanted to try a cover that would look more at home in the horror section while still conveying that lighthearted element. I decide the image of a zombie hand poking out of the ground making a thumbs-up symbol covers a lot of the imagery I want, so I go ahead and mock up something.


This is terrible.

There’s a lot of value in making terrible things, though, because it prepares you for the trouble you’ll run across in making decent things. I scrap every element in this version and start looking for better ways to do what I have in mind.

I need a decent thumbs-up. This is surprisingly hard to find for free, especially held aloft like I want. I decide I’ll settle for an OK symbol. Wikimedia commons has one. The arm’s not long enough, so I extend it a bit. (Amanda C. Davis: Arm Extender.)

It’s also surprisingly hard to find a free image of the kind of graveyard I want. I’d go out and take my own photo if they all weren’t covered in snow at the moment. This one is nice and crowded. All the tombstones are in Hebrew, which I enjoy because some of the earliest recorded walking dead are Jewish.

I use a green grunge texture to zombie up the hand, put shadows around the graveyard, hide the wrist stub behind some moss, and use a stains brush to discolor the “Suddenly”. This is exciting. I use very few brushes normally.


I check up on alternate meanings for the OK symbol, and swap out the cemetery to avoid Unfortunate Implications. This changes my color palette to include orange, which is fine with me. My sister encourages me to make the word “Zombies” less stark white, which I do. And that’s my final version.


I’m not sure whether it meets its goal and I don’t have sales numbers yet to show how it’s doing, but the new cover is up on Smashwords and Amazon now–and it’s discounted at the moment.

Do you think this is a better cover than the previous? In what way? What would you change if you could?


  • Dosis Bold
  • Scratched Letters
  • Dosis Medium
  • Dosis Bold



  • 5 hours, give or take.

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

For this week’s weekend book cover experiment, I got a fantasy novella from Laura Christensen. She commissioned an original piece of cover art from Natasha Alterici.


THIS ART IS AWESOME. My primary job here is to not ruin it with a bad design.

This requires absolutely no additional images, so my whole job is choosing the fonts. For a fantasy, especially historical fantasy, I like serifs. To my surprise, the major factor seems to be finding a font with a decent Q. I scan through my fonts and decide High Tower Text looks appropriately epic-fantasy. I just learned how to do a decent metallic font, so I want to flex that new muscle.

On the way I find Onyx which looks like it’ll be great for the author name. (It looks familiar, in a mass-market paperback kind of way. I can’t place it. Anyone?) I want to use that blue accent on her gloves and shoes in the author name. I apply an outline around the author name and a texture over it.

There’s space for a blurb over to the left, so I put some smoke behind it to make it easier to read, and use the same font as the title. Seriously, this art is composed so perfectly for this purpose.


I like this a whole lot. Some things I don’t love: the white behind the title is too obviously shaped like the letters. The title doesn’t stand out as well as I’d like in thumbnail size. The blue text is too hard to read against the brown background. (I weep to lose it.) The title is a little lopsided for my taste. I look up a few authors and find it’s more common not to put a space between initials. (Who knew?)

This leads to my usual disastrous session of Trying Things.


I pull these together into an iteration that uses what I think are the best versions of each element. I contact the author about the blurb; she doesn’t have one, so I write a tagline based on the description.


This was a different challenge than the usual one of making stock art look halfway decent. I think original art is a great strategy for fantasy covers, but only if you can get something as high-quality as this piece. She’s open to commissions, I understand.

The story that goes with this cover is available to read on Wattpad!

What do you think? Does the text work with the image, or get in the way? What tweaks would you make?


  • High Tower Text
  • Onyx



  • About 2 hours for the first draft, then another 2 hours of fiddling

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

My fifth weekend book cover, and my second steampunk, is a novella from Sonya M. Shannon. She sent me a cover model and description, and I worked with the watermarked stock photo until we liked the results, in case it didn’t turn out to be worth the purchase.


The steampunk section of Amazon shows a lot of variety, but it’s very popular to have a figure on the cover (more full-length than busts, but I’ll take it) and it’s just about gospel to have foggy old London in the background, so I find a photo on Unsplash (where else?) that could probably pass. I do not know where this is actually a picture of, for the record.*

*SRRSkelley ID’d this as Charles Bridge in Prague!


I took quite a few wrong turns designing this, largely because I decided early it needed old-fashioned gold lettering, which is not at all where we ended up. Rather than waste a lot of time explaining all my wrong moves, let me just line ’em up.


The last one is what I passed to the author, who requested a few specific things.


Since this is a learning process, I tried nearly all of them to see if they worked, and they totally did. WELP.


One last pass used the high-quality unwatermarked cover, enlarged the first letter of the title, and corrected my embarrassing error in the subtitle. I like it!


For the purposes of this blog post, let me break down the layers and steps that went into this thing.

The figure was removed from its background and duplicated. The top layer was desaturated and set to low opacity, with the glasses erased. In a third, middle layer, I isolated the lenses and turned the hue to green. There’s a little black smoke over the bottom left of him.

The background was duplicated and pasted so I had more room to work, and turned green. There’s a fog overlay.

The title font is in white with a green grunge texture overlaid with low opacity; the first letter is enlarged. The author font is in dark green with the same grunge texture overlay. There’s a black gradient stripe behind the author name to help bring it out.

And a green grunge texture over everything except the subtitle, to help bring it out.


  • Kleymissky Medium Italic
  • Baskerville Old Face
  • Bentham



  • About twelve hours start to finish (lots of fiddling, and a lot of touchy work–special shout-out to those flowing locks)

See all my book cover designs here. Inquiries accepted.

I write fiction too!

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