The Parable Award for Excellence in Cover Design

Call for Nominations

Do you love fantasy and science fiction illustration or photography? Have you seen a cover on a new book this past year that you wish you could frame? Nominate that cover for consideration in the 2014 Parable Award for Excellence in Cover Design.

The 2012 Parable Award went to Illustrator Christina Hess and designer Jon Mills for their work on The Windrider Saga
The 2012 Parable Award went to Illustrator Christina Hess and designer Jon Mills for their work on The Windrider Saga

What is The Parable?

The Parable is a reader-initiated, committee-awarded recognition of the best-designed cover on a speculative fiction book directed to the Christian or family-friendly market. The award carries a cash prize, and the winner also receives a plaque and certificate for their work. The award for 2012 was $100 cash, which we hope to increase in subsequent years.

What does reader-initiated mean?

Readers are responsible for suggesting books that should be in the running for the award. From the books that are nominated by this pool of enthusiasts, a panel of experts in the field of illustration and typography will narrow the field and name the winner.

Please note an important change from 2012: If you were involved in the writing, design, or publication of the book, you may not nominate it for the award. If you  critiqued the book prior to its receipt of a contract from a publisher  or were a beta reader, this exclusion does not apply to you.

What books are eligible?

  • Must be in a speculative genre (science fiction or fantasy or any of their numerous subgenres)
  • Published between January 1, 2013 and December 31st, 2013.
  • Marketed to a Christian audience (for example, book descriptions, tags, and categories on Amazon will help you determine this, as do the publishing house’s guidelines for what they produce.)
  • Can be either ebook or printed book edition
  • Yes, self-published books are eligible

When do we find out who wins?

The winner will be announced during the costume gala and awards dinner at Realm Makers: 2014, which will take place on Friday, May 30th, 2014, on the campus of Villanova University.

How do I nominate a book?

Send your suggestion in an email to info[at]faithandfantasyalliance[dot]com, with Parable Award Suggestion in the subject line. When suggesting a book, please include the author’s name, the book title, and if possible, a link to somewhere it’s available for sale that displays its cover art. (Amazon or Barnes and Noble are best.) Again, if you published the book, wrote the book, edited the book, or otherwise had a direct hand in its publication process, please let someone else recognize the quality of the cover and suggest it. I won’t stop authors from soliciting nominations from their fans, but please note that ten nominations are no more powerful than one.

Panel Review Process

Once we have gathered all the reader-suggestions, a preliminary panel will narrow the field by scoring the books in terms of overall effectiveness, image quality, and typography/layout. Semi-finalists will be scored in a subsequent round. The final panel of three experts: one illustrator, one graphic designer, and one photographer, will score the finalists and generate comments to choose the winner.

In the extremely rare event that we should have a tie in the final round, the finalists’ covers will be posted on-line to solicit reader votes on who they believe the winner should be. Points based on the placings in the reader vote will be added to the expert scores, which will then determine the winner.


November 19th. 2013: Contest opens to submissions

January 1, 2014: Reader Suggestion cut-off date

February 1, 2014: Semi-finalists determined (number will be dependent on submissions)

March 1, 2014: Finalists named, artists responsible notified of their finalist status

May 30th, 2014: Winner announced at Realm Makers

So take a look through the new speculative fiction you’ve read this year, with eye for the most striking covers. Help your favorite authors and artists earn a little of the recognition they deserve by submitting their cover art for consideration. Submissions open NOW!