Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Liar's Key cover contest!

Competition now closed.

You can vote HERE for the best entries.
HERE for the worst entries.
And HERE for the best entries done with Paint.

I will be using the results of these polls to help me decide on the winners in each category. I won't wholly rely on them as I recognise that people can recruit friends and family to skew the tallies.

(click for full-size)

Best Cover:

Winner (by Pen Astridge)

Runner up (by Joy)

Best cover done using Paint

Winner (by Pen Astridge)

Runner up (by Arne)

Worst cover

Winner (by Charlie)

Runner up (by Dimitar)

(click on smaller ones for more detail)

#28 Syl

#27 Bryan

#25 Alicia

#24 Aymie

#23 Chris

#22 Johann (Paint)

#21 Malin (Paint)

#20 Dusty (Paint)

#19 Simon

#18 Miguel

#17 Robin

#15 Corn

#14 Angela

#12 Tony

#11 Roger

#10 Pascal (Paint)

 #8 Bev

 #7 Malin

#6 Tony (Paint)

#4 Dan Brown (Paint, but not as we know it!)

#3 Alice (Paint)

#2 Paul (Paint)

#1 Lachlan (smart phone!)


So first things first... PRIZES!

I'll firm up what they'll be soon but expect T-shirts and mugs bearing designs not wholly dissimilar to those shown below (the work of Pen Astridge with Jason Chan's original art). Also signed books, Prince of Fools of course, with promises of early copies of The Liar's Key.


The real thing modelled by a rather less impressive specimen ... ...but, hey! Kittens!

So, how to get the loot:

Design a cover for Book 2 of The Red Queen's War: The Liar's Key.

There will be 3 categories.

i) Covers drawn using Microsoft Paint, the notoriously limited art program that comes free on pretty much every PC. It should be on the 'start' button of your computer under 'accessories' but it's also available online (no downloading required). MS Paint is like the etch-a-sketch of PC drawing utilities - if you can do anything good with it you're a total genius (note - no importing art, it has to be drawn in Paint)

If you can do anything like as well as this artist picturing Jorg then you've done better than I could! (in fact I doubt this is from MS Paint as it would have had to have been coloured in by hand).

ii) The worst cover you can do: Note, to win this you really have to look like you were trying to make a good one. Terrible covers often contain great art in really bad combinations. A random scribble is a bad cover but probably won't win when it comes to the voting.

iii) The best cover you can do.

If you turn out to be a seven-fold genius and produce something of Jason Chan quality I will certainly pass your details on to my publishers!

Note: Non-Paint entries will automatically be entered into both categories ii) & iii), so you get two bites at the cherry!

Here's a spoof cover by Pen Astridge borrowing from a photo of my kittens, Jal and Snorri.

You can mail entries to me at

I'll give a week's warning before closing the contest.


  1. Can I submit more than one?

    1. You can submit one for the Paint contest, and one other (non-Paint).

  2. Never used ipaint...whenever I save it I have no idea where it goes?! I had to take a photo of my crappy ipaint cover. Anyway know where it goes when you save it?

    1. I assume that it would be in the downloads folder or program files

    2. If you click 'save as' rather than 'save' you can direct it to the folder of your choice.

  3. Where can us Yanks BUY one of those shirts? They're awesome!

    1. You can't buy them, only win them! Jason Chan said I could use the artwork for very limited promotional prizes - I can't set up shop and sell his art without complex legal & financial agreements.

    2. Understood.... sux for me tho since I'm creatively challenged... ;o)

    3. Tom, you could always try bribing a winner of a contest. :P

      "Few things worth having can be got easily" -Some person who wrote a book. ;)

    4. Tom, if I win a shirt you can have it (if Mark will allow per his T&Cs). But keep in mind, I haven't entered yet lol.

  4. You were right about MS Paint being akin to etch-a-sketch, but you failed to mention it's like using etch-a-sketch while wearing boxing gloves. I have sent you something anyway, enjoy.

  5. Wow I love the detail in those tattoos and the mountains are incredible this is going to be a good competition. Keep up the good work everyone

  6. Didn't realise how competitive I was, wish I had spent more time working on my entry instead of thinking it's a bit of fun. Would Jorg of thought it fun? No, he would of killed everyone then painted an eye catching logo above the bed of his enemies in their own blood. Fortunately for you, fellow entrants, I am not Jorg, and I don't like blood.
    In fact I find all violence abhorant, bit of a geek when it comes down to it, okay I'm a coward, happy now. You talented bastards.

  7. Replies
    1. Just email it to me at the address given in the post.

    2. Thanks. Looks like fun :P Gonna give it a shot (after I read the Prince of Fools, which I did get at last by the way, just in case there's something important that should feature on the cover besides for the key hahaha)

  8. Excellent post.

    You're my hero, Mark! You are really funny! :) Thx!

    (I really wait your fourth - hungarian edition - book next month. The first trilogy was awesome - i didn't expect less!)