I LOVE the campy feel to it. LOVE it. It catches the eye and makes you go “WTF” long enough to get hooked – which is exactly what a cover is supposed to do. It doesn’t make a great eBook cover, though – take a look at this thumbnail:
This, by the way, is one of the reasons why the cover for the Crimson Pact was chosen. That lil’ demony gargoyle guy doesn’t directly tie into any story, but he’s sure as heck iconic … and even recognizable as a 16×16 favicon! A 100×100 image is very recognizable when you see the cover elsewhere.
So what about bad?
Sure, there’s plenty of examples of bad amateur cover art, but I almost feel guilty picking on them. (Heck, I’ve made my own mistakes like that.) Two that are particularly cringe-worthy, though, are Malikar and Dreadnought [sic]. Malikar’s confusion of images and symbols (along with the mid-90’s web page design) makes me leery to even try a free download; the stippled art of Dreadnought reminds me of everything my friends and I made during high school and early college.
But the pros are just as bad. Take a look at Cover Cafe’s Worst cover results. Even though it’s from 2005, all of the complaints are still valid. Contrast those with the good covers on the prior pages, and you’ll suddenly have a primer on what to (and not to) do.
Please note: I’ve done everything bad discussed here and MORE – in fact, I saw a guideline saying “Don’t use black-and-white covers” just after I posted my short story “Memories of Light and Sound” up for sale (less than a buck!). Still, *I* like it… and it actually depicts a central scene in the story. (Though for some reason the text keeps artifacting, which drives me nuts.)