Podfic Cover Art

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Synonyms: podfic cover, podbook cover
See also: Cover Art, Podbook, Podfic
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Many podfics include cover art. Originally podfic was often played on mp3 players, which could display album art if an image is attached to the audio files. Thus, fans made cover art for podfic, especially for the podbook (m4b) format. Even though podifc can now be listened to on a variety of devices many fans continue the tradition of including cover art. Many podficcers create their own cover art, but often another fan may provide the art.


Widespread use of cover art in podfic is mainly the result of listeners with art or design skills wanting to give something back to podfic fandom. Some podficcers also possessed these skills, but many did not. The other factor is the rise of podbooks.

In the beginning (2007?), podfic covers consisted of an image that incorporated the title of the story and the name of the author, but not the podficcer[1]. Cybel was a prolific early podfic cover artist, who made many many covers as part of the podbooks she created for podfic posted to Amplificathon; much of her work relied on using fandom-specific images of recognizable characters. Podfic covers evolved quickly. Covers began including the name of the podficcer. As of 2014, podfic cover artists use a variety of sources such as fandom-specific screencaps or publicity stills, non-fannish stock photographs, original photographs taken by the artist[2], original photographs of original crafts[3], existing fanart by another fanartist, or new fanart drawn for the occasion. Some cover art is text-only.[4]

Meta Topics

There has been debate over whether cover art is a necessary addition to podfic, or whether the enthusiasm for covers is discouraging to podficcers who lack graphic design skills. Podfic already requires multiple skill sets (audio editing, acting, etc.), and cover art represents an added burden to some fans. Meanwhile, other fans enjoy making cover art. Some listeners have said that the cover art is why they downloaded a particular podfic or that it is helpful for identifying podfic on their devices.

But--when did the podfic community evolve to the point where cover art was seen almost as a requirement? Now, I know, it's not. Many people have told me many times that cover art is not mandatory. The only mandatory parts of a podfic are an audio reading of a fic that I can download and play on most devices. A posted podfic can be as simple as an html link without many other frills or explanations. That is a valid podfic. But how many of us post things that way? For as much as I hear people say they struggle with cover art or cover art is time consuming or even, in the case of new podficcers, that cover art feels like just one more thing they HAVE to learn and do before they can post this podfic.

Many new podficcers I've spoken with feel that they ARE REQUIRED to make a cover, usually because they see a challenge that says, “Cover-art is not required, but we really like it. You may ask an artist or cover-artist to make one for your podfic, you can make one yourself, or we will make one for you.” It's just one more thing standing between them and a posted podfic. They’ve already been through the hell of learning a whole bunch of complicated things and now they need to learn graphic design as well? It’s enough to make many of them give up and say “I’ll never be able to do this”.[5]

Some podficcers will explicitly invite cover art on their podfic, with the tags Cover Art Welcome and Podfic Cover Art Welcome on ao3, though both are non-canonical tags.


Podfic cover art has incorporated a variety of different elements depending on the cover artist's skills, preferences, and available technology.

  • (usually) square
  • text only
  • multiple fonts/fonts as art
  • screencap, publicity still, or other photograph from the source
  • creative commons or other stock imagery not of the source material
  • original photography by the cover artist
    • photograph of a fan
    • photograph of scenery
    • photograph of an object created for the cover art
  • existing fanart used with permission
    • fanart created to illustrate the story being podficced
  • original drawing by the cover artist
  • animation (usually for display online, not included in the podfic itself)
  • manips or collage




Photo manipulations and Edits


Non-fannish Photography and Images

Text Only

Meta/Further Reading

Other Resources


  1. ^ A 2010 Amplificathon post includes a discussion about including the podficcer's name on the cover: Podbooks vs mp3s, post by cybel, 30 August 2010.
  2. ^ Examples: See Bessyboo's 2012 cover art for becquinho's podfic of Presque Vue by Rageprufrock, in which she combines a picture she took of her own sneaker with images from the film Inception. Bessyboo has also used herself as a model for photographic cover art, for example on Paraka Productions. See also the cover art for or be drowned in blissful confusion, posted in 2010. The anonymous author created the cover art for the podficcer by photographing blank audio cassette tapes with the title and podficcer name scrawled on them.
  3. ^ See reena_jenkins's 2012 cover of Tightly Knit, for which she knitted a scarf before taking pictures of it.
  4. ^ For example, see eosrose's 2012 cover art for a Thor podfic, King of Fools.
  5. ^ (Podfic Meta) Thoughts on Podfic Cover Art and the Unnecessary Barriers to Podficcing
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