LitRPG / GameLit book covers are for stories in this unique new genre. It overlaps both fantasy and science fiction in that the stories take place within a game, or game-like world with character stats and game mechanics. There are numerous sub-genres, that have their own special cover tropes, however the genre is so new, the sub-genres are still being defined and new ones emerge occasionally.
The difference between LitRGP and GameLit is the amount of stats (called crunchiness). LitRPG stories track the character stats exactly, they aren't always displayed in stats sheets, however there's a set system for how much experience (XP) a player gets for certain actions and if you follow the stats you know exactly what the character has at any point in time. GameLit however is less crunchy and is just set in a gamelike world. You never see exact stats and most of the time you don't even see the character's level. At the end of the day though, there's nothing better than reading the words "Congratulations! You've leveled up!"
Authors of LitRPG need a book cover designer that understands the genre from a gamer's point of view, as well as what book cover designs appeal to LitRPG readers. As an avid gamer I enjoy this genre, I created the Facebook group LitRPG Releases to help authors announce their new books and I've also been published in this genre.
Harem authors also need a designer that understands the nuances of that genre and what their readers are looking for in the way of book cover art.
When it comes to LitRPG, there are several sub-genres to consider, some of which need to shown via the cover tropes...
- Dungeon core stories, which is where the main character is a dungeon. These typically have a fairy as the dungeon's companion and can be identified by the fairy on the cover.
- Harem stories, where the male main character has a harem of female characters. These typically have scantily clad women on the cover, sometimes two women and one guy.
- Stories with monster girls in. This is often a sub-genre of harem and includes various races of female beings. These also have scantily clad women on the cover, however they often have scales, different color skins, tails, fangs etc.
- Stories where the main character lives in the real world, albeit in the future where full immersion gaming is a reality. The character than logs into the game and you have two concurrent stories - the game story and the real world story - that work together. There's nothing specific to indicate this type of story.
- Stories where the main character has become trapped within an online game and can never log back out. There's nothing specific to indicate this type of story.
- Stories on alternate worlds that happen to have game mechanics. There's nothing specific to indicate this type of story.
When it comes to harem, it's all about the women...
Covers feature either a guy with one, two or more girls, a single girl or several girls. The girls are always scantily clad with oversized assets. They often have weapons and sometimes are in very provocative poses.