Sometimes I felt like laughing or crying…or both.
Quite a few of the initial covers I received were atrocious.
But let me start at the beginning. I went to 99Designs to receive a new cover for Red Madrassa, see explanation post here.
99Designs is a crowd-sourcing graphic design venture where multiple artists compete to win a contest based on a submitted design brief. I figured it was a win-win situation. The artist gets $300 bucks from me and I get multiple designs to choose from. I was wary of going with just one designer as I did before.
The contest is 7 days of madness.
Qualifying Round -> 4 Days
I twiddled my thumbs on Saturday and Sunday wondering ‘Why oh why haven’t designers rushed to send me my glorious designs’. First of all…it takes time to make a quality book cover. Something I should have known because it took 4-6 weeks to get my initial cover art.
I received emails right off the bat from designers who wanted more time…because they needed to draw the work or were participating in a different contest. I thought – fair enough. So I extended my qualifying round for a further 2 days. But I couldn’t see myself waiting much longer than that.
The only initial design that came close to matching a traditional publishing house cover came in at the 15 hour mark. I had an hour left in the Qualifying Round and there was nothing else that was even remotely close to realizing my vision.
In the opening round I had the interest of 12 designers and only 4-5 initial designs which I thought had any potential. It’s crazy but I wasn’t looking at the big picture at the time.
I realized days later that it’s not QUANTITY that counts but QUALITY and lots of patience. 😉
Select Finalists -> Up to 3 Days – Took me 15 minutes
I moved four qualifying designers to the final round with my eye on 1-2 that had what I was looking for.
Final Round -> 3 Days
Then my designers pulled out all the stops! I had only three designers which I considered serious contenders but wow oh wow I loved what they submitted. They each worked with me through numerous messages trying to fine-tune their designs from hair texture, to the color of the model’s shirt, to adding red leaves in the background.
The final cover is amazing and I plan on working with my chosen designer for the next cover in the coming months!
My Advice to succeed on 99Designs:
– Don’t be afraid to be flexible with your vision.
– Interact with the designers.
– Give plenty of feedback.
– Check out the other in-progress and finished contests in your category.
-Invite great designers to your contest.