So, a while back I suggested in a post that I was going to attempt to create my own front covers. The reason behind this was, obviously, to try to save a bit of cash. Having a brand new cover created (that doesn’t completely suck) is going to cost a few hundred a pop at the lowest level, so why not have a go myself? Here was my quick first attempt (Which I’ll prob still use for the free book I’ll give away to my newsletter subscribers, as the book won’t be put out for general release)
Now, that’s not completely awful for a very basic first attempt, but I was kidding myself. There’s no way I could create a really great, professional looking cover that I was proud of. I quickly came to my senses and realised I should employ the services of, you know, an ACTUAL DESIGNER, or else run the risk of appearing here, or worse, just not selling. I mean, I’m a complete unknown, the only chance I have of hooking in someone browsing through a site like Amazon is that they see my cover and are intrigued enough to give it a click.
Having realised it would be dumb to try to create my own cover, I scouted around for individuals whose work appealed, but most seemed to come in at four, five, six hundred pounds a pop; or more! That’s when I decided to test out a site called 99 Designs. If you listen to any Indie Publishing podcasts, you’ve probably heard an ad read for this resource. Basically you put up your brief and loads of designers will send you cover concepts. Simple as that.
Being my first time on the site, I chose their most basic package, plus the free Self Publishing Podcast upgrade, which helps attract more designers. Now I was aware that by choosing the most basic (and so cheapest) package I probably wouldn’t attract as many of the top class designers, but being my first time on the site I wanted to see how it all worked. Plus, if no workable designs came in, I could pull out without spending a penny.
SO! A few clicks here and there, I copy and pasted my requirements and attached some covers I liked for inspiration, and then I made the contest live.
And so I waited. Would I get any entries? And would I get any I liked?
I think I had my first cover entry within a couple of hours, which was exciting, even if the cover itself was not. For the next few days the covers arrived in a steady stream; it was always exciting to wake up and check the site to see that a fresh wave of covers had been uploaded overnight.
Some of them weren’t great… well, okay, quite a lot of them weren’t great. They clearly hadn’t been put together by real designers, but by people just giving it a go despite lacking the talent or tools. One guy even just entered a rudimentary pencil drawing of a tigers head. THIS TIGERS HEAD:
No, I do not know why.
In the end I received over 100 entries, which is amazing. A large percentage were bad, then came a section that, whilst good, just didn’t suit the book, or weren’t to my own personal taste. Happily, a good 10 percent were really good-to-great.
At the time of writing this, I’ve put three covers through to the final round, and I’ll have chosen one to be the winner within a couple of days. I’ll reveal that winning cover soon…
So yes, glad I came to my senses, stopped being a penny pincher and actually employed the services of designers who knew what the heck they were doing. I’ll soon have a cover I love, and I’ll be one step closer to becoming a published author!