by Christine Kling
I’ve decided it’s time to refresh the covers of the four books in my Seychelle series, and given that I am not a graphic artist myself, but I am a geeky, techie sort, I decided to try something new. It’s called 99designs. There are over 322,000 designers on the site, and you can see their portfolios and connect with them for 1 to 1 jobs where you simply hire them for a project — or, like me, you can run a contest.
From the sharing economy (like AirB2B or Uber) to crowd funding, I like the new ways that the world of business is now working. It used to be that graphic designers needed to get a job at a big fancy marketing firm in order to work. But today, just like the digital age has made it possible for me to self-publish these Seychelle novels, graphic artists can find work through sites like 99designs. Any of them can have a chance to compete, and they will be judged on the quality of their work, not who they know who can help them get a job. This is much the same way that readers can now decide what books they like instead of the gate keepers in the high rises in Manhattan.
I started my contest a week ago. I paid $499 and I was surprised to learn that only $290 goes to the designer, so 99designs takes a good bit for their work of maintaining the website and for their tech support. To be fair, I called them with a question on a Saturday and I got an easily understood human right away, and we all know in today’s world, that’s saying something. And as a result of that call, they offered to promote my contest to their designers for free.
I wrote up a brief describing what I was looking for, and I explained that the designer who wins will then get the additional work of designing the covers for at least three more books. I will need covers for the ebooks, paperbacks, and the audiobooks for all the books in the series and I will need a new boxed set cover. I will also be looking to get a cover photo done for a Facebook author page.
I ended up with 134 entries from 34 designers from all over the world. Throughout the week, I rated the designs and gave comments s to what I liked and what I didn’t like. Often, the designers went back and tweaked their designs or submitted a wholly new design based on my feedback. Yesterday, that first phase of the contest ended and I selected five finalists, some of whom are from Malaysia, Serbia and the Caribbean.
Now comes the crowd sourcing part of my plan. I’ve created a poll, and I am asking all of you, my friends and readers, to go to the site and vote for the cover you like best. Help me find the best graphic designer to give my books a fresh new look.
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