Exciting parts of publishing are the times I get to work with my author on their cover! I've worked with 99Designs before and now knowing what to expect, I can help my author through the process. Those on the mailing list -- keep a lookout of your email! We'll be sending you opportunities to choose the cover to Elizabeth SaFleur's upcoming novel "Lovely" her first novel in the Elite Doms of Washington series.
For those new to 99Designs, the process is simple. You'll be walked through the start and then you'll have designs pour in! You rate them but also, it's important to explain why they got that rating (good or bad). You'll often times have some designers submit several different covers. I usually get an average of 50 designs.
Also, there's a section under the submitted designs where you can write to all the designers at once. I use this to let everyone know what my battle plan is and to give them links to my Pintrest board or other links to inspire them and give them insight into my tastes. Communication is very important.
There are basically 3 rounds where you eliminate designs and designers each round. You can make your contest run for 24 hours or 7 days. It's up to you on your time limit. I chose the 7 days so my author could absorb everything and get the best book cover.
So, even if you're just starting out, I would give 99Designs a try! If you don't see anything in the first round you'll be given the chance to get a refund. But if you decide to go onto the second round you will have to guarantee payment so the designers know your serious.
Now for the word of warning. I'm a softy and I get that people are working hard at earning the money and presenting the best design they can. However, every time I've done a contest I've had designers whine at me, "I do everything you ask and why you no like my design?"
I breath in, take a count of my people points and then write a professional and kind reply. The thing about 99Designs is, there are somewhere in the likes of 15 to 20 designers and only one win be crowned the winner.
People like to win. They don't like to do a lot of work for free. However, this environment is very much a bidding war. Designers put their best foot forward and hope you go for it. Great designers will "get" you and your brand right away and submit one or two designs. They are the ones you want because every one is after them for a reason. But then, there are the ones that need more practice. That may seem harsh but if you don't have a hard shell, it's going to rip you to little itty bitty pieces. Being a writer, this should sound familiar. Even designers get rejected. In effect, doing a 99Designs contest is rather like being a publisher. You have 50 people clamoring for you to choose them and you can only give one person the prize. But usually, what you get is worth the pain, strife and agonizing.
My efforts are to make this a learning blog where writers can see the flip side of publishing. If you have comments that will improve your experience or have a certain topic you'd like discussed, please contact me through email - HERE.
~ Sincerley, Your Editor
Troll River Publications
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