So there is a lot of information online on what to look for in a perfect book cover. After reading what felt like all of it, I saw a common theme that kept repeating. A cover should ultimately express the overall feel of your genre and make a potential reader want to read the blurb. Simple enough, I thought. Then I looked at a lot dark fantasy covers. What I discovered there was the really successful ones had amazing art, not thrown together stock images but illustrated fantasy settings that sucked you in… I was like, Okay, that’s what I want.
So, now I knew what I wanted my cover to accomplish (read the blurb) and I knew I wanted an amazing illustration capturing the feel and the conflict of the story. That would be starting at around $400.
My next step was to find an artist for the ebook and paperback cover. But where? So after more research and reading the rest of the inter-webs, I decided to go with 99designs. I feel like it was a great decision. For right at $400 I created a competition where artists on the site compete for your gig. The best part is you don’t have to pay if you can’t find an artist you like in the first round, which is three days. You create a brief, which is a vision of what you want. I felt like the more specific your vision is the better here. You will get a lot artists submitting crap designs, but stay strong. You only need 1 good entry.
So a few hours into the competition I had an artist contact me and politely request that I make the competition blind, meaning artists can’t see other artists designs. I said sure? why not? He was a mid level artist on the site with 1 or 2 covers in his portfolio that were pretty good, another lucky great decision. Turns out this is the artist that won the competition, and illustrated the cover on my debut novel, The Shaded.
Vilenko1985 is his profile and he can be found there. He was great to work with and his art style is retro in the best way possible. I felt like he really captured the feel of my novel. More of his art can be found at Artstation