It was a fascinating experiment.
I came up with the idea of a cover design contest after wondering just what it is that makes a cover successful — and why so many publishers choose such awful covers. Then it occurred to me that there’s a whole multitude of people out there who have artistic talents and graphic design experience. So why not throw the challenge out to the public and see what sorts of ideas they come up with?
I gave them a plot synopsis (actually, it’s taken pretty much from my upcoming flap copy) and told them to give it a try.
We ended up with 27 entries. One of them, alas, inadvertently got left off the page, so only 26 were displayed. (Don’t worry; she got a consolation prize!) I was impressed with the professionalism of some of the designs. Several used original photographs; several were wonderfully imaginative.
I didn’t choose the winners. I left that up to my website visitors to vote on their top three choices. You can see the winning entry and the two runners-up by linking to the contest from my home page.
I’ll be showing the winning entries, as well as a number of other entries that I liked, to my publisher. In the end, though, the publisher chooses the cover.
My final lesson from this? Cover design isn’t easy. It takes more than imagination; it takes the vision and the skills to pull it off.
Thanks to everyone who entered! This has been so much fun, we may try it again next year!