I need an ebook cover first. Later, I'll need the paperback design.
My first book, Mini Habits, is being translated into a dozen languages and has sold well over 40,000 copies. It's a top 2,000 selling book in the US even today (30-40 ebook copies sold per day). I expect my new book to do well, too. If you win this contest, I'll add "cover design by (your name)" somewhere in the book.
Here's my new book, including all of the text I need on the cover:
TITLE: How to Be an Imperfectionist
SUBTITLE: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism
AUTHOR NAME: Stephen Guise
AUTHOR ACCOLADE TEXT: International Bestselling Author Of Mini Habits
For my next book to do well, I need a fantastic cover! I'm looking for an eye-catching cover that intrigues and excites people for the book, which already has the benefit of an intriguing title.
THE CONCEPT: The idea of the cover is to convey imperfection in some way, and it's a bonus if that imperfection can be shown to be positive (like a guy tripping across the finish line—it's imperfect, but he wins. Or coloring outside the lines turning into something cool). I'm not sure how easy it would be to convey that complex of an idea without making it too convoluted.
I prefer simplicity. For example, look at how simple my first book's cover is: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HGKNBDK
I WANT YOU TO BE CREATIVE. I'm not 100% sold on any of the following ideas. If you think you can make one of these current ideas shine, by all means go for it. But if you have a unique idea, it will make you stand out.
I don't want something generic, like a stock image of an arrow outside of the bulls-eye against a white backdrop that looks like it was put together in MS Paint (and there are probably 10 other books that have done this).
What to aim for: Unique, creative, simple, and clear, with smartly placed and designed text
1. Doing something different with the "im" part of "imperfectionist" as the "im" is a modifier of the common problem of perfectionism. For example, "perfectionist" could be nice and clean and "im" could be sloppier, but more fun?
2. Coloring outside the lines—either the title text or a separate "prop" on the cover (like a shape)
3. I think a design with stick figures could work well. Maybe something where there's a group of perfectionists except for one who is choosing imperfection. I don't mean a generic stock photo where one person in a group is orange. Different is not the same as imperfect!
4. Two paths: one is perfect-looking but leads into a pile of garbage, the other is imperfect-looking but leads to gold or something awesome
5. Any other idea that communicates the freedom of "imperfectionism."
6. The crumpled paper thing has been overdone, but I like it. Maybe some kind of torn paper concept could work, like tearing away paper to reveal the "im" in "imperfectionism"...
7. A possibly fun and unique cover I thought of was writing "How to Be an" on the top line, and then having a series of misspellings that are crossed out. For example:
How to Be an
8. Eraser marks could be utilized, as that means mistakes have been made.
There are a lot of things you could do. Doing one of them well is the hard part!
FEEL: I want the cover to have a fun, free-spirited feel. This probably means bright or varied colors. The people reading this book are trapped by their perfectionism, and this book is their ticket to freedom (I'm not just saying that to sell books, I believe it). Showing imperfection alone on the cover is a great way to achieve that relaxed feel that says "it's ok when things aren't perfect!" So bright colors aren't necessarily required.
I will try to give prompt and useful feedback. This cover is very important to me, so I will do my best to enable you. I may not have time to respond to everyone. If I just give you a rating, here's what you can assume:
1 or 2 stars: try something else.
3 stars: I'm not sure about it. It could have some amount of potential—either I like your design sense or I like the concept, but it would need polishing. Try variations on the concept or a new concept if you choose.
If I rate it 4 stars, I like it. Keep going with that idea. You can also submit other ideas, of course.
5 stars means I'm impressed and you have a chance to win.
FIRST ROUND: Focus on concepts. They don't have to be perfectly polished, but if they're too sloppy, I won't be able to see past it. In this round, I'd recommend concerning yourself less with things like color, and more on layout and concepts, like where you'll place text, what graphics and ideas you'll draw/use.
If you're manually drawing it, first of all, you're awesome. You could send me uncolored sketches if you want. If knowledge serves me, coloring takes the most time, so that would make sense.
SECOND ROUND: This is the stage for refinement. We'll have more back-and-forth discussion on your design's intricacies.
Submit a design! It'll be fun, and if you win, it could be seen by many thousands of people!