kalnsms got their new book cover by running a design contest:
Design a rustic book cover for an international mystery/thriller!
Check out kalnsms's Book cover contest…
Beasts of the Night
No back cover required. This is my debut novel, my editor is just polishing the final manuscript and I’m looking for an eye-catching paperback cover for my book. Looking forward to your ideas!
** BRIEF UPDATES AS DESIGNS COME IN ** (See below for back cover blurb) 1. If incorporating the girl, I much prefer silhouettes or really subtle hints of a character in the background - I'm not too big a fan of coloured pictures of characters right smack in the middle (I'm not saying DON'T do it) however, I feel it's difficult to do it well, to do it tastefully without making the cover look a bit cheesy. The character as a silhouette, a background faded - this adds to mystery, and I also dont want a front and center picture influencing the reader's mind in how exactly the character might look 2. I much prefer my name across the bottom of the cover than the top. This will be the blurb on the back cover: When Mei was eight years old, her aunt tried to sell her to a strange man with a foreign accent. Abandoned amongst the impoverished, backwater villages of Cambodia, she ran for her life. When they found her, grass-stained and teary eyed in a ramshackle orphanage, security consultant Quentin Mills instantly fell in love with her fiery spirit and dogged will to survive. Now, years later, Mei has gone missing, and this time, Quentin fears the worst. When the head of a victims’ shelter informs him that Mei and several other girls have been abducted in the middle of the night, he sets out against all odds to find her and bring her home. Starting at the scene of the crime in rural Cambodia, his search takes him to the seedy underworld of Bangkok’s red-light district, sifting through clues in a neighborhood rife with prostitution and human trafficking. Just as the trail seems to go cold, he makes a shocking discovery that takes him even further into an international web of people smuggling. Unraveling the mystery of Mei’s disappearance eventually leads him to Cairo, a city consumed with corruption and political tension, the beating heart of North Africa on the brink of revolution. Racing against time, he enlists the help of old colleagues and new acquaintances within Cairo’s diplomatic community, searching desperately for an innocent child among dusty back alleys and sunbaked villas, seeking to unearth the dark underbelly of human trafficking in the volatile Egyptian capital. ** The main character is a jaded, alcoholic diplomat and searches throughout the book, and through various countries, for this missing child and a chance for personal redemption. She becomes a symbol of hope for him – despite his frustrations with bureaucracy and politics – and is determined to do things himself without the help of anyone else. ** A question was brought up about Mei's age - She's 8 at the beginning and is 12 by the end when she goes missing. She's very much a small and petite girl throughout, as a Cambodian orphan, even at 12 she's a very young twelve, if people are thinking about including images or silhouettes.
Adults interested in mysteries, thrillers, noir, international adventure and travel
Book cover type
Other color requirements
I do require the final product to be in CMYK. As you might see in the description, I feel that yellows and browns fit better with Egyptian/Middle Eastern themes, but these are just initial thoughts. I know more what I DON'T like than what I do like, so please be as creative and free thinking as you like! Please see all other attached book covers below for inspiration...
Please let your imaginations run wild, I don’t have anything exact in mind, however, I do have many themes and ideas to hopefully guide your designs. I am looking for a professional cover that is virtually indistinguishable from covers you would see scrolling through Amazon for books... The story is essentially split down the middle, the first half taking place in Cambodia and the red-light district of Bangkok – the second part taking place entirely in Cairo, Egypt. I think the biggest challenge will be how to incorporate themes of both (if you want) – though I do picture more of a yellowish, dusty, grimy theme that has more to do with the rustic Middle East than tropical Asia. Sun baked villas, minarets, a historic Middle Eastern capital…However, if there is a way to incorporate this missing Cambodian girl or some Asian aspects within the larger Middle Eastern theme then best of luck, I welcome all ideas. I love the idea of texture and a tactile feel to the cover. Rustic, weathered pages, faded imagery. I really like the idea of a rugged cover to go with the overarching theme of international travel, adventure, mystery, shadows, suspicion… While the story is not historical fiction, it does have a historical fiction sort of feel – locales include Angkor Wat, the Egyptian museum in Cairo, French colonial Cambodia. I’m hoping for all the modern design tricks of the trade to generate something with an antique sort of feel and a mysterious noir element. I should note – when I say old and weathered I mean more World War 2 historical fiction – I don’t want the cover to look like it’s from the middles ages, pirate maps, pharaohs or anything that far back… ** I’ve cleared my schedule for this competition – if you have questions, PLEASE fire away, I plan to be very engaged with every design, communicating my thoughts, suggestions, etc. I plan on working very closely with your designs – you have full artistic license, however any questions or ideas you might have, I promise to respond in a timely manner ** TECHNICAL THINGS: - The book will be a 5’8 inch design - I will require at least 300 DPI (dots per image) - Final deliverables should be in CMYK format
What to avoid
KEY POINTS TO KEEP IN MIND: - While my plot is fast-paced and suspenseful, my writing style makes the plot almost a vehicle to tell the reader about these exotic places and locales. I really want the reader to be drawn into, transported and submersed into revolutionary Egypt, the jungle/desert, the ancient cities – I’d like the cover to be the starting point for this. Everyone judges a book by its cover the first time they see it… - The type of font is very important, I definitely prefer serif to sans-serif, and I feel that in minimalist covers especially, the title of the book and the style in which its set is essential, feel free to give suggestions and I’ll provide feedback… KEY POINTS TO AVOID: - I do not want a ‘modern’ cover in terms of imagery. I don’t have an interest in anything related to polished, sci-fi’ish abstract designs. I feel like minimalism, literalism is more the feel of this cover. Be cautious of images too - silhouettes and very mysterious pictures of characters I think would work, but often front and center pictures of characters can change the feel, make the cover a bit cheesy, not so subtle... - While I am not opposed to silhouettes of minarets and the desert, which can be seen as traditional Middle Eastern themes – NO pyramids, NO sphinx and NO camels. I do want an Arabian feel, the city of Cairo and Islam is a prominent theme as well, but I feel that pyramids, camels and the sphinx, these are a bit hacky and overdone in my opinion…
It all began with a design brief.
A quick, interactive guide helped them understand their design style and captured exactly what they needed in their book cover.
Designers across the globe delivered design magic.
kalnsms collaborated with designers to refine their ideas
When design entries come in, you can rate them so designers know what you’re looking for in your logo design.
99designs has great collaboration tools so you can pinpoint and capture your ideas
And then… they selected a winner!
Designer understood the brief from the very beginning and took liberty to apply his artistic license, which was not necessarily the case with other designers.
He was also open to feedback (no matter how small they were or how frequently it was provided) and was prompt with iterations. We had good communication throughout the process, which helped deliver something that we are both proud of.
I found the designer very helpful and would recommend him for your designs.
Along the way, they met lots of talented designers…
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