The Pinebox Vendetta is the first book in a series. (The series name will be the same: The Pinebox Vendetta.) The book is a character-driven thriller, and I’m looking for a cover that’s stylish, fresh, upmarket—and still dangerous. In the reference files, I am including covers for my two previous books, The Winner Maker and Blackquest 40, to give a sense for my style, but please don’t feel bound by these examples. I’ve also included several classic covers that have the right vibe.
Going into the contest, I have one simple idea: the title and a pinebox (examples in reference files), perhaps with the box’s lid cracked and some mysterious light shining through the edges. [ADDED: THE SHINING LIGHT IS NOT NECESSARY, ONLY IF YOU CAN DO IT IN A SUBTLE, ARTISTIC WAY.] In the book, and the entire series, the two political families fight for power, and the root of their enmity is an ancient secret that somehow relates to an 18th century pinebox. The actual secret is never revealed, which is part of the theme, that so much of our political and ideological fighting is pointless and destructive.
With such a simple design, the typography and execution would obviously be key. I am hoping somebody can give me a haunting, clean, menacing realization of this concept. Perhaps some dramatic typography with a perfectly ominous pinebox? Or a simple, muscular version of each?
Of course, I am willing to consider any design. If you find a more compelling cover with your own ideas, that’s great. Other elements I considered were family crests somehow opposing each other, a King cobra (venom from this snake factors into chapter one), or the Yale campus itself — which is old and Gothic, perhaps evoking ancient secrets. I do expect a great title and pinebox to win, but want to provide these other elements in case there is another idea out there I’ve missed.
This is the fourth contest I’ve run on 99designs, and I’d like to try something new. It always bothers me how much unpaid work designers put into these contests, and so I am pledging to do one-on-one contests with each runner-up for a short story ebook cover. I have a handful of stories I plan to publish in the coming year and need the covers—so long as your rate is in line with typical 99designs rates (say, between $200 and $300), I will start a one-on-one project immediately after choosing the Pinebox Vendetta winner, if you are a finalist who doesn’t take the prize. (And I will try to match up your design style with my short stories’ requirements as best I can.)
Please let me know if you have questions on this, or anything else about the contest — I’m always happy to vet any design ideas before you invest time in them.
Thanks in advance for your hard work and creativity, and I look forward to seeing your amazing work!