Updated: Dec 23, 2020
In the course of writing my series, Dark World, I've met a lot of really talented artists and test-driven different platforms. Recently, I was really impressed with a particular artist which I met on Fiverr and I would like to take this time to talk about her and my experience.
Fiverr, if you're not familiar with the platform, is a place (website) where one can find a number of services ranging from designers, graphic artists, musicians, animators, and so many other things. The service is divided into either pro services or entry-level services. In general, pro services are about $200 to $300 more than entry-level services with the key difference being that the pro side has more Fiverr veterans or talent that is supported by a business. As I worked on the first book in the series I tried numerous talents and even posted jobs to see if talent would find me. In the end, the thing that worked best, however, was simply to look at past work and find artists that had worked on published work. With cover designers, this wasn't terribly hard to do. I opened each artist's portfolio and then jumped over to Amazon books to see what the finished product looked like. After a few days of looking, I found a few that struck me but the next challenge was discovering if the artists had the right work ethic, price point, and ability to take direction. I'll add that this last criterion was the most difficult to find. A lot of artists, sadly, pretend to understand what is described but, truly, do not. Weeks and weeks can be wasted in the process and unless you set aside some money to play with you will be soon get frustrated with the results.
Needless to say, the first two covers were a sad disappointment. Then I found Anaristovska (https://www.fiverr.com/anaristovska) and the entire experience changed. She had a simple list of questions, which I answered, and when I mentioned the previous covers she asked if she could take a look at the work. In just a few days she had provided me with the stunning and mood-inducing cover I had so desperately needed. I was so impressed. She had captured everything I had said perfectly and provided me with all the versions of the art I would need for advertising, audible, softcover, and best of all unlimited edits in the future.
The unlimited edits is a pretty important facet, let me tell you. The process to self-publish a book on Amazon, though fully functional, requires some trial and error, especially if its your first time. Being able to make changes to the book and alter the number of pages requires that you recalculate the spine and any change to the dimensions of the book can result in significant rework. What I will say about this is that having a good read-through of Amazon's softcover guidelines, though recommended, is just not enough. You need someone that understands cover design, inside and out. Anaristovska was, definitely, a perfect match. She took the dimensions I had selected from amazon and knew exactly what to do to make the perfect cover design work on that platform. I simply told her how many pages I had (I did change my mind about page counts several times) and she simply responded within just a short time with the updates. The updates were perfect and Amazon was able to work with them flawlessly.
To say that she restored my faith in Fiverr is probably giving Fiverr too much credit. No! who you work with, in the end, makes all the difference. So, let me tell you a little about this amazing artist and cover designer and share some of our conversations through some questions and answers. First, Anaristovska (her Fiverr handle) is from Skopje, North Macedonia. She lived there most of her life except during her high school years where she lived in Duino, Italy in an international boarding school. She contrasts the two places and explains her passion for her craft with these words, "The difference between living in Skopje and living in Italy was huge. I love Skopje with its brutalist post-socialist architecture, and its sunny climate, but living in Italy opened my eyes to art, which I consider to be the biggest driving force in my life." - Anaristovska When I asked her how she got into this line of work she said, "I started dabbling in Photoshop and photomanipulation when I was about 15. I was writing and publishing my stories online. I quickly realized that the stories with banners had more reads, so I started making my own banners in photoshop (I still keep some of them!). Later I started making posters, and it wasn't until I was already in Medical School that a friend of mine suggested I start making book covers. I decided to try it out!"
She went on to say, "Since I started this when I was about 15, that would mean I have spent an additional 15 years working in Photoshop, but I have been doing book covers for nearly six years (although, it is only these past two years that I have been doing it full time)."
Then I asked her what she thought was her biggest accomplishment.
"I have worked mostly with self-publishing authors, and THAT is what I consider my biggest accomplishment; helping authors on their way to achieving their dream." - Anaristovska
I next asked her if there had been any challenges in her career.
"Yes, I have faced some challenges. As I said previously, I was studying Medicine. It wasn't until I was three years into Med School that I finally gathered the courage to say out loud that I didn't want to be a Doctor. It took me a while before I got back on my feet. I struggled with depression, but I got professional help, and it is because of that help that I stand where I do, with my dream job that I absolutely adore!" - Anaristovska
I next asked her if there were any alternative tools or platforms she had tried.
"Apart from fiverr I have worked on upwork and 99designs (I stared on 99designs actually). All three platforms operate differently. 99designs holds contests, upwork makes the designers submit proposals to the client, while fiverr asks the client to look for the right designer for them. All three are great platforms to find a designer according to the client's budget, and there are designers in all three platforms that I am an absolute fan of (whose galleries I regularly stalk!)" - Anaristovska
I next asked her if she had any words of wisdom or advice for folks aspiring to work in something similar.
"DON'T QUIT AND WORK HARD. It took me six months of entering book contests before I won my first one. Then it took me years before I started getting regular work. And don't get comfortable in your comfort zone. Push your boundaries and don't be afraid to try something new." - Anaristovska
I then asked if she had any hobbies.
"As for hobbies - well, I turned my hobby into work, so what's better than that? But in all seriousness, Covid has bound any and all hobbies to home. So now my hobbies include reading and reading and more reading. I basically read the type of books I make covers for: high fantasy being my absolute favorite!" - Anaristovska
It was truly a delight to work with this amazing artist and it is my hope that we'll see her work in both my and other author's work for many years to come. She is a real gift to the Author & Writer community.