Edit on Sept 3, 2013: I changed this article a bit after I had a friendly chat with some of the (former) volunteers and senior members of the website. I hope the details help you in making even better submissions
Everybody on DeviantArt seems to know about the Daily Deviations, or DD's. The handful of artworks that makes it to the frontpage every day. The artworks that are shown at the bottom of the site all day long, and get loads of exposure. I guess they're the wet dream for many people on DA.
DD's are usually a reason for discussion. I can't even begin to count the topics on the forums that are about why some deviations are chosen over others, and how the quality of those deviations keep declining year after year. Not many people know, however, that's it's not entirely up to the staff which works are picked. And that we can have our own vote on this.
So I can have an influence on which DD's are picked?
Yes, you can!
Every single member of DeviantArt can suggest an artwork for a DD. Every single one of them, so even you!
What is the goal of DD's
Bringing exposure to artists that needs them. DeviantArt is a large website and, as there are many people out there, it's hard to get noticed. Having your work at the frontpage for people to stare at it all day, surely helps you to get seen by other people here.
Personally, I sometimes think that DA seems to forget about this whole 'promoting unknown artists' thing. I see many of the great names of DA (the ones that have far over 50k watchers already) on the frontpage very often. And while they certainly do have nice artwork, I don't think they actually need the exposure. I mean... they're famous already. Luckily there are also staff members that do take that whole unknown-artists thing into account when making their selections.
Who should I suggest?
That's entirely up to you. If you saw an artwork that you think is amazing, and that many other people should see as well, then suggest it. This can be anything. Something from someone that you barely know, or something from your best friend that needs more exposure. The general rule of thumb for me is when I like something that much that you want many more people to see it. Especially from artist that isn't famous already. Or a very good tutorial. You can never have enough tutorials XD
You can suggest others, but you can also suggest yourself. Self-suggests are usually not mentioned in the comment, but are done on a regular basis. It might feel a bit arrogant to suggest yourself, and might be a bit harsh when you get turned down, but if you have a high quality work and are proud of it... why not?
The only rule is that the member you choose cannot have had another DD over the last 6 months. But this is easy to check. Just go to username.deviantart.com/dds to see the DD's this member has already gotten (if any). And for those that say "But there are people that got multiple DD's in less than 6 months". The rules used to be different. DA's staff said the 6-months-rule was made somewhere in 2012.
So how do I do this suggestion thing?
DD selections are made by the community volunteers (also called CV's) of DeviantArt. This is a varying group of people that helps promoting artists on DeviantArt, that you can recognizance by having a ^ in front of their name.
Go to this page and choose the member for the category the artwork you want to suggest is in: help.deviantart.com/18/ (members will vary over time).
You can leave your suggestion via PM. Make sure to include the following in your message.
- A proper title. Something like 'DD suggestion' would do fine.
- The link to the artwork
- The reason why you think it should be at the front page (this might be a bit too much when you're suggesting yourself, though)
For additional information, you might want to check out the profile page of the CV you're submitting to. Many CV's have posted their 'guidelines' about submitting DD's on their page, or at least provide a link to it. This might include the maximum number of pageviews the artwork of the artist already has (a pageview limit), or might exclude certain things. Make sure to check this out before sending your message. It might save you the time of typing an entire message and getting turned down anyway.
Remember to be polite. Being rude will get you nowhere. These people are volunteers. They're doing this job and taking the time to read all of your PM's, in their free time, and without getting any form of payment for it. Keep that in mind when talking to them!
How do I know the category the artwork is in?
That's easy. It's usually underneath the artwork title
(click image for larger view)
Make sure you submit your work in the right category. Artwork placed in the wrong category, or requests send to the wrong CV, will mostly get turned down without any notice.
After you've send your message: be patient. DA's volunteers get a lot of messages and are usually very busy. Because of that, it might take them a while to get back to you. But my experience is: they usually do. From the many times I've send a DD suggestion, I usually got a reply back. Either that they're placing them, or that they chose not to place them for whatever reason.
If you want to know why they haven't answered your message yet, feel free to send another PM... but make sure to include the original message/suggestion inside of that (it's usually still in your inbox). But I advice only to do so if you haven't heard anything for over one of two weeks, and the CV didn't post a reason/journal why he's away.
Don't be afraid to be rejected
DA has over 26 million members, and even more artworks. That means there's a lot of artwork that can be suggested. It could be that your suggestion doesn't apply to the members of DA's gallery staff. Don't get angry over this, but ask for the reason why (if they didn't provide it to you already). There's a high rejection rate. From the 20+ times I've done a suggestion, I was rejected every single time, except for once. These are the statistics. Don't be bothered over it. At least you tried.
Keep in mind that DA has a policy of giving preference to unknown artworks. This goes for unknown category's as well. A well done artwork in the category 'male stock' might for example get to the frontpage easier than a digital artwork, for the simple face that there are not many good male stockphoto's out there, and DA wants to promote that category. DA gives only little openness about what category's are easier to be selected, just like they give little openness about the whole category filtering in their search. The general rule of thumb here is that the more popular an art-form is, the less likely it is to get chosen. This results in culture that, even though it seems like many selected artworks, the category's digital art and anime/manga are extremely hard (if not impossible) to get through. Keep this in mind when submitting, and (if it's your own artwork that you submit) don't get depressed over it. Those are the numbers.
"Why was my suggestion not placed? I've seen worse stuff on the frontpage!"
It might be frustrating (especially when suggesting your own work) that your work is never selected. Yet you see other work on the frontpage, that you don't like. And you wonder why that artwork got selected and yours wasn't. I think everybody has had such an occurrence, in which they frowned upon what was on the frontpage, or what wasn't there.
It's important to keep in mind that not everybody on DA has the same tastes. The artwork you like, might not appeal to certain people. Just like work other people like, might not appeal to you. As selecting DD's is done by humans, it's dependent on their tastes. And their taste, might not be quite the same as yours. As for quality guidelines. DD's are focused on getting unknown people known on this site. This might mean their skill level isn't yet professional. I too have seen work at the frontpage and thought to myself "but I could do that too. Why wasn't I selected?". And then I looked at the number of pageviews the artwork or artist had, and I understood.
What's very important to keep in mind, even when you do not agree with a DD, is that selecting DD's has nothing to do with the artist. The artist made the artwork because he liked it. He didn't chose to be on the frontpage (especially not if someone else suggested him) and doesn't deserve to get insults about an artwork he spend his time on, just because YOU can't stand he's on the frontpage and you're not!
Keep in mind that whatever you do; NEVER BLAME OR INSULT THE ARTIST!!!
Get out there!
Like I wrote in my earlier article about promoting yourself: you need to get out there. Don't stand on the sideline of the community, but be immersed in it! Suggesting DD's a such a feature that helps you getting more involved with the community. It helps you getting into contact with other people. And if your suggestion actually makes it to the frontpage, your name will be mentioned as well.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there! Try to suggest at least one artwork, to know how it's done. And spread the word! Maybe someone suggests you as well