99 Designs & 1 Happy Customer

99designs, where have you been all my life?

Wary to use it at first, my husband and sister-in-law convinced me that it was the best option for me as I had no clue as to what I wanted gracing the cover of my New Adult mystery, The Masterpiecers.

Why was I wary? For three reasons:

  • I was afraid the quality of the designers would be iffy.
  • I was alarmed that the access I would have to the designers would be poor (i.e. the level of interaction).
  • I was anxious not to get enough designs to choose from (as I went with their least expensive plan, although I did add 1 of the options).

Well, I was proven wrong…

  • The quality of designs submitted far exceeded my expectations. Some were downright so beautiful that I wanted to have them framed.
  • The interface 99designs has created is smartly designed and therefore easy to use. Communication with the designers is quick. Plus, you can literally pinpoint the details you want altered.
  • I had nearly too many designs to choose from. This might not seem dire to you, but it was heartbreaking for me as I wish everyone could be a winner.

I’ll give you a quick play-by-play of how it all worked. After you prepare a detailed book brief (try to make it as thorough as possible, not only about the story but also about your expectations and the format you’ll need it in) and after pay your refundable contest fee, they launch a 4-day competition during which any designer can submit their work.

At this point, you provide feedback for all the submissions, whether they rock your world or not. By the end of day 2, most designers interested in your contest will have submitted their designs (I had about 20 designers pitching me). If you’re still unhappy with what you’ve gotten, this is a good moment to browse designers and invite them to compete.

At the end of the 4-day period, if you haven’t found your dream work, you can ask for a refund. However, if you go ahead and pick a/several finalists, you guarantee payment and forfeit your refund.

I was never so glad to forfeit a refund. And here’s why:

cover envelup

design by Envelup Design

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cover by KVKi

design by KVKi

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cover by Creativesoul31

design by Creativesoul31

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Umm…can you say talent?

Back to the process, after the designers accept to move on to the final round, you have 3 more days to work with them on their covers. You can even create a poll* at this point to ask your friends and community for their thoughts on the designs.

* My one comment to 99designs is that they should create polls with pictures instead of just providing a link to a webpage. It would make it more attractive and simpler to gather votes.

And then, came the hardest part: awarding the prize. I loved all 3 of my book covers.

And the winner is…drumroll…

PS: In just 7 days, you have a finished, gorgeous book cover.

PPS: I was not paid by 99designs to write this blog post. 😉

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