How to Create a Stunning Book Cover with 99Designs

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Y’all! I have found the coolest, most fun, most unique way to have my cover designs created! Let me tell you all about 99Designs! 

I’d heard of this business in passing before, but I honestly wasn’t sure what they offered exactly. Then, one day, I happened upon their website and I read more about how the process works and what they offer to authors. I was immediately intrigued, so I reached out to them about using their program and sponsoring the Write Your Best Book Podcast. After some discussion, we came to an agreement, and in exchange for mentioning them on my website, they offered to drop credits into my account which would allow me to have a cover made through one of their contests. I happily agreed, as I love discovering new platforms to not only help with my own writing career but to share with all my clients, followers, and podcast listeners. But I was still not quite sure how this whole thing would work. 

About 3 weeks ago, I sat down and decided to dive in, trust the process, and set up an account. Once I did that, I selected the silver package (the middle tier pricing), and I was then promoted to fill out a survey. 

This form asked me many detailed questions about my book, the setting, the plot, and my concept ideas. It even allowed me to upload some cover designs I loved in my genre to help the designers determine the best direction for my cover designs. I hit SUBMIT, then I went on to something else and honestly didn’t think about it again.

Until the next morning. When I woke up and checked my email, it was filled with over a dozen design proposals from as many graphic designers! I was blown away. But little did I know that was just the tip of the iceberg. 

I signed into my 99Designs account and began scrolling through the design concepts I’d received. A few were just not great, but none of them were awful, and several of them were pretty impressive. But nothing really stood out to me as MY cover design concept. So, I closed the browser and went back to work on something else again. 

Two days later, I checked my account again, and get this…I had received over 100 design concepts from easily fifty different designers! I was blown away! In fact, I had so many great cover design proposals, I was not sure I’d ever be able to pick a winner. 

But the next step was to narrow my designs down to my six favorite designers (even if they submitted multiple concepts). It was tough, but I managed to pick the six I felt had the best grasp of my concept for my story and my cover. 

Then, 99Designs sent me a shareable link I could send to friends and family to get some feedback on the concepts. I decided to take them up on their suggestion. I wanted to follow the entire process step by step to ensure the best possible results. (And, guys, the design team at 99Designs does just that – they walk you through the entire process from beginning to end. So, I recommend doing everything they suggest.) I sent the link to my writer/graphic designer mom, my graphic designer daughter, and my writer sister. Amazingly, they all agreed on the same winner, but I still had trouble picking just one of the six designers. I loved each and every one for different reasons. So, my mother, who has been a graphic designer her whole life, suggested I pick one winner who seemed to grasp my concept the most but ask him if he’d be willing to incorporate some of the design elements from the other designers I also loved. So, I did.

I reached out to the designer (you can communicate with each submitting designer through messaging built into their platform) and I asked him if he’d be willing to make a few final tweaks if I chose him. He agreed, and two weeks after I started the process, I had chosen my winning concept. The final thing I had to do was to go into 99Designs (my dashboard), and select Mario as my winning designer. 

Then, within 24 hours, and after just a few short emails back and forth with elemental changes, I received the final version of my cover, and I fell in love (with the design)! Here’s what Mario from 99Desgins created for me:

I just sent him my blurb, and he’s working on the final version for me to upload into KDP and other platforms now. None of these extra post-contest steps cost me any additional time or money. It’s all included in the price I paid upfront for the cover design contest. 

The only less than perfect aspects from this experience was that it’s not clearly stated upfront anywhere that, depending on your designer and your concept, if you request certain specific images be included in your cover but the designer doesn’t have them in stock, you do have to pay $10 each for additional stock images. It’s not a big deal. And I didn’t mind paying just $10 more, but I do wish they would have made this clearer in the beginning so there were no surprises. 

But that’s it. I enjoyed this process thoroughly. It was smooth and seamless and actually a lot of fun hosting a contest on 99Designs! I would recommend it to each and every one of you, and I will certainly be using this platform for all my future designs. It’s the only way I can think of to ensure you are part of the cover design process and that you receive a final cover you can be proud of and that your readers will be drawn to. And…they have 24/7 support, so if any issues do arise during the contest or if you and your designer did have any problems communicating, they’re always there to help you out, which is very helpful.

My friends at 99Designs have graciously agreed to offer each and every one of my followers an exclusive discount on their contest just for reading this blog post! They even created a unique landing page for you guys. Click the graphic below to check out this platform and receive your $20 discount now! 

I’m always on the lookout for great platforms that help authors have the most successful book launch possible, and I’m so glad I found 99Designs! I just wish more authors knew about this business, so be sure to share this article (and discount) with all your writer friends! 

And don’t forget…your cover design is only one part of your launch process. You also must hire a professional editor to polish your book baby before you publish it! And here at Write Your Best Book, I work with an amazing staff of highly-skilled, trained, professional editors (including myself) who will edit your book to perfection and make it (combined with your perfect new cover) something you can be so proud of. If you’d like a free sample edit and quote, be sure to click the Services and Rates page and read all about what we have to offer you. Then, head on over to the Contact Us page and fill out the short, quick form to automatically request your sample edit and quote. Someone will respond within 24 hours and we have a guaranteed turnaround time on all edits/quotes of under 24 hours from the time you send your first 5 pages!

And, finally, please comment below this blog post and let us know what you think. What has been your experience with cover designs so far? Do you have any questions about this 99Designs platform or any other issue related to book covers? Post a comment below! We respond to every single comment, and it helps boost our visibility online. So it’s a win-win for all! 

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