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Why I Used 99Designs for My Book Cover
Note: This post is not meant to advise you whether to use or not use 99Designs. I'm posting this information because I had not heard any 99Designs user experiences from the members of my writing groups and thought this might be helpful to my fellow writers who have been very generous with their data over the years. I used the service several months ago (Winter 2016).
I think I originally heard of 99Designs because it sponsored an indie author podcast I was listening to.
The hosts were saying how great it was to use 99Designs to do your book cover. I wasn't interested at the time for several reasons:
1) My daughter and I had successfully created my other covers. I had the ideas, she had the extreme Photoshop skills and an eye for fonts and colors. I've sold a lot of those books and still love all but one of the covers. However, the cover I don't love (Don't Make Me Make You Brownies) is the book that broke me out of obscurity on Amazon and still sells, years later, so I've left it alone.
2) I'd heard no buzz about 99Designs on the writers' groups I'm a part of. Hmm... Did I feel up to being the guinea pig?
3) My degree is in journalism with an emphasis in advertising. I was aware the hosts of the show needed to pimp their sponsor enthusiastically, so I took their words with a few grains of salt. (Mr. Nina, on the other hand is a marketer's dream. As we watch TV or as he's scrolling through his phone, he cries out, "I want a tiny house! I want a hat like that! I want a tree house! I want a pigmy goat!" ???)
4) I'm lazy when it comes to figuring out new technology, navigating new websites, etc. To be honest, It's not so much lazy as it is that I don't enjoy feeling stupid. Before everything was about software and websites and apps, I was a smart person. Now, I'm an embicile. I end up calling Mr. Nina into my office and jabbering on dramatically about what I'm trying to accomplish and how it's not working. He then steps to my keyboard and clicks the mouse twice. The problem is solved and I'm even more annoyed.
So, what drove me to the extreme measure of searching out the 99Designs site and actually figuring out how to do it? (Okay, there was very little figuring. It's pretty user-friendly.)
I'd started writing a series that wasn't a romantic comedy (which is what 4 of my books are and many future ones will likely be). But my new books were going to be part of a funny (Martin and Owen) mystery series with some action and, of course, mystery. It still contains a budding romance between the hero and heroine, but the relationship develops over time (kind of like Rick Castle and Kate Beckett, except completely different).
For the first time, I had no idea what I wanted on the cover. I did know 5 things though:
1) I needed a cover that made it clear the mysteries would be funny like most of my other books.
2) I needed a cover that would brand this series as being a different genre than my other books.
3) I needed a cover with some components that could be used on the other covers of the same series for continuity of branding. After all, by switching to a series, I was now playing the long game, not expecting to make much money on these books until I had several written.
4) I needed a cover that highlighted my distinctive titles.
5) Okay, as it turns out, I didn't really know five things. I just thought five sounded better than four.
I remembered hearing of 99Designs. I like the thought of seeing ideas from a number of different artists. I espeically liked the fact that you don't pay unless you see something you like. So, basically, I weighed out having no ideas for my series covers against seeing a bunch of ideas and paying only if I liked one of them, and 99Designs won.
Next post: My Book Cover Experience with 99Designs.