Last week, I mentioned using 99 Designs for Poison Dance’s cover. I love the book cover I ended up with, but I’m hesitant to use the service again. A few people asked me to elaborate.
Here’s a basic rundown of how it works. It’s a contest site, where customers hold contests for artists to compete in. The winner gets the prize money — everybody else gets valuable life experience. There are three award levels you can choose. The greater though award, the more designers you will have entering. I chose the least expensive package: the bronze package for $299. Here’s my design brief listing my specifications.
After initiating the contest, you go into the first round, where designers submit different cover concepts and you offer feedback in the form of comments and star ratings. As the contest progresses, you start narrowing down the field, until at the end of the first round (about 4 days I think?), you name up to six finalists. Then, you begin a second round as the finalists continuing to refine and rate designs. At the end (3 days?), you choose a winner. If you want to see my top six designs, you can take a look at the poll I created here for people to help me rate the options. Then you choose the winner, make any last tweaks that you need to, and receive your design.
Here are pros of using 99 designs:
Nowadays, popular cover designers can be booked for months. With 99 designs, you can finalize the design in a little more than a week. (Although you can still get delays at the very end, while your winning artist makes any last changes you request.)