Oh wait… do judge a book by its cover. 

It’s what we all do anyway.

This week, after a week-long hiatus due to some personal/family situations, I’m back and ready to take NaNoWriMo by the horns. But first, here’s a look at what’s been going on the past couple of weeks. 


If you haven’t heard of it, 99designs is an online company that creates a “buyers market” for all things design — websites, book covers, apps, icons, and more. 

I’ve been using it to create the cover design for my upcoming book, The Depths

The way it works is simple: 

  • You create a “design brief” explaining what you would like, what you need it to look like, etc.
  • You pay a flat fee ($299 for a basic book cover design, more for advanced/special stuff).
  • Your competition begins, and designers begin uploading their designs. 

Here’s where it gets cool: 

You don’t have to pay anything if you begin to receive designs that you don’t like. You have a handful of days to decide if this is what you’d like to do, otherwise your prize becomes “guaranteed” and your money will go to the designer of your choice. 

During the process, it’s recommended that you give feedback to each of the designs and their designers, through a rating system (1-5 stars) and comments. If there are designs that don’t meet spec, are off base, or simply too far from the brief to be a possible candidate, you can even choose to eliminate them. 

I gave feedback to every designer, and usually each of their individual designs, and I did eliminate a few designs that i felt weren’t at all what I wanted The Depths to look like. Additionally, there were a few designs that were awesome, but not what I had in mind:


I ended up receiving somewhere around 85 submissions, from 27 different designers. I was blown away by the results, and you can see what the submissions looked like by visiting the competition’s page: http://99designs.com/book-cover-design/contests/thriller-action-adventure-book-cover-design-upcoming-author-256894

Each of these designers hoped to make it to the final design round, during which the contest holder can work more closely with a handful of the designers. I took about six with me to the final round, and from those final six, I’ll need to choose a winner. The winner will then receive the payment, minus 99design’s fee. 

Choosing a winner

In four days, the competition is officially over, and I’ll need to choose a final winner. They’ll be the designer who gets paid, and I didn’t want to make the decision completely by myself. 99designs makes this phase dead-simple too, by offering a way to host polls. 

I ran a poll to help me decide who to bring along for the final round, and I also started a poll yesterday to help me decide on one of the final three designs I liked best. I’m hoping you’ll take some time to check out the final three and vote on the winner — it’s pretty cool to see how these designs have come along!

Check out 99designs

If you’re in the process of finishing up a book, or are interested in having something else designed, check out 99designs. The prices are affordable, too. While you might spend a bit less by hiring a single designer, 99designs has created a “buyer’s market” that allows you the benefit of choosing from not only one or two designs, but over 50 (usually). This is a huge win for those of us going the DIY route, and it’s worth a look either way. 

Check out 99designs, but also don’t forget to vote for the cover of my next bookThe Depths!