February 13, 2012

99Designs 2 New Book Covers

I had so much fun working with the artists at 99Designs -- a really cool crowd-based website where you set up a “contest” and describe what you’re looking for. You also post how much you’re willing to pay. The more you offer, the more designs you’ll end up with. I chose the “middle” package and immediately had people respond. Here’s what I posted for my contest:
I need cover art for the second book in my series. I'd like to maintain a level of consistency with the first book, but if I like the new design better, I'll consider replacing the first cover. (More about that later)
“Taken: A Magical YA Paranormal Romance Book Two”
by Charlotte Abel
Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.
Gasp-out-loud action; heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.
Young Adult Paranormal Romance (more towards the adult end of the spectrum)
Character descriptions:
Channie: 16 year old female witch. Sweet, vulnerable face; intense, expressive, green eyes; wild, curly, white-blond, waist length, hair; youthful figure
Josh: athletic 17-18 year old male (BMX bicycle racer); intense, impossibly bright, sapphire blue eyes; black wavy hair. Youthful but strong masculine face.
Themes: Love really can conquer all, but not without extreme sacrifice. Love is more powerful than magic.
At first, I thought meh … my own cover art is just as good as these. But by the third day there were so many high quality designs splashed across my monitor, I was embarrassed I’d ever used my own cover. (I’m so tempted to yank that thing off my blog right now, but I want you to see the difference in quality.)
These folks listened to what I said and posted revisions faster than I could look at ‘em. I wound up with over 120 designs by 13 different artists.
The competition was fierce. I fell in love with two different designs and didn’t know how I could possibly make a choice. I posted two different polls on 99Designs (an optional feature they provide) but the results were still inconclusive ... until Anna posted the “new” Channie. It took my breath away. I knew immediately that “this is it” but I still had a couple of marketing people I had to convince. 
After a couple of tweaks to make it readable at thumbnail size (super-important since I sell 99% of my books on Amazon) I finally got the green light to go for it … with one condition.
Enchantment needed a new cover to match Taken I worked with the winning designer, Anna and she created an equally beautiful cover for Enchantment.
I enjoyed working with these artist so much that I decided to feature them here on my blog. Click on their samples to see more of their work.

Dirty Diana (aka “Mo”)

And just in case you didn't notice the scrolling books to the right, here's the winner… Nekozuki (AKA “Anna”)


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I am almost positive that I will be looking into this a.s.a.p for my novel. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  2. You are most welcome, Jack. I hope it works out as well for you as it did for me.