Book Cover Design: OctagonLab

UntitledI previously wrote about my experiences with 99Designs for the cover of my first novel, The Blood Moon. In that post I talked about how I tossed around the idea of using a site called OctagonLab for the design of the cover. Ultimately, I passed on OctagonLab for that cover, but for another cover—Snow After Christmas, a holiday-themed short story coming out in November—I decided to give OctagonLab a go.

The website offers other services besides book cover design that might be useful to authors as well, including banner design and logo design. I haven’t used either of those services, so I can’t speak to how well they design those, but I will elaborate on the process.

For book design, OctagonLab has three packages: Air, Pro, and Premium. Here’s a breakdown of what each includes:

1. Air – $47
– e-book only
– 2 revisions included
– stock images included in price

2. Pro – $147
– print and e-book
– 4 revisions included
– stock images included in price
– print ready files
– front, back, and spine design
– 3D images of your cover as a real book

3. Premium – $247
– 2 premium cover designs
– unlimited revisions
– priority service
– free promotional graphics for Facebook and Twitter
– everything included in Air and Pro packages

Being that I only had a short story and am planning on only publishing it in an e-book format, I chose the Air package. The order page was different than I expected. Of course they asked for the title, author’s name, and any additional text that should be included on the cover (I asked for “A Short Story” to be placed below the title). They also asked for a book summary. They include a feature where you are able to upload images from your computer that could either serve as inspiration or to be used within the design.

What I found was missing was there wasn’t a spot to describe what you would like to see in the cover, nor was there a place to include links to other books you admired. I ended up adding it to the book description section, including links from Amazon and Barnes and Noble for books that had a similar design to what I was looking for. But, after I clicked continue and moved onto the billing page, I saw there was an “Order Details” section that you could include this stuff in.

There is also the option to upgrade to priority service for $30 at the bottom of the page. Unless you’re pressed for time to get a book out, I wouldn’t recommend this. The whole process took a little over 10 days. Really no time at all.

Once I submitted my order, I got an email confirming it. Then after that…silence. I didn’t hear from anyone from OctagonLab until the following weekend when I received the email that included my cover design. There were no further questions, no samples, nothing. The only other book cover design I had done was through 99Designs where I was presented with a wide variety of book designs, so I may be a little spoiled, but this just seemed too impersonal.

In the email, he told me to let him know if I wanted any revisions. I did, but he never told me how to contact him about the revisions. I replied to the email and never received an email indicating that it didn’t go through, so I assumed he got it. I waited another week and never heard anything. The changes I requested were fairly minor, so I figured I would’ve seen a revised cover in a shorter period of time, but that wasn’t the case.

I ended up using their contact form on their website and included my order number and email detailing the revisions I requested. I don’t know if it happened to be dumb luck, or if they had forgotten about my order, but I received it the next day. Again, all the email said was: “Here’s your design. Let me know if you would like any changes.” That was the end of the road for me since I was happy with that cover.

I was sufficiently underwhelmed with OctagonLab. Their designs are pretty good, I received a cover I am happy with, but the customer service was lacking. Plus, the cover designs are more or less basic stock image manipulations. Not a deal breaker for some people or, in my case, for a short story rather than a full-length novel. I may consider them again for another short story cover. You can’t beat the $47 price tag, but this cover doesn’t wow me as much as the cover for The Blood Moon.

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