My time lately has been concentrated on researching book covers: designs, designers, how-to, software, stock photos, pre-made vs. commissioned. What I’ve decided is since I want to give the book its best chance possible I am going to commission cover art. My reasons are thus:
1. I want good art that will stand out, and won’t make me feel embarrassed to show someone, like these would. (Fair warning: you may need trauma counseling after viewing that site.)
2. The book is the first of what I hope will be a trilogy. I want a cohesive look, rather than a mish-mash of different styles so I’m hoping to be able to have the same artist do the covers of the next books as well.
3. Design programs like PhotoShop or GIMP have a steep learning curve. If you don’t already know how to use them, it’s not likely to be something you can learn to do well in a weekend (unless you’re a whole lot smarter than I am). I suspect it would take years to achieve the level of mastery I’m after. I got as far as downloading GIMP and was flummoxed. As much as I love playing around with it, I have no idea what I’m doing and the effort would be amateurish at best. Again, the embarrassment factor.
4. I love really good cover art. Most of the pre-made covers are formulaic, or just not quite right and make me want to tweak the design this way or that, even if the art isn’t bad. I don’t want to settle for something that’s almost there.
5. I’m not an artist and know only the merest basics of design principles.
What can I say? Champagne taste on a beer budget.
It will cost more money, but people do judge books by their covers (I know I do) and those cheesey, bad CGI covers with ugly fonts are a turn-off to me, so probably are to most other people as well. I’ve solicited information from three or four artists online (and dismissed others out of hand due to their prices) and am pretty well focused on one. It’s not that I begrudge these people their rates, god knows a real artist with real talent deserves to be compensated for their work. I simply can’t come up with that much money right now. And high prices are also no guarantee of talent, as you can quickly discover. I trolled the internet for a couple of weeks, looking up all kinds of artists, checking out the DIY options, pre-made offerings. This, I believe, is the best course.
The whole process is kind of taking my breath away, and my heart beat faster. This is really happening. Unless I chicken out and decide not to do it. I’ll probably just quietly put the book up on Amazon and hope no one notices…