Ever have one of those nights where no matter how much alcohol you drank, you just couldn't get, well, drunk? Happened to me last night. So instead of watching everyone else around me have fun, I decided to work – and it was…fun. Luckily, the graphic artist I hired for my novel 'Water' was also working (she is Mormon, and therefore doesn't drink – also lucky for me).
Your book's cover is possibly the single most important aspect of the book – even before a good story. Fact is, many potential buyers will base their buying decision on the cover image – you have one to two seconds to make an impression; many may even move on before reading the book's blurb. I have been lucky enough to find artists who charge between $40 and $100, including revisions, and I always have them sign a copyright release (see example under the resources section on the right). I will also always credit them with their work wherever I use the image.
Anyway, while the party raged on above me, I sat in my basement collaborating with Keary Taylor via e-mail. We (and by 'we' I mean mostly 'she'), were able to come up with the final design. Soooo glad I decided to ditch the first cover and start from scratch with a new artist:
The first cover was a product of my imagination – I just kept thinking of more shit the cover should have and telling the artist to revise, revise, revise. She did everything I asked her to do; her mistake. After seeing the final product I sat back, looked at it, and thought, "What in the hell was I thinking?" I paid the artist then hired another. My decision was validated by a friend's opinion, "It looks like a vagina."
The second cover is a product of the artist's imagination. I gave her all the same instructions I gave the first artist, and she plain out said, "No." Well look at the big balls on this chick. I tried again, giving her the simple instruction of, "Water. Fantasy. Go." And….voila. A vagina-free masterpiece. She came up with an attractive cover that pops against the black background. The design can easily be mimicked for the next books in the series; Air, Fire and Earth by placing those elements in a woman's hand or hands, thereby creating an identifiable brand for my fans (you know – once I have some).
Moral of the story? Drink heavily, hire Mormons, do good art.