I was so excited last week to share the gorgeous cover art for my upcoming horror/sci-fi novel, JO. It's really beautiful, right? It made me decide to take a day and talk about cover art in general, how it's worked out with me, and why I love my various cover artists.
Cover art is sooooooooo important, especially to a little indie author like myself. Think about it...when you go to a bookstore (be it Barnes & Noble or your local independent bookseller), what do you see first? Covers. What makes you pick up a book and turn it over to read the back? Covers. What makes you stop and think, "I need to read this," without even knowing what the book's about?
You guessed it. Covers.
Good cover art is about the best thing an author can do (besides write a kick-ass book). I've been really lucky to have great covers (in my opinion, anyway) for all my books/stories, and JO is definitely no exception. But the process by which you get your cover can vary greatly, depending on whether you're publishing with a huge publisher, a small one, or publishing yourself. Let's chat a bit about it.
I'm going to start with the Undead America series, which has two books already released and one still to come. Undead America is released via a small press publisher called MuseItUp Publishing. They're located in Canada, and are run by the inestimable Lea Schizas. She's the head honcho, the lady in charge of everything, and she's got a great supply of cover artists at her disposal for the Muse books.
Me? I was SO lucky to be paired with Marion Sipe, who's done both Undead America covers. Working with her has been fantastic, as has the process of working with a small press. With Marion and Muse, authors fill out a questionnaire about their books, including characters, settings, major plot points, and the like. We're also requested to provide some examples of covers that we love. Marion took all that into account when creating the covers to my Undead America series, and I think she did a great job. I especially requested the black/white/read combo, and she was kind enough to work with me on that each time.
What do you think? I think they came out pretty great, actually.
When I decided to self publish my short story, "In the Land of the Blind," it's entirely possible the final decision TO publish was brought about when I found this cover.
Seriously. I had to have it, and since my short story was about people going blind, it was perfectly suited.
The thing is...there are lots of artists out there putting out quality pre-made book covers for indie authors like myself. If you find a good one....hop on it as soon as you can! Email the artist, send them your title and author info, and go. It's not too expensive, and it's worth it to have a great cover. This one came from a site called Go On Write, and the artist was super fast and professional. I love this cover so much!
And this brings us to JO. My sweet JO.
When I made the decision to put JO out there, I knew a lot was going to depend on the cover. I thought about hiring someone to commission something from scratch - I thought about spending hundreds of dollars to get it right, in fact. But then, as I was browsing those pre-made covers again, I saw the image of JO, right there before my eyes, at The Cover Collection. Though the background wasn't right (at first it was an autumnal forest, and JO takes place in the dead of winter), and though we eventually changed the fonts, the image of the girl, starting up with white-out eyes, was too perfect to pass up.
I emailed the cover artist, Debbie, and asked if she'd be willing to work with me to change up the background to something snowy, and add that pop of red I love so much. She responded that she would, and thus began a new and exciting professional relationship.
Seriously. Debbie has been fantastic. She's done the ebook cover, the print cover, and even a second version of the print cover when I decided to change up the size of the book. Here's what the final print cover will be. Tell me it's not fantastic??
Cover art is SOOOOOOO important. I hope/plan to work with each of these artists again as I continue to write books. If you're an author in need of a cover, I hope you consider them as well. They're all so fabulous and professional; I can't recommend any of them highly enough!