Emerald City Dreamer: Getting Artwork For Your Indie Book Cover

If there’s anything I like better than a compliment, it’s a random, unexpected compliment.  That’s just what I got yesterday when I fired up my Twitter client and saw this:

That definitely made my day.  I’m very pleased with how the cover for Slices turned out, but honestly, I’m a little self-conscious about it. I designed it myself, and the prevailing wisdom for self-published authors is Thou Shalt Not Design Thy Own Covers.  (But, like I said yesterday, there are no experts on how all this works, so I shouldn’t let that worry me.)  So it was nice to hear someone else say that my cover shows “professionalism.”

At some point, I should tell you about how I made that cover — but not today.  Today, I’m going to tell you about the process fellow Seattle writer Luna Lindsey went through to get her new cover designed, since she posted this not long after I received the above tweet, and I still had cover design on the brain:

By browsing [DeviantArt], I decided I wanted a photo manipulation style, and then I let my visualization processes stew for a while until I imagined my character in the pose I wanted, with props and background.  I made a terrible sketch in pencil just so I could remember the details, bookmarked the artists and images I liked […]

I chose three artists based on these criteria:  1) I liked their art, 2) they seemed professional — i.e. they presented their gallery in a professional manner, they listed the fact that they took commissions, they had their own website, and they had a portfolio of previously commissioned work.

[…] What impressed me most about Ana was her professional attitude in her email replies.  She stated that she always produces a “sketch” or outline of the art before spending too many hours on it, so that if there were foundational corrections, it saves time and money.  That showed me that she’d given this lots of thought.  If you are commissioning cover art, I would strongly recommend you request this of the artist.  Given that this is a digital image, my “sketch” was full color and consisted of the basic model standing in front of the basic background.  Details such as her hair, props, touch-ups, color-finishing, etc. had not yet been done.  The feedback I gave at this level greatly improved the direction of the image, so I was able to get exactly what I had envisioned.

— Luna Lindsey: Emerald City Dreamer Cover Art.

Very cool, and definitely the route I intend to take when I need a cover for Still Life, the novel I’m revising. Her cover looks great, and you should go take a look at it.