With the decision to self-publish The Sword of Dragons, only one real obstacle has presented itself: cover art.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, and my quest has taken a lot of interesting turns. I want the cover of my novel to be something that compels a potential buyer just to look at the cover. That’s the first half of the battle in attracting browsing readers.
I know I’ve mentioned Ruth Thompson before, but unfortunately I never received a response from her, so I decided to move on for now. While her artwork is incredible and I’ve always wanted her to create cover art for my novel, I feel I need to move forward for my novel.
I have found another potential cover artist, he has voiced interest and has gone so far as to work on example artwork to show me what he can do. (Plus I know he reads my blog, so that’s a bonus!) I haven’t made the decision to go with him yet, but he has the potential and I am going to continue to encourage him.
I’ve also begun to check out DeviantArt.com. After chatting with someone at work (I’ve mentioned him before, Wayne from VtW Productions) I realized that could be a potential source, and I’ve found some really impressive artists out there! I have not yet contacted any of them yet, that will be my next (frightening) step.
Beyond the Art – The Cover Layout and Print
There’s much more to a novel’s cover than just the artwork. You can have the greatest art in the world, but if the font is atrocious, or the layout on the title is clumsy or ugly…you can get some pretty unattractive, unprofessional results. And I don’t know about you, but if the layout looks like it was thrown together at the last second, I immediately doubt the quality of the written material.
I know, I know, “never judge a book by its cover.” That’s what everyone says. But frankly, just as you can tell a lot about a person by the clothes he or she wears, you can get a hint as to what to expect in a book based on a cover. Most times. Some covers lie, but that’s a whole other article altogether!
If you’re bored, adventerous, and none-too judgemental (be gentle!) you can see an example of how a good ‘cover’ and a bad ‘cover’ can make a difference by checking out my fan fiction website, http://www.stdragon.com/ Specifically, go into the Episodes section and go into Season 5. If you don’t want to go there to check it out, here’s one of the episode banners:Those were some of my first attempts at banner images for my series. Not too great, huh? Now go into Season 7. Much better, right? ….but still lacking.Then check out Season’s 1, 2, and 3. Those were done by a man who really knows graphic design and layout, Mike Conomy. It makes all the difference in the world!!My point with all of this is: I am not a professional graphic design artist. And that’s why I am going to hire someone to layout my cover. In fact, he is the same person who created my business card!
His name is Christian (Click here to see his website!), and I definitely think that, based on this card, he could do an amazing job on my novel. In fact, I know he can, he has shown me some of his own novels’ covers and they are absolutely incredible.
More incredible as that they don’t, strictly speaking, have cover art. They have logos, designs, compelling fonts, but nothing like what you’d see on the cover of Harry Potter, for instance.
Yet if I saw his novels’ covers in the store, I would want to pick up those novels and take a look.
Which brings me to my next point:
Art or No Art?
For a first edition, especially after having seen what can be done even without art, I’m actually considering asking Christian to help design the logo I have in mind for The Sword of Dragons, and perhaps make the first-edition of the novel a simple, compelling cover without cover art (for a great example, here’s an image of the 1st Hunger Games novel cover!)
There are several advantages to this, but for me the greatest are two factors. First is price: I have not yet made any income from writing, so that means this is all out-of-pocket. Second, I could get the book out sooner for everyone to read! :)
Both reasons make this option highly appealing to me. And as I have become more and more conscious of other novels’ covers, I find that many successful novels keep it simple like this.
Would I love to have elaborate cover art depicting a scene from my novel? Heck yeah!! But perhaps for a first edition, what I really need is something that catches the reader’s attention just enough to get them to read the blurb, and then let my work speak for itself.
So I have a decision to make, a big one. Just like everything about this process, it kinda scares me, but it also excites me!!
Thanks for reading :)