May 16

Seeing Things, Part 6: Cover Art and Marketing

Dear Blog Friends,

Since I’m an artist, a lot of people have asked me “when you get your book published, are you going to do your own cover art?”  My instant reaction was usually a horsey sound, followed by “no, of course not.”  My books deserve really good cover art, butwhen I think of “do your own cover art,” I think of this:

Thomas Canty - Once Upon a Dream Comic Art

I can paint, but I can’t paint like that.

But even if I could afford to hire Tom Canty to do my cover art, he wouldn’t be the right person.  Click on the link above, if you haven’t done so already.  You know something about the type of book that is the cover for, don’t you? Even though there’s no title? Exactly.  High fantasy, maybe a fairy tale retelling.

So what kind of cover should I have?  Well, it should have a cover similar to a book it’s similar to.  I think my novels are most similar to Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Series. They’re fantasy, but they aren’t high fantasy. They also have nearly-powerless protagonists, and a plot fueled more by mystery than mayhem or lust. Here’s the cover of Charlaine Harris’ first vampire book.

Yeah. No.  This is one of the few (and I do mean few) instances where I actually prefer the version with the actors’ pictures on the cover of a novel.  I really dislike these covers.  I think the reason they made it look kind of cartoonish is that this was Harris’ crossover novel. She was primarily a mystery writer before this came out (one could argue she is still primarily a mystery writer) And a lot of the mystery novels I’ve seen, particularly the cozier mysteries, tend to have bright colors and/or simpler designs.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

So I went to the second writer whose work resembles mine, Kim Harrison.  Here’s a one of her covers.

I did a search on amazon for “urban fantasy” and I confirmed what I’d already known. Urban fantasy covers show hot chicks in tight leather (but usually not their faces) in front of dark and occasionally abstracted backgrounds.

I can do this.

With help, that is.  My next step is to find a hot chick to model for not too much money, a green screen, a photo session, and a series of monoprint designs that we can gimp and splice into the background.   I’m going to enlist the help of Jeremy Cheek, who did the cover for his band’s first album “Sahara Moon.”

He’s pretty good with gimp, and he has a nice camera.  I’ll keep you updated.





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