Kato Vorsok is a man deserted by his god. A failed hero living in exile, he wants nothing to do with his old life.
Until the night he encounters a wounded mourning cloak – a demon that can walk through walls, dissolve into mist, and spear a man’s heart with a fingernail.
She calls him by name. She knows his past. She needs his help.
And she is his key to redemption.
Mourning Cloak is a science fantasy novella.
I’ve added a lot of information to my book cover art and design section: rates and prices, pre-designed ebook covers (coming soon!) and book cover design links. I’ll be adding to these section as time goes on.
I’m really excited about the pre-designed, or ready-to-go covers. Since I will be raising prices at the start of the year I wanted to offer a lower-cost alternative to the bespoke price. It also allows me a bit more leeway and originality as an artist, which will be fun. I enjoy creating within the guidelines set by publisher or author, as that can be a challenge, but it’s also nice to be able to do some wild-ass creative designs that will hopefully find a home with someone who loves them.
Here’s hoping that 2013 will be a creative, successful year for us all!
It’s funny about doing cover mockups – sometimes I fall in love with one of them and am crushed when the author says “Meh, whatever” to that one (my baby!) and decides on another. It happens quite often, actually. :) But sometimes that one is chosen and I’m all “Yes! That is the one! That’s my baby!” So I was made very very happy recently when Suzy Turner chose my baby for the cover of her new Morgan Sisters novella: Daisy Madigan’s Paradise. I absolutely loved The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw and am very much looking forward to reading this one.
During the holiday period (when hopefully things will be a bit more quiet) I’m going to redesign my book cover design section to make it more informative and marketable. I’m also going to raise my prices for book cover work, and that causes a bit of a quandary. As much as I someday want to work for a large publisher for some proper money, I very much like working for self-published authors and smaller boutique publishers. I very much believe in supporting independent, self-published authors and don’t want to price myself out of that section of the business.
However, I also have to think of what I do as a business as well and eventually start making some money at this, or I should just go back to web design and development. For the past two years I’ve made less (much less) than the UK tax threshold for paying income tax. Not having to do a self-assessment tax return is nice, but not making any money at it at all is not. Oh, I’ve had the work – weeks when I don’t work on Saturday and Sunday are rare, and on one particularly stressful day I worked until 10:00pm and got up at 5:00am the next morning to start work again. As much as I love it, the work needs to start paying for itself.
My current prices are $120* per cover, plus the cost of all stock used. I’ve been throwing in POD cover templates for nothing, mainly because most people don’t tell me that they need them until the cover art is finished, so I’ve been saying “What the hell” and just doing them. What I’m thinking about is raising the cost of a cover to somewhere in the $150 range, with an extra charge for doing a print cover version. (If I’ve worked with you a lot, and we have an existing relationship, prices will probably stay the same as a “friends and family” rate.)
*Because I’m based in the UK and work with people all over, but mainly authors from the States, I set prices in USD. This makes things easier but I lose a lot of money on the currency conversion.
If you are a self-published author searching for a book cover artist, how would that range fit with your budget? I very much want to continue doing this type of work, and I feel that there is a definite price limit that most new authors can pay. Realistically, though, you do get what you pay for…there is a massive amount of really crappy cover art out there and I’d like to think that mine is professional, enhancing sales and helping to encourage readers to take a chance on a new author. I care very much about the work that I do – I just need to make a bit more money at it.
So, thoughts? What would you expect to pay for a cover? How expensive is too expensive?
It was this post by the very talented Lindsay Buroker, “How Much Does Self-Publishing a Book Cost?” that got me thinking about this. I’ve known for a while that I need to raise prices, but was unsure about where to set rates and when I saw this today it got me thinking. So I thought I’d throw it out there and ask. :)
Finally I can show one of my favourite covers: Mortality by Kellie Sheridan. She has a great write-up on the cover creation process here: From Concept to Creation: How we designed the cover for Mortality. Now, isn’t that just the prettiest damned zombie cover ever in history? :D So much fun to do…you know what? I really love my job.
And at last we have the final version of Angel of Fire by Tanya Anne Crosby. I agonised over this for so long…it just wouldn’t come together for ages. Sometimes it’s like that. :)
I’m going to do something that I normally don’t do, which is to show a work in progress. Oh, I’ve shown partially unfinished work before – but they weren’t in that awkward teen phase, all spots and sullen expression. They were more like showing someone into your spotless house and exclaiming “Oh, sorry everything is such a mess!” :) This is an actual book cover under construction, with large areas missing, unpainted, etc., the relative angles are off and the clothing is largely unpainted. This is what going out into public without makeup is like.
The cover is for Tanya Anne Crosby, for her novel entitled Angel of Fire. Here is the original stock art, and the current midway phase:
Prior to the current stage, we went through a number of mockups and a lot of different stock images. Mockups are usually quite rough, with unpainted, watermarked stock roughly composited. Most of them will be wrong, so they aren’t finished works of art; they’re something more like a storyboard.
I’ll post the final book cover image when finished. Her dress will be painted in with all the detail of brocade bands and lacing, the castle and clouds blended and painted, more mane, more hair, and something done with the thrice-damned saddle which is currently plaguing me. It’s just so there. The edges will be softened with texture, so that the eye is drawn more strongly to the central figure. And then I’ll look at type treatments.
Posts like these are a bit like that dream where you realise that you’re back in class, and not only have you not finished your homework, you’ve somehow forgotten to wear any clothing. :)
YA fantasy covers go through fashions in colours, which change relatively quickly. Perhaps other genres have the same popular colours come and go – I’m not as familiar with their covers, so I couldn’t say. Purple and blue is evidently the hot shades in covers right now (with the girls in fancy dresses trope continuing). Another trend that I’ve noticed recently is red covers with black detail and white focus areas. I quite like these, as they’re intense, grabbing the eye. Several share interesting hand-drawn title treatments, which I quite like. Put together, though, and they all have a similar feel. What do you think?
Kayla Al-Shamma-Jones did a sneak peek of the Black Hat cover ages ago, and I was so busy I missed it! This was a fun cover – it’s nice to have the chance to do something like this, very minimal and almost monochrome. Looking forward to this book!