I recently had a commenter say that my covers on my books look like they were designed for children.
Now I draw and design my own covers. And the reason why I design my own covers is because I just don’t have the money to hire out an artist. So I have to take matters into my own hands if I want to get product to the marketplace.
What people don’t know is that a quality artist such as Bill Walko, Josh Howard, Darryl Banks, Ron Frenz or Terry Beatty usually costs over $300-$400. And a painter like Alex Ross or Joe Jusko STARTS at $3000.00.
And that’s for a single figure drawing, no backgrounds.
On top of the high prices and the high risks, have to be interested in taking on your project. Artists are extremely picky and can PASS on a project. Some of the more popular artists such as John Byrne and George Perez have lotteries for commission work.
All of this is money spent BEFORE you make it. With books both paperback and eBook having a 90% failure rate, this is money lost before you spend it.
I’d love to hire a professional artist to design covers for my titles. I see lots of artists who would be a great fit for my stories. For example I think Bill Walko’s art would look great on covers for the Isis series books. But right now, I just don’t have the money to bring someone on. I’m just not selling enough books.
Nor do I have a day job right now to pay an artist. So unless I get the books to sell, I can’t change the covers. And unless my critics want to donate to the blog, hire me for a day job here in New York City, or they want to hire me to work for them freelance, I’m gonna be forced to design the art for my covers for the foreseeable future.
Now those who complain about my books I say this: If you want the covers to change, put your money on the table. The royalties I get are directly invested back into producing more books.
And I have it in my five-year plan to refresh all the old covers. But I can’t do that without money.
To all the critics of my covers: Here’s the deal: artists don’t work for FREE.
They have bills just like I do. And their time is money. And when Shawn hires people for a job he pays those people for their time. In full. So they can pay their bills and eat. So they can take care of their families.
And without money from paperback and eBook sales, I can’t hire artists. It’s a chicken-or the egg scenario.
Oddly enough there are some people who DO like my art. I had a woman on Twitter tell me how much she liked the art on my covers. And one reader on Smashwords who later became a Facebook friend told me that she discovered the Isis series based on how colorful the covers were.
The reason why I draw my own covers is this: I feel my readers deserve the best. My readers deserve better than bullshit photoshopped stock photos seen on a dozen other books, or those gaudy covers I see on those Street Lit covers with wanna-be model hoodrats plastered all over them.
For me the art a cover tells a story. It gives the reader an idea of what’s between the pages. And I feel that art should be a unique piece of art to that book. Each piece I design is distinct to that book or that series of books.
And when I draw a cover, I take as much time to design that art as I do writing that story. For example, for the second Isis: All About the Goddess cover I studied numerous 1950s and 1960s pulp fiction covers. For Amari’s Revenge I studied numerous Young Adult covers before I sketched up an image. For Isis: My Sister, My Frenemy, I took an old family photo of me and my brother and used it as the basis for the two sisters.
It’s easy to complain about my covers but it’s harder to DO something about it. Talk is cheap ACTION speaks LOUDER than WORDS. This is a BUSINESS. And it takes money to make the money that's invested back in the business.
To my critics I say this: If you want better covers on my books you have three options:
1.BUY THE BOOKS. And while you’re at it, tell your friends to buy my books.
2. DONATE to the PAYPAL button at the top of the blog,
3 HIRE ME TO WORK AT A DAY JOB SO ICAN HAVE THE MONEY TO HIRE SOMEONE ELSE TO DESIGN NEW COVERS.
One of my goals is to refresh all the covers on my books. But in order for me to do that I need the money from paperback and eBook sales. If you want me to expand my business so I can go out and hire artists to put better covers on my books, put your money on the table.
The critics of the art on my covers will spend $200 on a pair of sneakers, $500 on a video game system and another $240 for games and $60 more for a subscription to a game network, but If I ask these same people to spend 99 cents on an eBook and $10-$15 on a paperback these same people all of a sudden ain’t got no money. Talk is cheap. Put up or Shut up.