Support Shawn's writng with a donation

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why Shawn wants to Hire a Comic Artist To Design His Next Book Cover- Reason for the Kickstarter.

Concept art! NOT FINAL AT ALL!
I’ve been out of work for the past five years. So why a I want to hire an artist for the cover of the next book in the Isis series? Simple.

I want to give someone else a job. When you're out of work,  and can't find one, you make your own job. That's what I did publishing my books under the SJS DIRECT imprint. And this Kickstarter is part of my plans to expand my business.

I’ve been a comic fan for a lot of years. And over the past 20 years I’ve heard the stories about out-of work-artists who struggle to pay their bills. What many don’t know about comic book artists is that they’re not paid a salary. As freelancers, they’re paid per page.

And on top of this their work at most publishers like Marvel or DC is Work-for-hire. Under work-for-hire an artist could be working at these companies for years and never receive a dime of royalties on anything they create during their time there.

Many more artists like those who produce Webcomics who are freelancers have their own independent self-published work. Yeah, they own all the rights to their work and their characters but, most of these artists who publish indie comics have to not only pay for their bills, their art supplies, and their printing costs, they have to pay their health insurance too. When you work free-lance that means you pay for EVERYTHING.

And I mean everything. Most artists travel from convention to convention across the country to work commissions and promote their work. Traveling across the country costs money.

So I want to help them out. Comics have helped me through a lot of hard times growing up in the South Bronx and this is my way of paying it forward.

Being out of work for the past five years, I know how important having a job is. How it gives you purpose. How it makes you feel valued. The greatest way a person can help another person is by offering them work. I can tell you from experience, there’s nothing like EARNING money for work you put in.

Yeah, I could use stock photos for my covers. I could even use 3-D art. But nothing captures people’s emotions like a hand drawn cover by a professional artist. A piece of original art is special. Unique. And it tells a story all its own.

The reason why I drew all the covers to my books is I wanted each of them to have a cover distinct to them. I want each original piece of art to tell their own distinct stories. I believe my readers deserve the better than covers with stock photos used on a dozen other books. Making the effort to give them a cover by a professional artist shows them how much I care about them. After listening to many of my customers complain about the covers, I’m trying to do something to show them I hear them and I’m taking action.

However, I can’t take that action unless I raise the funds with this Kickstarter. Every $20 or $100 pledge will help me get this project off the ground and put someone to work!


  1. The overall goal is to cover your books so that people find them more appealing at first glance, so that you could possibly sell more of them. Therefore, using stockphotos, or something similar for the next book is the most expedient way to achieve this goal. Your books will have a more professional cover, the readers will like it, your sales will increase and everyone is happy. It is a win-win situation. Then you will be in a much better place to be able to pay it forward on the book after this one when you do hire that professional artist.

  2. Stock photos aren't going to work in this case.

    The big stockphoto publishers, don't make photos featuring African-Americans.

    They also don't make photos featuring images appropriate for African-American fantasy fiction. For a stories like the Isis series I need a professional artist to design the cover. I'm not gonna be able to find art featuring an image as distinct as the cybergoddess or Isis' costume using stockphotos. And with CGI software the time I'd take to tinker with it would cost just as much as hiring that artist And chances are my work wouldn't look as good as that artist. With an artist I know the work I'm going to get is consistent, clean and visually appealing to customers.