If you are finding yourself halfway or close to finishing your book you might want to shop around for the artwork- Okay the artist.There is a process and one should think carefully before settling on a design. There are many things to consider…

What is it you want your cover to say?

The title and author’s name (and co-author if any) will give them some general idea. Romance novels will have some sort of coupling set in era suggestion, or not, but you get it. Romance. Thrillers and horrors will go with a mind bending horrific image that gives us some idea of the monsters that lurk with in, or not.

The point is you want to start thinking and talking with your publisher about book cover ideas. If you already have ideas that’s great. Now take this idea and write it out in detail for the artist. Then begin contacting (if the publisher doesn’t already use one or more) possible artists. I have found, especially on Twitter most advertise they do book covers. I actually contacted a few for my Red Dashboard LLC banner (http://reddashboard.com/) and got a few choices right off the bat, but I had a certain feel I wanted (comic bookish) to it and book cover art being produced was not doing it for me. I wrote them back and said thank you, but no thank you it’s not what I had in mind. Not all artists of course use the same medium.

There are so many artist out there. You can find someone. It can be grueling weeding through if you are not sure. Now an important question comes to mind. Do I pay them for these renderings? I would ask what they wanted, most said no problem. Most were happy to show off their talent. If I used their work in any shape or form I would have. It is just the honorable thing to do, even if it is a minuet amount for their time. Now this does not mean you own the work, that would be their full price.

Ask them for a portfolio. Many have them on websites. If you dabble in art, it might be a good idea to create one for future ventures. Give them to publishers. Put yourself out there, but remember to draw lines of what you will do and watermark your artwork. Of course they can still use it in some way, but its the risk you take. Key word risk. There are no dollar signs in front of risk.

As an artist and author myself I would feel taken advantage of. I have been many times in the past with my catering and chef work. People think if you are family or a friend, then you won’t mind helping. I have stopped doing that. I felt so taken advantage of it wasn’t funny. It wears on ones self worth. We are worth what time we give. And then there are those who never think anything of taking advantage of others…

To avoid gossip no names will be mentioned- In a recent surfacing of a poet acquaintance publishing her first book, and I have met in person and share social media space on FB. It came up that her artwork was the fledgling rendering of an artist friend whom I know personally. A few friends of the former publisher (she had a contract with, but grew tired of waiting and waiting) who provided her with an artist (said friend on FB) to help with poets idea of drawing (her original notes and scribbling). The said FB artist helped her, then the author took that drawing to a painter and had it finished out. Why did the artist not finish it?  I am not sure.

Henceforth mud slinging on FB began. Like a divorce you feel you have to chose, I will not. I like both (actually three with publisher) parties and can place myself in all of their shoes. The mudslinging really is out of hand now. Maturity people. So here is my idea for a solution.

If you go to any artist with an idea, first off agree to terms, written terms in order for a clear picture (pun) on who owns what. What lines should be drawn as to the final credit. I don’t care who did what, pay them, even if it a minuet amount to show appreciation for time and effort. Then make it clear you are going a step further. You will have rendering made into a painting. It should all be written out in black and white. There are too many grey lines in this story of the FB forgery case. A judge in court will ask for written agreements, if none, then you have no case.

And another point- If you begin with one publisher, no dates can be agreed upon, but a contract was initiated, and you decide you want out to go elsewhere…break it off in a written statement to the publisher and give them ten days to respond or you will go elsewhere. It’s simple as that. Don’t just up and take your manuscript and artwork somewhere else or publish it your self. Especially using the publishers mock-up.

As I said, I am not sure of all the details of the FB Forgery Case, but it seems lines need to be drawn in the beginning stages. It’s taught me a grave lesson in my contract dealings. But as a business owner who has been taken advantage of in the past, I licked my wounds and moved on to a better process. I’m not saying someone out there may come along and teach me something else…it is possible. We are only human.

Website link for this below is… The Real Cost of Self Publishing

3. Cover design. Yes, books are judged by their covers

Readers judge how a book looks on a shelf and how it looks on an iPad or black-and-white Kindle. For iPhone users, a thumbnail of the cover is probably the first thing a reader sees. It’s important that your cover design be optimized for print, digital, thumbnail sizes, and how it looks on an e-reader or mobile device. You might have your own images, or you might need to buy a license to use the images. Some designers even sell premade cover designs for as low as $50.

But if you want to hire someone to make a custom cover design, you can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $3,500. The higher end is for award-winning designers who have done Random House- or HarperCollins-type covers, according to book design maven Joel Friedlander.

Low end: $150 (my costs have been this up to $400 to own the artwork)
High end: $3,500