Thursday, November 3, 2011

Friends Don't Let Friends Have Bad Cover Art

In this publishing revolution we're all encountering, I am excited about a lot of things--mainly, the ability of authors who would may never see print due to the fact that they write in too tight a niche to be considered a good risk for a big publisher to now get their work into the marketplace. Whether it's better to go micro-publisher or to self publish in this instance still remains to be seen, but I think over the next few years, we're going to see some interesting statistics emerge about sales connected to both.

This is a work in progress to become part of a book cover
What I'm not so excited about in the self and micro publishing realms is hokey/cheesy/hackish cover art. Now, not all self or micro published books suffer this malady, but so many do that it's painful. What's even more painful is when an author posts this cover art in the world of social media, and so many of the author's friends say "How exciting! Hooray! Very cool," when they should be saying, "Your title is too small. Your stock art is dated. The photoshopping of this cover is really crusty."

It may sound mean to say such things when the author is excited just to HAVE a cover for his or her first book, but honesty is a new author's best friend. When there's still time to go in and make the art awesome, please, for the love of all that's good, tell your friends if their cover art needs something. That includes me. I don't want to have anything out there with anything less than a flawless cover, because in the world of fantasy, folks are drawn to epic, incredible images. And hokeyness reeks like roadkill in the summer.

I'll admit, I stand guilty of just keeping my mouth shut when cover art is abysmal, and this is my resolution to follow my own advice. If I want to keep publishing with small publishers, it's my job, and yours too, to make those small publishers look just as legit, if not moreso, than the big houses.

7 comments:

  1. Hey,friend. I so agree. Did you check mine out? (You knew you were asking for it, didn't you?) http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/12/64215cdce1b6093b69720b0.png/

    I've had some input--font too small, but most people like the image and the color.

    So . . . what do you think?

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  2. Thanks for the link, Sheila, and for stopping in today. I will shoot you a message with my thoughts on your cover--the short version is, I agree with others who like the color and concept. I have a few ideas for you, which I'll leave to your discretion. Thanks for being daring. :)

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  3. Agreed, absolutely. But what if they take it the wrong way? If they're more acquaintances than friends and I suspect it might ruin whatever contact exists? In such cases I have preferred to shut up. As for me, I am VERY fussy about covers, insisting on the best according to my highly specific standards, but I never want to stop learning...

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  4. True, Grace...if someone is only an acquaintance, then it may be better to keep your opinions to yourself--unless someone solicits it, of course. Then I say gracious truth is in order. I'm sure your author's thank you for your exacting standards. :)

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  5. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with indie publishers. :( I'm a sucker for gorgeous cover art. Part of that, of course, is because my brother's an artist that's done a few pieces of cover art... so I'm biased. :D

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  6. Jenni, yes, I do believe those who know artists who have done stunning work tend to get a little more picky in their tastes. But I also think that is a good thing. In an ideal world, small publishers should be able to devote more focused attention to details, right? (But then the reality of the cost of professional art, the spread-too-thin nature of those who run small publishers, and other challenging realities rear their heads.)

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  7. Yeah, in theory, small publishers ought to have the most brilliant cover art because their books tend to be more unique.

    But I know it's expensive. :P My brother charged $50 for one cover he did and I know for a fact that that's pretty low. Especially because he put in something like ten hours of work painting a space scene for it. (It's here if you want to see: http://www.aubreyhansen.com/p/red-rain.html )

    So hard to decide between cost effectiveness and good art! :)

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