You know those days you look forward to for weeks, months, even years? Christmas, graduation, your wedding day, the birth of your child, a promotion at work. You know how, when the day comes, you’re walking on clouds and can’t even believe it’s happening? At the same time, it feels like the most natural thing in the world, as if this wonderful outcome couldn’t have possibly happened any other way?
That’s how I felt when I saw the completed cover of my first novel. Words are amazing, but pictures…they really are worth a thousand words. Seeing my story turned into a picture, and an amazingly well-done one at that, meant more than all the words in my book put together. As far as readers are concerned, while my writing may be why they’ll stay, my cover is why they’ll gave me a chance in the first place.
My journey to this point started eight years ago when I realized one grey, rainy day, that I wanted to publish books. I’d spent almost a half a year writing an urban fantasy story meant only for me and my sister. But after all that work, I felt sad that we were the only ones who would ever read it. So I decided that I wanted to become a published author.
Since then I’ve spent countless hours self-educating myself on the art of writing and publishing using online resources, seminars, books, and the advice of fellow writers. I’ve changed which story I’m publishing first (don’t worry, that urban fantasy will make it to the shelves someday, just not today), and I’ve learned a lot. As a self-publisher, my quest to make the best cover possible for my first book began as everything does: with online research.
After reading up on what makes a good book cover, and delving into the secret tricks publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books (heck yeah, they do that), I was ready to start looking for a cover artist.
First, I asked my fellow authors for recommendations. But nobody I looked into quite had the artistic style I was looking for, nor made covers in the genre I was writing (modern fantasy). I grew discouraged, finally striking out on my own. Remembering coming across some fantastic artists on Deviant Art from my days as a professional artist, I logged onto my long-neglected account and started clicking.
I came across many amazing artists. There is so much talent out there, I was swamped by the possibilities. So I spent time doing research, sending queries, and narrowing down my options based on the styles I saw and the vision I had in my head. It wasn’t easy. I often doubted myself and what I was working toward, whether my vision as the author was a good one.
Finally, I got a reply back from an artist who, honestly, wasn’t even in my top five choices. He wasn’t up there, not because he lacked talent, but because his artwork focused on science fiction content like Star Wars, and Warhammer 40K. His stunning work was full of metal, blood, and hulking figures in dark shades of black and grey. The cover I envisioned was full of bright colors, smooth lines, humor, magic, and snark. Nothing like the art I saw on his Deviant Art page. Also, he wasn’t a cover artist (meaning he didn’t make book covers, just art in general).
But. Yes, but. There was that one picture of a beautiful woman in the most stunningly detailed dress I’d ever seen. It was a commissioned character portrait. If he could do something like that, I was convinced he could do almost anything. Something about this artist just felt right.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, some people are just put in your path. It seems like blind luck, but it was meant to be. Tony Warne responded to my query and said he would be delighted to work on my book cover project, relishing the opportunity to expand his portfolio and do something different from his norm.
Three months and one fantastic cover later, he has continually amazed me with his skill, versatility, professionalism, and patience (believe me, anyone working with me had better have some patience, or they won’t last long). His first book cover is better than many others with years of experience behind them, and I can’t wait for the covers for Books 2, 3, and 4 (we’re working on 2 now).
Please join me in thanking Mr. Warne for being so amazing. Check out his Deviant Art page, and tell everyone about him. Finally, let us know what you think of this wonderful cover! Comment below or head over to my Facebook page and give me a shout. I know “I” can’t wait to have the books in hand, can you? Sign up here if you’d like to get bi-monthly updates on the publishing progress and get entered into giveaways. Thanks for reading!