Wednesday, 25 February 2015

“Do not judge a book by its cover.” An invalid maxim.


If we are talking about people then I readily agree that the old saying still holds true. If you are an author though, and you believe a bad cover will not negatively effect sales then you are clearly about to be disappointed.
As more bricks and mortar book stores close their doors forever the reading public go online to find new reading material. Paperback, Hard-cover, eBook and Audio books now appear as tiny icons on computer screen and electronic devices. Which icon will you right-click to read the title’s description, the one bearing the work of a professional cover artist, the humdrum stock cover that only sort-of relates to the title, or the one which looks as if the images were cut from various magazines and glued to a side of A4 before being scanned?
It is a world of vanity that we live in, one where appearances count more than ever, but as always you get what you pay for. If you go directly to your next door neighbour’s son because he has an A Level in Art from the local Secondary Modern school you may be pleasantly surprised with the results but the likelihood is that you will not.
Shop around; be aware that there are wannabe artists, time wasters and outright fakes out there so do your research. I found two excellent artists on a site called deviantart.com but there are several other sites with talented artists and photographers. Learn the difference between ‘digital modelling’ and ‘digital painting’, it is significant, and one may fill your needs whereas the other may not. If you lack the means to hire models and a studio then these guys and gals are a cost effective solution which you would be wise to explore. Traditional 2D artists and photographers also have pages on these sites and all will display examples of their work.
From experience I have found that if it takes more than three days for an artist to respond to your initial contact then move on, try someone else. If you find yourself chasing an artist for results then you may have to cut your losses and look elsewhere, you would not have paid cash on the barrel for the finished project so do not burst a blood vessel, chalk it up to experience and find someone more reliable. 
If you suspect the authenticity of an image in an artist’s portfolio just right-click on it and follow the drop-down menu to ‘Search Google for this image’ and if it appears with accreditation to another artist you may have to discover which one is the real deal and who is the phoney.
I have already stated in an earlier article that you should not expect free samples of an artist’s work as proof of ability, so ask their rates in advance and most will have PayPal accounts so the process is quite swift.
Artists are like computers, at least that is my recent experience, in that they can produce what you ask for but not necessarily what you want. None of the artists I know are mind readers so be clear in what it is that you have in mind and providing a visual for them will help enormously. Sanju Nivangune and Piero Vettori are the two talented artists who I found and both speak good English, but it is not their first language and over half of the artists you will find online are not English speakers, which is another reason for clarity. Google translate has come on leaps and bounds since its implementation a few years ago so your online communications will not read like a text conversation between Yoda and Jar Jar Binks. Use it, it works.
The bottom lines is that you want to be as proud of the cover as you are of the interior, hiring an artist may not be cheap but it is a worthwhile and very necessary investment if you want a return on all those months, or years, it took you to write your book.

The Linkedin article.