What to do… What to do… #IWSG

While predominantly I have NaNoWriMo on the brain, there has been something, perhaps silly, that has been bothering me as Twisted Magics creeps ever closer to publication: How do you decide on cover art?

I’m no artist and I’ve taken some basic graphic design classes, but I’m by nowhere near confident enough to produce my own cover. I’ve glanced at different individuals and companies that do cover art, but I first need to tell them what I want. And honestly, I don’t know.

I’ve been browsing different book covers, trying to get ideas. Do I go with something simple that conveys the theme of my book? Do I have an artist bring my main character to life visually? Cost is always a factor, but I’ve found reasonably priced artists whose work I like (and perhaps drooled a little over).

For now, the issue has more or less been tabled as I work my way through NaNoWriMo. Trying to keep up my personal minimum of 2K words a day keeps me fairly well distracted. Of course that’s on top of the normal chaos of life. I probably shouldn’t admit that the only reason I had brought my laptop to a meeting last night was so I could sneak in a few more words.

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I’ve tried to be a good little WriMo by not logging into FFXIV until I’ve at least finished my goal for the day, but I really needed a break yesterday. I broke the NaNo goal for the day first, does that count?

20 thoughts on “What to do… What to do… #IWSG

  1. I love that you brought your laptop to a meeting to sneak in a few more words! 🙂

    For cover art, I’ve had some help from a niece, and I studied various cover art processes to create a few of my own with some free art through wikimedia commons and some tweaking in publisher. I have some covers that I love and some that are so-so. I just keep working at it. I think stalking cover artists on blogs is a good idea to see what and how they do what they do. I would also play around with the free covers on createspace and kindle direct, or lulu and see how those work out . . . and then, create your own. 🙂

    Happy writing!!!

  2. I ended up walking through Barnes & Noble to look for ideas. I went through my genre and looked at covers, trying to figure out what attracted me. Terry Brooks symbolic covers really caught me. Then there were other symbol based covers, and that’s when I decided that’s how I’d go. I had already created clan symbols for my elementals, so I worked those into my covers for the niniers. After some advice, I redid the title after I released it, and I am very pleased with the result.

    A friend of mine isn’t into symbolic covers. She likes the covers with characters on them, like the traditional fantasy covers. So she hired someone from DeviantArt to draw her character for her cover. It sounds like you have some artists in mind if you go that route.

    I say that you should figure out what draws you the most to your genre, and pursue that.

    1. I’m still struggling to design some of my organization logos and crests. I’m still torn between more symbolic and character. Especially since I’m often reminded that my story is character driven.

      But I’ll have to go wander a bookstore or two soon. I haven’t done that in a while (at least not without a 3 year old in tow).

  3. Finding a good cover artist is as important as finding a good editor. Both help make your story better. To help my artist (besides giving her my thoughts) is go to royalty free photo sites like Dreamstime and CanStockPhoto. Sometimes they spark an idea.

    Best wishes,
    Diane IWSG #92

  4. It helps if you have an idea of what you’d like your cover to look like, but being open and bouncing ideas off the artist/designer can brings lots of inspiration.

    My personal NaNo goal is about 2100 words a day. I’m already behind, but it’s still early in the month. 🙂 Good luck to you!

  5. Covers are hard! I took a couple of tries to get one that works for my first book, and since then I’m hanging onto my artist! I don’t recommend using the cover creator at CS–those are pretty transparently home-made (that’s what I did first). It helps to have someone to bat ideas around with. Each book, before I contact the artist, a friend and I toss out ideas for what would look good and convey the idea of the story. We pull books of a similar genre from the library shelves (we work there, which makes it easier!) and look at what they have in common. Then I send a vague description off to the artist, and she sends back brilliant sketches. Don’t know how she does it!

    If you did your word count for the day, you are totally okay to goof off a bit! I usually sneak a notebook and pen into meetings for clandestine writing. My other tips: waiting rooms, grocery lines, anywhere you otherwise might be doing nothing (or using your phone to check FB).

    1. Haha…yeah, the next day I hauled my laptop to write while waiting for my daughter to get out of dance class. I might have a problem. XP

      Hm, maybe I should ask suggestions from my beta readers. Thanks!

  6. Don’t stress on exactly what you want to appear on the cover. Find an artist whose style you like in a price range you can afford. Then talk to them.

    If it’s an artist who knows what they’re doing, regardless of what they’re charging, you shouldn’t have to tell them exactly what you want. You should tell them the genre of your book, a little bit of the story, the mood you’re going for, maybe some colours or inspirations or show them other covers you like, and they should be able to come up with something. They are an artist, they have their own visions and hopefully know how to convey your idea into visual representation the same you know how to convey your idea into written word.

    IWSG November Post

  7. Here from Alex’s blog. I understand your frustration. I also am trying to find enough hours in the day to complete the outline for my next novel. It’s tough. As for the cover art, maybe consider posting your book on Kindle Scout, through Amazon. Readers vote on the book they like best. If yours makes the cut then Amazon will publish it. Just something to consider. If you’re opposed to going that route, there are plenty of good cover artists out there. Maybe call a few and get some quotes and ideas. BTW, I like your blog and am now a follower.

  8. This time around I hired a cover artist who happens to be a long-lost cousin (long story). I loved the way she worked…she asked me what books are most similar to my style of writing so she could look at their covers. She also asked me to find some covers that I liked. I also sent a synopsis and a few chapters so she could get the flavor of what I’m doing, and then she came up with an idea. She’s also not expensive. Here’s the link to her work if you’re interested: http://lynnehansen.zenfolio.com/

  9. Good luck with the cover art. 🙂
    Here’s the link to a great writer/artist

    Just to let you know that the IWSG has a Facebook page.
    Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG members who are also Facebook members, post a link to their IWSG blog posts, in the comment section of the pinned post on the Facebook page.
    Members then visit each other via the blog post links.
    You are invited to join our Insecure Writer’s Support Group Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13/
    Look forward to seeing you there!

  10. I’m not a visual person and haven’t flexed an artistic muscle since I was at school, so covers are something that worry me! I’ve only had two covers, the first for my charity anthology where two friends kindly stepped forward to help (one with a great idea, the other one a designer who could bring it to life). Then, for my story collection I was lucky enough to win a cover design from an artist who sent me a little form to fill in. I worried I didn’t give enough information, but the cover she came up with was great! I feel like both of these were flukes, but I think a lot of artists work with a contact sheet of points to be considered. You could look around for artists who have a style that you think would suit your book well and put some ideas forward, or they might come up with ideas of their own just based on the synopsis. Good luck and enjoy NaNo!

  11. I’ve been scoping out book covers in my genre and I bought a course on coursera about book cover design (I had a coupon so it was only $10, I think usually it’s much more). So, I’ve been playing with making my own covers. You can also try canva.com to make your own covers. You just choose a template and add in images.

    I agree with CD Gallant-King. You shouldn’t tell them exactly what you want. Tell them what the books about and the genre, etc, and then they should come up with a few different mock ups of what might work and you go from there. Another option might be 99 designs or something like that, where you post the genre, etc and then get a lot of submissions of possible covers.

    For now, custom cover design is a bit out of my price range so I’ll stick with making my own covers.

    Also, good luck with NaNo.

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