#IWSG: Working with Cover Artists

This entry is part 10 of 16 in the series Insecure Writer's Support Group

On the first Wednesday of every month, members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (open to anyone and full of great resources and information for writers) post their answers to a monthly prompt on their blogs.

Authors benefit from getting an insightful prompt for generating more blog content, and IWSG links all respondents, which is a way for writers to discover each other. Pretty neat!

February 1 question – If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

I am an indie author and I love working with indie artists for covers!

Stephanie Hoover did the cover art for my novel Red Soil Through Our Fingers, after an initial “trial run” arrangement in which she did a cover for one of my short stories, Remembering Turinam.

After I got the rights back to Turinam following its publication in the anthology We See A Different Frontier, I wanted to make the story available for free through Smashwords as well as on this website. I asked around for anyone interested in a collaboration and Stephanie responded! I posted to the blog about how our collaboration got started and the value of having a good ebook cover if you’re interested.

Soon after, I put Stephanie on contract to do the cover art for Red Soil. I interviewed Stephanie in the months leading up to the book’s release about that project and her process, which you can also read on this blog.

More recently, I worked with friend and indie artist Trish Revolinsky on the cover art for the short story Anpo: The Dawn. This was a story that I couldn’t place for years, but still wanted to publish. I finally just self-pubbed it, and worked with Tricia for the cover art. I also interviewed Tricia on the process of creating this cover. Though it’s not the only science fiction story in my biblio, it’s certainly the most “spacey” of my covers! I like that.

I’ve also done one cover myself, for the story The Parched Lands. This was a similar situation as with Turinam, wherein I had just had the rights to a published short story reverted to me, and I wanted to distribute it for free on my website and via ebooks. In this case, I used a free service (maybe Canva? I don’t actually remember) to try out the process and see how it worked out.

Overall, I certainly prefer working directly with an indie artist for covers. Not only can I get someone with far more talent than myself to produce the most fundamental advertising piece for the book, the cover, but the interplay of ideas and the joy of working in a creative collaboration are both huge benefits that it is hard to find though other means of acquiring a cover.

From a larger perspective, I think it’s also useful to remember that indie creatives not thrive on community, but depend on it. As an indie writer myself, I rely on personal connections, relationships formed at cons and other events, and the goodwill of others to take a chance on me and pay me for my work.

Working directly with an indie artist is one way to make a huge impact not only on your own publishing quality, but on the creative community in general. I highly encourage it, and hope to work with more indie artist collaborations for any future publications for which I have some control over the cover art selection.

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  1. I’m not at the point where I need to design any covers yet but I love the idea of using indie artists and collaborating with them through the process. It’s encouraging to hear your positive experiences, thank you.

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