The cover is sometimes what sells the book. We pick up a book because we are drawn to the look of it. We read the back and if that still resonates with us, we proceed to read. The comment made about the cover selling the book is with no intended offense to the writer and their intense creative contribution to the content within those covers. If you are lucky enough to be one of the “big name” authors who reside on the best seller’s lists, then you are more than likely to be recognized and purchased for your name and style of writing or genre, not the cover. I was perusing the bookshelves yesterday at a local store and noticed again how large an author’s name can be in comparison to the very title of their work – what are they selling? New work or themselves?
An author has to remember that cover art is usually not a choice, unless you happen to be the artist as well as the writer, or you happen to be one of those best- selling authors with a lot of creative influence. In any case, I have heard that contributions of your own artwork is sometimes permitted. The publisher with the marketing and promotional background and experience to help you sell your book, however, might advise against its use. They may work with you to suggest something that might be more appropriate or better suited to the book market today. More than likely if you go the traditional route, you don’t have a say in what binds your works.
Flashy vs. understated? Depends upon who you are trying to attract and what image you want to portray. Color vs. black and white? Again, it really depends upon the content and your audience. Kid’s books are definitely better in bright colors. Artwork for older children’s selections can be a combination of black and white or color illustrations. Black ink outlines with grey scale shading are better used to compliment work meant for older readers, such as those used in our YA books that feature chapter header graphics. Full color and often full page illustrations are best for kid’s books to draw and hold attention to the words being read. Artwork is done on artist’s sketch paper in a large-sized format to scan for digital use. It also can be produced on the computer using illustration programs. The effects are different and again it depends on what suits your work best. Dream Write Publishing reviews artwork with an author through email for approval.
The cost for illustrations and cover work vary as much as the style of artist. Every artist has a unique quality that distinguishes their work from others – some are able to draw as if photographs and the accompanying price will reflect their masterful work. Others draw with more animation, possibly with less realism, but are equally qualified to supply images for a book project. When commissioning an artist, an author must be clear with details on you are looking for and be diligent in your search to find the right artist. It will be expected that the author promote the artistic contributions with a by-line of the illustrator’s name. Very often artists will use their published work for portfolios and recognition of the writer should be reciprocated by the artist. It makes good business sense to enter into a contract when commissioning the work of an artist for your book – outline the requirements, expectations, and deadlines. It doesn’t sound like “creativity” but it will protect both parties in case a dispute arises.
Wildhorse Creative Arts (my arts & photography division under Dream Write Publishing) provides all types of artwork from logo design to cover design, so if you are looking for a quote for a special project, please contact us with your inquiry. If you are a writer, artist or a photographer looking for a book publisher who will work with you on all aspects of the publishing process, including artwork, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org