Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Cover Art Dilemma

Whoever said "Don't judge a book by its cover" is an idiot. I don't say that to be spiteful, but because I believe that no human out there has ever not judged a book by its cover. No one is going to buy a great book if it has a boring cover or something that doesn't catch the reader's eyes. Can you say you ever have? I know I don't, and my library only contains books that have covers that caught my eye even if the book ended up being uninteresting.

We treat people the same way. The unkempt teenager is less likely to get a job than the well groomed adult, even if the teenager might have the skills, knowledge, and personality to do the job. People are more likely to pick up the golden retriever or husky before they pick up a bulldog or bloodhound at an animal shelter.

Long story short, human beings are simple creatures who enjoy beauty and value aesthetics over what's beneath.

That brings me to my main point regarding cover art. Or rather, MY cover art. Or rather, the LACK of cover art.

See, the only thing at this point that is preventing me from being able to publish my book is a nice piece of cover art to go on the front of the book. That may not seem like a big deal, until you consider what the cost of something like that is. Depending on who you commission, you're easily looking for anywhere between $100 to several thousand dollars worth of art, with hobbyists being on the lower end of that spectrum and professionals being higher up. Somewhere in the middle is Amazon's CreateSpace (Where I will be publishing) which offers cover art services for a "modest" fee of $500-600.

That's a big sum of money. Something a starving student like me can't afford. At least, not in any reasonable amount of time.

I want to be able to get my book out there. I don't have the skills to be able to sketch and design my own cover. Certainly I'm a sketch artist of moderate skill, but a painter? Please. My paintings would be less coherent than a Jackson Pollok painting.

I think I referenced the wrong artist but you get the point.

My other options are simple:
1) I could squirrel away a bit of money and save up while searching for a hobbyist that offers a decent commission at a reasonable price.

2) Alternatively, I could squirrel away even more money and use Amazon's CreateSpace services to design the cover for me, which would fit into their specifications without any complaints.

3) I use KickStarter or IndieGogo to raise funds to pay for the book. Probably no more than $1000 or something.

#1 and #2 are fully viable options. Whether I want to spend that much money on a mere art commission on a book that may not sell enough to recoup my losses, who knows. I would need, if Amazon's calculator is correct, at least 250 book sales to break even on a $600 commission. That's a pretty big risk to take, but it might be worth it if the difference between a professional cover and a amateur one makes up for it.

#3 is also an option, but unfortunately, I have little in the way of "gifts" to offer to donators. Certainly, a $1 or $5 donation would get a thanks on my blog. But I'm not a big name person so I don't picture that being motivating. ;)

$10 wouldn't be enough to pay for a signed copy of a book either, but $15 could. Beyond that, I have no idea what I would offer people.

So I leave the question up to you, the reader. What do you think is a viable option for this problem? Leave your comments in the section below. :)

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