Tips for creating Art for Books - Feature
"Killarney" by Alan Mc Keogh
Publishing companies need Book cover artists and Illustrators. But being able to create art for a book and getting it published is a gift for most artists who are trying to gain a name and reputation for their work. The Internet is now becoming more of a friend to the budding artist. Websites are appearing where artists may exhibit their wares and be observed by the Print or publishing world. These online "catalog" sites are like recruiters and will get a small commission if the artist is requested from these sites. Artists who are flexible and can work in a variety of different media in art can easily find their work included in both traditional publishing and digital publishing.
The on-line publisher Lulu.com is one of the most famous publishers online. Writers who are publishing their books always require a handy way to get a book cover made for them. Where do they look? They look usually on Google and search the hard way. While publishers like Lulu can create generic covers from a clever set of templates - the options for authors who want their book to stand out, are limited.
An exception to this is the writer who already can create his or her own artwork and cobble a cover together from Photoshop, Illustrator (both from Adobe) or using Corel Painter, an equally brilliant art package. Book self-published with this firm can throw a book together in a matter of minutes, provided they have everything at the ready.
Photographs and Artwork mixed
There's no need to worry over a book design any more these days. Some designers will try this one on - they will just go on the web, look at 5 good designs they like, use the best aspects of that design... and change some attributes like colors and props or object substitution. Change around a few variables and presto, they have a design that will be based on a strong design and will probably get a decent payment for the work.
Self publishing is the new frontier for everyone now. Book writers are starting to want to do everything themselves. but they still need a good book cover. But since their budgets are less than those of say Penguin or Harper Collins - they adjust accordingly - and so a new industry of cheaper low-cost book designs is born. So when the writer gets a great book designed at the right price, naturally word gets out and that painter or artist will be not wanting for follow up work.
So what about the artist? What should he or she expect?
Always have a few samples to show the prospective customer, who may be the writer in this case. Show it and revise a few times, either quote an overall price or charge by the amount of hours you spent on it, but because it's a self-publishing exercise, there won't be much money in it. Some artists will have a one overall price for the whole job, which makes it a lot simpler. And that's the fun of this strange idea, it would not make you big money, and yet there is a market for writers who need that cover or book design thrown together quickly. Cheap jobs but plenty of them to go around. If you have some decent Photoshop skills, and access to a good source of photos that are royalty free for this purpose, then go for it.
If this is not for you, then do the alternative choice. Visit a website that showcases some of the best Book covers of the last year in publishing - such as these - and enjoy what quality artwork looks like. Then prepare to pay a lot more for quality here.
Pricing your work as an Artist
You will find that getting a price for your artwork in the normal scheme of things is easy. Simply contact any book publisher and tell them you are a Freelancer and want some quotes for designing art for book covers. The going rate is from €250 to €400 for a book cover / jacket design. But there are places on the net that can do you just as good for less! 99 Designs in the USA can create a contest and a winner can create your art in 7 days or less for under $300! There are also other agencies that do similar and the conditions and deals vary. The web is a great leveler. Use it.
Likewise you can go on a freelancer website like odesk and hire someone to make a book cover for about $5! There is also everything in between. You might need banners for websites, buttons, images for adverts or for Amazon ads or Google Adsense. You can expect an ad to go on a Facebook timeline or ad campaign, or on Twitter. And don't forget Instagram., another photo effect application that can turn moderate photography into something suddenly amazing.
There are agencies online that will enable you to find an artist or book illustrator and charge a small finder's fee. It is well worth it as the standard is very high. Also important is the artist's permission from the author of the book to include the art in further online blogs, websites or catalogs - thus broadening the reach and scope of both art and writer. This is known in the trade as a "You scratch my back and I scratch yours" scenario that is beneficial.
In short - there is no shortage of artists and designers, and no shortage of authors looking for great book covers. So everyone is in the market and the market is a big place.
Some of my Twitter Followers
Just a sprinkling of great Contributors to the world of Art
Some random ideas and props
Take a look at most book covers today and you will notice a sort of weird similarity in some of the ideas. How many book covers have a graphic of a road? Probably a lot.
I have made art for a few people online and the art I created was pretty simple. George Lucas once said the best effects are the simplest ones. Not that I am a cheapskate, but he has a good point.
The road with the vanishing horizon line is a useful prop for an artist. So too is the super-close-up image of the face of someone and a book title that searches for a deep inner meaning of someone. And the landscape can be used for thousands of different purposes for the cover for a book. And it can be created any number of ways.
Photo manipulation can also be a great decision. Twisting something familiar into something unfamiliar of far out of context - can instantly get our attention. The art of surprise, that of arresting the viewer can be seen all too clearly when we look at art by such painters as Salvador Dali, and his strange landscapes of animals floating and melting watches. They are deceptively simple and very effective.
Stock Photo labs advice
There are many ways to get ideas for your book cover. Besides looking at other books and how they are made, some websites and companies with thousands of photos for Book cover usage can also offer advice and have dedicated areas on their sites that deal with getting covers made for books. Everyone is in on this game. And due to overwhelming demand from authors needing book cover art, some will offer design templates with pre-set cover art now. You substitute your own Title in the font of your choice, then your author name, the spine of the book - the back blurb, add the bar code (see below) and pricing if you wish, and any last text you need. It might sound surprising but it's true. Artists are already doing it, apparently. Demand for book covers is high as everyone needs art for a book cover now.
Great photo work in a book cover can bring out some quality or nuance that maybe the writer does not initially see.
Good book covers get our attention because the cover is as important as the content inside and we expect it to convey a lot. Artists also have the experience of art styles and techniques, resources such as Photo Libraries and stock photography that is already taken care of, so photo royalties issues don't crop up. And photo manipulation software and art software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or Corel Painter is part of any book cover artist's tool set today.
Even though some writers are now getting covers made for as little as a fiver on odesk, the freelancer website - the difference is in the quality. Other publishers like Harper Collins or Penguin would fork out anywhere from $400 to even $1200 for a good cover. Covers can pay well for artists.
Ebooks are the easiest covers to create. But full print book covers can include Facebook or Social media advertising or marketing artwork, Facebook timeline art, ads, banners, or buttons.
The reason that the lower priced work is always going to be around, is because some authors simply won't pay too much for a book cover, especially when they don't know how many books they will sell.