Working with a cover artist, Part 1
Have you ever worked with a cover artist?
It is like any business relationship, or it should be. Respect your cover artist, and they will help you. Don’t, and beware!
Get an idea of what you want before you start
The last thing a cover artist wants to hear is, “Surprise me!” When they ask you how you envision your cover, you need to have an idea. One of the best ways to get such ideas is to browse Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and even your local bookstore. Look at the typical covers in your genre. Are they natural-looking? Industrial? Hand-drawn?
What are the predominant colors? Black and white? Green? Pink? Red? Something else? Are they angular, or are the shapes softer and more muted?
We have all heard or read the expression, don’t judge a book by its cover.
Except that it’s absolutely untrue. We do judge books by their covers. All. The. Time.
If the covers in your genre’s section of the bookstore are all orange, should your cover be orange, too? It’s hard to say. You want it to look like it belongs in that section, right? But you also want it to stand out. I would say, if you are a new author and you are predominantly selling online, you need to consider how your work is going to look when it’s shown with others in the genre. Perform an Amazon or Barnes & Noble search for your genre, and for any keywords related to your plot. If your book is a children’s work about a super-ocelot named Clive (please don’t steal this work. I suddenly have a wicked plot bunny ping-ponging around my head), then you could search under children’s works and then under super heroes or animal stories, etc.
It might even be helpful to take a screenshot, print it and then consider images which would fit in and images which would stand out.
Your name is probably not going to be recognizable to most people. While it is an important part of the cover, it might be better for the artist to make the title stand out more.
Oh, and another thing – be sure to have a written agreement with this person. Even something relatively informal, signed by both of you, is better than nothing.