Book Covers

I just uploaded a few of my old book cover ideas to my Ko-fi page. I went through a phase, partially inspired by fantasy book covers that sported intricately designed objects, and partially inspired by wanting to highlight different art styles from the peoples found in the Wellspring Dragons world. I ended up choosing something simpler, where I would not be covering the design with the title, which needed to be much larger than I originally anticipated.

Book covers are very important, since they’re the first exposure most people have to your writing. I did a lot of examples, and reworked them, until I created something I liked, and that had a title large enough to be seen in the small preview found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I was happy I did not have to purchase the cover from a vendor; I scanned sites, to see what was out there, but few seemed geared towards fantasy, and I encountered nothing that I thought came close to representing my stories.

Book covers are difficult, because you need an eye-catching cover that in some way represents the contents of the story, but isn’t so busy that the title and author blend into the image. You need a large title, one that can take up to half the cover, and a smaller but still prominent author name (unless you’ve a readily-recognized author from best-seller lists. Then you take top billing). You need a relevant image; readers take cues about the content of a book from what’s on the cover. If you’ve written a sword-and-sorcery book, but slapped a cute picture of a puppy on the front, that’s going to send the wrong message all around (and probably get your title pulled for misleading readers).

I perused a ton of websites, and found many to be less than helpful, with some bloggers more interested in insulting cover designers, especially indie ones, than providing any information other than “hire me to create your cover and you’ll probably sell more books”. That gets them clicks, I suppose, but it doesn’t help people like me, who are searching for information.

The most influential post I discovered (because I remember what it said, which I can’t say about most of the other articles I read) is this this one by Clayton Noblit on Written Word Media. He presented the information in a simple way, and showed, by comparing covers, what one needed to do to create something viable for the e-book market. The visual comparisons really stuck in my head, especially the first one concerning a too-busy cover. He did not belittle, either, which I found refreshing. Indie author doesn’t mean stupid or talentless. It means we have the drive to take this all on ourselves, and are willing to learn and employ new things in that pursuit.

Supporting Artists

I created a Ko-Fi account, for readers who wish to support my writing and art. I read numerous articles about different income streams for independent writers and artists, and I decided that buying me a cup of Ko-Fi would work best.

There are several reasons for this, but the number one issue, and the one I hold dearest, has to do with the amount of money fans might be able to give. I would like all the people who enjoy my work to enjoy my work, rather than cater to those who can afford special consideration. I know what it’s like, to not have a lot of money, and I don’t feel those without the means should be left out.

I’ve also read about the time it takes to create all this exclusive content. It’s nice for super-fans, but when one spends most of their time creating this content instead of doing what they love, I feel that’s a loss.

I’m not someone who would do well in a tier support environment. It works well for some, but for me? I would hate having to come up with tailored content every month at the expense of other projects. I have no objection to special giveaways and such, but trying to come up with something, over and over again, that equals a particular donation amount seems daunting and unrewarding.

I am just starting out, and it will take years to grow my audience. So buy me a Ko-Fi! Every little bit helps!

The New

My lifelong dream has been to write and illustrate. I picked up my first Elfquest comic at age eleven, and knew that creating worlds and stories was my future. It did not come about as quickly as I had hoped, but here I am, with my books on pre-order at Amazon, with websites and book sites and support sites, all with the intent to help me on this journey. I have so many stories to share, and I can’t wait to have others read them 🙂

I am still nervous about having my work published. It’s showing a part of me to a wide swath of people I don’t know, and likely never will. I hope to bring some joy to a few people, perhaps inspire a few more.

For a bit of background: my parents moved from California to Wyoming when I was very young. I grew up in the rural Rocky Mountains (and yes, it’s as empty there as you may think. No, trees don’t count). I attended the University of Wyoming, then LSU. I have degrees in English, Art History and a Masters in Library and Information Science. I moved back to California after college and have lived and worked in SoCal ever since.

Constant through all of it was fantasy stories, whether writing or reading them. Fantasy kept me hopeful. Fantasy allowed me to express myself, following ideas that resonated with me, but not necessarily with those around me. When my soul felt as if it were dying, fantasy buoyed me. I hope I can bring some of that to my readers.