There are basically three main methods to get a cover.
1. Make it yourself
A lot of independent authors rather innocently think that’s the way to go. How difficult can it be? You buy a decent stock photograph — or for the absolute do-it-yourselver: you shoot one — and make the lettering with graphics software. Or even a word processor. Why make things complicated? Recommended fonts are Comic Sans, Arial or Impact.
2. Marry a cover artist.
Also known as the Jay Bell Method™. You need to be young and charming. It probably helps if you’re an immensely talented writer with droves of fans. I don’t know the particulars, but after marrying the guy, I imagine it’s just a question of stripping naked, casting some tempting, taunting and tantalizing gazes at him, and whisper in a hoarse voice, “Honey, I need you to cover me.”
Or, I’m a pervert. Anyway, invariably the result is a stunning cover.
3. Hire a cover artist
The way to go for us, mere mortals.
Easier said than done though. I looked around for covers that were more or less in the style I wanted the one for Gambit to be. After a careful selection I started contacting artists — way too late. All kinds of obstacles surfaced. One sent a very friendly email back, only to disappear off the grid from then on. Another turned out to be an oaf with an ego far bigger than his talents. Some were willing and able, but they were booked for the coming months…
I was actually considering going with method No. 1.
I even spent half an hour making a temporary cover.
Then, by sheer coincidence I saw this one:
I liked it. I liked it very much. I would have no use for the neko-ears and the dragon, but I found the atmosphere appealing. Must be my love for Yaoi.
I looked up the artist, Leos Ng Okita, and found his page on deviantArt.
Ha, the man could draw a battle scene:
Mysterious forests were also within his range:
The more I looked at his drawings and paintings, the more I liked his work.
With my luck I thought he would be an octogenarian grouch who would look down on me and throw tantrums at the faintest suggestion for the slightest adjustment.
I was wrong.
Okita turned out to be a very friendly, patient man. We exchanged mails about concept, price and date. Then I still had to wait and see whether he would be able to put my ideas into sketches. He was. From a written description and a few random examples, he immediately grasped what I meant, as I’ve told you in the previous post.
In the next installment I’ll show you how things developed from there on.
My prince finally got a face.
You can check out Okita’s work for yourself on his deviantArt page.