One of the most important items that forces a browser to stop browsing and buy is the quality of your covers. You can have Shakespearean level prose, but if the cover doesn’t fly, they won’t buy.
I have been very happy with the covers provided by my friends at CoverCrafters.com, but searching their pre-made covers shows a lack of images suitable for an Urban Fantasy series set in Japan. So I decided that I needed to obtain some illustrations and create new covers for my Tokyo Supernatural series. One of the great things about Kindle Publishing is that I can decide at any time to change my covers, update a novel, or make other changes that I deem necessary.
One of the first things you learn as a publisher is to cast your net wide. By this, I mean that any job you contract out should be visible to the largest number of artists.
First, I visited deviantart.com, a website where artists showcase their work. I found several artists whose work reflected the quality and style I was looking for. I messaged all requesting their availability for commission work.
Of the responses to my query, my favorite by far was the talented Anna Dittmann (annadittmann.com). She was very professional, quickly responding to my email and asking for details on the illustration. One thing she did that impressed me was when she asked me to point out an illustration on her site that was similar to the style I wanted. My correspondence with her helped clear up some vague ideas I had, her questions focused my attention on what I really wanted in the art.
Unfortunately, an artist of her caliber is beyond my self-imposed budget. As I noted in a previous post, spending too much on covers for a series with unknown sales potential is not the best business plan. But damn, she’s good. If the series becomes a money maker, I will come back later and ask her to redo my covers again.
Even after I let her know that I couldn’t afford her work, she was still friendly, wishing me luck in publishing my series. That’s the kind of attitude you want from an artist.
So my first choice was out, the other deviantart artists were also out, some due to previous commitments, some just didn’t do commission work, some just didn’t respond to my messages.
To cast the net even wider, I had my VA put up ads on several websites, including Upwork. My VA based the ads on my correspondence with Anna.
We are now reviewing artists and their work. I hope to soon have a new set of covers on my novels.