Thursday, April 25, 2013

Larger than Life? Should your name be larger than the book you're trying to sell?

Hi all!

This is another one of those "It has come to my attention" blog posts.  My previous informative post, "Choosing a cover artist that's right for you and how to behave when speaking to an artist" received a great deal of feedback and helped many authors and cover artists :-)

Well, it has come to my attention that there is a debate on whether or not the author's name should be the focus of the cover.  It sounds ridiculous to me to even comment on this but I respect anyone's opinions whether in favor of the argument or against.

In my opinion, my not-so-humble opinion, the author's name is a matter of ego.  The very first thing a reader sees is the cover--they see the sex, action, drama, atmosphere, intensity.  Do fans actively look for their favorite author's name on the cover?  No, they type it into Google or Amazon and if the cover is associated with that name then they purchase it.  What if the author is unknown?  Then it really doesn't matter.  You want the cover to grab the reader's attention by the short hairs, not slam the author's name in their face.

The author's name must be visible, but to conceal the hard work on the images that were carefully highlighted, shadowed, blended, and colored seems like a waste to me.  If the author name was so important, then we wouldn't need cover artists--just color the background on Word to red and splash the name in Times New Roman in very large font.  But we only see that behavior with amateur authors who don't believe they can afford an artist.  Big Publishing companies use visual sex to seduce the reader into buying.  So should Indie authors.

And all authors should keep in mind that they NEED (I'm not just saying this because I'm a cover artist) but that they NEED a professional cover.  When I see a homemade cover, I pass on the book.  I did that before I even became a cover artist.  If the author isn't willing to put a beautiful face on his/her book, then I assume the author isn't willing to write a book worth buying.

Ever hear the phrase, "It takes money to make money"?  It does.  Speaking from personal experience, I had to purchase a top-of-the-line computer, tablet, and software to create what I create.  That doesn't include the monthly subscriptions to photo stock sites or even music stock sites (trailers coming soon).    Even after all the money invested, I make that money back plus loads more.  Why?  Because I look professional because I AM professional.  As an author, you need to be professional, write professional, and keep your hard-work close to your heart.  The book you create is your child--do you want your baby judged harshly because the book is represented by a free or homemade cover?

Here's another thing to consider, just because a cover is free, that doesn't mean it's professional.  I see this all the time.  It takes time, energy, creativity, and serious talent to create a professional cover.  That costs.  Period.  If an artist offers their work for free, then you should be concerned.  Most of the time, they will just waste your time by sending you a cut and pasted piece of crap.  You don't have time to waste.  You need to create a backlog of books, have your stories edited, etc.  Why waste time waiting for a free cover that most likely will not be beautiful?  As a side note, your friends will tell you that your homemade cover is spectacular because they are your friends and that's what friends are supposed to do.  But those with eyes will roll them and most likely pass on the book.  You don't want to lose sales especially if you are an Indie Author.  Your cover is your promotion tool.  Keep that in mind.

Many cover artists, like myself, work with the author when it comes to payment.  I have a few clients on payment plans.  Sometimes these are $5 biweekly.  Come on, you can afford that.  Plus you will make so much with a gorgeous cover.

Now, getting back to the primary subject.  I like to ramble about things that I'm passionate about.  Anyway, the size of the author name boils down to ego.  You want your name all over?  Fine.  Let's do it.  Is it necessary?  No.  Don't hem an artist into the cover just because you heard somewhere that the author name on the cover needs to be huge.  Let the artist create a thing of beauty to represent your baby.  After all, writing a book needs to be sold.  Profit is very important.

I will not judge what you choose to do with your name either way.  It doesn't matter to me.  But you should know that you have room to move with your author name.  Don't bog yourself down trying to follow trends, listening to sources that may or may not be on the level--trust your artist and trust your gut.   And be open to new ideas.  You never know what you've missed out on if you bog your artist down with rules.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope this has been enlightening in some way, shape, or form.  I welcome any and all feedback.  But don't leave anything political--the post will instantly be removed.  This is not a blog for politics--this is a blog for cover art and sometimes author interviews!  :-D  I love author interviews!



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