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Book cover art woes

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chelsie00xx

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Hi everyone! :)
I am pretty new here. I am super excited that I am going to be publishing to Kindle e-books, and on Createspace. It is a science fiction book that is dystopian with a little romance. Ever since I finished it I have been searching and searching for the right fit for the book cover. It is so important to me.
I have a vision of an art science fiction cover in a style similar to these:
http://eventrue.deviantart.com/
The realistic art of people, beautiful fantasy colors...
However I have been contacting all sorts of artists that do digital art work such as this and I have gotten such stiff prices they make me want to cry. :(
I understand that I am not going to find it for free, but I have set aside a budget for a professional editor, and set aside a budget of about $300 for a professional book cover... and barely scraping by doing that. The quotes they've been giving me are from 1200 to upwards of 3000 for a book cover.
Am I just dreaming here thinking that I am going to get a digital art cover? : / I had such a clear picture of how it would look in my head! Can anyone help me with the costs and realities of this, as well as if the digital art fantasy world is all about this price?
 

veinglory

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You might want to step down from the idea of a painted from scratch fully custom color and look at artists that specialize in digital covers and cost a good deal less than that--more like $200. The first hint that you are at that end of the price range is that the prices are shown right in the artists website.
 

lauralam

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My publisher fronted the cost for my digial art work and yeah, it wasn't cheap.

Those images are some beautiful, detailed artwork, and those prices sound about right and fair, I'm afraid. If it's worth it to you, save up, or find an alternate style that's cheaper. Some newer artists who want to build their portfolio might be charging less.

I contacted my cover artist about simpler illustrations for my SP work, and it was prohibitively expensive, too. I might save up for the full-length novel I might SP though, because I really love his work.
 

JamesBaldwin

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You have to bear in mind how long it takes for an artist to produce an image like the one you want. It is at least a 30 hour job to produce a work of that quality. My own images take anywhere from 10-40 solid hours of work to make, and I'm not anywhere near that level of realism. Then there's consultations, thumbnails, editing... you get the picture.

The more realistic and complex the art, the more expensive it will be, because the longer it takes to produce and the more skill it requires. Many artists have spent 10-15 years refining their skills to get to that level. That $300 is all they might make in a week if they take your commission.

$1200 isn't a bad price when you look at it from a professional standpoint.
 

veinglory

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Like writing, art has tiers of availability. Yes you can get a great artwork for $1000. But then there are artists that create workable covers very efficiently in an hour or two for $200. The use time savers like stock photography and can come up with a very acceptable cover--in fact often a gorgeous one. I doubt a single one of my covers cost anywhere near $1000 because while that level of investment might well create an exquisite cover, it is not cost effective for a book with a total earning capacity of under $5000.
 

chelsie00xx

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I totally agree with you guys that it is fair prices for the amount of work involved. The artist I linked to was just an example of the type of work I was thinking of and after seeing her portfolio I pretty much knew it was out of reach. I was curious is anyone has found possibly a new artist- or another way of making art book covers a possibility. My book cover is pretty simple really, but I just don't know whether to keep saving or to just go with a different route. I've been unemployed because of some health problems for quite a while now. Saving every penny to make this book a reality so I'm just trying to figure out some different options. : )
 

Alice Xavier

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Yep, low four-figures is what you'd expect to pay for the level of art on that DA page. Illustration is NOT cheap. If the illustration takes 30 hours plus several more of concepts, changes, and time spent communicating with the client, and the illustrator charges a reasonable $50/hr for their work, that's a 2k illustration easy.

Your $300 could get you a very nice stock photo cover, though. A good designer could easily utilize cross-processing and textures to give a photo a gritty/illustrated sort of vibe.
 

Patrick.S

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This may be no help if you are extremely specific as to what you want, but I found some stock art that I thought was cool and in the same vein as what you linked to. Here are a couple of examples I found in a 2 minute search.

http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-18638911-reaper-lady.php?st=ef7ae93
http://www.istockphoto.com/stock-photo-20633253-angel.php?st=ef7ae93

Obviously I have no idea what you are looking for. You could then hire a cover designer to work with the piece of stock to produce your cover. I bet you could get it done for under a hundred bucks.
 

Alice Xavier

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You can try using sites like 99designs, Crowdspring, designcrowd

Yeah dude, it's totally cool to make a whole bunch of designers work for free and then only pay the one with the cover you like.

Spec work sites are exploitative and awful and no one should use them.

Besides, you're not going to get good work from designers submitting one-shot entries for a gig they probably won't actually get paid for.
 

Literateparakeet

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Yeah dude, it's totally cool to make a whole bunch of designers work for free and then only pay the one with the cover you like.

Spec work sites are exploitative and awful and no one should use them.

I disagree. No one is making them work for free. The artists have the option to work with these sites or not.
 

batmantis24

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Hi Chelsie,

First off, great choice for the inspiration for your cover art! I understand your plight and can tell you that a lot of quality artists give flat rates within reason, it's a harsh reality, but artists really do live gig by gig and not a lot of them are willing to budge on their prices because they're not sure when their next project will be; they want to ensure they are making enough for the time their spending on a piece.

As a freelance illustrator, I can see both ends of this. I have done a few covers myself (not as highly rendered as the one artist you've shared with us) and my rates go up depending on the amount of detail/work I need to put into it.

$300.00 is a great price point, I think, but the more accomplished artist aren't going to see it that way, considering the time it may take and corrections that may need to be made.

My suggestion to you would be to put a listing up on Freelanced.com (A website full of amazingly talented artist who work both digitally and traditionally) at your price point of $300.00 and you can either, A. Contact your favorite artists personally, letting them know about your book cover listing, or B. Wait for artists to apply to the job listing.

Give new artists a chance to show you their skillset. So say you like an artists style, but it's not 100% what you're envisioning, ask them if they think they can accomplish it.

I also have a few skilled artists I know personally that I'd be willing to connect you with if you're interested in that, as well. Just PM me :}
 
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Alice Xavier

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I disagree. No one is making them work for free. The artists have the option to work with these sites or not.

Sure, no one's making them, but in general, the spec work/contest model devalues design work and trains clients that if they dangle some piddly prize in front of some desperate, naive kids, they can get a substantial amount of work for very little money. And as a former design freelancer, it's really frustrating to see this exploitative crap damaging and diluting your industry and disseminating absurd notions about the value (or lack thereof) of the type of work you do.

People don't expect editors or plumbers or accountants or cooks to work on spec, so why should it be different for designers? Because it's just silly clicky computer stuff that's not real work because it's "art" or something? Because online design contests are easy to facilitate? Even if designers who don't know any better choose to enter these things (they shouldn't), they're still exploitative. No one's making you go to a payday loan office either, but that doesn't make them not exploitative.

Generally, you can find a designer or artist for any budget. Find one you like and that you can afford and then pay them for their work. Just don't send a bunch of contest losers home with nothing to show for all that work they did.
 

profen4

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You can try using sites like 99designs, Crowdspring, designcrowd and myself :)


Be cautious of places like that - I'm sure there are many who are awesome on those sites, but I know there have been people talking about how many of the "designers" there copy work, steal it, modify it slightly and try to sell it to you. They hope you don't discover it belongs to someone else until the funds clear and they're long gone.

I know one writer who received a take-down notice after launching their book, and it wrecked their launch. Had to take book off the market, get a new cover, and might have even had to pay some damages too. I'm not 100%.

Anyway, just be sure you know who you're dealing with. Get real names. References. History. Artists with nothing to hide will supply that stuff readily.
 

Literateparakeet

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No one's making you go to a payday loan office either, but that doesn't make them not exploitative.

Generally, you can find a designer or artist for any budget. Find one you like and that you can afford and then pay them for their work. Just don't send a bunch of contest losers home with nothing to show for all that work they did.

All good points, thanks for explaining. I particularly liked the quoted portion. :)

ETA: Profen makes some good points too.
 

c.m.n.

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You could also try posting an ad on the appropriate DA forum that you are looking for digital designers for your cover and state your price. I didn't look at your example link, but I know someone who got really nice digital cover from a DA artist for a good price.
 

grayworld

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You might want to look into pre-made covers, too. You never know, you might just happen into artwork you like at a reasonable price. All three of my covers are pre-made, and I'm happy with them. I paid less than $150 for the lot of them.
 

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This thread would probably fit into Art & Design better than it suits Self Publishing, so I'm going to move it there. Hang on!
 

Gale Haut

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I've never heard of a crowdsourcing platform that offers full scale original art, unless you are counting DeviantArt competitions (jk).

To the OP. If you are looking to commission a highly detailed painting for only $300, become best friends with an art student. If you would like to get a highly detailed photo-manipulation for only $300, send me a PM.
 

EMaree

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If you browse Deviantart you might be able to find a cheaper artist (who's less experienced or just younger, fiercely competitive, has less outgoing costs, or lives in a region with a strong exchange rate -- there are a lot of reasons).

The 'Browse more like this' feature can be quite good to search for pieces similar to what you like by that artist, but by different users who may have different commission rates. Here's an example of that feature in action. It's fairly accurate to her style, though, so you need to skim past a lot of her own work to find similar pieces by strangers.

However... that artist's style is highly detailed and very popular for concept art and game design, so I'm not having much luck finding many cheaper options. You might need to pick a less detailed style for a $300 budget.

Tumblr can also be a good place to find talented artists who take commissions.
 

Alessandra Kelley

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Yeah dude, it's totally cool to make a whole bunch of designers work for free and then only pay the one with the cover you like.

Spec work sites are exploitative and awful and no one should use them.

Besides, you're not going to get good work from designers submitting one-shot entries for a gig they probably won't actually get paid for.

I disagree. No one is making them work for free. The artists have the option to work with these sites or not.

I am wary of the argument that people voluntarily choose to work in exploitive industries.

Be that as it may, 99Designs and sites like it are notorious havens of image pirates who casually rip off copyrighted images and sell them, leaving the client stuck with the copyright violations once the piracy is uncovered.

You get what you pay for. Using an art sweatshop is not prudent.
 
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