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Book cover art woes

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Alice Xavier

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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.

Yeeppp... this is the other massive reason to not solicit work from these sites. Participating in spec contests suddenly gets a lot more economical if you just enter a stolen design instead of spending time to create an original design, so it makes sense that piracy and plagiarism is rampant. And yeah, the legal risks are very real (I've heard a few stories myself).

--

Actually, an additional option would be to search DA for an existing (original, not fan art) image that would work for your cover and ask the artist about purchasing a non-exclusive license to use the work on your cover. I sold use rights on one of my DA pieces to a book design firm - they just dropped me a note saying they were interested in licensing its use. This way, you get to use a nice illustration for way less than the cost of commissioning a new one.
 

Hapax Legomenon

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Chelsie that artwork is very beautiful but you also have to keep in mind that if you're publishing an ebook most of what people will see of the cover is thumbnails -- all that gorgeous detail you paid for would be lost. You're probably better off getting a much less detailed cover that looks professional and still looks visually striking shrunk down, and from what little I know of the market you can definitely get those for $300-400.
 
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Inky

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Laer Carroll

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...you ...have to keep in mind that if you're publishing an ebook most of what people will see of the cover is thumbnails -- all that gorgeous detail you paid for would be lost.

Quite right. The usual practice is to create a cover which works full size, with whatever detail is desired. And also works in smaller sizes.

This is the cover which would go on your printed book. Print-on-demand processes create fairly good color & detail, though with CreateSpace I usually have to play around a bit with the color palette of the covers as shown on a monitor to insure they come out right. Monitor colors display additive color, printed covers display subtractive color.

But it's not quite that simple. There are actually four sizes which potential buyers see: icon, thumbnail, display, and preview.

The smallest is about 60x90 pixels, little more than a blob of color. Detail other than the overall color mostly is irrelevant, though you can get a vague idea of the overall design.

Thumbnails are about 100 x 150 pixels. The title & byline is the most important feature; they should be readable. But the image (if any) is important too, though only the overall composition and maybe a few large details are visible.

Display is the image shown on individual book pages. These are about 250 x 375. Larger and a few smaller details are visible. Faces are visible as faces for the most part. This is usually the most important cover size, for readers will spend the most time on this & the blurb text below it.

Preview size is what you see when you click on Amazon's See Inside & B&N's Read Instantly images. Here the reader can see the cover almost full-size. Small detail is important here.

Creating a cover which is useful at all sizes is an important skill. In this electronic age we should look for artists with this ability as well as all the others we judge them by.
 

Channy

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Hey there, if you post in the job offer section

http://forum.deviantart.com/jobs/offers/

That you're looking for a cover artist with your budget idea, hundreds of artists will reply. We'll maybe not hundreds, but tens and tens of them. Let hem know what you're looking for and that it's for a book. 300$ for one piece isn't a bad price, but one thing you're overlooking is commercial rights. I commission a lot of artists for character profiles, scenes and what not, and they always say that their price will change if it's being used commercially (i.e. For. a book cover)
 

marinapr9

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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?

I find that people gravitate strongly towards the style of the artist, their vision etc. So you need to search through say, Deviant Art and seek out the style that you like, then take it from there. Photomanipulation, which I do, is not as expensive generally as something drawn or painted from scratch. The advice you've received here is sound. Prices vary. On average I charge from as little as £50 or up to £300 for a piece of work, depending on how complex it is, how long it takes me etc. So, you could get something at a very reasonable price.

10636230_691064330987747_3736726943741567881_n.jpg
 
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