Questions on commissions

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

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Hapax Legomenon

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Like a good number of you guys I'm both a writer and a visual artist, and I have some possibly stupid questions. I might want to make my own cover but I don't know how to do all the bits like computer image editing to make it look good. Are there people who would be able to create covers if I sent the image?

Also, say I wanted a cover made but in a medium I'm not good at, but I still know things I want like colors and composition. Would it be okay to send thumbnail sketches and refs to the artist?

Do you guys have any estimate on a fair price for either of these services? For the latter I would have a preference for minimalist covers that are either traditionally or digitally painted as opposed to the photo edits I've seen on most self-pubbed (and a lot of traditionally-pubbed) ebooks lately. I don't know how much that would affect the price of such a comission.
 

CetiAlphaVI

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Also, say I wanted a cover made but in a medium I'm not good at, but I still know things I want like colors and composition. Would it be okay to send thumbnail sketches and refs to the artist?

I would think that this would be acceptable. I am a fairly new graphic designer, and one of the hardest parts of that job is getting the same feeling/vibe/idea from the clients head to mine.(provided you are working with a client that realizes what they want) If you are good enough to provide even rudimentary thumbnail sketches and references to the artist then you are bypassing a lot of the hard mind to mind translation work. If the artist wants more control than that or simply doesn't like your ideas, then shop around a little more. If you have artistic vision, then you should be able to find someone that will work with you.

I would recommend that you do so humbly and think over any advice that the other artist/designer gives you too though. Collaborative works can produce some pretty great masterpieces and they may see something in your vision that you hadn't previously uncovered.
 

Gale Haut

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The first service you mentioned is basic image preparation for your cover art to be printed. There are a lot of digital artists and graphic designers with experience in that area. It's one of my personal strengths.

Make sure the photo you take is not blurry or out of focus, and that it's a high resolution for print. No cellphone photos. (Though, some modern smartphones have really high res cameras in them.)
 

Hapax Legomenon

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Okay, that's good, then. I would need to figure out how to get high res pictures but that would be my problem.

I'm also wondering if my wants would hurt me. I write genre fiction but the stuff I like are not usual for genre fiction right now and I wonder if that would turn readers off.
 

Gale Haut

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I'm also wondering if my wants would hurt me. I write genre fiction but the stuff I like are not usual for genre fiction right now and I wonder if that would turn readers off.

It could. If not, it could have the opposite effect. Are you able to pinpoint how the aesthetic you have would relate to your readership? If so, focus on that uniqueness.

People aren't generally looking to have the exact same literary experience over and over. So if you do it right, it could work out in your favor.
 

CetiAlphaVI

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Okay, that's good, then. I would need to figure out how to get high res pictures but that would be my problem.

Ask friends and family, check with your neighbors. I know around here, every 5th person I talk to has a big fancy DSLR camera(that swamps my little micro 4/3rds)

Chances are you know someone that has or has easy access to a nice camera. Have them shoot it with you framing up the shot and helping, or maybe they'll let you borrow it. A few quick youtube tutorials online and you'll understand the basics of the camera.

Alternatively you could find a photography student looking to make a few bucks on the side.
 

Hapax Legomenon

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It could. If not, it could have the opposite effect. Are you able to pinpoint how the aesthetic you have would relate to your readership? If so, focus on that uniqueness.

People aren't generally looking to have the exact same literary experience over and over. So if you do it right, it could work out in your favor.

The book(s) is (are) not done yet, I'm just looking at options. I've had a really hard time pinning down target audience before so I have no idea. Probably if I was going to put anything together soon it'd be short stories so who knows.

Ask friends and family, check with your neighbors. I know around here, every 5th person I talk to has a big fancy DSLR camera(that swamps my little micro 4/3rds)

Chances are you know someone that has or has easy access to a nice camera. Have them shoot it with you framing up the shot and helping, or maybe they'll let you borrow it. A few quick youtube tutorials online and you'll understand the basics of the camera.

Alternatively you could find a photography student looking to make a few bucks on the side.

Okay.

I guess papercutting poses a somewhat unique problem because it's three-dimensional but mostly two dimensional. I remember scanning in some work for a gallery and while the scans were serviceable when I actually got the work to the gallery the people there commented on how different the pictures look in real life because the scans completely eliminated any depth. This could be a good or bad thing, who knows.
 

CetiAlphaVI

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I guess papercutting poses a somewhat unique problem because it's three-dimensional but mostly two dimensional. I remember scanning in some work for a gallery and while the scans were serviceable when I actually got the work to the gallery the people there commented on how different the pictures look in real life because the scans completely eliminated any depth. This could be a good or bad thing, who knows.

Oh... If you are going the papercutting route, you might start undertaking some research of people that have reproduced that type of art before. I dare say that is a whole different ball game and there are people out there that have been where you are going with this. I still bet photography is the best way they capture it though.
 

Hapax Legomenon

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Oh... If you are going the papercutting route, you might start undertaking some research of people that have reproduced that type of art before. I dare say that is a whole different ball game and there are people out there that have been where you are going with this. I still bet photography is the best way they capture it though.

Photography shows off the depth of papercutting which is great for displaying artwork but I am not sure if that's what I want.

I think I've only ever seen papercutting, or great pains to look like papercutting, on a book cover once -- and that's the most famous cover of Catch-22. However, the art there is made to look completely flat, whether it actually is or not. So a completely flat image that is actually papercut might not be a bad idea.
 

frimble3

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What kind of papercuting did you have in mind? Jan Pienkowski does interesting things with silhouettes, and I've seen picture books done in paper collages.
 
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