For my first Kindle book, “The Real Estate Blues,” I simply got out some acrylic paint and whipped out a rather clumsy drawing that captured some of the elements of the book. Inasmuch as that book is a series of almost 400 essays with a huge range of topics, it was impossible to cover every element. I touched on the basics, though. The cover contains a doghouse that relates in two ways. A number of the essays contain humor, including stories about dogs. For the second part, it sometimes seems as if the real estate salesperson is often just a step or two away from figuratively being in the doghouse. That’s not to say the agent has done anything wrong, it’s just that when things don’t go as desired from the seller’s or buyer’s point of view, the agent makes a convenient scapegoat (deserved or not). My total cost for this cover was really just my time (cheap and it shows!)
For my science fiction book, “The Time of The Cat,” I found a wonderful, freelance artist, Krzysztof (Kris) Krygier and he turned out to be great to work with. We communicated in a series of brief messages and I eventually sent him the first 50 or 60 pages of the book. Based on that, he turned out a great idea that conceptualized the main plot device of the book — the idea that aliens had installed a network of matter transporters across the Earth and on various moons in our solar system. From there the effort simply required clean up and fine tuning.
The final design incorporated one of the more dangerous aliens, my male hero – Declan Dunham and his romantic interest and co-fighter – Liz. She may look soft and feminine in the picture, but don’t let that fool you. She’s as tough as he is and probably a better shot, too. There is one other character that simply had to be on the cover and that is the orange Tom cat, Jefferson, for whom the book is partially named. He didn’t seem to fit into Kris’ drawing, but he eventually found a home sitting on top of one of the transporters on the back cover. He’s got a rather supercilious air with an attitude of “Don’t mess with me!” and that suits his personality perfectly.
To give you an idea of the steps involved, I’ve created a gallery (found to the right of the screen) that shows art in each of the various stages of design and clean-up. I don’t want to encourage Kris to charge me more, as I’m using him to develop the cover for the next book in this series, “The Second Wave,” but I felt that his product was well worth every cent that I paid.
It seems to me that the reader’s first experience with a book is the cover. I know that, in contrast to the old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” I am drawn to a book by several things, the title, the author, and the artwork on the cover. Unfortunately, my experience has been that some very good and well-written books have cover art that doesn’t add to the reader’s enjoyment.
My intent and desire, then, is to have a cover that adds to the overall experience of the book. I hope that my (and Kris’) effort meets with your approval! Should you need artwork with a fantasy or science fiction theme, I highly recommend Kris. He can be found on Freelancer.com.