Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Update - Sold a Book Cover

Last February I did about a dozen "pre-made" book covers for Self-Pub Book Covers, and then just left them there to see what would happen.

I just got word that one of them sold. (Hooray.)

I will show you that one after I see if I can find what the author did with it.  In the meantime, I decided to do more covers!

The trick is to keep it simple AND to fit their weird typography needs. (Very limited selection of fonts and colors, and since the customer will set the type themselves on the web, it will be pretty no-frills.)

There are actually two reasons they have to be so simple: one is to keep the price cheap, but the other is actually more important: with pre-made covers, you just never know what an author is going to need. So you're basically throwing a whole bunch of ideas against the wall and seeing what sticks.  You have to do a LOT of ideas to hit just one of what a browsing customer might need.

I've got a bunch of things I'm fiddling with right now.  This one with the ship is actually a silhouette I did of the Luisitania.  The sky is a gradation with the smudgy finger brush to make clouds.

The other one, below, is one of a series I'm starting, inspired by background figures in various old book illustrations I find at Project Gutenberg. I think I'll do a series of historical designs, given how much I've been studying so many old illustrations and books.

In sketch that inspired this picture, it really was a very sketchy little image, and I squinted at it for a bit trying to figure out what was wrong.  Then I realized: the artist didn't leave room for the woman's right leg.  (When riding side-saddle, you don't sit sideways.  You sit forward, with your leg up over the pommel.)  She was practically sitting on the horses neck, and, well, I don't know where her leg went at all.

Anyway, the sketch had a couple of vague lines for her veil, and I realized I could have a lot of fun with my favorite smudgy finger brush doing both a veil and a tail.

I could have had more fun with it (with both of them) if I could have control over the typography, but alas, I cannot.  The up side of working with Self-Pub Book Covers is that it's a "set it and forget it" kind of place.  The down side is that you have to design for their needs.

Audio Podcasts

In the meantime, one of the things I love to do while I work is listen to Podcasts.  Garrison Keillor is an obvious one to listen to: News From Lake Woebegone (which I may actually start talking about later when I start talking about making my own genre), and The Writer's Almanac.  These are the first and last podcasts listed on the American Public Media website.  You can also find them at iTunes.

Another Podcast I've started listening to is Forgotten Classics.  These are mostly lesser known public domain (or with permission) books, read by a marvelous reader.  I hesitate to say this, but: She reads them kind of like you might read a children's book -- with voices and all.

The story selections are eclectic, but I think suited to modern tastes:  the stories range from the quirky pulp novellas of Norbert Davis, to the ghost story The Uninvited (which was made into one of my favorite ghost/mystery movies), to Uncle Tom's Cabin, to parts of the Bible.

The iTunes podcast doesn't go all the way back to the beginning of the blog, but you can download all episodes from the blog's library: Complete Episodes Listing.

So, off to draw and listen and make up stories.

See you in the funny papers.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Congratulations! I like your covers. Nice to have a sideline like that.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Elizabeth.

It's also a great recreational activity. And I realize that the business model works a bit like the button business I used to have. (Put out a lot of stuff, so that it's worth the customer's while to just browse for a long time. The longer they browse, the more likely they are to buy.)

And, there are a lot of people writing short works, and other things that need inexpensive covers.