Lately, I’ve been reading some really interesting stuff in regards to the pros and cons of indie publishing versus traditional publishing.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious – to me at least – that indie publishing is the way forward. The advantages of such an approach seem to massively outweigh the disadvantages.
I’m not going to go into it here, but if you’re interested then please check out this guest blog post over on Emma Lombard’s website. The blog was written by K.C Julius (here’s her website), and here’s a link to it:
The most striking thing on here for me is the creative control of your own creation that going indie gives you.
Now, maybe there is an argument to be made for the fact that the traditional publishers know best how to attract readers. It’s their stock and trade, their profession. But honestly, does that matter if – as is intimated in the above blog post – they don’t market the book for you?
If – as an author – you are truly responsible for marketing your own book, then wouldn’t you want it to be something you’re proud of? Something that is YOUR vision?
I’m a big Kevin Smith fan, and I’ll never forget something he said a while back on a podcast I was listening to. He was talking about his films and how they don’t make big money and how he learned to accept the fact that he didn’t want to make studio films. He wanted to create the film HE wanted to make. The films that NO ONE ELSE could make.
The ‘Kevin Smith’ films.
Now, I’m paraphrasing, but here’s the gist…
Only YOU can write the story that YOU were meant to write.
Now, a book is NOT just about the story contained within its pages. It’s also about what the reader first sees when they set eyes on the book. The picture at the head of this post shows the window of a Waterstones Bookstore here in the UK. It’s a window where the latest releases of books vie for your attention, and if you’re NOT a big name author, you’re relying on a visual oomph to entice readers to pick up your book and read that all important blurb.
The same is true if you’re buying electronically on Amazon, etc.
It’s important to me that the cover is perfect for the book. If you read my review of Marissa Meyer’s ‘Renegade‘ series of books (here’s a link: ‘books-me-and-a-little-review-of-renegades-by-marissa-meyer’), you’ll get a precursor to my thoughts on the matter!
These are MORE than just eye candy to me. Whether my Songbird series lives or dies in the marketplace is almost irrelevant (okay, that’s not entirely true – like any author I’d LOVE them to be wildly successful!) what truly matters to me is the fact that I put out there a product that I am proud of. These books will be the legacy I leave behind when I’m gone, and I want that legacy to be me.
Not a watered down, marketed to death version of my vision.
The story within the pages WILL reflect that…
And now so will the cover.
I’ve always had a vision for the covers for the Songbird books. The story deals with a host of characters who have a duality in nature. Vampyrii, Werewolves, Fae, and of course, the Fae/Human hybrids. For a long time I’ve been kind of inspired by the painting of our game characters that Wifey had commissioned by the talented Tyler Wilson. You’ll see it on my homepage, but here it is for those who are too lazy to go look:
The painting had always felt – to me at least – like two characters with two emotions. There was a sense of sadness and of hope. I LOVE this piece.
It gave me the inspiration for what I wanted for my cover art. I wanted each book to feature a different character and give a representation of their dual nature. Book 1 was ALWAYS going to feature Gayle Knightley and the idea was to show her being kind of sad but hopeful on the front cover, while on the back she was ‘powered up.’ Gayle has the ability to manipulate the elements, and her most powerful tool is fire which is powered through the emotion of anger.
Choosing an artist was HARD!!!!!!
If you’ve seen my Artists page, you know I am chums with many fantastic artists. Finally, it was @Sylessae that recommended the perfect artist to bring my vision to startling life.
The clincher for hiring her was that she’s got book cover experience AND has a commercial license arrangement, which is important! As per her website:
‘The Client who pay the commercial commission price is able reproduce, edit or use the Artwork for commercial purposes. Please note, that I still hold the right to display commissioned Artwork in my portfolio and websites, including social media.’
COVER REVEAL AHOY!!!!
So, without further ado… let me reveal the cover that she came up with for
‘The Ballad of the Songbird – Book 1’ – HUNTERS
I’m honestly blown away. It’s PERFECTLY in step with my vision for what I wanted.
The two sides of Gayle Knightley. The sad, grieving side of her on the cover, and the angry powered up side of her on the back. I’d originally wanted the book to be like a monochromatic red, but she suggested the darker highlights and she was absolutely right.
Let me REMIND you of the mock up I originally sent her trying to explain what I wanted, and you’ll see what an AMAZING job she did…
Yup, she took my inept Photoshop mockup and turned it into a bonefide work of art. A masterpiece that I am truly proud of having as my cover. It’s going to look incredible in the flesh. I can’t wait to see it.
I’ve already commissioned the cover for Book 2 – ‘Blood to Earth’, which will feature Lyssa Balthazaar, my Vampyrii character. In keeping with the theme, she’ll be human on the front, full Vampryii on the back – fangs and all! The cover will also have an orange hue, rather than the red of this one, progressing the subtle rainbow theme the 7 books will have when they hit the bookshelf.
Anyway, I hope you like it as much as I do.
Till next time…
Love and Books