Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 18, 2012 - 4:17am

I am getting very far ahead of myself, but I would like to know for pure reference purposes.

For those that have been published or about to be published, how did you go about finding artwork for your cover or inside your books? Did you solicit local artists and give them an idea of what you wanted? Did you look over what they already had and choose one of the many? Search for it online and contact the creator to get publishing rights? Did your publisher give you concepts and you choose one?

Also, when you choose the artwork for your book, do you buy it outright, give them royalties, etc. Actually, I don't know what else there is?

I am really unsure how this process works and would like to know how people actually go about this.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break February 18, 2012 - 6:57am

My publisher's in-house artist sucked.  I really didn't care for anything the guy was doing, so I decided to hire my own photographer/graphic artist and model.  Everything cover-wise was done just by pulling from the local pool of talent, as it were.

The model and the graphic artist/photographer get a royalty.  The graphic artist gets credit, too.

Linton Robinson's picture
Linton Robinson from Nowhere. I'm an expat and army brat is reading A computer scren February 18, 2012 - 5:30pm

I do all my own covers, even those through publishers, and a few for other people.  You can see some of them at my page  https://www.amazon.com/author/lintonrobinson 

I am not an artist and could draw an asterisk.  Some of the most spectacular cover art there was free from the artists.  Victor, who appears on Imaginary Lines is one of the top painters in Mexico, with work in the private collections of Pres. Vicente Fox, Al Gore, the UN.  He's a friend and when I asked him to use that for a cover and some of his other work for a video, he quickly assented.  Why wouldn't he?  Think about that.

Mayan Calendar Girls was from an artist on deviant art.  I asked and he enthusiastically responded.

Thing is, why would an artist not allow a cover from pre-existing work.  It costs him nothing, doesn't consume the painting--in fact could raise it's value to be a book cover, is a nice portfolio piece, and gets him a credit online.

I've done a few lately that need photos, not paintings.  (I do photos--the took the cover shot for My Funny Valentine with a $60 camera in my backyard of a bunch of toys and stuff on a roll of white paper.  But models run into problems, especially if you want somethng exotic)   I have bought a few shots from online stock agencies.  Many cost under a dollar.

You can do this, is what I'm saying.  And you don't have to pay money or end up tearing your hair.

Ryan Noir's picture
Ryan Noir from New York, NY is reading Tropic of Cancer February 18, 2012 - 6:57pm

Linton,

Your covers are all cool. Weekend Warrior is hilarious and my favorite.

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound February 18, 2012 - 10:55pm

Interesting. And I'm surprised Brandon has to cut royalties so many ways?

Linton Robinson's picture
Linton Robinson from Nowhere. I'm an expat and army brat is reading A computer scren February 18, 2012 - 11:08pm

Thanks, Ryan.  You mean the ebook cover with "beer bong grenade"?

*Confession on that one.  I stole the grenade spoon and bong bowl off internet images.  I don't mind doing a bit of that for something like that assemblage and don't really consider it a rip-off.  (Especially the spoon-it was on a US gov munition site...so I guess it belongs to the tax-payers.:-)

Chester Pane's picture
Chester Pane from Portland, Oregon is reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz February 18, 2012 - 11:13pm

And Linton's Terminal Velocity story is exquisite.

 

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break February 19, 2012 - 7:32am

And I'm surprised Brandon has to cut royalties so many ways?

 

Only 5% per person.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies February 20, 2012 - 7:44am

@brandon - 5% of your take or 5% of the whole enchilada? i'm curious because I'm talking to Luke Chueh about letting us use some of his artwork for my next book, Disintegration. i was thinking of offering him a flat rate OR a flat rate and a percentage of royalties?

in the past, most of the times a publisher or magazine will have talent, either an in-house designer or they'll farm it out each issue. brandon and i had the same guy at OWP and i picked what i thought was the best work out of the five options i was given. i liked it, but didn't love it. i didn't push to do something else, but in hindsight, maybe i should have. 

i have short story collections coming out with Kraken Press and Snubnose Press this year and they both have artists, and i'll work with them to get something great done. part of the reason i'm working with Kraken is the owner (George Cotronis) is a well known artist and i wanted his artwork on the cover. 

i did do the "cover" for my eSingle "Victimized" which i self-published at Amazon. i've been an art director for 17 years so it wasn't a big deal.

LUKE:

GEORGE:

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break February 20, 2012 - 7:47am

My take.  No way is the publisher going to let me fuck with their money.

Jay.SJ's picture
Jay.SJ from London is reading Warmed and Bound February 20, 2012 - 7:50am

I'm surprised you'd give up your take just for artwork. So say if you got 10% of royalties you went down to 5% or it was 5% of your 10% hypothetically.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies February 20, 2012 - 8:00am

i think he's saying, JSJ that is he gets 15% of the list, then the artist gets 5% of HIS take, right brandon? so that would be .075% of the list, if my math is correct.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break February 20, 2012 - 8:03am

I get 20% of the total, and then they get 10% of my take.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies February 20, 2012 - 8:23am

cool. just trying to figure out what to offer Luke. so you offered up 2% of the total (from your side). i was thinking of something in that range.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 20, 2012 - 8:25am

This is all very good information to know. It seems like it might actually be worth it to befriend a teacher at a high school or college and tell them to put it out to the class that the best artist gets their work on a book for their portfolios. You get to help new artists and you get free work. Win win in my book. Maybe. I'm sure there is more involved.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies February 20, 2012 - 8:30am

^great idea @joseph day. if i hadn't found Luke i was considering trolling some university art departments or maybe opening up a contest at DeviantArt or something. for a struggling, new artist, to get a book cover, even if it only sells a few hundred copies, that's great exposure, with or without pay.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel February 20, 2012 - 8:36am

For me, if I was in art class and someone gave me the opportunity to do something with it besides get a grade I would jump all over it like a fat girl on a drunk guy.