Friday, September 18, 2009

Fantasy Cover Art

Like most writers, I dream of one day being published by one of the major houses. However, there is one point about publishing that truly bothers me and makes me at least consider the possibility of self-publishing someday. I don't like it one bit that the author is given little or no input regarding the cover art.

I have very strong feelings about what I want on my cover, enough that I could see saying 'no' to a publishing contract if they wouldn't back down over a cover that didn't do what I need it to do. Regardless of whether it is wrong or right, I believe many books are judged by their covers. Covers sell books. I have even bought books solely based upon fantastic cover art.

The part that worries me most is that the majority of art done for fantasy novels is terrible, in my opinion. They are generally far too colorful and splashy. I like realistic and gritty. When I see covers for, say, the Wheel of Time series it makes me want to shove the book back on the shelf immediately. The kind of cover art that really speaks to me is the darker, grittier stuff such as the Frazetta work seen on some of the Conan books, or even better, the Alan Lee work you can see on the Iron Tower trilogy by McKiernan. I loved the covers of the McKiernan books so much I bought them just because of the covers; it was an added bonus that I loved the stories, too.

I am looking into the possibility of finding an artist here in Baku to do some cover art for me in the style of Alan Lee. I don't know if I will find one, but it is worth trying. If I like an artist well enough and he/she will be reasonable about prices, I would ideally like to do a series of paintings to put in the book, covering various scenes. I saw this in The Sword of Shannara and I really enjoyed it.

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