Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Self-Publishing Dream

Self-publishing is gaining a more and more respect these days, at least to a degree, but traditional publishing retains most of the advantages still. I primarily hold out hope for traditional publishing at some point, but I do have one intriguing idea that nags at my mind every so often, however unrealistic it may be.

Art by Stephan Martiniere
I dream of a book that is as much a work of art as it is a novel. I dream of finding just the right artist - one who loves my work and likes the idea of working with it, in the way that Alan Lee and John Howe and others did with Tolkien's work, while having a style that fits what I wish for in an artist. I dream of having that artist agree to be a partner in creating a high-quality self-published set of works that would stand out from the general self-publishing crowd. Imagine having not just a gorgeous cover, but thirty or so fabulous paintings scattered throughout each book, depicting the most amazing scenes.


  1. That sounds wonderful. I had an Alice in Wonderland book like that when I was young. It was gorgeous.

  2. I wish it could be more than just a dream, Jessica, because I would really love to do this. Amazingly, it is super hard to find up-and-coming hungry artists on the web. You would think the young ones especially would be great at social media. The only artists I can find so far with styles that really appeal to me are very famous ones, and they won't deal with me on such a project.

  3. I know a few here in Greece. Would you like me to give you their emails to request samples?

  4. sounds like it would be a beautiful project. i'm trying to think if i know anyone who does the style you want... but i KNOW that you're super picky! :)
    i don't know of anyone as of yet, though. i've been keeping an eye on one gentleman who might eventually get to the level that you desire, but i don't think he's quite there yet. but he will be graduating soon... his art seems more edgy than you would be going for.

  5. I agree, it would make a beautiful project, having the art and the story together. I have the LOTR version with all the artwork in it and it's gorgeous.

  6. I have that one, too. I had already owned several versions of LOTR, but when that beautiful Alan Lee version came out, I just had to have it. That's the version I used for reading to my sons.

  7. Maybe there is an artist who wants wider recognition who would go 50/50 with you on sales instead of being paid up front? You could both fo the promotions.

  8. Martin, that was exactly what I wanted. A collaboration where we split the take, because the book was as much an art book as it was a novel. Martiniere, who did that fantastic painting in the post, has released books of his art. What would be so different in doing the same thing, only tailoring the art to a specific story? I think it would be fantastic.

  9. That would be a dream, Ted. So much more I think a way of leaving your mark on the world than a traditional mass-market paperback. It would be a work of art on so many levels.

    I hope that you can find the right person to collaborate with...I wish I knew of an artist that leapt to mind as the kind who would have the right sort of style, time and wish to take such a partnership on. It would have to be a collaboration of the highest form, like composer and lyricist.

    If I come across anyone who might be interested as I travel around the web, I will certainly point them your way.


  10. Dude; I'm so there with you.

    Recently one of my ftf crit partners submitted a writing with creatures that were so unique, they were hard to describe withough copious amounts of boring narrative.

    "So add a picture/sketch at the beginning of each chapter," was my sage advice.

    Our venerable leader went into a dissertation on how unworthy that was of an adult fiction novel. She went on to say even YA (his MC is about 14) would not allow pictures in his book under any circumstances.

    I kept my mouth shut, but I've read several fantasy novels that have scene sketches either at the chapter beginnings, or in a few well placed complicated chapters.

    Stephen King himself added art to his last three novels in the Dark Tower series.

    Is a visual or two here and there in a fiction novel so beneath the readers dignity? How often do non-fiction novels use the accessory to emphasize/relate narratives?

    A picture is worth a thousand words? We're not talking picture books here; but something for the reader's imagination to latch onto with denizens/situations so far outside the norm that it would take a novel to fully explain.

    I applaud your dream novel Ted. I don't see why a reader cannot refer to a visual on occasion to ground them in the setting. Especially in an action oriented novel, where the less description the more likely the reader will finish. Isn't that what the cover is to do? And perhaps, with a fortuitous artwork, the world of reading could capture those individuals that MUST watch it on a screen in order to "visualize" the world.


  11. Donna, I didn't even go into the fact that eReaders could be great for this type of book, once they get better at allowing high-quality art to be shown!

  12. A costly prospect, Ted, but very cool. I used a French artist for my cover. My book comes out next month. I found her on DevianArt and she's amazing. I'm sure you'd find someone on that site you could work with.

    After my book is out, I'm going to do a post on the evolution of book cover.

    You can see my artist's work at under the Books tab.

  13. Ted, your idea is a wonderful one. The Will Turner's Flight Log series by Chris Davey is adult fiction with illustrations in it (I did them) and it was wonderful to do these. I love illustrations in fiction and also wonder why more books do not have them. (For instance, I would have loved seeing them in Naomi Novik's dragon series, "Her Majesty's Dragon," etc.) I'm working on the foundation of a fantasy novel and drawing the creatures, etc. is a big part of the wonder and joy of this type of work.

    I hope you do find the perfect artist for your project. I love limited edition books and I'm sure it would be awesome. All the best!