Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Agent-ish Experience

So last week I talked a bit about self-publishing, and how I've been considering doing it on my own. (post here)

Well, one of the primary reasons I'd never considered self-publication, is because I'm a cover art snob. That is one of the reasons why I never even considered some of the smaller presses. Sometimes their covers are a big sub-par. I'd rather have no book, than have some small press make it look amateur.

So, for me, one of the most important first steps, was to find a decent artist. I'm crafty, but I know that my abilities are far under what I expect for my cover. So I found a great art forum and posted my propostion. I would pay, so I let them make me an offer.

After 150 applications, I made my decision. :)

Some things that this experience taught me, is that there are a heck of a lot of great artists out there. Sure, there were some...um, not so good ones. But for the most part, I was blown away by the talent. It made me think about how much talent there is in the writing community. And if someone fails on submission, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are lacking talent. I had only 1 spot to fill amongst the numerous artists.

What it boiled down to was...
1. The style of art that I liked.
2. The letter they sent me.

The particular artist that I chose told me that it was his dream to do fantasy cover artwork, and that he would make my story shine and work as hard as he could on it.

And you know what? I belived him.

Sure, there were other artists, some cheaper, some with just as much talent. But in the end I chose a great guy who shares my dreams. I also got a taste of what an agent must feel like, trying to choose a client from the hundreds that pour in their inbox. And I started to understand why some don't respond. :o)  But...being on the other end of the no-response card, I tried to respect them all. Toward the end, I even found myself doing the dreaded form rejection in many cases. (Sorry, if any of those artists are reading this). But really, when I form rejected with "I loved looking at your work, but I chose someone else.."  Well, it was true for them all.

My submissions are well past 200 now, with more coming in every day. And I haven't responded to them in the last week or so. So if you are an artist, reading this, I will respond....eventually.


  1. It's wonderful that two dreams are coming true - you're publishing and the artist is doing a fantasy cover. Cool!

  2. What an amazing experience! Just responding to everyone is going to take forever!! Can't imagine how difficult that choice was. Good for you though - I bet you've learned a lot :)

  3. Very eye-opening experience - I'm glad you shared. And now you will have me coming back to hopefully see the cover art result someday.

    I'm kind of a cover art snob, too. Interestingly, the Help is a best seller with a very plain cover. Just three plain birds. But it's still good cover art, because it makes you wonder, what's the deal with the birds? And then when you read the book, you know. Sort of. Because it's not obvious, either. LOVE the subtlety (and sorry, I'm rambling now...)

  4. Dude YES someone after my own heart. This was a huge issue for me as well. I have many friends on small presses and some of their covers--well they often leave a lot to be desired. (Make me cringe, puke, whatever) So it was HARD for me to decide WHAT I should do.

    When I decided to go it alone my first step (after book writing/editing etc) was to find an AWESOME cover artist, and I did! Can't wait to see yours when it's done!

  5. It's so great that everything is working out for you and the artist who making the cover for your book. I can't wait to see the cover!

  6. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing your journey. I know I'll have pioneer footsteps to follow if and when I'm ready to publish my own work. And I definitely think cover art is one of the most important factors in self-publishing. Can't WAIT to see yours!

  7. i wonder how many other great stories are out there not being self-pubbed because of cover art, not that i blame you. and how many great stories are not being read because they have lousy cover art? i'm a cover snob too and if i think a cover looks crappy, i generally won't read the book unless i know the author.

  8. What a great idea! You got your own art "slushpile" and turned the tables for a bit.

  9. Now you've got me so curious about what you like in a cover. I can't wait to see the cover you choose. But can you tell me some covers from published books you've seen recently that you really like?

  10. Whoa, what an interesting perspective :). It's good to remember that the gatekeepers of the publishing industry don't reject necessarily because you're not good enough, but because you don't fill that one, precise spot they have to fill.

    Also, I'm SO EXCITED that you are taking the plunge!!! :D Wishing you thoussands of sales!

  11. Now I really can't wait to see the final cover. Keep us updated. Great post.


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