If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you likely know about my new adventure.
I have finished my graphic design degree and am now actively seeking paid design work. I wanted to tell you all about this, and a little about why what I do is such an important service.
You can probably guess that as a writer I love telling stories. That is doubly true for my design work. Even if it’s a simple business card, my ultimate goal with everything I do is to create an image that tells a story about who or what the contents are. In a word, a story.
This is why I LOVE designing book covers. It allows me the opportunity to give a potential reader a little glimpse into a larger tale. My best work comes when I speak to an author about their novel or short story and hear all the excitement they have about their work. One-on-one relationships with authors give me insights into the stories that a reader might not get. For example, in doing a recent cover, the author told me about the history of his novel’s setting that was not included in the manuscript. As a result of my knowing this, he said he was amazed at how well I captured the look and feel of the place he had only imagined. As an artist who physically renders words into pictures, this is the highest praise I could possibly receive. It gives me a sense of true accomplishment. It’s what I strive for in all my creations.
So that’s my purpose. In a nutshell, I make pretty pictures, but with a very specific intention.
That intention is to sell the author’s product. It’s why what I do is important to writers.
I’ve noticed many articles the last few days (perhaps because it’s a topic so relevant to me), regarding the importance of the book cover. It is the first information any potential customer will have about the words within. I cannot tell you how often I’ve been jazzed about a new release solely based on its cover. Maybe it’s the bird part of me that screams “OOO SHINY!” and I can’t help it. Whatever it is, I know I’m not alone in feeling that way.
Here’s an example of what I mean. I was recently talking with a client about redesigning the covers for a series they had out. They had been told by reader X that if they hadn’t known the book was theirs, they never would have picked it up. As a result, they wanted entirely new covers with a new look to appeal to new readers who might not be familiar with their earlier works. This is a very smart move on their part. A cover can make or break book sales for new or little known authors. If you’re Stephen King or Neil Gaiman, your name is probably going to be the big selling point of your book. As most folks aren’t either of those or a handful of others, an eye-catching design is what’s going to get your work noticed to new readers.
One of the blog articles I read talked about self-published authors and their covers. Essentially, a quality design is going to tell people that there is likely a quality story inside. Whether or not that’s true is squarely on the author’s shoulders, but that’s another subject entirely. The point is, when readers see the work that has gone into a cover image, they are going to jump to a conclusion about the contents. If a reader sees a photo with some words sneezed on top of it, why would they assume there’d been so much as a spellcheck done on the words inside? The opposite is also true. What people see is what they expect to get.
But writers are generally not well-off folks. Dropping $1000 or more on a mind-blowing cover image might not be in their budget (Kickstarter and Indie Go-Go aside). Because I *am* one of these broke writers and so are many of my friends, I’m hoping to provide my services to self-publishers for incredibly reasonable rates. No, really. I am fully supportive of this community and want to be a valuable resource for them.
To jumpstart my new business venture, I am currently offering my work at half price. An ebook (or for a podcast) cover will run $75, and a print cover only $100 (includes the ebook version as well). This includes any and all image sizes required. After things get going and my skills are more proven to the public at large, the cost will be twice that, which, to be fair, is still more than reasonable. What you get is a personal relationship with someone who wants you to sell your work and will be as passionate about it as you are. I will listen to your ideas and do my utmost to ensure your expectations are met and (hopefully) exceeded.
To see samples of my work, head over to Designed By Starla and click on the “Portfolio” tab. You’ll also see testimonials from a few of the authors I’ve worked with there too, but I’m sure any of the folks I’ve done covers for would be happy to tell you about their experience with my work. You can find my contact info there, as well as my resume.
This is an exciting new adventure for me, and I hope it’s a successful one. A naked book is a very sad thing. Badly designed ones are even more so. CLOTHE THE BOOKS! ;P