And if your cover sends a different message? Well, readers pick up on that, too.
|Trust me, a good cover pays dividends.|
If you're going the self-publishing route, though, chances are you don't have a big budget to spend on your cover art. Especially because getting art from a professional artist can run from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on what you want, and who you want it from. So what most authors do is look for stock art. Stock art is a piece that an artist can sell over and over again, giving different people the rights to use it on book covers, magazines, etc. Since the artist is making multiple sales over time, stock art tends to be a lot less expensive than an individually commissioned piece.
That doesn't make it cheap, though.
In fact, if you've been trawling through sites like Shutterstock, you've likely noticed that the license for some of those images can be pretty high. Even worse, some sites are geared toward larger publishers, so you can't just buy the rights to use one image; instead, you have to buy half a dozen that you may not need, or even want, just to get access to the one you care about.
If you're running into many of the same issues I did, might I recommend giving RPG Now a try?
What Is RPG Now?
If you've never been to the site before, RPG Now is a site that hosts independently published roleplaying games. So whether you're looking for a Dungeons and Dragons adventure, or you want a list of merchants on hand for when your players go to buy armor, you can easily find those resources on this site.
However, there are a surprising amount of resources on this site which are there for publishers and designers, rather than for players. Which is why if you type the words "stock art" into the search bar you are immediately hit with a deluge of pictures from kobold warriors, to crumbled ruins, to brave adventurers heading into the wilderness.
|Something like this, perhaps?|
That's the cover of my recently released fantasy novel Crier's Knife, and in case you're curious that artwork is by a fellow named Jack Holliday. A talented artist, you can find his pieces under J.H. Illustrations (and if you're looking for this picture in particular, you can find it under Standing Stones).
How much did that cost me for beautiful art like this? Well, if you didn't click through to see it yourself, I paid $4 for the rights to use it on my cover. Something that, if you're publishing a book, is probably well within your budget.
Jack is far from the only artist on the site, and there is a lot of art on there. Not only that, but some of it is actually free for you to use (with the proviso that you credit the artist)! While the site definitely caters more toward sci-fi and fantasy (since those are the major markets for roleplaying games), it's worth a browse no matter what genre you're writing in. You never know what you're going to run into!
That's all for this week's Business of Writing installment. Hopefully it helps some folks out there find affordable art that will give their books the extra oomph they need to catch potential readers' eyes. If you'd like to see more of my work, check out my Vocal archive! To stay on top of all my recent releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you'd like to support my work you can leave me a tip by Buying Me A Ko-Fi, by becoming a patron over at The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page, or by going to My Amazon Author Page to buy a few of my books! No matter which option you take, every little bit helps.