The cover is important. That isn’t something I needed to be told to me, that’s something that I just know as a reader. A book with a pretty cover always ends up in my hands at the book store even when I don’t care for the sound of the story. It’s not enough to make me purchase a book, but it does get me to pick up and connect with a book, so it is an important first step. The cover is the face you are putting out to the world, and in my case, where I am putting the product first and my mug second, that’s an important face.

Plus, if I’m going to be honest, I have an issue with stock covers. There exists a slim possibilty that two book covers can get the same stock image. That’s rare, but I can see it happening as a lot of people seem to be using stock images for their covers. Another issue I have is that everyone is doing it, and I wanted to stand out from the crowd. (We’ll find out if that’s a good or bad thing soon enough.)

Those were the two main issues that I had with stock images. Most of the info from people who hired designers suggested that $300 was a high, but somewhat general price for a cover designer. I believe that price included stock in most cases, though what I saw of stock was pretty high priced. So I budgeted $300 (at the very least) to do my cover art.

It did not take me long to figure out that what I wanted to do was get original art. Aside from all the issues I had with stock, which made me nervous to plop money down, I also looked at covers new and old. I checked out covers in my genres on Amazon and in blogs and even peeked on my own book shelf and on the shelves at the book store. It lead me to this important conclusion:

All the great classic covers for Fantasy and Science Fiction were illustrated.

Even after I had this thought, I still waffled on it. Would it be expensive? Would it be difficult to communicate with an artist? It took me months and months after I’d decided on my artist to actually contact Ellerton.  From there it was a very simple process., and I came in under budget. (Which means more money in my pocket for crazy little promotional experiments!)

So, cover art– care to share your reasoning? Did you spend less than you thought you would or more?


If you haven’t seen it, check out this post by KeriLynn Engel at Dreaming Iris Design. She shares some great tips on how to find artists on a budget.