My Egyptian Short Stories Collection needs a Cover Artist!

I am planning more than I am doing.

And one of things I am planning on doing is: writing a collection of short-stories set in Ancient Egypt. No mistake there. I am writing, NOT illustrating this collection. But why not? Come to think of it, if writing comes to publishing, I’d need a cover, and all the serious writer-bloggers who’ve self-published recommend that we must never make the cover ourselves. We must shell out some moolah and hire a good cover artist for our books. I agree whole-heartedly. I mean, if all writers began illustrating their own book covers, we’ll be soon out of business.

Note that a lone eye like the one below isn’t something that I am going to put on the cover. It merely tells that the artist who did this was lazy.

Egyptian Eye - Artwork for short story "The King's Chamber" by shafali.

So stretching the main logic some more and spreading it quite thin, when I write a book, I must hire a cover artist to do the cover. Hiring myself is beyond my own modest means, which means that I must find another. However, my mean-means would allow me to get only stick-figure artists!

Do you see my dilemma?

I think I’ll try to haggle with myself and try to get me to reduce my fee, but I know that my charges are very reasonable, and I’d feel terrible about bringing my own price-points down.

Do you realise that this is a Catch 22?

I think I should sling my camera around my neck, get into my time-machine, go to ancient Egypt, and shoot some pictures for my cover.

But another writer’s blog recommends that illustrated covers sell better than photographic ones, especially for the fantasy and historical fiction genres; and the fuel-bill for the time machine would burn a whole in my already quite hole-y pocket.

Have you noticed that I am stuck? 

And this is why I must plan the whole thing again! Meanwhile, if my author/artist friends shared their experiences and suggestions, I’d be grateful. I am serious about this short-story collection, so please take me seriously.

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12 comments on “My Egyptian Short Stories Collection needs a Cover Artist!

    • Mr. Venkatacharya, you don’t really mean it, do you? I mean, I was hoping to earn a modest income of about 2o dollars a month from it – if I put my face on the cover, people might start demanding money from me because chancing upon my face led them to lose consciousness, because they hit themselves on their head with their reading device. I’ll be sued for their medical bills and for the repair of their reading devices. I am sure you don’t want to see me behind bars 😦

  1. RE: photo vs illustration, it’s a matter of taste, actually. Most trad pub use photos anyway. Unless it’s high fantasy/heroic fantasci or sci-fo when they use illustrators.
    Save the money for the proofreader! Especially historical stories do well with covers with the artworks of the period. I’m sure there’s plenty of Egyptian paintings or statues images in the public domain.
    I’m doing something like that for Norman Blood… using a free image of the Bayeux Tapestry. I’ll be happy to brainstorm this with you if you want! 🙂

    • I’ve seen that trend. Even the romances these days have a touched up photograph. Gone are the days of Barbara Cartland and Denise Robbins (My Mom’s favs.) But working on your covers makes me feel that I must have illustrated covers. I have an idea. How about I do a cover for you for free, and you pay for my cover instead?
      Yes, I’d love to go brainstorming with you…in fact, right now, there’s a nice little storm brewing in my brain….let us storm it 😀

  2. Mmm. A few thoughts. My blogger friend Mick Canning did the cover for his self-published novel “Making Friends with The Crocodile”. https://mickcanning.co/2016/06/05/the-book-is-released-hurrah/

    One of his own paintings, and very effective it is.

    It’s too easy to get bogged down in “rules”.

    Perhaps you could do a 50/50 deal with yourself? Whereby writer and artist agree to work for free, and split the profits? There’s an obvious catch there, of course.

    It seems to me that the path to self-publishing would be no different from preparing a manuscript for submission to a publisher. (I haven’t tried the former, just the latter.)

    So first things first. You need to write the stories! Then to get them peer reviewed, and edit them (or find someone to do that for you – preferably for free.)

    By the time you’ve got your written product ready, the cover image may be right there in your head, so who better to do it than you? Or you may have several images that you could ask others’ opinions on?

    • I checked out his blog and book. Nice cover – giving an impressionist feel to a photograph.
      A 50/50 deal is a good idea. We split the twenty dollars we make on it 😀

    • Ok…so that was half the reply. I was trying to figure out how to give a line break in a comment and pressed the wrong keys. Pressed the wrong keys again.
      It’s best I stick to the comments interface in WP to reply 🙂
      So you’ve gone the traditional publishing way?
      Wow. Brave Soul.
      I have self-published “Evolution of the Caricaturist”…but I don’t know about this one. Will do what I can. Thanks for the motivation 🙂

      • It was a long time ago that I went the traditional publishing way – about 2001 – and it’s even tougher now! I never thought about the cover till the publisher accepted my novel, and then I found an old b&w family photo quite by chance. I thought it would be perfect and sent it to the publisher and they agreed. They cover was coloured slightly, but that’s about it.

        The novel was set in New Zealand about 1911. The photo would have been taken around that time, so it worked well. The novel’s out of print now, but I’ve been thinking of putting it on Kindle when time permits. (That won’t be soon.) And, of course, I can still use the same cover photo (but not coloured) because I own it.

        Any future novel will have to be self-published, I fear. Do I have the stamina? Time will tell.

    • Always a fan of your work, Saurabh. I’m more in love with realistic renderings…and this article more than anything pokes fun at the confusion that exists in the mind of a writer-artist. Thanks a ton for the offer. I sent a friend to your blog, and he too feels your work is cool 🙂

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