How to Get a Cheap Cover Part III

(I’ve been running a series on my MySpace blog called “Adventures in Indie Publishing” where I tell everyone how I made a muck up of it all so that they don’t have to.  At the moment I’m exploring “How to Get a Cheap Cover” and, after a suggestion from Ruth, I decided to post it here as a series (because it’s a long, long post!)

The other day I discussed how to go about getting custom designed art work for your book cover. This can be very cool because you can get exactly what you want, however, it can also be more expensive.  Just because you want art, doesn’t mean it has to be a brand new piece.

Pre Existing Artwork:

Okay, so you’re not that picky, or you don’t have a really specific idea in mind, but you know you want it to be drawn/painted/illustrated/etc. Nothing wrong with that. Your first visit should be to the aforementioned There you can do a search for the kind of picture you’re looking for, such as “Dark Angel”. Find some possibilities and contact the artists. Don’t be surprised if some – or even all – want some kind of monetary compensation for their work. At the same time, you might catch someone who doesn’t. I know if someone asked to use a piece I’d already drawn, and didn’t want me to edit it in any way, I’d say “more power to you! Enjoy!” because the work’s already done. But, that’s me.

To message someone on deviantart you will need to make an account. You can always delete it later, or leave it for posterity. You could get lucky and they might have a website or contact info listed on their profile, but otherwise you’ll need to leave a comment or send them a note. Before you do that, though, you might check the date on their last upload. Was it three years ago? Chances are they’ve abandoned the account. You could google search them if it’s really worth it to you, but I’d recommend just keep looking.

Of course, deviant art isn’t the only place to find artwork – or even artists. They’re literally scattered all over. You can’t spit without hitting one. You can find them on MySpace, and even by using Google Image search. In this case search terms are very important, for instance “angel drawing” is more likely to pull   amateurs than “angel art” will. And let’s face it, on a budget you’re looking for a small time player. That doesn’t mean they don’t have to be good – just cheap.

One thing you MUST remember: YOU CAN NOT USE ANY ARTWORK ON YOUR COVER WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE ARTIST!! To do so is stealing, and copyright infringement and a lot of other nasty, nasty things. You might think it’s okay because the chances of the artist ever finding your book is slim, but think again.

Also, your cover artist must be credited in your book, so you need to find out what name they want you to use. Darkshadow1060 might be great on deviant art, but I’m sure they want their real name in the book credits.

Handy Links:

Deviant Art:

Sci-fi and fantasy art:

Flickr – : (you will need to pay to subscribe to this site, however)

Does anyone know of any other good sites?


  1. From your experience with other artists, do you find they are happy to work with writers who want their images on their cover?

    Also, do they typically prefer a one-time fee or part of the royalties as well?

    As for links, I don’t have any to share. 😦 But I sure am learning a lot! 🙂

    1. Most of the free lancers or “amateurs” as some people like to call them *cough* are generally delighted by the idea that someone wants to use their art. It’s exposure for them as well!

      I’ve never run into anyone who wants royalties, though I won’t say they aren’t out there. To the best of my knowledge the general practice is a one time fee for the creation of the image.

      Yay! Glad that someone is getting something from this! 😀

  2. Stephannie Beman says:

    I too am learning a lot from your posts. I haven’t gotten to the point where I need a book cover yet, but I am getting close and these posts are helping, thanks.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad they’re helping you too! 😀

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