Readers judge books by their covers.
I know the saying tells us to do differently, and I agree on a metaphorical level (especially when you substitute “books” for “people”), but when it comes to actual book covers… well, we choose to pick up and peruse a book based on a cover, don’t we?
We don’t necessarily judge the other books by the covers that don’t appeal to us. But we are less likely to pick those up and look more closely at what they’re all about. Which means that book loses out.
Honestly, my life might be very different if I didn’t choose books based in part on their covers. I found the Urban Fantasy genre only because I picked up a random book with a cover that just spoke to me at first glance.
This one cover and the book it encased paved the way not only to my favorite genre and as a reader and endless hours of forget-the-world around me pleasure, but to my favorite genre as a writer.
It got my creative juices flowing beyond the horses-are-the-only-thing-worth-writing-about stage.
It lead me to my first writing group – whose members were the first people I was brave enough to show my writing to, ever.
It lead me to finishing my first completed (though never published) novel.
And my second. And my third. And forth. Fifth. Sixth.
(All of them unpublished – but that’s not the point. Like everything you want to become really good at, writing takes practice. Lots and lots’a practice.)
Without that one cover, I wouldn’t have found my genre. The one that excites me, entices me, motivates me above all others. The one that has kept me writing for – literally – decades with only a few actual ebook sales under my belt. The sales aren’t what keep me going. It’s the love of writing, of telling stories of magic and its users living among us, people like us, living, loving and dreaming like us.
So when I present my own stories to my readers, I want them to be blown away by the cover I’m presenting it to them in, too.
Which means I’m not even going to try to create my own cover. I hear all the book angels laughing in their heavenly libraries at the mere suggestion. I don’t have any talent in the visual arts. Words are my building blocks, not shapes and colors, design or layout.
I’ll happily pay a cover artist to create a kickass cover for my kickass book.
But whether you pay someone to do it or do it yourself, you’ll most likely be using stock photos to create your covers.
Ever tried finding stock photos for your perfect book cover? I have and it has cost me many fruitless hours of my life. Good stock images for urban fantasy are surprisingly difficult to find.
I suppose fantasy in general or science fiction are similarly difficult. You need the right model with the right type of hairstyle, clothes,weapon(s) and stance that you feel best represents your main character. And if you’re writing a series, getting the same model for all books would be the cherry on top of the perfect cover-sundae.
That may not sound like too many variables, but sheesh – the clearer the picture of your main character is in your head (and it should be crystal clear, since you’re his or her creator, right?), the more difficult it is to find a stock model that holds up to their awesomeness.
So. All of this to say that I recently found the most amazing stock image site that specializes in cinematic stock photography for digital arts: NeoStock.
They have an entire Urban Fantasy page, with hundreds of photos of different male and female models with different clothes, weapons and stances. I found the perfect model for my main character within minutes! And I’m sure my amazing cover artist will do them both perfect justice.
Whether you’re looking for UF, Horror, Dystopian, Historical, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Action, Suspense, Young Adult or Middle Grade – check NeoStock out. They’re constantly adding new images to their database. They’ve also recently added Couples & Groups, CG Backgrounds, and CG Creatures & Elements to their repertoire.
If all that weren’t already enough to bring forth this gush-fest of mine, the people behind NeoStock are also super nice and interested in your input. They have a focus group you can join. They asked for – and were super happy to receive, discuss and incorporate – people’s ideas on their upcoming UF-shoot in one of the genre groups I’m a member of on Facebook.
Yes, their images are a teensy bit more pricey than what you pay on Bigstock or Depositphotos – but isn’t your book baby’s cover worth those few extra bucks to be extra perfect and kickass?
I know mine is. 🙂