Now that I’ve finally managed to stand up a new e-commerce site for my writing, I’m getting ready to begin the next phase in building my author career. To make that a success, though, I have two long overdue tasks that I need to address. Both are in the way of forming “partnerships” that I’ll need to support my publishing plans, for things that I (at least currently) lack the skills to do on my own.
I need to find a cover designer and illustrator who’s willing and able to work with me on a consistent schedule to produce art work for the saga. At a minimum, that means someone who can produce illustrations or photo compositions that I can use to create decent book covers. I hope, however, to be able to find someone skilled at cover design who can take that task on in its entirety.
The reason I’m looking for a “partner” rather than trying to hire out these jobs as “one-offs” is that I really want to try, if I can, to get a consistent style for the saga’s art. This is one of the core “best practices” (to better “brand” your work) recommended in all of my indie publishing research. A partner would help me to produce the covers I need on the schedule that I’ll need them, and I expect to need more of them now that I’m switching to a more “episode based” pre-release strategy on my website. One of my hopes is that I can find someone who’s also willing to produce in-book illustrations that can be included in the compilation volumes. This could either be in a “pen and ink” style, or simply color illustrations that would look good in grayscale as well. Those would also let me include them in the “print on demand” editions that I eventually plan to make available.
I need to find an audiobook narrator to help me create the audio versions of the books that I have planned. Again, I’d really like to find a regular reader who’s willing and able to take on these jobs on a consistent schedule. I’d also like to try to find a female narrator if possible (since the protagonist is a woman), especially for the early books.
I do have “backup strategies” to do each of these on my own if I can’t manage to find someone able to help with them. A third style of “indie art production” (aside from illustration and photo compositing) that’s become more common in recent years, for example, are “renders” from a 3D program like Daz3D. I do have some experience with laying out 3D visuals from my game development work, and this is something I’ve started to explore. Similarly, I do machine learning related software work, and there are techniques (approaching actual viability in the next few years) for training and running a system to actually synthesize human sounding voice from text. Failing that I do have a good microphone and could try reading them myself, but I’d have to put in a lot of practice to develop the V/O skills necessary to make that a success.
As much fun as it would be to dabble with these alternatives, though, they would involve taking my already far too limited time away from writing. So if you know (or even are!) an illustrator/cover or V/O artist you could recommend, please feel free to reach out. 🙂