Congratulations, you have found one of the quasi-hidden pages of this website. One of the great things about being an ebook author is not having to worry about the cost of cover art printing or image printing inside your ebook. Printers love to charge high fees for color glossy covers and color images inside a book. The great thing about creating ebooks is that images, either black and white or color, cost virtually nothing to place inside your work. It is for this reason that I started a bit of a tradition with Birthright…Slayer. I had the graphics artist create an exterior cover for the public use and then an additional interior cover for those who purchased the ebook to enjoy. Thus, my vampire slayer novel ebooks have two covers, an exterior cover and an inner cover.
When Vampire Nation came close to being finished, I contacted the two staff artists on Team DPe. Amy stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with a great exterior cover on her first time at bat. I loved it. It was as though she had read the novel...
The cover said everything I wanted it to. It spoke of an underground culture, it had a distinct gothic flavor, it was dark and yet light enough to see clearly. The cover was simple enough for those that put nothing into the cover of a book and yet complex enough for the discriminating mind to see the hidden metaphors. Amy's cover was exactly what I had wanted for Vampire Nation.
I then contacted a very good friend of mine, a sequential artist to help me create a new and unique inner cover. We are always coming up with off-the-wall ideas and spin-off projects for my writing endeavors. The idea of a cartoon character for the inner cover evolved and he sent me some preliminary images for approval before he moved forward.
Having read my first vampire slayer novel, Birthright, more than a few times so he had a very good mental picture of what the main character, Charles Wolfgang Edwards, looked like. Taking that mental picture and a few ideas and images I threw his way, he created a comic image of Charles that was impressively close to the character I had within my minds eye.
comic character was birthed with startling accuracy, but, I was having a hard time explaining
how I wanted his rendering to over lay the exterior cover which had been created. He went
to work in Photoshop and sent me a proposed graphic to help me better understand
how the comic image would look overlaid on the original cover art.
With a ghost image over the original cover, I could see how the cover took on a new forth dimension. It really looked sharp. I felt the comic image did not detract from the cover image, but enhanced the cover quite nicely. I thought I was going to have a difficult time matching my creativity on the inside cover of Birthright…Slayer but we managed to create an incredible looking inside cover that ranked right up there with my first inner cover. I gave the green light and he moved forward.
We were not sure if we wanted to stay with a black & white comic or go with full color. After numerous phone calls and emails we settled on a color comic image. We went to work on finalizing the project. Murphy's Law always rears its ugly head at the most inappropriate time. One thing led to another and soon the deadline for completion was upon us. The word document Vampire Nation had been proofed and polished and was ready for the last crowning jewel, the inside cover.
After some unexpected delays, I asked when I could expect the image because we were already running two weeks behind schedule. I could hear him scratch his head and cuss under his breath over the phone before he said, "You will have it by this weekend!" In true artist fashion, he blossomed when we hit crunch time. I have found that most artists do their best work when you are breathing down their necks. Why this is, I am not exactly sure, but it has been my experience that they derive some sort of pleasure by their extremities being held to the fire, so-to-speak. Friday came and went as did Saturday and I had no image. I emailed and received a frantic note back that said something about a laptop crashing…image gone…being up for 24 hours…and having sore shoulders. I instantly got a headache as the words, "what can go wrong, will go wrong" echoed in my skull. I went to bed Saturday night contemplating releasing the work without an inside cover.
Sunday morning I woke to find a pile of images in my email box with an email saying that he had been able to recover the image thanks to the help of a few folks on a message board. The interesting thing was that the image I received as the completed cover, was not exactly completed…
The Photoshop image, upon recovery, had lost a "layer" and the weapons were not in color.After being up for over 24 hours and now at wits' end, he sent me the image and crawled into his rack. I sat staring at the image. I really liked what I was looking at. I just did not want to use the image without the Spectre machine gun and Model 3A handgun chambered in .454 Casull, not properly completed. I took a deep breath, clicked the Photoshop icon and dove, for the first time, into the world of computer generated art.
Four hours later, I looked at my watch. The weapons where completed and I was quite impressed with my perseverance and my ability. Taking inspiration from the latest military uniforms that use a pixilated multi-color random pattern, I chose to create this same camouflage pattern on the weapons of my cartoon weapons. I sat, clicking each pixel, one by one, making it a unique shade of gray. When I got to the extended magazine of the Spectre submachine gun, I had a brilliant idea. Anyone who owns a gun knows that when you purchase an after-market extended magazine that it never matches color with your weapon. I gladly "painted" the entire extended clip a single shade of gray in honor of this phenomenon.
Once my eyes were able to focus on an entire image and not just pixels exploded at 700%, I was very pleased with the outcome. The weapons looked good. While all I did was spend a few hours coloring, I found that the work agreed with me. The inside cover now took on a new meaning because not only had two talented professionals put copious hours of labor into the effort, I, too, spent half a day working on the interior cover as well. I proudly added my pen name to the credits of the inside cover.
Many authors believe that writing a manuscript and sending it off is all there is to being a published author. When you take on the role of a self-published author you have to learn every aspect of the book you are producing. Being a self-published author allows you to work in all aspects of your book from its proofing to cover art, illustrations and everything in between. Before now, I have allowed others to create cover art for me, this time, I took it upon myself to learn something new and be involved in yet one more aspect of self-publishing.