Why I WON'T Buy Your Cover
by Travis Gibb
This one is going to be a little tough love! The cover-buying process is one of the hardest things you can do in comics. The right cover could bring hundreds or thousands of backers to your campaign. The wrong cover won't. When picking and pricing a cover, you need to plan ahead and factor in a bunch of variables. Here’s why I would or wouldn’t hire someone as a cover artist. Now, before I start, I don't claim to be an expert on this. I know some people who kill it in the cover game, but I do know a thing or two about good art and successful covers.
Let's start here!! I did this post!!
As you can see, I got 40 comments and received 58 recommendations! I hired none.
WAIT??? WHAT??? WHY???
Let's break it down:
1) MATERIAL - This book is dark and gritty. If your art style doesn't match the book, why are you trying to get the job? I get that artists need work, but if it doesn't fit the material then look for comics that your art can complement.
2) QUALITY - The quality of the cover needs to be of equal or greater talent than that of the interior artist. This is a tough call, but you want artists who can elevate the book.
3) PRICE- The average price for an indie comics cover is between $200 and $700. The lower amount tends to be up-and-comers, so when an artist comes to me with a $400 price tag, I need to do that math. It breaks down like this:
- Do I like their cover work? You need to like it to buy it.
- Does this potential cover increase awareness? The sad reality of comics is that we need to not only have a good cover but one that moves the needle. I could hire Jim Lee for a cover, but if he doesn't talk about it even once, it won't mean as much.
- Can I get something better for the same price? When someone offers me a $400 cover, I need to think it can get me $800 or more in sales! Also, if they are indie, could I spend a little extra for an artist with Marvel or DC credits to help the brand. That is what you have to factor on every cover offer. I feel most cover artists set their pricing on how much they need to get from the cover rather than what the buyer will get. If I don't get a good return investment then I’ll need to look elsewhere.
- Does the cover artist care about their work? When I hire someone, I want them to share the art and talk about it. If I look at your social media feed and it's mostly looking for the next commission, not the work and projects you have been part of, then I more than likely won't hire you.
That's the basics on how it breaks down. It's tough love, but I want you to hear it. To end this on a positive note, let’s give you 3 quick tips on increasing your potential sales as a cover artist:
1) Whether working on a crowdfunded project or a direct market title, talk about it on social media. Don’t just like, retweet, or share a post. Use your own words. This shows you care about the work and that you’re not just wanting a quick pay check.
2) Instead of jumping on every post about someone looking for a cover, try looking for ones that your art would complement. Instead of just sending your portfolio, take time to explain why you would be the best fit for the book.
3) Know what your competition is charging and be able to prove that your covers are not only good-looking but are a worthy investment because they sell!
Thanks, again, for reading. I look forward to seeing your work and, hopefully, having you on a cover!