This post celebrates my new Hinky covers and a terrific sale on book #1, The Hinky Brass Bed. Only 99c for a limited time!
I have new covers! Ook oook! Aren’t they gorgeous?
For readers of this blog who are indie authors, you may know what it’s like trying to find the perfect cover illustrator for that weird-harold book that straddles genres.
Hinky Chicago started life as an open-ended fantasy series, veered off onto the romance shelves in early childhood, took a giant step sideways into paranormal erotica, and has returned full circle to the fantasy shelves. Okay, romantic fantasy. Sexy, funny, contemporary romantic urban fantasy. Can you say all that really fast in an elevator? Neither can I.
The series has too much plot to be erotica, too much fantasy to be romance, too much humor to be urban fantasy, too much sex to be chick lit …is it possible to have too much sex for chick lit? …and too much romance to be anything else.
I’d always longed for cartoon covers, but nothing too, how shall I put this, nothing too virginal, please. No childlike big manga eyes, which seem to dominate DeviantArt.com these days. No skinny, angular heroine on the cover, such as one sees on all my favorite chick-witchy books by Mindy Klasky. My heroine is lush, rowdy, good-humored, a little bit slutty, and frankly size eighteen. I wanted cartoons that said something not-quite “Hey sailor!” Maybe not that far. Maybe just, “Where’s the party?”
Thanks to fellow-BVC author Pati Nagle, I located an illustrator on Elance.com, a terrific service that lets you advertise your job, then have conversations with the people who respond to your “want ad.” You can browse their portfolio. You can even see reviews of their previous work by their former customers at Elance. When I saw the range of artist Mark Collins’s work, his skill level, his great reviews, and especially the cartoons he did for a men’s magazine, I knew he was the one. Only he could pull off the sass, the snap, and the sexy that would do justice to Jewel Heiss and her semi-tame sex demon.
Elance also protects the people you hire from getting stiffed. Once Mark and I made our bargain, I was able to deposit his paycheck in escrow with Elance. Elance held the money, visible to Mark but not yet accessible, until I signed off on payment.
I gave Mark copies of the ebooks to read via Elance. He posted sketches at Elance. We had long conversations, finalized, tweaked, and refinalized the covers, all at Elance. The whole process is contained on the site, including files.
In theory I suppose one could publish one’s indie ebook entirely using talent one found and managing the project at Elance. You could find a book editor there, then a copyeditor, then an ebook formatter, and a cover artist. Maybe even someone to upload it to the etailers for you, and to market it after that.
If you’re looking for any of these, or dozens more kinds of skilled people, try Elance.com. But don’t pester Mark. He’s gonna be busy for a while. I have three more series.