Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Art of the Indie

One of the things that I found out when I first decided I wanted to be an indie publisher of my work was that as an indie, you have a lot of freedoms that traditional publishing won't go for. Like art work.

I've already talked about the cover art I'll get at the end of this month, and shared other amazing covers from my friends' books. I've been like a kid waiting for Christmas over that, for sure, and as soon as its ready it will be here on the blog. But I also commissioned two pieces of art that illustrate parts of my story, Hoodoopocalypse, from the amazingly talented Ben Adams.

I gave him my ideas for what I wanted in a long email and waited impatiently. I'm ridiculously visual with my writing, so I had a Pinterest picture for each idea. I don't know if that's helpful to the artist or not, but I do know it means that what I got today in my inbox was absolutely perfect. Just--so perfect. I saw a couple of teases, which is what I'm going to post here from Ben's Patreon page. (And by the way, I already posted that Patreon is one of those things you can do for the cost of a cup of coffee a month, you can support artists so they can keep making amazing things. I'm going to become one of Ben's Patreon's, too).

The first image is a snap from a 6 panel "Graphic novel style" piece he did of a moment in the story where one of the characters' quests comes to its watery end:
copyright Ben J. Adams, 2015.

Things I love about this include the "Hanged man" pose he caught for Marine Lance Corporal Jarrod Knighton, the guy in the center. And if you look up, there's a tiny little human shape above him. That's a voodoo doll that Knighton was delivering to the Gulf of Mexico, and the doll mirrors the "sacrificial" pose perfectly.  Didn't know there were mermaids down there at the tip of Louisiana's boot, did ya? Y'all be careful down there. 

This gorgeous image below is of my protagonist, Marie French. She's amazing and strong and I'm so glad I met her. She's got more adventures to go on, too.... you have to read and review the first of my books if you want to get the sequel though, cause that's the way this project works.... Let me just say, she's going to Memphis, eventually, and there may even be a King sighting in my magical apocalypse. But that's for later. For now: ART! 

This image is a very small snip of the overall picture cause I don't want to give away too much and "spoiler" you. But it takes place in Jackson Square, New Orleans. When you read my book in under a month (squeeee!) you'll get to see more amazingness from the picture. 

When I got the full versions today in my inbox I really did just cry. There is something so amazing about this. It may not have been a full on "ugly cry" but it was teared up, crying, happy. I never really thought about the impact that art can have on your novel. How it feels to have your ideas, which didn't even exist six months ago. 

I do, however, remember as a kid reading books and just pouring over the images in them. My favorite ever version of Little Women was one that had illustrations of Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth, some in color. I would stare at them and just take in everything. I loved that darn book. I even wrote my Master's Thesis on it. It's meant a lot to me, and I have to say that I think something to the artwork might have triggered that love, that belief in the power of beautiful images. The dog chewed that hardback library book up, actually, and I had to buy it from the library. I was actually kind of happy about that, to be honest. 

Most "grown up" books don't include graphics like this, and I think that's really a shame. And it's part of why I'm really proud to be producing MY work, my way. Yes, it's a little bit more expensive to commission a piece of artwork for your novel, but I can promise you, these are getting framed and put up in my house. And I think there are going to be t-shirts. And whatever else I can think of. It's all part of what is great about indie publishing. We can break rules. And innovate. It's going to change the world.  

And I really do love it. It's a little bit different as apocalypses go (apocalypti? tuses?) so you're going to have to trust me on the magic stuff. But I think you're going to love it too.   

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