Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ebook Covers for $150

My cover artist, Carl Graves, is having a fire sale on ebook covers.

Each one of these is only $150. It is one of a kind. You buy it, you own it. Just email Carl at his website, to confirm the cover is available, send him a Paypal and your information (book title, author name, a tagline) and the ebook cover is yours and yours alone.

If you need the cover altered slightly, you can discuss that with him, as that may cost extra. These bargain prices are as-is. The same goes if you need a back cover for a Createspace print version--he can do it, but it'll be a few more bucks.

As I've said a gazillion times, a professional cover boosts sales. When I began using Carl's covers over my old homemade ones my ebook sales tripled. If you're writing an ebook, or already have an ebook with a mediocre cover, I'd advise you to buy one of these, pronto. Because when they're gone, they're gone.

Carl is also available, schedule permitting, to work with authors to do custom covers, but those are more money. Contact him for info.

Here are the $150 covers currently available. Click on them to make them bigger. First come, first serve.


Ruth Harris said...

Joe, have you had any problems with Amazon replacing your new CG covers with old hc & mmpb covers?

They've replaced my professional covers created especially for Kindle with 20+ year old OOP covers, completely destroying my series "look." Has happened to other writers, too. Sometimes Amazon/KDP will restore the newly created covers at the author's request but other times, no.

I've contacted both KDP & Amazon & they won't make the switch for me, citing "policy." A policy that seems to be randomly applied.

I.J.Parker said...

I'm puzzled by this. My hc and pb covers belong to my publishers. Surely Amazon cannot simply take them. In any case, they haven't done so in my case.

JA Konrath said...

Email me, Ruth.

WayneThomasBatson said...

I call #6! It will make an incredible cover for my second book in the GHOST series! Nice work, Carl!

Susanne Ahlneius said...

Awesome covers Carl :)
If i could i would buy at least five of them but i have no finished book yet. One thing first.
I saw last time when you put Carls covers on your site. He is really talented. Have a nice weekend Joe and Carl.

Stan R. Mitchell said...

Carl, those are some incredible covers. You got some mad skills.

Ruth Harris said...

I.J.Parker — The old OOP covers don't come from the publishers; They come from used book dealers.

It seems to happen randomly. Hope it doesn't happen to you!

T. Roger Thomas said...

These covers do look really sharp

Righter's Block said...

Are you serious? $150 for THOSE? Those are generic and awful. I'd much rather do one in MSPaint. This reeks of a scam.

Clare K. R. Miller said...

Sadly, none of these fit anything I'm writing or have written--but I have to say, almost all of them would make me take, at the very least, a second look at the book they're attached to.

JA Konrath said...

@Righters - Please send me a cover you've done on MSPaint. I'll happily post it. Until then, I encourage you (and everyone) to back up their opinions with facts. It's very easy to confuse personal taste with quality. We all need to explain why we like or dislike something, and understand the difference between subjective and objective.

Carl has an incredibly acute eye for color, tone, lighting and shading, space, vector, and balance, among other things. He can evoke mood, genre, and setting with amazing skill. $150 is a steal. If you think otherwise, show us your stuff.

elysabeth said...

My thoughts were the same as Righters' - these are very generic and don't really evoke any reason for me to buy a book based on any of these covers. My illustrator, who also does all my covers to specs, only charges $75 for full covers for print books and the same for ebook covers. I have several of them that have evoked some very good responses from everyone - the covers are quality. I did a comparison of covers from a story that won first place and the publisher had done the original cover and having republished with my illustrator's cover and the response was overwhelming that the second cover was the preferred one. I posted this on my blog a while back ( when the story was about to be published (so would have been late November/early December).

I haven't checked out Carl's normal prices but $150 for an ebook cover seems pretty pricey to me, but then again, I'm not earning $100,000 in three weeks like you did, Joe. I'll stick with my young, very talented, illustrator/cover designer, thank you very much. - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal (ghost) mystery
"The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
"The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal (ghost) romance ebook (this is the cover I compared on my blog)
"Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal (ghost) romance ebook

John Barlow said...

14's beautiful, Carl. I wish I had a novel to go with it.

KM said...

Obviously too much work couldn't have gone into these covers - there are still "istockphoto" watermarks all over them.

Presentation matters. If you're selling a full cover, show us a full cover. Not a mock-up made from comp images.

The artist himself doesn't seem to be anything special - none of his covers wow me and make me think "he's expensive, but I can see why!". I'm sure authors can find either cheaper cover artists that can do this work for them, or better ones that can give them a better product for the same price. Hopefully people do their research on what's available.

Aaron Hilton said...

Image # 1 rocks. So far, Carl's designed two covers for me and they are outstanding. And although I haven't published the novels they're for yet, the designs Carl rendered are an inspiration for my writing I can rely on when nothing else works. I've also been using the images to experiment with some merchandising. I got some magnets, pins, and keychains made. The magnets on my locker at work get a lot of recognition. When a colleague who works part time at a mystery bookstore saw the cover for Skin Deep Motives he said, 'This belongs on a poster framed in the store.' So I got a poster printed. Carl's designs do more than just give your book an identity in the vast eBook marketplace, they exist as a brand readers will recognize before they even read your name.

Anonymous said...

Pro stuff. Attention-hooking imagery, follows the F, L Or C pattern for putting the text where our eyes seek it, scales to thumbnail without losing its punch. Could inspire even a hack like me to write a novel if I had any talent. Thanx for sharing.

Splitter's Blog said...

For the people that are trashing thse covers: There are a TON of indie and self pubbed books out there with no covers or really bad covers. It is also easy to spot a KDP stock cover from a mile away.

Many new authors do not even know where to start on cover design. Things like this help them. Good covers (or at least covers that do not completely suck) help all of us that are fighting the "indie/self pubbed books are trash" stereotype.

And this is doing a good turn for his cover artist...I think most of us try to steer business toward the people that help polish our work. How cool will it be for a new author to say, "My cover was done by the same artist that does some of Konrath's books."

No offense, just lighten up.


Jude Hardin said...

I get some good covers on my Cover Art Review blog, but I get a lot of crappy ones too. The ones here by Carl are better than most, and $150 is a good price.

In other, unrelated news, it looks like the agency model might be history.

Adrian said...

A fun challenge would be to pick a cover randomly and then write a story that fits the cover. If only I was completely stuck for book ideas. (Ha!)

JA Konrath said...

Elysabeth - Again, see my comment about the difference between personal taste and quality.

I checked out your covers on Amazon, and though you may like them, they just aren't professional quality. And I'll go into some detail why:

Tulip Kiss, Bride and Seek, The Proposal, and Finally home appear to be nothing more than a single image with a name and title on them. A book cover is more than just a picture and some words. If I took the Mona Lisa, and put "Masterpiece" by JA Konrath on it, it would not be a good book cover. Which is why The DaVinci Code cover was what it was.

The eye isn't drawn anywhere on your covers. No vectors. No shadowing or lighting. No blending of the font into the cover so it appears organic rather than slapped on. Much too much negative space. No pleasing composition. No color palates to speak of. The titles and author names are hard to read, especially at thumbnail (which is where most buyers see covers.)

None of your images convey the genre--in fact, I have no idea of their genre. Are these romance? Chick-lit? Lit-fic? One of them has a category listed as Humor, and the cover doesn't show that at all.

And your State series--I'm not saying this to be mean, but they are among the most amateur covers I've ever seen. The drawing isn't professional, and the images look hastily done and cobbled together in a montage-type of way that is not at all flattering, eye catching, or professional.

If you paid $75 and you're happy with the results, that's fine. Were the people who liked your covers folks you know--friends, family, writing buddies, etc? If so, they aren't the best people to get advice from. Strangers are much more honest.

I could take any of your covers, put them up against any of Carl's (and he's done hundreds) in a blind poll, and his would be picked 100% of the time.

I'm really not trying to hurt your feelings here, or come off as a jerk. I don't even know what the image on Bride and Seek is supposed to be. Is that coral in a goldfish tank? Only after staring at it for 30 seconds did I notice that weird ghost profile coming out of the bottom.

Again, not trying to be mean. I'm trying to be constructive. If Carl had ever done a cover for me like yours, I would have rejected it after a three second cursory glance.

A professional cover artist working for a Big 6 publisher gets upwards of $1500 for cover art. There is a reason for this. Professionals do quality work, and they understand the nuances of art, especially cover art. I've seen Carl make a cover from scratch. It can take many hours, and he'll use a dozen or more layers for lighting, texture, shading, blending, etc.

These covers he's selling look like pro covers because they are pro covers. Your cover artist isn't. And your covers aren't helping your book sales. I know this because I once too had unprofessional covers.

JA Konrath said...

Presentation matters. If you're selling a full cover, show us a full cover. Not a mock-up made from comp images.

Only a fool would buy stock images for a cover that hasn't sold yet. Carl isn't a fool. If a writer likes a cover, then Carl will get the images needed. Mock-ups are how pros work.

I'm sure authors can find either cheaper cover artists that can do this work for them, or better ones that can give them a better product for the same price.

Good luck with that. Let us know what you come up with.

Blake Crouch said...

"I haven't checked out Carl's normal prices but $150 for an ebook cover seems pretty pricey to me, but then again, I'm not earning $100,000 in three weeks like you did, Joe. I'll stick with my young, very talented, illustrator/cover designer, thank you very much. - E :)"

$150 for an ebook cover is dirt cheap. I pay $500/cover for mine, and they're worth every penny. If you think people are going to look past an ugly cover to see the true beauty inside your book, don't expect many sales.

Jordan Summers said...

I have a regular cover artist that I work with. I'm pleased with her work and get a lot of positive responses from readers. I plan to continue working with her. She doesn't charge as much as Carl, but that didn't stop me from buying three of his above covers.

One I bought because I loved the artwork. I'll figure out what book goes with it eventually. The other two I bought because I have two one-off (ie not series) books that needed covers. I actually thought about buying more, but I couldn't figure out how to use the others.

My sales have been pretty good, better than I could've imagined, but I'm curious to see what affect if any a change in cover 'style' will have on my numbers. That was reason enough to snap up three of these covers.

Mira said...

Woah, these are awesome. What impresses me is how the artist can capture such different moods - I can see all the different genres by looking at the covers. Pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Hi J. A. Konrath,

Will you show us the old covers you made yourself side by side with the new covers that Carl made so we can decide if the covers are better?

Anonymous said...

No. 16: I saw it when I was out and about. I was wondering who made the cover as Stephen Leather's books usually have a different look (more simple with a weapon focus or a gradient mix). It's really weird when you can see something and go, "Oh, so that's what that cover artist has been up to." or be able to pick the press (in certain genres).

Anonymous said...

I actually sort of agree with the generic thing, but these aren't made for order works. They are stock covers that authors with limited budgets or limited skills can use to boost their impression. I'm pretty certain that if someone wanted to tweak the works for a little bit more money spent that Carl would and could do it. Personalization costs mullah, right?

Rick G said...

Coming a little late to this party, but I like these. Then again, I'm a fan of Carl's work. He's done two custom covers for me (Bill the Vampire & Bigfoot Hunters) and both have been mentioned to me several times by readers as very eye catching. Wish my new WIP matched one of these, but it doesn't so I guess I'll be bugging Carl in about a month or so for another custom job. :)

elysabeth said...

Joe, I've read your comment directed at me personally and have responded to you on my blog ( which will post Monday (the 9th) morning. I invite you and Carl to stop over and check out the posting and leave comments. See you all in the postings - E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
"The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
"The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
"Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook

mhmoore said...

I like the cover art, they are neat, however it is not how I buy books. Ok...scratch that I do look at covers, and titles, but what draws me in is the endpages. Not an easy view on Kindle, but hey we all gotta make sacrifices. That said.

I never really gave much attention to the cover art on books, on how it does or does not affect the sales of a work. However looking back at the stuff I buy ( and whole forests have been devastated by my pack rat attitude towards books), I have to admit I am caught in the vise of pictures.

BTW....just to get my 2 cents in, which is all I can afford, I like your site Mr. Konrath, it has provided some interesting thought, (which at my age, I can use all I can get), however I did visit Ms. Elysabeth's site too and though you both use Blogger, I like yours better. I will frequent an authors site almost as much as I buy their books, and sometimes more. If a site doesn't draw me in or the articles the author posts, chances are I won't read their books either.

So to the cover art part. As far as Amazon and Kindle, I own some fine books I purchased, from bloggers I follow that have absolutely NO cover art at all. I still read them and I don't care one way or another.

But print? Print makes a difference. I can say I'll buy a book on Kindle without the art, and that is true. I have a basic Kindle so color makes absolutely no difference. They closed our local Borders, our Waldens, and all of our other local in print shops. Amazon is my best friend.
I cruise Amazon with words and that is my most important tool.

As for price, you get what you pay for. I believe the $150 is a good price for a cover that is not completely custom. I work on websites and know for a fact, Carl put some serious work into those. The text type, the colors and shading and artwork are eye catching and balanced. I work with Photoshop and several other programs and you cannot get this kind of quality in Paint.

Before anyone throws things at me, I did look at the $75 cover art on Ms. Elysabeth's page. Like I said, you get what you pay for.

So my opinion is, if you can't do your own cover art, and I know few authors that can, I suggest you check out Carl's site and his work.

mbelcher said...

Hey Joe,

I must be having a tech freeze on my brain. Been trying to contact Carl and The guys at 52 for a cover for my book. Can't seem to get a reply.

Do you happen to have an email I can send them a message to?

Have tried all the contact details off their sites. The 52 site didn't let me enter my details.


Anonymous said...

Professional e-book covers that are so good they could be a writing prompt. Choose a cover and then write the novel. ;)

elysabeth said...

@anonymous - my cover artist is a professional as well, yet she is very young (just turned 18 a few months ago) and she is learning. Like I said (broke down Joe's comment) on my blog, comparing premade covers to custom made covers is not the way to go about it.

@Joe and Carl, I invited ya'll over to my blog - to comment on my breakdown of your comment, but I see no comments were made.

@mhmoore - I've changed my blog template but that doesn't mean you will frequent my blog. Joe and I blog about different things pertaining to writing. He blogs about the publishing side pretty exclusively; I blog about a lot of different things, my writing, marketing, guest bloggers and even young writers since I do work with a few classes online via Skype or google talk.

It's very difficult to compare apples and oranges in any situation. Do I think Joe's blog sucks? Not Really or I wouldn't continue following it. Do I think I'm an expert on every topic pertaining to writing? Definitely not. But I do have a good bit to offer new and upcoming writers as well as young writers (my original series, the state stories that Joe really has a problem with the covers - is geared to children, and I like working with kids and helping them find their writing ability). Without understanding all that goes behind the story to get to the cover, it is pretty difficult, in my book, to tear down something for being unprofessional.

(as an aside, on my blog I did comment about the categorizing of the stories; I've adjusted them on amazon, but now amazon doesn't even have them categorized as anything, so I need to go back and add those categories again which still won't put the stories in the correct category, no matter what is listed first.)

I invite anyone who has commented on this blog to stop over and comment on my break down of Joe's harsh, unprofessional comment. E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of Finally Home, a YA paranormal mystery
"The Proposal" (an April Fools Day story), a humorous romance ebook
"The Tulip Kiss", a paranormal romance ebook
"Bride-and-Seek", a paranormal romance ebook

Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series
"Train of Clues" (a mystery destination story, predecessor to the JGDS, 50-state series, and 2nd place winner in the Armchair Interviews fan mystery contest)
Where will the adventure take you next?

DC Gallin said...

It's all so personal and how can we discuss taste? We can't! These covers look like they will work for the genre they describe...
Whatever happened to covers with just a title and an author's name... do we always have to tell an anecdote? Joe you have been a very influential person in my self-publishing-decision-taking and my website is all about an abstract cover... Would you give some real honest feedback? Or am i being cheeky? slap my cyber botti if so ;)

Steven said...

The covers seem to be eye-catching and the typography works. I have to wonder how much market research some author/publishers put into their covers. Cartoons and Poser images aren't really a good choice for adult books, in most cases. Take a look at the NYT best sellers' list. Don't listen to what people say they WILL buy, research what they DO buy.

Here's a few of the covers on the NYT best sellers' list in the last while. According to many comments here, these covers shouldn't be selling well, many are relatively generic, using the image for background and focusing on the typography (either title or author name):,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_.jpg,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU15_.jpg

And think of the 50 Shades covers. Simple images that any one of you could have licensed from a stock art agency. Regardless of what you say, you can't argue with success.