Light: It’s Why Some Covers Just Don’t Look Right

Light: It’s Why Some Covers Just Don’t Look Right

Greetings all,

Still need another week to get a few reviews prepped, so I thought I’d talk about book covers.

Last time, I talked about font and text. I’ve seen a lot of great covers ruined because of text, but this time, I’d like to point out the subtle things about light that make an image feel more realistic.

Usually, when someone looks at a cover, and it just feels wrong, it’s because the light is off. Most untrained eyes won’t be able to note the shadows are going the wrong way or the center of interest isn’t separated enough from the background. What the viewers do notice though is a general feeling of “not right.”

As I normally do, I’m not going to call out covers I think did it wrong. First off, it’s not very nice. Second off, I’m much more invested in showing off covers that did it right.

So I’d like to take a look at a few covers and explain how the light made the image work.

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This cover is an example of controlled shadows, and well done rim light. The rim light is the bright light surrounding the subject. What it does is separate the subject from the background. It helps the character leap off the cover. It adds dimension to the cover.

The key light (the main light making it so we can see what’s going on) is coming from above the subject. The brim of the hat casts a shadow down over the bridge of the subject’s nose.

Notice how the face is lit. The artist used the light from that wand (or staff or whatever) to give his face a little detail. That’s a nice touch, and a good understanding  of light. That staff light acts as a fill light. Fill lights soften shadows or remove shadows depending on what the artist wants. Not that there are shadows. Shadows are important. An image without any shadow is called flat. No one wants a flat image. In terms of lighting, this image does everything an artist should do.

 

This image also stands out because of its light. 51Lo1Tak-HL

Notice this also has rim light. I teach my students, “Everything is better with a backlight.” I tend to believe in that to an obstinate degree.

This technique is called split light. The light comes from the left. Note the face has two sides: a lit side, and a shadow side. What’s really important is that same rule (left side brighter than the right) holds true to the whole body.

Also notice that the subject stands out from a clean, back-lit background. When artists understand light, they can make an image feel three dimensional even though they work in a two-dimensional medium.

So when you’re hire an artist, look at their work. Are the shadows consistent? Does the subject stand out from the background, or does the subject look pasted onto the background? Are there highlights (a spot on the subject that is brighter than the rest)? These questions will help you find the more talented artists from the newer ones.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

 

The Results Are In! The M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round Winners!

The Results Are In! The M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round Winners!

Greetings all,

WildCardFive days of voting have come and gone, and that means it’s time to announce the last four seeds of the 2017 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year entries!

To say it was close doesn’t begin to give the statement justice. Three out of four of the elimination matches were decided by just one vote. I certainly hope everyone had a chance to vote and share. The fact is, I need a few days to get the tournament set up. I’m already concerned with how much I’m asking of people to vote on essentially four tournaments in two months. I’ve tried to walk the line between getting word out and pestering authors and followers. I hope I’ve done that.

Whatever success I’ve had, we now how the field of sixteen.  These are the four who moved on:

The Dragon Rider Vol. 1 by T.J. Weekes: Right from the start it looked like Weekes wasn’t going to be denied. She took the lead and never let it go. She ended with 13 people voting her all the way through to the winners’ circle and 52 votes overall. This is now the 13th seed.

Fate of the Big Bad Wolf by Neo Edmund: This cover earned the 14th seed with three voters calling it the best of all eight and 24 votes total.

The Other One by Amanda Jay earned the 15th seed with 20 total votes.

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson: Swanson took the 16th seed with 20 total votes.

The WeechSo it comes to this. Sixteen covers have been chosen, but only one will be named the 2017 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year.  Voting will start Jan. 1 and last two weeks.

My goal: I’m a fan of this sort of stuff, but I want it to actually mean something to the people involved. The best way to do this is to get as many votes as possible.  The Most votes we ever had in one bracket was 6,102 (May’s bracket). I want to shatter that record. My dream is 10,000 total votes. This is a (perhaps overly) ambitious goal.  First, there’s one less round.  In order to meet this goal, I’d need 2,500 people to vote all the way through. I can’t do this without all of your help plus that of the authors and artists.  I only have 400 or so followers here on my Blog, so I’d need all of you and seven of your friends to vote. I’d need half of my Twitter followers or three times my Facebook followers.  In short, I need help.

I expect (and hope) the authors call on their readers. But in order for this to be more about the quality of the book than the following of any one author, word needs to get out. Please help me make this as meaningful as possible. Even if it’s just 16 authors bringing their readers to the table, it’s enough, but it can be more with your help.

I look forward to seeing who will win.  I hope you are, too.

Thanks for reading,

V/R
Matt

Announcing the June Book Cover of the Month

Announcing the June Book Cover of the Month

Hello everyone,

The June Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. It was honestly a fairly disappointing month in terms of votes. We only had 2,652 votes, which is the lowest total we’ve had since the very beginning (when we only had a few days to vote). I have some concerns, and I’d be immensely grateful if any viewers could provide me some honest feedback. Was one week not enough time? Should I simply extend the number of days the bracket runs? Should I keep the “vote once” tournament we’ve used the last few months, or should I go back to the “round-by-round” format we had a while back? I want this to be as fun and easy as possible, but I need your help to make that happen.

Now, 2,600 votes is still a lot. Those voters who came by did so for three books in particular, but only one cover could win.

The June Book Cover of the Month is…

 

For Steam and Country by Jon del Arroz! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Steam and Country took the lead late on the last day and pulled away. This was one of those contests where the match was decided in the #FinalFour. It was either going to be The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson or Steam and Country. Argon by E.L. Patrick made it to the finals, but it couldn’t muster any actual bracket wins in comparison to the other two books. (More on that in a moment.)  The finals came down to Steam and Argon, but Steam won a total of 28 brackets.

Steam received 205 total votes, which was seven more total votes than The Girl and 99 more than Argon.

June_Cover_CollageLRI usually have the runner up get a spot in the next month’s bracket. I just can’t, in good conscience, place Argon in July’s bracket when The Girl had more votes and more bracket wins.  If this were a 30-day month, I wouldn’t have a problem because I’d have two open spots, but July has 31 days, and I have to try my best to allow the book that the voters most liked get a slot. As this wasn’t a “round-by-round” tournament, I can’t honestly tell which voters would prefer in a head to head. I can only go by the number of votes and brackets each cover won. I’m very dedicated to making this a fun, fair competition, so I have to make these calls with as much integrity and data as I can. So I offer my congratulations to The Girl Who Could See, as that book will have another chance to move on in the July bracket.

That said. Arroz is the winner this month, so let’s look at his book.

Amazon blurb.

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.

For Steam and Country is the first book in the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series by top-10 Amazon best selling space opera author, Jon Del Arroz.

“Witty, charming and downright thrilling!  Del Arroz nails the feel of good old fashioned Steampunkery with wit, aplomb and of course… panache.” – Nick Cole, author of the Dragon Award winner, CTRL ALT Revolt

“FOR STEAM AND COUNTRY is a rousing girl-powered fantasy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed airship adventure!” – Laurie Forest, author of The Black Witch

(END BLURB)

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s coverJones’s CoverHubert’s Cover, and MacNiven’s cover, and they are also on my TBR. (I just finished reading Deyo’s cover.)

18221611_10207749242842260_3867576595174516287_nHere’s Arroz’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

The artist for that beautiful cover is Shawn King, whom I contacted to see if he’d like to do an interview about his victory.

The July bracket is still under development. Conventions and honestly a string of not-very-good covers made it harder to fill this bracket than normal. But it’ll still be ready to go by Aug. 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

The June Book Cover of the Month Begins!

The June Book Cover of the Month Begins!

June’s bracket has 30 new covers and the top two runners up from last month, The Lost Travencal by C.M. Jobe and The Other One by Amanda Jay are also back for their deserved second attempt at winning.

Last month, we went with a single tournament in which voters could vote through all the rounds at one time. Since it broke the record for most overall votes, I’m giving it another shot. I still feel it was taking a lot of energy though, so this month’s bracket will only be one week long. To make it work, I need your help. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

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Image taken from Pixabay.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The April Book Cover of the Month Bracket Begins!

The April Book Cover of the Month Bracket Begins!

APRIL_Cover_CollageApril’s bracket has 30 new covers.  Age of Myth is fighting more than I’ve ever seen a cover fight. Michael J. Sullivan finished with the top most votes in the semifinals, which earned him yet another shot in this month’s bracket. Frank Dorrian’s To Brave the End was last month’s runner up, so he gets another crack at the bracket as well.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

If you are the author, I feel the need to let’s remember some basic guidelines.  1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

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Since we’ve been going, I’ve been evaluating how the participation has been. A few authors mentioned that it can be pretty exhausting having a 22-day-long tournament.  So I’m going to try a few new things.  This month, I’m simply trying to reduce the amount of time in the tournament.  This torment will run from today to the 14th.  I’ll do something different next mont.  I’d like your thoughts and feedback as to which way is best.  My goal is to have a fun, honest, meaningful competition that helps everyone. Your feedback will make that possible.

Round 1 will go from today to May 4.

The Sweet 16 will run from then to the 7th.

The Elite 8 will take it from there until the 10th.

The Final 4 runs from the 18th to the 12.

The Finals will go from the 20th to the 14.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the March Book Cover of the Month!

Announcing the March Book Cover of the Month!

The March Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. This was a very tough bracket from my point of view. We had some heavily-supported authors and some tight races. We didn’t break a ton of records, but still had a solid month. We had a total of 2,808 votes. The last round had 190 votes. It was a pretty close contest, but someone has to win.

The March Book Cover of the Month is…

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This image and all associated images are used for review purposes under fair use. The intent is to draw attention to the product.

 

The Door Keeper by Steen Jones! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

I’d have to say this is a bit of an upset. This isn’t because Door Keeper isn’t a great cover; I only select covers that are great to go into the bracket. I say it’s a bit of an upset because Frank Dorrian had such a huge following. In terms of pure numbers, To Brave the End actually had a total of 348 votes, which is more than the 288 (yeah, that much more) than Steen had through the tournament.  But Dorrian had a strong Elite8 and Final4; however, Steen had the stronger finals, and that’s how tournaments work.  She brought her following when it mattered most, wining 107 to 83.

Now, for this month’s winner…The Door Keeper is Steen’s first novel.  Here’s the Amazon blurb.

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Adventure. Love. Destiny.

Single mom Eden Saunders has learned that tragedy is simply a part of life. Her mother died during childbirth, and her husband was killed just three years after they married. On a journey to discover where she comes from, Eden inherits the key to unlocking new worlds from her deceased mother—including the world that should have been her home. The only thing stopping her from exploring them is the fear of leaving her daughter behind. Caught up in the circle of legacy, Eden discovers the mother-daughter bond that even death cannot break.

In discovering where she truly came from, Eden inherits a key from her deceased mother that opens doors to different worlds beyond her imagination, including the world that should have been her home. The only thing stopping her from exploring them is the fear of leaving her own daughter behind. T he Door Keeper explores the circle of mother/daughter legacies, and the bond that unites them; a bond that even death can not break.

(END BLURB)

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s coverand Deyo’s cover, and they are also on my TBR. (I’m reading Manning’s book now. Look for a review on that probably in the next two weeks.)

Here’s Ms. Jones’s Facebook page. Give her a like if you’re curious about her work.

The artist for this cover is Meghan Brim.  I’ll reach out to her and see if she’d like to have an interview later on in the week.  I don’t have a website of info for her just yet, but I’ll be sure to give you everything I can once I (if I) contact her.

The April bracket is ready to go and will launch on May 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

March BCOTM Finals!

March BCOTM Finals!

The Closest Contest:

 

I can honestly say they were both close depending on how you look at it.  The Door Keeper by Steen Jones beat The Burning World by Isaac Marion won by 10 votes (63 percent of the total). To Brave the End by Frank Dorrian only beat Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan by 60 percent (11 votes).

Most Voted On Contest:
Dorian’s match was the more voted on of the two with 55 total votes (more on that below).

Head over here and vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Interview with the winner of February’s Book Cover of the Month Award Winner Lisa Pompilio

Interview with the winner of February’s Book Cover of the Month Award Winner Lisa Pompilio

As the new BCOTM bracket is running, I had the chance to correspond with Lisa Pompilio, the winner of February’s bracket. You can see other interviews from December’s winner and January’s Winner if you like.

Hello Lisa! Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

First off congratulations on your cover wining my blog’s February Book Cover of the Month.
Thank you so much. There were so many great covers by talented artists. I’m very honored.

LMP

When did you get into art? 
I’ve been drawing since I was a kid. In my teens I got into photography, collage and punk rock, which ultimately led to an interest in graphic design and photo illustration. I would make zines of my favorite bands and take photos at shows. A lot of cut and paste art, I just never connected it to being a desinger. But for 17 years, I was also heavily involved in training horses. Then in my 20s, I had a bad fall and realized it might be time to consider a career that didn’t involve broken bones (or at least pay for the broken bones since I am still riding). So I turned to art, and now paper cuts are the biggest job hazard I have to risk.

 

How long have you been creating covers?
It’s been almost 10 years now. I started at St. Martin’s Press and now I’m with Orbit Books.

Von Brooklyn logoWhat got you started in creating covers?
I’ve always been a book lover. I used to spend hours in the library as a kid – reading was a way to escape into another world, and everything I took in – the book covers, the stories, the characters – inspired my art.

Do you prefer one medium over another?
Above all, I’m a photo illustrator. But I let the book dictate the medium – some call for photo illustration, sometimes I hire an illustrator, sometimes there’s a need for type design.

Palisades ParkDo you have someone who inspired your own work? If so, who? Why?
I draw from multiple influences when I’m working on a cover. I think a cover designer should be open and well-rounded, and know their art history. I’m deeply shaped by circus sideshow culture – growing up near Coney Island will do that to you. Tim Burton always sparks something in me, but so do Frida Kahlo and Carlo Crivilli – it’s really a mash-up of artists and styles and history.

What makes you choose to work with an author or not? 
I’ve worked with all different kinds of authors. I base my decision on the project – if it sounds fun, I’m game to take it on.

What do you look for in a great client? 
Trust. A client who trusts I will create an amazing cover for them and lets me just work my magic.

What are some of your pet peeves about clients?
I’m sure I have an official list somewhere…. One of the biggest pet peeves of any designer I know is when you send a comp, and someone takes it, just photoshops over it, and sends it back. That’s just a big no. But as a designer, or any kind of artist, you have to patient and expect criticism, even if the criticism is completely unjustified and drives you a little crazy. You have to remember it’s not just your baby, and that everyone wants what’s best for the book.

What would an author need to do to work with you? Do you have a link to your standard rates, or do you negotiate fees by author?
All they have to do is contact me. I’m always open to freelance work alongside my in-house creations. I do have a standard rate, but I’ll negotiate with self-published authors and do what I can to work within their budget.

61sr30ku-7lHow did you come to be chosen to create the cover for The Unleashed?
Bentz and Jennifer had seen my work for Amada Hocking’s Trylle Trilogy and contacted me for the first book in the series, The UnDelightened. I was thrilled when they contacted me again to continue working on the series.

Artistically, what were your goals for the cover?
I really wanted the reader to feel like they were stepping into a world that was both magical and a little dark at the same time.

Can you walk me through how you approached the cover? I mean, can you take me from you were commissioned to the final product? What were some of the challenges? What techniques did you use? How much did you collaborate with Bents? How happy were you with the final product? Anything you can think of in that regard.

The first book gave me some direction, but I wanted this one to feel a little darker – I wanted the magic to kind of bleed out of the frame – I wanted it more twisted and confused than on the first book. Bentz gave me some details to play with, like the creepy fog, and he had some ideas about how it should look and which character we’d use, and we basically just hit the nail on the head together.

It’s always a little challenging to do a series. You want the covers to be cohesive, but also stand out on their own. Color was a big factor, but it was important for me that readers got the feeling they were moving through the series and growing with it. As for technique, Photoshop played a big role.

I’m very happy with the final product. It does everything I wanted it to do, and now I have to step up my game for the next installment!

How was Bentz to work with?
He was terrible! I’m just kidding of course – it was great. Bentz really gave me a lot of freedom and put his trust in me. When we did The Undelightened, he gave me the manuscript and some samples of covers and images he felt drawn to, then let me loose. It means a lot to me that he trusts me, and it’s really been a delight to work with him.

TornThe Unleashed was an awesome image. Is it your favorite? If so, why?
That’s like asking a parent which kid is their favorite! I can’t go down that rabbit hole and have angry authors writing to say, “I thought I was your favorite!” For my own safety, I am going to plead the 5th.

What can we expect to see from you next?
I’m currently working on a lot of sci-fi and fantasy, YA, and even some military covers. I’m also working on Book 2 for Melissa Caruso, and I’ve just revealed the first in the series The Tethered Mage. I’ve got a few other surprises that I can’t share yet – but stay tuned.

Is there anything you’d like to say to readers?
I’d just like to say thank you, on behalf of all of us cover designers, for appreciating this art form. Your love really motivates us and inspires the awesome imagery we all enjoy.

END INTERVIEW

I don’t think the bracket is perfect, and I don’t think it can be. But when I started this, it was with the intention of brining attention to great covers and giving the designers some credit. I think we’re accomplishing that. I’m thrilled to talk to every artist, and I plan on pestering the authors next! Thank you all for making this a success. Here’s to keeping it growing!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the February Book Cover of the Month!

Announcing the February Book Cover of the Month!

Another bracket has concluded, and I’m still amazed at how popular this is getting. I’d like to set a goal to do better each month, which we didn’t do this month, but we still had an amazing turnout. As I type this, we had a total of 3,911 votes. It’s just humbling to see the support people are showing these authors and their covers. Last month, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure March was going to hold up against January. I feel confident that March is going to be even tougher. But that’s the past, and the future. It’s time to talk about the present.

The February Book Cover of the Month is…

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This cover and other associated images are used for review under fair use doctrine. They’re also used with the permission of the author. Any unauthorized reuse or appropriation of these images are done so against the permission of the work’s right to distribute.

The Unleashed by Bentz Deyo! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Deyo is the first author to win a BCOTM competition as a previous month’s alternate. He lost to Loveless last month, and was hell-bent on not losing this time. Let’s look at the stats!

The Unleashed started out strong and finished superhuman. He went Hulk in the semifinals and didn’t slow down very much in the Finals. I was talking to both he and Joshua Robertson during the semifinals, and they were both going out of their minds looking for ways to get word out about the bracket. The Unleashed received 802 out of 3,911 total votes (21%, give or take what votes may come in the next 40 minutes). Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan couldn’t muster up enough votes to take down Deyo. Sullivan’s 320 total votes still don’t compete with Anaerfell’s 574 votes. Or even the 350 votes Robertson garnered in the last round alone. Without intending disrespect to Mr. Sullivan, it looked like the winner of his previous match was just going to be too tough to take down.  Deyo took the finals 184-32.

The Unleashed is the second book in the Undelightened Series. Here’s the summary on Amazon:

 

(START BLURB)

Leam Holt has done the unthinkable. He’s saved Harbing from utter destruction by consuming the toxin that was intended for the entire town and he’s rescued Eloa’s father from Darkness Headquarters.

But at what cost? Stricken by the poison and unable to remember who he is or access his Light side, Leam is captured by Gideon. Surrounded by evil, Leam revels in his undiluted Dark power and connects with other violent and corrupt kids, especially the bold and gorgeous Rylan. Still, Leam struggles to piece together his memories, including those of the beautiful Eloa, whom he discovers is in grave danger.

While forces of Light work to free Leam, the world is thrown into turmoil. The battle over the prophet, the person who will lead the world into complete Darkness or Light, is heating up, and Leam’s role in the war grows murkier.

(END BLURB)

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, and Howard’s cover and they are also on my TBR. Manning’s is on deck while I finish reading the book I just started this week.)

Here’s Mr. Deyo’s Facebook page. Give him a like if you’re curious about his work.

bentz-bio
This image of Mr. Deyo was taken from his website with his knowledge and permission.

The artist for this cover is Lisa Pompillo.  I’ll reach out to her and see if she’d like to have an interview later on in the week.  Until then, have a peek at her website and see her work! Mr. Deyo was kind enough to offer the following comment:

“It’s a great cover,” he said. “The book ain’t half bad either. Thanks for the votes!” Then he used a smiley face emoji with shades, but I don’t speak emoji, so I can’t replicate it. I am, however, obsessed with accurate reporting, so there ya go!

The March bracket is ready to go and will launch on April 1. It looks great, and I’m pretty pleased with how April is setting up.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebookpage, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Interview with December Book Cover of the Month Winner Amalia Chitulescu

Interview with December Book Cover of the Month Winner Amalia Chitulescu

Greetings all! I’m happy to say I’m catching up on my interviews for the Book Cover of the Month bracket. Today, I’m sharing my interview with Amalia Chitulescu, the cover artist who designed the December BCOTM winning cover, Betrayer’s Bane.

Hello Amalia! I just want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I’m a huge fan of the BCOTM brackets, and yours will always be special because it was the first. Let’s get started.

904677_568318963202210_169616517_oWhen did you get into art?

Since 2008.

How long have you been creating covers?

For almost seven years. The first cover that I realized was in 2010. By 2014, I had a break, working for a personal portfolio.

What got you started in creating covers?

Honestly, at first I started with each photo-manipulations. When I was at the beginning of my career, I never thought I would become a cover artist in the future, I was just doing what I loved. After the first client contacted me, in 2010, I started to be a lot more interested in working in this field.

Do you have someone who inspired your own work? If so, Why? Why? 

Yes. I have always loved Sandara’s artworks.

What makes you choose to work with an author or not?

I’m excited to work with anyone as long as there is a mutulal respect.

What do you look for in a great client?

There are some clients with whom I worked who showed me more than respect. They are wonderful clients who have kept their word, but in the meantime, they are also very good writers. I can also see that through the way they are lovingly describing every scene, every detail, so that the cover can be perfect. In general, I want to consider that all my clients are great.

16939298_1449172218450209_2269127847798440152_nWhat are some of your pet peeves about clients?

One of my biggest pet peeves is lack of respect. I had to deal at the beginning with some disrespectful clients, but this certainly was adjusted over time. It is true that some customers want to pay the lowest possible price for what they get, but overall, I did not have this problem.

What would an author need to do to work with you? Do you have a link to your standard rates, or do you negotiate fees by author?

I always give them a list of requirements, with everything I need to know, in order to realize the cover they dream for. I have always tried to make every author 100% happy with the final product. We must also understand each other about the deadline. I do have a price list, the price starts from a standard one, and can increase depending on the level of detail involved, the level of hand-painted elements, the author’s requests, ect.

15326549_1179426122094499_6318367043184922848_nHow did you come to be chosen to create the cover for Betrayer’s Bane?

Michael and I have worked together before. I am honored to be his cover artist.

Artistically, what were your goals for the cover?

My biggest goal for this cover was to manage to express, though an illustration, the painful feeling of the protagonist.

How was Michael to work with?

He’s always amazing. He’s a nice person. We are on the same wavelength. We understand each other very well.

Betrayer’s Bane was an awesome image. Is it your favorite? If so, why?

It is, yes. The image radiates a very strong emotion. I do not know why, but I find it easier to work in a more darker theme in the illustrations.

What can we expect to see from you next?

Hopefully many other illustrations, which I hope to enjoy and inspire you. Soon, I’ll open the website, and wills tart working on a new portfolio.

Is there anything you’d like to say to readers?

Never give up, and stay true to your dreams.

Thank you again for taking this time with us, Amalia! Best of luck in the Book Cover of the Year bracket.

END INTERVIEW

I’m honestly having a blast with this whole idea. Just having the chance to look at work and see what others think is amazing. I hope you’re all having fun voting and seeing what the artists think.

Thanks for reading,

Matt