After I finished writing my first fantasy novel, Angst, there were a few weeks when I had to decide what to do next. I didn't know much about self-publishing, but I knew that going through an agent or directly to a publisher was a daunting task that included a lot of rejection. I also hated the idea of someone else changing what I had worked on. I've read that editors will take out chapters, move them around, remove characters. Um, no thanks. Almost everything I've written has a purpose, for now or for later, and even if it isn't perfect, I like my book how it is.
One of the most important things I needed to do after finishing was to thank the friends and family who took the time to edit and critique Angst. I felt the best way to do this was to give everyone a bound copy. While Createspace has a great program for printing books, that meant I had to come up with a cover. I really wanted a traditional fantasy cover with heroes in armor fighting bad guys…yeah, unfortunately I'm not an artist at all. No matter how hard I tried, everything I put together with people in it looked awful. After removing humans from the equation, I drew out the map, took a picture of an old sword and wrapped some lightning around it, and voila, I had a serviceable fantasy cover for Angst.
In spite of some nice compliments, I've wanted to update the cover for some time. As I get closer to finishing Buried in Angst, I felt now was a good time to make the change. Not only to improve the look of the first book, but for consistency with the second book. After some research, I found Vuk Kostic. Vuk, a student in Serbia, has some amazing work on his Deviant Art page. In spite of a few language barriers, he was extremely patient with me as he worked through my requests to produce this new cover.
One of my favorite things about comic books is how different artists portray superheroes. Google "Batman Artists" some time and check out all the amazing ways that Batman is drawn, painted, sculpted - it's fun to see the differences. I have to admit there are a few things in this new book cover I left to artistic interpretation. For example, the monster in the background isn't exactly how I describe my 'monster' at the end of Angst, but he is so bad-ass-looking that I felt it best stick with Vuk's interpretation. The grey men in the 'pit' with pole arms are shadowy, which is very much Vuk's style and I feel they add some action without distracting from Angst, Rose, or the giant monster. I love Chryslaenor, and the red cloak Angst is wearing. The lightning in the background of the coliseum is pretty cool too.
This has been an incredibly fun project, and one of several things I'm doing to ramp up marketing. I already have some great ideas for the cover of Buried in Angst and look forward to the day I can share that cover too. Let me know what you think, and be sure to check out Vuk's other work: http://chevsy.deviantart.com/