Something To Dream On begins with Lizetta getting a Tarot reading that reflects her recurring dream. Later, she meets Jensen and finds that he happens to have a painting in his home that matches her dream as well. The moment I wrote that, I knew that the cover of Something To Dream On absolutely had to reflect the painting. But how does an author even begin to find the perfect cover, especially when it needs to be unique?
Most Indies, and many big publishing houses, use stock art. Stock art is convenient and timesaving, but what people don’t understand is that if you want to use it on more than your actual cover (like on a T-shirt or on bookmarks), you have to pay for the extended rights. That costs a small fortune. Also, you run the risk of authors using photos from the same session, or worse, the same photo, on their books. Even if you do your research and find what appears to be a previously unused photo, in a few weeks that situation will probably change. (Case in point, the photo of Lily on Time’s Forbidden Flower has appeared on several other novels. When I purchased the usage rights, I had yet to see it elsewhere.)
The only safe bet is to pay an artist for a custom creation. This is where Indies just about go bankrupt. Indie publishing is expensive. By the time we pay for covers, editing, formatting, etc., we are destined for months of eating noodles out of Styrofoam cups. However, I really wanted to do Something To Dream On justice and thus set out to find the perfect artist.
Since the book begins with a Tarot reading, and since the reading reflects both a dream and a painting, hiring a painter with knowledge of metaphysics and The Tarot seemed the perfect solution. It also seemed unrealistic that I could find someone to fit the bill. However, luck was on my side when I logged into Deviant Art and found Heidi ‘Azurylipfe’ Darras, creator of The Mystic Dreamer Tarot. I sent her a few, relevant scenes and within a few days, Heidi had already nailed the background. In the weeks that followed we developed a nearly telepathic relationship. Before I knew it, we were hammering out the final touches.
So, was I just fortunate, or do we Indie authors sell our work short by not exploring our possibilities? By the time I forked over the cash for the extended rights to stock art and paid a designer to compile the covers of my other books, I had almost paid as much as I did for custom art. Something To Dream On has a unique cover that tells a story. Now the reader can see the painting that Lizetta obsesses over and seek the same clues that she does. Anything a writer can do to help a reader lock into the story is worth every penny.