One of the most fun parts about writing books is getting a cover. From what I’ve seen so far, this is the same for both us indie writers and our traditionally published colleagues - we all get excited when we can reveal our new book covers. It’s generally a lot more work for us indie guys, since we don’t have a publisher arranging things for us. We need to pick our own artist, figure out what we want, and then hope the artist gets it right. So far, I’ve only had good experiences with this, especially working with Mike Gauss, who made the covers for Gift of the Destroyer, The Raven’s Endgame and Hunter’s Chosen. The cover for The Troll Warriors of Sheepbane was done by Nathalie Ayni as a way for her to get to know Gimp, and she delivered the first draft when I was on vacation (which I accepted immediately).
For me, getting a cover is something I start doing pretty early on, even though this wasn’t the case at first. For Gift of the Destroyer, I didn’t start thinking about a cover until I had nearly finished the book, and I didn’t contact Mike Gauss until it had been out for a year (the first and second edition had a cover my cousin painted). The cover for The Raven’s Endgame was commissioned about two months before release, and the cover for Hunter’s Chosen about four months before release. The Troll Warriors had a cover well over a year before release, but this was mostly coincidence.
The pattern here is that I keep commissioning these covers further in advance. The more I write, the more I’m afflicted by what I call "cover fever".
I’m currently writing a series of five books, which I intend to release close together. The first book is an "editor-ready draft", the second is a "first draft halfway written", and the last three are conceptual. Two weeks ago, I contacted Mike Gauss to see if he was available for cover work, even though the books are at least half a year away from being ready. Unfortunately for me, Mike is a very successful artist, and completely booked, so I am currently looking for another artist to do these covers. I’m open to suggestions, even though I’ve already contacted a few artists regarding availability.