Red Is for Rage
Cover Designer: Paula Phanback
Comments about cover design
You will note that there are 2 designs: a “front” and a “back,” if you will. I included them to give new writers a valuable lesson I learned the hard way.
I thought both of the sketches were mine to use, since I had paid the artist MORE than Vincent Chong AND received a written commitment to design the third book in the series, for the sake of continuity. I liked both of her presentations, so the quality of the artistry was never in question.
The artist suddenly quit freelancing and (also) charged me an additional $200 for the use of the “red” peek-through (back) cover—[after this retired English teacher had already paid her more than the best cover artist in the game for the first front cover!]. I had already authorized my web girl to “use whichever one you want.” She liked the “peek through” cover on the back and used that sketch. When I said we were going to use both, I got a lot of legal mumbo- jumbo (actual paragraphs from legal books) about how the artist still “owns” the art, which is fine, but nobody but me had any use at all for the “back” cover, (obviously), and I was “between a rock and a hard place.” Why?
If I dropped the use of the back cover, everything my web design girl had done (and she had the entire site at www.RedIsforRage.com up) was for naught (and she, also needed to be paid for her labor) so I ended up paying the artist through the nose for this cover and was none too happy with the WRITTEN commitment not being honored, while I was sent a lot of legal beagle paragraphs about how I must pay an additional $200. Had it been me, quitting on her in the middle of the series (I had made it clear I wanted to have a “unified” feeling to the artwork in the series, which, therefore, has not occurred) I’d have felt a certain amount of guilt at leaving the author in the lurch (after promising to continue at the task) and I probably would have said, “Go ahead and use that second one, too; I don’t have any further use for it, and I’m sorry I can’t continue on the job, as I said I would.”
But, hey! I find that not everyone follows my code of ethics. You live and you learn.
I took surveys at readings and found that younger readers like(d) the “back” peek-through treatment better. Older readers (David Morrell actually pointed out to me the one I should use on the front, at a writing conference in Hawaii, and that is why it IS on the front) did not and the reason more mature readers gave is that they had more difficulty deciphering what the “peek-through” writing said (on the back).
Since great covers can be done for free (my layout guy and I did “The Color of Evil” cover and “The Bureau” cover from stock photos for no money) and $160 is a “fair” price for cover art (some artists will do it for as little as $65, but you do “get what you pay for”), I think that Buyer Beware might be a good caveat for newbie writers (like me) to remember when soliciting for cover art.
I’d have liked to have had a law degree so I could have sent some legal paragraphs back about how committing to a task IN WRITING and then just suddenly announcing that you aren’t going to freelance any more is really not quite “kosher” treatment, but c’est la vie.
This cover is a master piece to me! It grabbed me and wont let go! It certainly makes me want to read the book.