Top 10 Tips on how to market your art as book covers
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By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Creating & Marketing Free, Cheap or Fully Commercial Book Covers, Posters, Illustrations & Animated "Book Trailers"... using either iClone and/or CTA

[Now also including links to Paid & Unpaid Opportunities in that parallel industry, with grateful thanks for Reallusion's permission for me to post them all here in this thread]  

PLEASE NOTE: this thread was originally in response to a request for more details from Pete on how to break into this market as a complete newbie. But there are so many talented artists here with iClone & CTA, I thought what the heck, I'd write up my reply publicly in case it helps any other friends who may also be wondering...  

Yes, as an iClone/CTA artist, marketing your work for all three sectors of the book industry or for movie posters and "book trailers" can be fun and rewarding no matter which path you take. But for different reasons.  And as an artist/animator, it can be highly valuable to "get in good" with tomorrows stars by sticking close to their own shortcuts to the top.

How do I know?
Short answer: Trust me.... (insert evil daffy duck laughter) 

Less sinister response: 15 years of trekking the rough roads and highways of the book industry, from the depressing depths of rejection to the giddy peaks of commercial fandom, (including long loving embraces with 3 of "The Big Six", with several detours through dense jungles of mid-list publishers and holidays on the tropical beaches of self-publishing, and now also reaching for the stars to achieve a lifelong goal of learning to animate my own stories for the most accessible media platforms of all) - has taught me a few things.

First, that many people have far more talent than me, but seem to be stuck at their own crossroads, or lost out there in the wilderness.

Second, that using my own flickery little candle to light one for somebody else never diminishes my own. Quite the opposite, the shadowy corner of our world becomes brighter for us both.  (... so says our old buddy Budda. Not that I'm a follower, but our paths do cross occasionally, at which time he usually laughs at the state I'm in...).  

Third, and arguably the most enjoyable: that some people never listen to advice anyway, even if it's flashing in huge neon letters at their next fork in the road. But it's great to watch them blunder off into a minefield, and being able to shout at their corpse "I told you so!" 

Seriously though, there's strength in numbers, inspiration in gatherings of creative thinkers and solace in a quiet corner with friends, so here are:  

Not all at once, obviously. I do make a living writing suspense, after all. 

(Cue more evil laughter... lightning flashes... thunder crashes... )

Tip 1: Tread the Freebie Forums for Indies with care. e.g. Wattpad is a famously free resource for fledgling writers, book cover artists, and animators of book trailers - yes, that's a thing. And it can even include music video artists. (e.g. here's one for my MA-Rated pen-name that's chalked up a few hundred thousand views while the books themselves have been off collecting awards for science fiction and fantasy)...

But also beware, if the content you choose to post is a mish-mash of genres and target age-groups then you can often repel significant portions of your potential market who may adore one style and be totally repulsed/offended by another.

NOTE:  The goal of Wattpad (and other similar sites I'll be mentioning), is to share *all* styles of writing and fan art for free to readers... but many writers have no skills in cover art, "book trailer" animations or background music for their audio-editions, so there's always somebody posting a notice that they're willing to pay... 

Sub Tip 1A: Posting a competition on Wattpad (or Goodreads) for authors to win a free book cover or animation is a fast way to find talented writers who inspire you. But make sure their entries are limited to 50 words or less, and still manage to include details about who, where, when, why things happen in the part of the story they want to show int he trailer. And the ads often attract the attention of those who are also willing to pay. 

Sub Tip 1B: Members range from ages 8 to 108, but you'd be wise to judge *all* by their talent, not their lifespan or language skills. Lest you need reminding of that 15 year old who sold her work to the publishers of Harry Potter for a million bucks and now has a 9 book deal.  And there are many similar success stories, most of whom love to take their favourite artists/animators along with them to continue a winning combination for the climb up the ladder. 

Sub Tip 1C: the membership is so large, that even newbies can build vast followings of fans in weeks to months, depending on how often you post, and how many other similarly-styled members you Like/Friend/Fan. It can be exhausting, just trying to keep up, and obviously talent is the most valuable factor, but it also pays to know your genres, choose your favourite & specialise. 

Sub Tip 1D; If you want to specialise in more that one style at *any* of the free writer sites that I'll be mentioning - consider a pen-name, or batching similar works into their own albums, but launching and developing only one at first (for reasons too numerous to mention). 

Sub tip 1E: The most popular genres on Wattpad are fantasy (especially supernatural fantasy of the vampire/werewolf/beastman variety), horror, romance, and virtually anything spelled with more than 3 X's... and by "popular" I mean savagely starving... so don't say anything to insult their favourite genres, or you'll win stalkers for life... Luckily, I've managed to dodge that bullet - so far - which is a miracle, considering how often I can upset a whole crowd just by walking in... but if you can post replies with clean, kind humour and no ambiguities their membership can also be quite forgiving. And then there is one genre that seems to trump all the others, if you happen to have been blessed by the rare gift, and that's comedy... or else you can just worker harder for longer to bleed and sweat more like me and most of my friends - including Sara Gruen, who fought like a true soldier to polish her work amid the grimy trenches of newbie forums for years before cracking the market with this charming record breaker

BEWARE: Pirates are rife, often unknowingly. e.g. A scary percent of members are too young/inexperienced to even know that copyright is a word in the dictionary. But the largest portion are just passionate fans who share their work for the love of it, and do so knowing it will never sell, so the rules rarely apply to them, except when they mistakenly upload "borrowed" music or clips to youtube to advertise their fan-fics.  

Sub Tip 1F: If you dream of selling anything to a major publisher/studio one day, then don't engage with, or do any work for members who have already posted pirated clips or music because those major publishers & studios are watching the net to generate and maintain their blacklists of creators to avoid. Yes, they really have them, and you don't want your name on those lists, or you might as well brand the word "reject" on your forehead. 

Sub tip 1G: Sometimes members can be wrong about writing something that think will never sell. e.g. A friend started with fan fiction for Stargate Atlantis, and was subsequently contracted by MGM to write 3 official books to provide backstory for one of the main characters; Rodney... And more success stories are posted on the Wattpad homepage faster than most mere mortals can keep up. But compared to the staggering number of members, it's still barely drops in the proverbial ocean. 

which brings me to the coolest sub-tip for Newbies: 

SubTip 1H (H for hottest Tip, haha): Many major publishers and film studios are also sick of waiting for agents to supply the "next big thing" so they now actively seek out the most popular-indies at several of the free resource sites, including Wattpad. That's also how, why and where the author of "50 Shades" first came to light, even though most major publishers/studios/agents would have sent rejection slips if they didn't have the proof and page-visit-statistics that Watpad provide free of charge to all members. 

And thus we come to the end of Tip 1.

So if your brain feels ready to explode, go take time to play... and stay tuned for Tip 2, which many newbie illustrators have used to become pros almost instantly... 

[Thunder crashes... Lightning flashes... Pan to darkening sky as storm approaches... and Fade Out] 
By planetstardragon - 9 Years Ago
Bleetz (6/15/2015)

[Thunder crashes... Lightning flashes... Pan to darkening sky as storm approaches... and Fade Out] 

i was seriously hoping to read something that rhymed with crashes and flashes! hrmpf!

thank you for this post,  much appreciated by myself Cool
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
planetstardragon (6/16/2015)
...i was seriously hoping to read something that rhymed with crashes and flashes! hrmpf!... 

LOL, a "near rhyme" counts as a rhyme when you're struggling to avoid being cheesy... but since you asked for it;

 Thunder crashes... Lightning flashes... Pan to darkening sky as cold rain splashes... and Fade Out

Haha Tongue

By planetstardragon - 9 Years Ago
Thank you!! BigGrin
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago

I just discovered a very old pinned post by Reallusion which makes me worry that I may have broken forum rules by posting this here with links which may (possibly?) be construed as advertising for other services, even though they are intended purely as examples to help other members...

so I've asked Peter for clarification...

and I also apologise in advance if the whole thread needs to be deleted without further notice. 

By Peter (RL) - 9 Years Ago
Bleetz (6/16/2015)

I just discovered a very old pinned post by Reallusion which makes me worry that I may have broken forum rules by posting this here with links which may (possibly?) be construed as advertising for other services, even though they are intended purely as examples to help other members...

so I've asked Peter for clarification...

and I also apologise in advance if the whole thread needs to be deleted without further notice. 

Hi Bleetz,

There is no problem with the post as it stands. Promoting other companies or commercial endeavours is not normally allowed, but if supplying links to other sites can benefit our customers then we are fine with this. I would ask that if you wish to add to this discussion with further tips, please do so in this same thread. As long as there are not multiple posts containing links to other companies, then please feel free continue to add any further information you think will be helpful to iClone users. Smile

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Many thanks Peter! 

Greatly appreciated. Smile 

By prabhatM - 9 Years Ago
Though I knew it was all in good spirit, I waited for an official clarification. I am glad it got clarified.
By planetstardragon - 9 Years Ago
well if it means anything,  Bleetz is one of my favorite new members Wink

i don't play favorites though,  so don't get it twisted!  you simply make me smile a lot,  nothing more, nothing less!

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Thanks PSD... 
(I'll slip that bribe for the compliment in the post some time next... cough... cough)

Seriously though, here's my first:

Example of a *Current* Paid Opportunity with a reputable small publisher:

Uncanny Magazine pays $100 for reprint art...  

This ad for their most recent call for submissions came to me only yesterday from an insider so they don't get much fresher than this. But I couldn't post it yesterday until I was sure it was okay with RL... 

And if you take a look at their previous cover images/ internal artwork, you'll see and understand why I think there are many iCloners here who should be a wonderful fit... but many of the regular opportunities for other publishers that I'll be posting later can also apply equally to CTA artists, with exactly the same hints and tips.

So here's how we can also use this ad as a cool example to slip more sub-tips to you: 

Reprint Art = art that has already been published somewhere else... That includes everywhere from online, hardcover or swept in sand-patterns on the moon... So long as it doesn't breach copyrights that have been purchased wholly by a client - e.g. business logos - then many publishers will pay for art that has already been published and shared by other magazines, even their competitors sometimes - because there's simply not enough really good artists who know how to submit to the industry.  

And this is mainly because every publisher has their own submission guidelines, but luckily there is only
One Major Rule in this Universe...
I mean "Industry": And that is: Follow the submission guidelines for each publisher strictly... and by strictly, I mean *****strictly*****... you know, like a feint map through a minefield at night with a faulty torch light, where you need to really strain to see and understand each and every word and dot-point, because one wrong step means instant death with your guts splattered all over your hordes of spectators.... which now also includes me... and my seat and popcorn are both warm and ready. ... 

Reason: Because nobody loves the written word more than publishers, (in every language)... so if you can't follow their most basic instructions, then it will cost them far too much to clean up all the rest of your writing to suit their particular style of publication... which doesn't apply to artists as much, obviously, because the magic of this craft is conveyance of powerful messages in comparative silence...

But it does mean that if they ask for a link to your portfolio, then that's exactly what you give them - and it better be a direct link to the specific album of your work that best suits their genre... Not a homepage, or mish-mashed collection that's loaded with other pics (which they will perceive as being a waste of their time)... because publishers need to consider so many thousands of submissions each week, it's like a never-ending flood... so they are trained to filter it all down, by rejecting everything that can be weeded out and rejected easily for the slightest problems, and then dealing only with the left-overs, which they call the "Slush Pile"... and within that slushpile, writers usually get rejected within the first 100 words... 

So equate that to your artwork, where every pic is supposed to be worth a thousand words... and you should hopefully appreciate why they resent being bombarded by irrelevant details... so no matter how much you just *know* they'll also love your artwork for other genres.. they can't afford to deal with such inconsiderate time wasters.... so if you really must slip it to them... stick a menu column inside each each of your albums with a cover image for links to your other albums... e.g. horror/romance/childrens/historical or SF...

NOTE: SF = Speculative Fiction... which includes, science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, horror, steampunk etc... but if you have enough for albums in each genre, then I'd suggest it's worth naming them separately. 

And never fear: if a publisher loves the sample link you send, then even without any other links, nothing can stop them from hunting you down for more... In a future post, I can also share a few tips that have helped me get my work on the desks of - and accepted by - major publishers who flatly refuse to consider anything that doesn't come through an agent... which also works for several illustrators I know.

The *only* time you can send emails with image attachments (or embeds) to a publisher (or agent for illustrators) is when they specifically ask for it - either in their guidelines for artists, (see their webpages)... or in their reply to you, specifically when you approach them that way. 

Crikey, that's it for this post, and we're not even up to the official Tip 2 yet... LOL 
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Sorry, link didn't work at first, but I just fixed it.  *facepalm*
Hands up who can tell I suck at forums? 
By planetstardragon - 9 Years Ago
I visited that community btw,  really awesome talented and friendly community.  I think this is why i love being a noob so much,  I want to go back to the time that it was all about doing something great for the sake of doing something great.    Somehow when it becomes a career,  that special spark gets dimmed down and Loses the magic of just wanting to do something great.   It was truly an honor to just see that still exists. BigGrin  
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Wow cool! Small World... I haven't yet, but I'm lucky to have a friend who has. 

By justaviking - 9 Years Ago
This is a great thread.  Thanks!

I got involved in a "book trailer" several months ago.  It all started with a request (by the author) in the general section where she described her book.  Just for fun, I embellished the description and wrote my version a trailer in a pseudo script format.  She liked it, and it became the script for the trailer.  A very talented iCloner did the hard work of animating it, and my son did the narration using his version of "trailer voice".  It was really fun to see my script come to life through someone else's hands.  There were places that were exactly as I imagined, and others that were different from what I imagined, but still true to the script.

Book covers would be a great use for Indigo, not because it's necessary (in most cases), but it gives a different artistic appearance that could be used by the artist.

Thanks again for starting the topic.

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
justaviking (6/17/2015)
... I got involved in a "book trailer" several months ago.  It all started with a request (by the author)... 

Hey, cool! Yes, I remember that post. It was the first time since joining Reallusion that I didn't feel like a total alien.... so hugs and thanks back-at-ya!! Smile 

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago

Tip Two... through the tulips...  lala-la-laaaa

Okay, so it's obvious I'm not a singer.
But I'm using a 2D pic as a reminder that everything here applies to CTA2 artists too. 
So here it is: 

Tip 2: The First Official Way to Seek a Publisher (if you don't have an agent):
Join a guild or society for illustrators - specifically you need one where the major publishers all use the catalogues as a weekly reference to find new talent. So it can't be just any organisation. You're looking for one that has:

* membership open internationally to many countries and languages
* fair fees for membership
* a showcase website for members only (even if they're not yet published)
* features illustrators with career news in their monthly newsletters
* provides all publishers in every country free access to see the illustrator catalogues 
* does not charge a commission or fee if publishers hook up with illustrators through them

Every country has their own guild and/or society, so you get to google those for yourself. Don't forget the guilds/societies in your nearest neighbouring countries...  

Plus here's an intriguing list of alternatives that may help to kickstart your web-searches:
i)  Guild of Illustrators for Natural Sciences -  if you love animating animals, dinosaurs, megafauna, megaflora, landscapes or underwater scenes, then these are the dudes for you.

ii) Religious illustrators - seek out the guild for your own faith, if you have one. I don't have much experience with this category, but the largest internationally that I'm aware of is the Catholic Illustrators' Guild - where you don't need to be catholic to work for them, but I've heard it helps. And if you do happen to join, please, oh please, let them know how much their Australian branch has a website url that looks scary too much like a deadly disease. 

iii) SCBWI - Society of Childrens' Book Writers & Illustrators - affectionately pronounced Skwibby - and yes, I know, the W comes after the B. I've already mentioned that to them at one of their fledgling regional conference meetings nearly 2 decades ago, while I was still writing for the K-8s and 8-12's... and then we all just laughed. But there was wine involved so... hiccup... Anyway... SCBWI have a catalogue where the "Big Six" keep a weekly watch for fresh talent - as do many major and medium publishers for the educational market. It may take a year to get your first work through a monitored website akin to this, but that's mainly because the books they're working on today, were contracted 1 to 3 years ago, and won't be launched for another 3 to 12 months.... (Interestingly, the SCWBI annual membership fee is about half what it used to be 20 years ago... and yes, it's based in the US, despite having chapters all over the world, so membership is all paid to the US branch to help keep down their overall costs.)

Sub-Tip 2A) Traditionally, Illustrators are considered to be the slowest stage of publication. For illustrated childrens' books the job can often take a year - and that's where iCloners have a distinct advantage - because the "sets" can be still-shotted from any angle and tweaked, set up faster and... well, you know how great it is.  (Hey, and why is it that spell-check for this forum doesn't know that iCloners is a real word, when it should be the first word on page one, haha) 

Sub-Tip 2B) FANTASY, Comedy and Historical True Stories are the three top selling genres for ages K-YA so establishing 3 sub-catalogues of work for them will give you the best chance at being noticed.... (Peterblood, I'm winking sideways at you, because this is where your gorgeous old tallships could fit in... as well as the natural science guild, which often also includes publications for the history genre.)  

Sub-Tip 2C... and this is a biggie) It's possible to earn a strong income from guest-speaking at primary and high schools if you offer a catalogue of art for ages 8 to 18. Many illustrators make a living just by touring schools all year. The two most lucrative age groups (and most fun, if you ask me) are:

* K-8 years (where K= kindy, and schools all over the world have major festivals to celebrate under-8's day with sports and literature... which means they are starving for fresh faces as their guest-speaker and guest-tutor authors and illustrators each year)... and if you also do animation, then you're treated as a god... or godess, depnding on whichever applies Tongue  

* Ages 8-12... same reason, same deal... 

* And then YA (young adult) is ages 12 to 19.... and yes, 19 not just 18, because they can also cater for the first year out of highschool (or college/tafe... whichever applies)... school festivals provide authors and illustrators for this group too - or try to - but due to the much heavier exam schedules for those students (and their much lower interest in books by then) their interest levels fall off for authors but greatly increase for storytellers based in other mediums - such as film, animation and yes... computer games.   

Sub-Tip 2D) If you keep catalogues of work samples for each age group, then you become more valuable as a guest speaker, because they can put you in front of all three age groups, while only paying for one author's hotel, meals, travel and other expenses. And yes, most major literature festivals at schools and libraries are all-expenses paid. (Or most)... It's mainly only the Cons where the A-List authors and A-list illustrators get paid... (A-list = famous) 

Sub-Tip 2E - To be (or not to be) a member of any guild where a word ends in the letter "s", also means that you'd better know which side of it the apostrophe belongs - if applicable... remember, you may just be an illustrator, but in the publishing industry, spelling is queen, and grammar is king. So If it's a Childrens' Guild, or an Illustrators' Guild, then the apostrophe comes *after* the word, because the ownership of the guild/group belongs to all of them... but if you mistype it as illustrator's guild... then you're saying that it only has one member. 

TIP 2F: F for the Fun Part... To give an example of payrates; a week at a school in most western countries earns roughly $2000 to $6000US, depending on how many sessions you do each day, and with how many students - and that doesn't count your travelling/hotel/meals, which are usually supplied for you (e.g. lunch and 2 breaks, or whatever is timetabled at that particular school), breakfast is usually part of your room, and then you only need to forage in the wild for your evening meal - if you're not already stuffed full from the day - and unless you also have a guestspeaking event for parents etc in the evening.) 

And thus concludes our Tip Two through the Two Tips... haha

Stay tuned for Tip 3: which provides yet another way to approach publishers officially, and still without an agent.
(which is supposed to be impossible, btw)

By justaviking - 9 Years Ago
Bleetz (6/18/2015)

Tip Two... through the tulips...  lala-la-laaaa

Funny pun.  I am barely old enough to remember Tiny Tim.  Mostly, as a little kid, I remember him being a weird person.  Now as a mature adult, I still think the same thing.  I don't know what he was like in person, but his stage persona sure was, um, unique.
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
justaviking (6/18/2015)
[quote]... barely old enough to remember Tiny Tim.... was, um, unique... 

Crikey!!... That's the *first* I'd ever heard of him... and I must say I'm rather relieved and quite happy that I was blissfully ignorant all these years... but that certainly explains the bizarre voice my dad used to use while singing it in his underwear, skipping through the kitchen on cold winter mornings, while using our broom as a ukulele... so thanks for that. Mystery solved! 

ahhh childhood. Is it any wonder that we need such creative artistic pursuits as therapy for so long after...?

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Tor just opened their doors to unsolicited submissions!!!!

So, okay, translations are required so all newbies can understand exactly how hot that is:  

Tor = the biggest commercial publisher of science fiction & fantasy on the planet in any language.
They also boast of being one of the highest payers - but that's mainly because the royalty system is based on copies sold, and they sell kazilagosquillions... which is like squillions of billions, but raised to the power of killer-godzilla

They are a subdivision of PanMacmillian, which is one of the "Big Six" (see previous post) 

Short stories and long - they publish it all. And many also get adapted to big-budget movies. 
For every story, they need artwork. Often they need several styles of artwork for each story, because books and stories in different countries often have different artwork to suit the various cultural sensitivities in each "Territory"

Territory = area where books/movies/computer games etc can be licenced for sale. You probably know that already from those annoying "regions" on DVDS... But - as an example for newbies - if you think you live in Tasmania, you're wrong. You live in either Australian Territorial Rights Region, or ANZ (Australia-New_Zealand) Territorial RR, or maybe it's Australasian, Commonwealth or Territory of the World... and it all depends on the contract you sign with a publisher/studio on where they are permitted (by you) to sell your work.  More on that later if you need it, or just ask about your options if you're about to sign a contract. 

But here's the really cool word of the day: 
Unsolicited = not solicited = they didn't specifically ask for that particular work that you're about to send = anyone can submit, even if you don't have an agent... and if you follow their submission guidelines *strictly* as described in a previous post... then you might even get a reply, which turns your sample work into everybody's goal:

Solicited = they specifically asked to see more of *your* work.  

Bonus Tips: 
1) Improve your chances of getting paid for your art by reading this page of their submission guidelines which explains the specific styles of stories they're currently looking for from writers, and therefore also the subject matter for artwork they will also be needing. 

2) Do not submit your art to Tor's editor - that's just for writers.

3) Do not submit your art to Tor by email at all - that's just for writers too.

4) Submit your best art samples to Irene Gallo, the Tor Art Director,
and post it to her, the old fashioned way - as priority mail through your local post office. 
Specifically she prefers PostCard size, so she can keep you in her filing system and close to her fingertips for future reference.  
her address is: 

Irene Gallo
Tor Books
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

5) Post-card sized samples are actually quite cheap - or even free - if you take advantage of regular promotional offers from stationery companies... Every country has them, but the only one I can recommend to an international community like this is
Postage can be a bit expensive if you live outside the USA. And their website is quite fast and easy for uploading your stillshots. They've always done great work for me, but I also know friends who've had less enjoyable experiences.

So if anybody can recommend cheap/easy & reputable alternative stationery producers who can also service customers in any country, then please share them with us here too...? 

Which brings me to the Three Biggest Tips of the Day:

Super Tip 1: Never tell them you're a newbie. You brand yourself with that name - not a good thing in the publishing industry - when you behave like one by failing to follow their submission guidelines *precisely*... yeah, I know, I'm harping... but newbies get paid lower advances than professionals - roughly half but it can be as low as a teeny fraction. So behave like a professional, and that's how you'll be treated (and paid) from Day 1. 

Super Tip 2: Irene is also the Art director for all their online sales. So when she politely recommends Here, that you should join their site and newsletter. Do it. And make sure you use the same name that you use on the submission you post, so she can recognise you as a member as your samples arrive

Super Tip 3: Any artwork that makes it onto a book/website with Tor, only succeeds because Irene *loves* it.... which makes it easy to see the styles she loves. And that makes it easier for you to choose which samples to send... which also explains how iCloners could be a great fit - because the atmosphere's etc can produce some great moody, emotional and powerful imagery.... Oh, and it also gives you something fast and easy to say in your covering letter - which also needs to be brief; e.g:

Dear Ms Gallo,
As a member at I noticed the recent call for submissions from writers. So as an artist who also loves and appreciates the cover art for Blah blah and Revenge of the Blah Blah (insert titles of one or two books that were featured a long time ago on her blog - which shows that you've gone through her archives and really know what she likes - and which also prepares her nicely with fond memories by putting her in a positive mood for the style she's about to see when she flips over your postcard samples...)... and I was wondering if you might be interested in considering my portfolio, the link for which is, 
yours faithfully,
I.C Loner. 

Change the wording slightly so it doesn't look as if you've all just read the same article. Don't forget to swap the joke name for your own, haha. 
But keep it short. Your art is the thing for sale, so don't distract her with mere words. 

Thus endeth the Supertips - and they don't even count in the official Top 10, haha.  

By kerkache-abdelkrim - 9 Years Ago
By Peter Blood - 9 Years Ago
Wow! This is a wealth of great information. Smile

It'll take me a day or so to re-read and embed it all into my brain but please keep your tips coming as I am extremely interested in how to get started with this. I'm glad that Peter cleared the way for you because, for me, this is extremely important information and all the more so because it is coming from an artist that has walked the walk.

Thank you so much for posting it. Wink

Cool pete

 Question - How many pieces would you suggest I have in a portfolio of a particular genre before I bring attention to it? 
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
peterblood (6/18/2015)
  Question - How many pieces would you suggest I have in a portfolio of a particular genre before I bring attention to it? 

As a newbies, I'd suggest:

1 Portfolio; with 3 Folders -

And inside each folder, either 3, 5 or 9 images...

arranged in rows of 3... 

and no, that 5 is not a typo for 6... if you have 6, it looks like that's all you've got. But if you have 5, it suggests you've got another one on the way soon, which will raise a question in their mind about what it might be... and the publishing industry thrives on raising questions to make readers turn the next page... 

but don't do that with 9, because 9 is 3 X 3, which is valuable from a market perspective (see link below). 

This is also because they thrive on metaphors and motifs... love em like candy and chocolates... 

And here's some of the reasons why it also works commercially. 

In your case, as we discussed earlier, I'd suggest that your folders could be Historical fiction - for your tallship themes + Sci-Fi to make use of your fabulous new models... and I don't know... what does your gut and heart agree that the third genre should be..?  If you've got no idea - perhaps try your hand at game-of-thrones style fantasy or supernatural romance (you know, vampires or beast-men)... because they're so popular and you might just have another hidden talent, or strike a chord as something fresh and new. 

Also... if you happen to create a really super-sexy new kind of beast-alpha-male in the throes of rescuing - or being rescued by - a fair maiden... then it's possible that a writer could be hired to provide the story. 
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Tip 3: By the Book - The Second Official Way to Approach Publishers to sell your art (if you don't have an agent).

And by book, I mean the actual book: Writers' and Artists' Yearbook.

Yes, it says UK Edition BUT, don't be scared. It includes publishers from all English Speaking Countries. So it's even better than the USA version, (if you can find a US edition, they changed their name and I can't recall it off the top of my head)... although the Australian Writers Marketplace is also manages to list many that the others missed. But either way, you'll only need them in your first year or so, because once you get your first sales, it's hard to stop the opportunities from flooding in. 

e.g. Here's a link for it at the Book Depository, where postage is free to anywhere in the world (unlike Amazon, which is only Free to the USA). 

But you don't need to "Buy the book" to go by the book... if you pardon the pun. Because it's available to read for free at every public library in the world. And even if they don't have the most recent edition (some sites have the 2015 edition listed as a pre-order), they can often order the most recent edition in at no expense to you, or else any previous edition they might have from the last 3 years is usually good enough. One of mine is the 1999 edition but it's still valuable enough that I haven't tossed it, and probably won't because it also gives me a history of the any companies I choose to deal, because:

This book is a bible.

It has several indexes - which is bizarre for most books. But the first index is alphabetical. Another index groups everyone by their genre - e.g. horror publishers, romance publishers (arguably the same thing, haha)...  and then there's an index for publishers of books, another for publishers of magazines... 

And then in the body of the bible... where all the juice leaks from every page... you get all the details you need: 
Who & where they are. 
The type of work they publish.
How to submit to them,  including;
Names & addresses,

If they permit email submissions, then you also get email addies to help bypass the "slush pile" of other submitting artists...

Sub Tip 3A: Phone numbers are also provided - but try not to use them. Because those publishers have already put everything you need to know on their submission pages, so if you need to call, it better be about something they missed for you as an artist, or else their pen is reaching straight for their blacklist.

Sub-tip 3B: If they're listed in the Yearbook, then you can be 99% sure they're reputable companies, because they get blacklisted fairly promptly if they're not. 

Which also takes us straight to Tip 4:

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Tip 4: A third Option for survival as an indie writer/artist: 

Let the Predators and Editors Website be your shining light.
This site was established by a volunteer, who is now very highly regarded in the publishing industry. The reputable companies love this site, while scam artists are always trying to tear it down. Many have tried lawsuits, but I strongly suspect that several of the "Big Six" have quietly come to the rescue on a rare occasion or two. (Their legal teams comprise the cream of best legal minds in every country). However the site and its current small army of volunteers are certainly ferocious enough to take care of themselves. They've even posted a copyright warning against AOL, which can still be seen  here.

And it's all to look after *you* as a member of our community - especially if you're a vulnerable newbie - and to ensure there shall always be a free resource which strives to name and shame any publisher/agent/festival/competition etc that tries to rip off a member of our artistic community. 

Step 1) Use the alphabetical listing from the link above to seek out publishers who may be interested in your type of art, then google the publisher to find their specific "submission guidelines".  

Step 2) Always double-check the site before signing a contract with anybody you've never dealt with before. 

Step 3) If you are treated badly by a company that isn't listed, then please be swift in letting them know. 

Sub Tip 4A: If this site says a company is "strongly not recommended" for writers, then treat them like the plague for artists too. 

Sub Tip 4B: check out all the other cool stuff in their menus and you'll have an instant free introductory course to surviving as a writer or artist. 

Their biggest warnings about the industry are HERE

If you're tempted to sign up with a job service (shiver in fear for you), read their register here first.  

And they also have a helpful listing of Game publishers, and organisations who regularly seek and/or market art only.  

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Tip 5: How to Turn "Unsolicited" Work into "Solicited"

(wihout needing an agent)

Many major publishers state on their webpages that "Unsolicited Manuscripts" will not be accepted... sometimes they even need to shout this statement in bold capitals and red font, because many writers think the rules don't apply to them.

But if you think your particular situation is so different that the rules don't apply to you in your current instance (whatever that is), then please read the previous sentence again, while pretending that it's written in bold red capital letters on a neon flashing notice board shoved up under your nose, with buzzers and alarms going off in your ears, and electrodes connected to your nipples...

 - and with my finger hanging ready over the "zap" switch...  

Because... if you break the rule, you get recycled/blacklisted, which also means that somebody also hit that "zap" switch on your nipples.  

However, it's possible to bend this rule: 

e.g. If the publisher refuses to accept unsolicited manuscripts, then all you have to do is turn your unsolicited manuscript into a solicited manuscript.

And you can do that, simply by asking;

Dear Mr Ed Itor, 

I noticed your promotion in the 2015 Writers' and Artists' Year Book
(don't forget those apostrophes or else there's a high chance you just got rejected), and I'm wondering if your previous career interests in tall ships might also have some relevance to your current position as historical editor at Blah-Blah & Co. If so, I'm hoping you might be interested in taking a look at my portfolio of "Tall Ships through the Centuries", the link for which is 

with appreciation for your time,
I.C. Loner. 


And there are many other reasons why you might think that your work is a perfect fit for them.

So here are some of the acceptable ways to find your reason:
1) Polite Stalking via the web - just seeking out the contact names at each company, what they currently seem to like, and their previous career choices for hints at what they've liked in the past - so you can approach them via an email, but only if you feel that your work is a good fit. 

2) Seeking out the festivals they've been to, youtube videos of their previous guestspeaking events, and calendars where they'll appear next, so you can attend, if possible.

* Accidentally bumping into them somewhere while conveniently clutching your portfolio.  
* Posting bottles of wine/beer/coffee for them to enjoy while perusing your work - while enclosing your work. 
* Showing up at their place of work without an appointment
* Calling for an appointment 
* Hiding in a mascot's uniform to approach them "anonymously" 
* Leaving a portfolio on the windscreen of their car
* Dropping it on their cafe table as you walk past in their lunch hour

and here's the two that most newbies fall for most often: 
* Taking your portfolio to festivals with the deliberate intention of making sure somebody gets it
* Taking several copies

... and the reasons why those last two points earn more rejections than anything else, is because this is the most convenient and efficient method for you... emphasis on *you*... and shows no hint of concern for them - even though they are the VIP's and they are the ones travelling far from home with baggage limit restrictions and arms full of their own gear. 

Sub Tip 5A: Always have a postcard/ bookmark/ business card inside your wallet/laptop bag to give them - and only if they ask you for it.  Otherwise, enjoy your chat with them, if you're lucky enough to get that chance. Offer to send them your link after the event, at a time that's convenient to them. And then do that instead.
Then when you do, be considerate that they just met 15,000 other attendees who were all brilliant in one way or another. So start by; 

Dear Mr Ed Itor, 
RE: Portfolio link as requested

It was such a pleasure to meet you after your session on "How to Blow up Tall Ships" at the Con-of-all-cons...
. (or whatever half-sentence is all it takes to prompt their memory and make you stand out as memorable,) where we laughed about your need for more artwork to destroy (or whatever he said to request your work, or whatever you said to make him laugh/smile/cry or whatever positive emotional response you triggered..) So here's a link for a sample, which I hope will make you go ballistic - in a good way. 
yours with canons loaded,
I.C. Loner. 

Sub Tip 5B: If you've noticed a tendancy for recommending humour in covering letters, that's because it's harder for them to say no, while they're smiling. But if you don't feel confident with humour, that's okay. Just be friendly, courteous and considerate, because you are not just offering the sale of your art. You are proposing that an ongoing working relationship is up for grabs.  

Sub Tip 5C: And this is a biggie:
Never state the f#ing obvious. 

a) I'm sending this to you... duh! He's got it hasn't he? Instead try; Attached please find... 

b) I hope you enjoy perusing my work as much as I enjoyed making it... duh! or else you sent it without caring what he thinks.

Instead, just sign off with a short clean professional, yours faithfully (never sincerely unless you really feel that emotional about it) Or better yet, create an image that says it all for you; 

e.g. I recently scored my first *animation* sale using a simple smiley face, my nickname and this friendly chap:

Smile Ani

By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
... also, apologies for any weird formatting / font sizes etc on these last 3 posts... Something weird going on with my screen.  or is it happening in all of the forums today? 
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
TIP 6: Avoiding Rejection

First, some terminology for newbies:

Rejection = No
Yes = a pay day.

So to get a Yes, try to reduce their reasons to say no... which is a heck of a lot harder than it sounds. 

First - do everything they ask in their submission harp-harp... guide harp-harp... lines. 

It also helps to avoid words which suggest there is already a subtle conflict involved:
so avoid using: 
* but 
* although,
* depending 
* however
... unless you can put a positive spin on it, where both options are fantastic...

Solution: try deleting the word, and if the sentence still makes sense then you don't need it. Maybe you only need a full stop and new sentence - or maybe start a new paragraph - to give them the chance to prepare for a new thought, without suggesting that it might argue with something you just said. 

Sub Tip 6A: If your email needs to be scrolled to read it all, then you increase the chance for rejection, because you're insufficiently skilled to *show* your work through brevity and/or illustration. 

Sub Tip 6B: Try to imagine that when your email arrives with the publisher, they have just hung up on a pest who keeps bothering them, while their favourite three stars just came and offered to buy lunch, but they only have an hour before they need to catch their flight...  and now you've only got 3 seconds to look appealing, so they save your email to read later, instead of reaching for their big red instant-auto-reject button as they fly out of the office to enjoy one of the few perks in their thankless job. 

As animators, we know that a lot can happen on a timeline in 3 seconds. Same goes with those first few words of your email - which also explains why all of my suggested covering letters in this thread have a subtle poetic rhythm which you're welcome to mimic - because publishers can't start the rhythm without needing to hear the end... and that can often suck them into reading 3 sentences instead of merely 3 seconds. 

Don't make it obvious... even just two words that start with the same letter (called alliteration) can make it more pleasant to read - and hence harder to say no. 

But above all, expect to be rejected anyway - specifically expect it at least 147 times for your first work because that's what happened to me back in the dark ages...

(actually, let's rename this entire tip: Striving for Rejection)... because that's how door-to-door salesmen and cold-callers make a living (by knowing the statistics for success and being prepared to suffer all the slammed-doors and hang-ups until they find the ones who say yes...

and because if you succeed with a low number of rejections as a first timer, I'll turn green with jealousy.
And so will a kazillagosquillion other writers and artists who were in line ahead of you. 

SubTip 6C: Show them you're fantastic without needing to tell them.

Warning: If you feel the need to review your own work during the submission, even if it's only by using an embellishing adjective - e.g. "my stunning portfolio of corpses" - then please go back to Tip 5C: Re Stating the f#'ing obvious. Duh! You wouldn't be sending anything for publication unless it was worthy. 

In the meantime, it also helps to understand that the very largest portion of writers and artists who submit to publishers, flooding their in-boxes daily, are political wannabes, frustrated retirees, children, or clinically insane. Sometimes they fit more than one category.

So yes, there will be days when you need to console yourself with this wise advice from Mad Magazine's standard rejection letter

Now you've got enough basics to get out there, rack em and stack em. I have a big contract to fulfill this week, so I'll only be able to pop in briefly now and then. Maybe you'll all be sick of these tips by then.

But if not, please Like or Rank whichever posts you've found helpful, and then I'll also have a better idea of how much detail to put into the rest when I get back... Smile 

Good Luck!!
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago

Crikey! I barely set aside my keyboard, and this hot news hits my desk: 

The Annual Illustrator's Competition by Five Mile Press is specifically for newbies.

Prize: AU$4000 and a Contract to be Published. 

The goal is to find undiscovered talent, so you can't be published or have book contracts in any country.

Yes, they usually prefer to nurture Australian Illustrators - but their door is not closed to foreign submissions.  They even hint it with the last line of their entry form. And they only hint it, because that way they don't get flooded by foreign applicants.  Most foreign artists stop reading on the previous page. 

In Australia, the term "Five Mile" usually means that you're based 5 miles out of town - which is a joke when the city is wider than 5 Miles - but this publisher is highly reputable and has grown from a small press to a solid market contender in the past decade.  

Check out all the categories for their current best-sellers and you'll understand why I believe that iCloners AND Crazytalkers both have a shot here. 

... except this thread is hidden away in the iClone thread - my bad - so if somebody knows any crazytalkers who might be interested, could you please draw their attention to this link. 

Thanks, and Bye for now... again. 

By Peter Blood - 9 Years Ago
Man, that is a lot of super advice. I'll re-read it all a bunch of times and save the text for reading later. Smile

Thank you again for all of the time and effort you've put into answering my questions. I'm especially appreciative of the detailed advice you provide for side-stepping the pitfalls of the process. Also very useful are your revelations on the mindset of the publishers. I'm eagerly waiting to absorb any and all information you may yet post.

 Yours faithfully Wink

Cool pete
By Tarampa Studios - 9 Years Ago
Wow, what a busy month!  So here's a quick update:

Tip 7: Crafting a Book by its Cover

When you're proposing cool cover-art, keep in mind there are "4 art faces" to every book:  

* Front Cover
* Back Cover
* Spine
* Gilt Edgings to the block of pages

These days, books are published without any fancy gilt edgings to their pages, (sometimes still seen on the sides of expensive hard-covers, encyclopaedia, bibles...) however, it is possible in some publishing houses for the side of the "block of pages" to be printed with custom images or coloured paterns, which can be a feature in childrens' books, fantasy novels, or cookbooks (e.g. different coloured gilt edges for entrees/main meals/deserts...)

While designing your concept covers, it can also be easy to forget that the spine and back-cover also exist, and they can be really cool if you think of them as a whole project as well as individual images for front, back & spine:

e.g. Have you considered a wrap-around image?
Here are 3 styles but google and you'll find many more: 

Perspective spread from back to front across spine:

Panorama Style with main focus of the image offset on the front cover:

Reflection front & Back: 
This one is not a great example, but it serves well enough as inspiration for treating the whole cover as a single image.

Sub-Tip 7A: You won't know how thick to make a spine until after the page edits have been locked in, so make sure you set up your photoshop files to treat the front, back and spine as 3 layers which can be shifted and resized later to suit all the various sized book version which may be needed later.

Sub-Tip 7B: Each publisher will provide you with their own specific image requirements prior to publication, but until then, just choose a cover from any book they have already published and use the proportions from it as your rough template. 

Sub-Tip 7C: The story summary on the back cover is called a "blurb", and the most successful blurbs are usually short and sweet, and limited to either 1, 3 or 5 short paragraphs + an optional "hook" which can be either a sub-title, theme, punchline, slogan, quote or pitch, but the hook is usually 3 to 8 words, and rarely longer than 12 words. It's not your job to write the blurb, but it can help if you design a set of nice matching fonts with room to place the blurb as soon as it is available from the editor, and just use your sample fonts on the cover for things like "Title Goes here", Pen-Name Font, Subtitle Font & "Blurb goes here"... 

By Tarampa Studios - 7 Years Ago
TIP 8: Graphic Novels...

Many major publishers seek new talent each year.  e.g. You don't need an agent to email Rick Chillot at Quirk Books in Philadelphia
with your concept and work samples, 
because he is currently seeking a quirky new series publicly:  

Handy Hints:
1) DON'T send *anything* to any major publishers until *after* you've finished your graphic novel.  Or else they may take your basic concept and assign it to an artist in their stable who can produce it faster than you. 

2)  DO follow the submission guidelines for each publisher, because if you can't follow basic instructions they reject you instantly, without even looking at your work. 
By Tarampa Studios - 6 Years Ago
I'm just bumping this old topic, because I'm seeing a lot of questions out in the facebook groups about this over the past few weeks, so it may help others here, since not much has changed, and it might help you too, if you're interested. 
By Peter Blood - 6 Years Ago
Thanks again Bleetz for thinking of me. I've not made any moves on it as of yet. Like many artists, I'm comfortable following
 my imagination and not so much working with businessmen types. I sincerely want to to do this but I'm a bit uncertain as to
my ability to  meet deadlines. I've never worked with them and I'm a bit fearful of letting the publisher down. I'm gathering the
courage to leap the shark and I'll probably be fine once I do, but standing on the edge, it's the fear of failure in a world I know
nothing about that is making the leap difficult.

I, so much, appreciate your help and encouragement, and I'm determined to make sure your efforts in my behalf aren't
in vain. I've been re-reading your 10 steps in anticipation of making the jump and I will make my leap very soon.
As we used to say, onward into the FOG!

I can't thank you enough for your invaluable advice. Smile

Cool pete