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Brian J. W. Lee is a writer. When he's not writing, he's plotting to plunge the world in a deep chasm of terror, darkness and screams. Sorry, did I get carried away?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Book Cover Blues

Progress on my debut novel, The Keeper of Pulau Purba, is going well, cruising along the canal of hope at moderate knots.

Both my cover artist and proofreader are slow in their work, but it's the former I'm starting to worry about. I had a sit down with her, and realised that she doesn't back up her work, she doesn't know how to expand an entity in size while keeping the proportions intact, and she's resistant to change.

She was the one who objected to me hiring a cover artist in the first place.

She is my mother.

Yes, I know that engaging family is not recommended and borderline nepotism in the self-publishing business. Lemme tell you a flash fiction.

My extended family includes many artists without a future. My mother and her siblings were amongst the people with that distinction. Asia is an amazing place for artists, you know that? At the top, you get persecuted and fined at best for writing something controversial, and at worst, you get jailed and/or executed. The more obscure artists just... Gets no business at all. It's not like the United States or the UK, there's fewer human rights protection, and very much less business for the arts.

So my mother and her siblings gave up their artistic dreams. My mom couldn't even become a hairdresser when her Godmother refused to pay for her education. That was in Brunei and Taiwan, I believe.

After raising me and my brother, she was plunged in the modern world with the internet and e-commerce, which was when she started thriving, earning far more than most authors on Amazon with her art tutor business and website. About $1,000 a month, last time I checked. She started learning and packing her artistic arsenal, going for courses in oil painting and stuff. She learnt how to use Photoshop all on her own! And I'm still clueless with it!

This is why I decided to give her a chance, over hiring a book cover artist, nepotism and recommendations be damned.

But the world is cruel, and despite her outstanding journey as an artist, I might have to let her go... Even though she's doing this for free.

I wish I can avoid being so professionally cruel, but in the end, it's quality that matters, and she's having trouble with applying colours and adding shadows at the same time. I need to sell my book, and a bad cover will put an end to my writing career before it even gets off the ground.

Even right now, I am spoiled for choice for premade e-book covers on the net. They may not convey exactly what I have in mind for my book cover, but the artwork is amazing, and some are even able to get aspects of my ideal book cover right... Without knowing what I want!

I will weep for now, but I must move on.

Only time now can tell me if I need to replace my mother with an anonymous ghost-artist from the ether.

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