Getting a Book Cover

May 24, 2019
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Any advice on making (or having someone else make) a book cover? What's the best way to get a decent cover?
 
Oct 15, 2022
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Connect with artists on this forum. Maybe a paid service like Canva. If you're using a publisher, they will create a cover for you. (That's about all I know.)
 

Claire Tucker

Copyeditor and Proofreader
Jan 26, 2018
2,630
907
Any advice on making (or having someone else make) a book cover? What's the best way to get a decent cover?
The best way to get a decent cover is to hire someone who is a book-cover designer in your genre. Getting a custom-made cover will cost you anywhere from $100 (the cheaper options) to $500 (designers with experience) or more.

Another option for a cover is to purchase a premade cover. From what I've seen from independent cover designers, you could get these for around $100–$300. Yes, a premade won't be personal to your book, but it will (if you purchase from someone who knows their stuff) conform with genre guidelines that will help sell your book.

I don't advise authors to design their own covers unless they are book-cover designers. My reason is that your book cover is one of the major selling points of your book. If it doesn't catch a reader's eye, they will move on. There are also so many elements you need to consider and get right to have a successful book cover. Your genre and the type of story you've told inform color, image, and font choices. Basically, every element of the cover should communicate the genre and story with the intent of convincing your ideal reader to take a closer look.

Depending on what formats you're publishing in, you may need a cover for an e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover. Even though these are mostly the same, there are slight differences between them due to the different ratios. It is worth chatting with a designer and finding out if they can adapt the cover for each format, even if you don't think you'll publish in that format now. You just might want to release an audiobook at a later stage, and you can save yourself the trouble of hunting down the designer and getting them to format the cover for the audiobook then if you do it now.

It is worth taking the time to browse Amazon's top latest releases in your genre and study the covers. This will give you a good idea of what is attracting readers now. Also look back and see what the covers for the overall best-sellers in your genre are. Another good spot to educate yourself on the elements of effective book covers is The Book Designer's website: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/category/cover-design/. They used to run monthly e-book cover design competitions, where an experienced cover designer offered explanations for why certain elements of certain covers weren't working. It's worth going through those as well, so that you will know what to watch out for in a good cover.

A couple spots you can look for designers are reedsy.com and 100covers.com. Disclaimer: I haven't used either of these sites, so can't vouch for them (reedsy does vet their freelancers stringently, though, so they could be a good option). I might be able to recommend a couple designers I know, depending on what genre your book is.

Yes, you can learn to do it yourself, and you could create a good book cover that does sell your book effectively. Going through The Book Designer's articles would be a good place to start, if you choose to do it yourself. But research really does show that books do well or not based on the cover. This is one of those areas where it may be better to hire someone else who already has the skillset and experience.
 
May 24, 2019
709
109
The best way to get a decent cover is to hire someone who is a book-cover designer in your genre. Getting a custom-made cover will cost you anywhere from $100 (the cheaper options) to $500 (designers with experience) or more.

Another option for a cover is to purchase a premade cover. From what I've seen from independent cover designers, you could get these for around $100–$300. Yes, a premade won't be personal to your book, but it will (if you purchase from someone who knows their stuff) conform with genre guidelines that will help sell your book.

I don't advise authors to design their own covers unless they are book-cover designers. My reason is that your book cover is one of the major selling points of your book. If it doesn't catch a reader's eye, they will move on. There are also so many elements you need to consider and get right to have a successful book cover. Your genre and the type of story you've told inform color, image, and font choices. Basically, every element of the cover should communicate the genre and story with the intent of convincing your ideal reader to take a closer look.

Depending on what formats you're publishing in, you may need a cover for an e-book, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover. Even though these are mostly the same, there are slight differences between them due to the different ratios. It is worth chatting with a designer and finding out if they can adapt the cover for each format, even if you don't think you'll publish in that format now. You just might want to release an audiobook at a later stage, and you can save yourself the trouble of hunting down the designer and getting them to format the cover for the audiobook then if you do it now.

It is worth taking the time to browse Amazon's top latest releases in your genre and study the covers. This will give you a good idea of what is attracting readers now. Also look back and see what the covers for the overall best-sellers in your genre are. Another good spot to educate yourself on the elements of effective book covers is The Book Designer's website: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/category/cover-design/. They used to run monthly e-book cover design competitions, where an experienced cover designer offered explanations for why certain elements of certain covers weren't working. It's worth going through those as well, so that you will know what to watch out for in a good cover.

A couple spots you can look for designers are reedsy.com and 100covers.com. Disclaimer: I haven't used either of these sites, so can't vouch for them (reedsy does vet their freelancers stringently, though, so they could be a good option). I might be able to recommend a couple designers I know, depending on what genre your book is.

Yes, you can learn to do it yourself, and you could create a good book cover that does sell your book effectively. Going through The Book Designer's articles would be a good place to start, if you choose to do it yourself. But research really does show that books do well or not based on the cover. This is one of those areas where it may be better to hire someone else who already has the skillset and experience.
Thanks for the detailed answer! Which designers do you recommend? It is for a thriller.
 

Claire Tucker

Copyeditor and Proofreader
Jan 26, 2018
2,630
907
Thanks for the detailed answer! Which designers do you recommend? It is for a thriller.
Most of the designers I know personally do a lot of fantasy and don't really go for thrillers. Your best option is to take a look at 100covers or reedsy. I didn't see any thriller/suspense cover designers on reedsy, but it could be worth asking for a quote regardless.

Another option is to see what good covers are in the thriller/suspense section on Amazon, then use the Look Inside feature to see the copyright page. Oftentimes (but not always) authors will list who designed the cover there. Then you can track the designer down and contact them directly.
 
Dec 9, 2021
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There is another option if you are somewhat artistic, but the question is how far down that rabbit hole you want to go?
Since I could not find an artist to work with or stock art that I wanted for my series, I went with the new hot and trendy thing:

AI Art.

Since early October, I'd been training myself in on a new free program called "Stable Diffusion". It's been a steep learning curve, but not a learning cliff. What made it so hard is that it is bleeding edge technology, and you have to do a lot of stuff manually, and go into places most non-tech savvy people (like me) to download (legally and safely) the files. Not to mention that new advances are sometimes happening many times a week that can change everything!

At least there are several youtube channels out there that do great jobs teaching you how to install and use the software locally on your own computer. That way you don't have to pay for the renders.

I just finished the cover for my first book of Tales From the Dream Nebula a week or so ago. But since I had many specific things I needed to do, it was a lot of experimentation going on to get the right look and feel. Even then I had to hand draw "guidance images" that the software would then interpolate into the art I needed. I got it most of the way there. To get better was out of my skill and processor reach.

The benefit: It's free and a lot of fun once you figure it out. It opens up a whole new world for you to create art for your own projects. You will get art that you want/need.

The challenge: You need to choose to learn it, and the learning curve, despite the new tools out there is still steep. You can't just plug and play, and no, it's not going to instantly put out what you envision in your head. You may have to cull thousands of bad/wrong/cursed images before you find the one you were looking for. It's like panning for gold, but when you get it... it's wonderful.

The realty: You need a big graphics card, and probably a sizeable Solid State Drive to do much more than basic stuff. The NSFW filters are crazy, and often get confused and will block good images that trips some sort of unknown weight in their system eliminating useful images. Otherwise, nudes and other NSFW images will show up. It can't do guns or technology well, but hot women and landscapes are it's bread and butter. Prompting is a huge deal and once you understand the basics, it can still go wrong for whatever reason. It takes a lot of patience. You will also need to have a bit of an artistic eye as well. Without that, your images will be flaming garbage on steroids. Also, if you do not modify the image in some aspect, it's automatically Creative Commons Licensed.

Caution: Artists will hate you if you bring it up to them. I made that mistake recently. Even after I was interested in hiring him for a commission because I wanted his vision, he was hostile. There are those out there who will understand this is a tool that will give THEM so many more options in the future to do even better work. Just like Adobe and 3d design revolutionized the art industry. There's no going back, and they will have to adapt, but for now, if you start down this path, give the artists a little bit of grace and keep the subject away from them.

As an example, here's a cover I put together for my collectable teaser booklet. It's decent, but I am more depressed at my typography work than the composited image I made in photoshop. It's a set of 2 images superimposed with layers, color correction and type laid over it in photoshop, but you get the drift. Now, a month later, I'm getting that old school "Baen Mass Market Paperback" look that I was gunning for. This looks like it was published by Palladium Games.... which ain't bad, but not quite what I was going for.
Anyway, good luck on your hunt for an artist or clip art... or welcome to the struggle and joy of AI art.

TFDN Sample Cover03.jpg
 
May 24, 2019
709
109
There is another option if you are somewhat artistic, but the question is how far down that rabbit hole you want to go?
Since I could not find an artist to work with or stock art that I wanted for my series, I went with the new hot and trendy thing:

AI Art.

Since early October, I'd been training myself in on a new free program called "Stable Diffusion". It's been a steep learning curve, but not a learning cliff. What made it so hard is that it is bleeding edge technology, and you have to do a lot of stuff manually, and go into places most non-tech savvy people (like me) to download (legally and safely) the files. Not to mention that new advances are sometimes happening many times a week that can change everything!

At least there are several youtube channels out there that do great jobs teaching you how to install and use the software locally on your own computer. That way you don't have to pay for the renders.

I just finished the cover for my first book of Tales From the Dream Nebula a week or so ago. But since I had many specific things I needed to do, it was a lot of experimentation going on to get the right look and feel. Even then I had to hand draw "guidance images" that the software would then interpolate into the art I needed. I got it most of the way there. To get better was out of my skill and processor reach.

The benefit: It's free and a lot of fun once you figure it out. It opens up a whole new world for you to create art for your own projects. You will get art that you want/need.

The challenge: You need to choose to learn it, and the learning curve, despite the new tools out there is still steep. You can't just plug and play, and no, it's not going to instantly put out what you envision in your head. You may have to cull thousands of bad/wrong/cursed images before you find the one you were looking for. It's like panning for gold, but when you get it... it's wonderful.

The realty: You need a big graphics card, and probably a sizeable Solid State Drive to do much more than basic stuff. The NSFW filters are crazy, and often get confused and will block good images that trips some sort of unknown weight in their system eliminating useful images. Otherwise, nudes and other NSFW images will show up. It can't do guns or technology well, but hot women and landscapes are it's bread and butter. Prompting is a huge deal and once you understand the basics, it can still go wrong for whatever reason. It takes a lot of patience. You will also need to have a bit of an artistic eye as well. Without that, your images will be flaming garbage on steroids. Also, if you do not modify the image in some aspect, it's automatically Creative Commons Licensed.

Caution: Artists will hate you if you bring it up to them. I made that mistake recently. Even after I was interested in hiring him for a commission because I wanted his vision, he was hostile. There are those out there who will understand this is a tool that will give THEM so many more options in the future to do even better work. Just like Adobe and 3d design revolutionized the art industry. There's no going back, and they will have to adapt, but for now, if you start down this path, give the artists a little bit of grace and keep the subject away from them.

As an example, here's a cover I put together for my collectable teaser booklet. It's decent, but I am more depressed at my typography work than the composited image I made in photoshop. It's a set of 2 images superimposed with layers, color correction and type laid over it in photoshop, but you get the drift. Now, a month later, I'm getting that old school "Baen Mass Market Paperback" look that I was gunning for. This looks like it was published by Palladium Games.... which ain't bad, but not quite what I was going for.
Anyway, good luck on your hunt for an artist or clip art... or welcome to the struggle and joy of AI art.

View attachment 13738
Interesting -- I hadn't thought of something like that.

The cover I'm envisioning would be pretty simple -- just a crescent moon over a middle eastern cityscape, with the title "Under the Crescent Moon." What do you think? I'm also tempted to just do it myself with stock images.
 

Accord64

Write well, edit often.
Oct 8, 2012
2,760
1,231
As an example, here's a cover I put together for my collectable teaser booklet. It's decent, but I am more depressed at my typography work than the composited image I made in photoshop.
I know you didn't ask for feedback, but I have to agree with your concerns about the typography. The image is nice, but the font (and size) you chose is difficult to read.

One important factor I learned when designing my own covers is that you need to consider how your cover will look in thumbnail size. This is typically how a reader on Amazon (or any on-line retail site) will first see it. Will they scroll past it, or will your cover grab their attention? Being able to read the title is a basic given. There's a lot beyond that, and much of it has to do with genre expectations. But that first impression is critical. Not being able to read a title is just asking to be scrolled past.
 
Dec 9, 2021
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I know you didn't ask for feedback, but I have to agree with your concerns about the typography. The image is nice, but the font (and size) you chose is difficult to read.

One important factor I learned when designing my own covers is that you need to consider how your cover will look in thumbnail size. This is typically how a reader on Amazon (or any on-line retail site) will first see it. Will they scroll past it, or will your cover grab their attention? Being able to read the title is a basic given. There's a lot beyond that, and much of it has to do with genre expectations. But that first impression is critical. Not being able to read a title is just asking to be scrolled past.
Absolutely. And it's appreciated. It was an okay cover at best, but it was something I'm doing for in person author signings as a special collectable. Never going on Amazon. The next one will work pretty good as a thumbnail.

Interesting -- I hadn't thought of something like that.

The cover I'm envisioning would be pretty simple -- just a crescent moon over a middle eastern cityscape, with the title "Under the Crescent Moon." What do you think? I'm also tempted to just do it myself with stock images.

What you can do is draw a "guiding image" out or put it together with stock images, and then run it through the img2img function which will create an image based on your guidance. At the very least it will make your image look "unified".

The easiest GUI out there right now is made by a guy called "Automatic1111". But I'd recommend the youtube channel done by this guy: Aitrepreneur.

He has more than a few videos and that should link you up to others that can help. Beyond that, the choice is yours. Learning to prompt is key, and it's not like just writing like conversation or exposition. It's very stylized for exactly what you want has priority in the image and what sort of influences you need. Don't forget to do negative prompts on what you DON'T want the image to look like too.

Anyway, hope that helps more.
 
Apr 5, 2019
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Caution: Artists will hate you if you bring it up to them. I made that mistake recently. Even after I was interested in hiring him for a commission because I wanted his vision, he was hostile. There are those out there who will understand this is a tool that will give THEM so many more options in the future to do even better work. Just like Adobe and 3d design revolutionized the art industry. There's no going back, and they will have to adapt, but for now, if you start down this path, give the artists a little bit of grace and keep the subject away from them.

Well, imagine having food taken off your table. I don't think you'd be too happy about that either.

I'm one of those screaming critics. I'm not an artist. But I see SEVERAL problems with using AI art. First, "AI" is not intelligence. It doesn't think. It doesn't come up with its own stuff. It is a system that takes EXISTING ART and morphs it into something else. You know, art that is protected under COPYRIGHT laws. If you remove the cache of art that the "AI" utilizes, the only thing you'd get would be a blank screen.

So, if you're willing to run the risk of getting sued, then knock yourself out.

Secondly, AI doesn't apply to just pretty pictures. It also applies to writing as well. Systems whose cache of "inspiration" ALSO uses copyrighted material. In fact, it's much easier to apply that same type of Machine Learning to writing than it is art. There are fewer rules and less complications.

So, in utilizing that for your specific needs, you're also opening the door for the very same system to push YOU out of the writing game as well. What's good for the goose, and all...

I paid, roughly, $225 for the cover of THE WIZARD'S STONE. It's a decent cover that has on it the things I want, and I actually paid someone who is decent at their craft to make it for me. Because, in the end, I want to highlight the vision of the artist in my covers as much as I want to entice the reader. Not some overengineered version of MS Paint.

It is only a matter of time before someone steps in and starts putting a lid on this nonsense with legislation, in my opinion. I know I wouldn't be too thrilled, AFTER SPENDING A YEAR OF MY LIFE getting a book onto the bookshelves, if some talentless hack came along with their super handy-dandy program, stole MY work and MY effort, and made a bunch of money at my expense.

But it's OK. Go on: save a few bucks.
 
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Dec 9, 2021
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I'm one of those screaming critics. I'm not an artist. But I see SEVERAL problems with using AI art.
I'd like to address this a little bit, because I do see the danger in AI art not in the software itself but in how it is used and developed. There are a few unethical things going on with the software as it has been and will continue to develop. Some will be addressed by law, but others never can.

I'm seeing thousands of artists in places like Artstation and Deviant art yanking their entire portfolios and putting up nasty "AI Art is Theft" graphics instead with varying levels of missives against it. The problem for them is now when I do have a commission I want to do, I'd not go to any of them because I both cannot see their style and vision, AND that sort of attitude is not someone I think I'd want to work with. What's funny is that last night when looking up images, I finally found an artist I'd really want to work with to get the style I wanted for my covers originally, but I dunno if I can afford him or get the artwork in time. I may have to try for a commission with him in the future.

I'm not going to defend the shady uses of the software either. I've heard one story of an artist doing a livestream of him doing an art, and just before the piece was complete, some jerk viewer took a screenshot, uploaded it into one of the AI programs and spit out a copy based on the artist's own style, posted it just minutes before the actual artist did. The crook then sued the artist for plagiarizing. He was instantly found out and was countersued if what I heard was correct. Of course you also have people who steal art, claim it's their own and sell them as NFTs. You're never going to stop these types of pirates, forgers and crooks. Especially when they're doing it in foreign countries as most are.

If you want to use AI art to create your OWN art, and yes you can, you have to do a lot of your own work. Specifically making guidance images on crude drawings, compositing elements in together with photoshop. Then you've made something new in the same manner of a collage artist.

I need to point out three things. I'm not trying to change your mind, I'm just adding it for consideration.

1. The software was supposed to be trained on publicly available imagery on the internet. The same way you can look at an image and distill what it is in your own mind by looking at a picture to learn what a great image is, so did the software. WHERE THIS HAS GONE WRONG.... is that it has been shown in the LAION training sets have been images that came from sources that were ostensibly supposed to be private, including in some cases medical photos of people from hospitals. This is something that needs to be sorted out for the future. The sad part is it will never be fixed for what's already done. Those models are out there the same way people's awkward pictures have been used as basis a for embarrassing memes. There is no getting that back.

2. Styles are not copyrightable. Monet could not have trademarked his impressionist style any better than the world champion of litigation, Disney, could protect their style. Sure, if you copied one of their character's likeness, you're getting your butt threatened if not sued off. At Steel City Con this last weekend I can point to a minimum of 10 vendors selling illegal Disney merchandise among a sea of nearly every other vendor and artist there selling copies of trademarked work for a fast buck as they draw their versions of these images. I will guarantee you, none of the owners are getting their fair share. But... that's intellectual theft, and that's the difference. How many thousands, nay hundreds of thousands of artists have painted Notre Dame in it's lifetime? Are they stealing from the others? No. Many different impressionists have painted haystacks, and yet Monet could not have sued any of them even if they tried to copy as best they can his style. Now if they did that and claimed to BE him, then they've committed forgery. There's the difference. Heck, look at antiques. If you make a Louis Comfort Tiffany lamp, but claim it as your own despite it being based on his design, you're fine, as long as you sell it as a repro and not pretending to be his. It becomes a "Tiffany Style" lamp and there is little they can say.

3. We have laws on the books to deal with stealing. Forgery and plagiarism. This is where I am a bit nervous about ChatGPT too. I know one person who had claimed to write a term paper using the software on a rather advanced subject, and apparently it churned out a fairly good one. I warned them they better check that thing for plagiarism because it's a great way to get expelled. The point is that would involve copying pieces the same way an artist's trademarked image was copied. Same to same, or close enough to be considered the same. In this regard, both music and writing have better protections than art. Then again, we all are style thief as writers. They're called "Genres". Every fantasy author owes his living in some way to J.R.R. Tolkein. Every mystery writer owes their genre to Edgar Allan Poe. Music composers owe their living to the great minds who created genres, and movie composers even more so. John Williams ripped off Holst's "The Planets" for Star Wars but filtered it through Erich Korngold. That's just like using an AI program to give "an oil portrait, of a pretty girl, in a park, by artgerm, Greg Rutkowski, Alphonse Mucha". (PS put that currently super-hot prompt into the generator and watch what it spits out. It will look beautiful and just like a million other images out there that none of those men painted and couldn't sue you for because it's as common as the Dies Irae in music, or a baroque trill. It's practically the equivalent of writing "It was a dark and stormy night"...

I get the outrage some have. I do. I know that it might be possible to turn this against everything humans do. But it's already done. Adobe is integrating these tools into their Creative Suite as we speak. AI is a tool and it will get better, but never be more than a tool. The creative spark is exclusively human. Hopefully it will become more ethical too. But in this sinful and dying world, my hopes are low.

Will legislation come to shut it down? My money is 99% no. Will legislation change how it's done and made? Absolutely. Just the same way the EU has their internet "Right To Be Forgotten" laws. I'm sure moving forward, there will be laws put in place to allow artists to opt out. Deviantart already tries but points out there's no way to really stop it. And just like a "do not call" list, you can guarantee that it will be obeyed or just make up another list of data for the unethical to exploit.

What's the solution? I've no idea. I just know that there is never any going back. Artists, just like when photography (then CGI, then 3d modelling)showed up on the scene, will have to adapt and incorporate. After all, who complains about using people using Daz Studio nowadays versus being forced to photograph real models? Just about no one, and you're never shutting that down.

Will artists be hurt? Some, and one day it may be me. But as I've had to accept the fact that my books exist on dozens of pirate sites already and there's nothing I can do to get it removed, I have to remind myself that people doing that are hurting people that were never going to buy my books anyway, or if I'm lucky, some day they'll want the real thing.

For me it was never about "saving a buck". I've spent more in time and effort learning how than the value I would have gotten from an artist I paid. It would have been so much easier. But when you don't get an artist of a quality you need for a price you can afford, you need to make choices. And I've shelled out $500 per cover for my fantasy novels and am glad for them! So much easier and enjoyable. But when artists refuse to take your call or respond to an email, you get limited choices. In regards to those artists losing my business... they've only themselves to blame. They refused it. And posting "AI art is theft" thumbnails pretty much ends my ability to hire them in the future because of their attitude and I can't evaluate their art. Self inflicted wounds are always the most painful. I'd have rather found an artist to work with so I could focus on my own craft. But I couldn't, so I didn't and I did what I had to to get the job done. And guess what? If I can commission this other artist I just found, I'd be very happy to do so.

Anyway, I respect your opinion, but for others, I wanted to put out some extra points to consider when considering AI Art as an option.
 

Zee

Mar 1, 2019
3,881
1,511
@BKHunter, so far I’ve designed all of my book covers myself, using royalty-free photos and graphic elements, and putting it all together on the (also free) version of Canva.com.

Are they amazing art pieces? No. But they’re pleasant to look at and they clearly signal their genre, which I imagine is all you’re really going for, anyway.
 
Apr 5, 2019
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If you want to use AI art to create your OWN art, and yes you can, you have to do a lot of your own work. Specifically making guidance images on crude drawings, compositing elements in together with photoshop. Then you've made something new in the same manner of a collage artist.
The main issue is art that is sold.

First and foremost, if you use an AI art generator to make pretty pictures to post on your desktop, no one cares. Mainly because you are not making money off the work. But, the minute you try and sell it or use it in a product, you're now involved in violating the copyright protections of the artist whose images were used to train the AI to generate the art.

These AI systems are not people. They can't look at a painting and be inspired. It has to be trained by images that, unless you have permission to use them from the artist, are being used in a manner that expressly violates copyright law. I can no more use copyrighted art to "train" an AI generator, which is then offered to the public, then I can use that art for the background of my website.

But what I said you cannot do is EXACTLY what's being done. Yes, I know they are "supposed to" be trained on publically available stuff. We both know that's bunk.

An AI does not get inspired by art. It breaks down art into components and stores the images and methods for recall. I liken its use to the rap artists of the 80s and 90s when sampling was a thing. While the sample was used to create beats, the artist had to provide attribution. When they didn't, they got sued, big time (read: Vanilla Ice).

If you want to do mock-ups, that's fine because you're not selling the mock-up. But once there is money involved, that makes damages easy to figure out.

The software was supposed to be trained on publicly available imagery on the internet. The same way you can look at an image and distill what it is in your own mind by looking at a picture to learn what a great image is, so did the software.
This statement is fundamentally wrong. When you look at an image - because that's why images are made in the first place - you are not using that image for a purpose outside of its original intent: something people can look at and appreciate.

However, when you take that image and include it in a software application - which is essentially what's being done here - it violates every fair use argument in the books. The software cannot appreciate the art - it doesn't even look at the art. It breaks it down, saves off some of the collected info for its model, and so on. It is being used by the software for a purpose other than its original intent.

The images used to create the cover for my next book were taken from Adobe. They are used in accordance with the licensing agreement to make new art. If I didn't pay for their use in some way, Adobe could sue me. Even so, past a certain number of copies / views of that art, I have to pay for the art with a new license agreement. Things like Monet may be free, but that is only because they exist outside of current copyright protections (meaning the claim to the copyright has expired).

This is the same exact case with the art used to create these AI systems.

So, no, these are not the same things.

As a general rule, if you can't figure out the source of the art, don't use it. It's like buying a stereo out of the back of someone's car.

But when artists refuse to take your call or respond to an email, you get limited choices. In regards to those artists losing my business... they've only themselves to blame. They refused it. And posting "AI art is theft" thumbnails pretty much ends my ability to hire them in the future because of their attitude and I can't evaluate their art. Self inflicted wounds are always the most painful. I'd have rather found an artist to work with so I could focus on my own craft. But I couldn't, so I didn't and I did what I had to to get the job done. And guess what? If I can commission this other artist I just found, I'd be very happy to do so.
On this, you are correct. This is dumb. However, there is some context here.

When people were scamming art for NFTs, they were pulling them from these sites. So, to protect their IP from a similar threat, they're yanking their work. Once bitten, twice shy.

As for artist inspirations and borderline plagiarism, while this may be true to an extent, the difference is that whatever is produced by an artist is filtered through a number of criteria:
1) Skill,
2) Preferences,
3) Experiences,
4) Voice.

I'm heavily inspired by Tolkien, but Tolkien would NEVER go as dark as I go. I'm heavily inspired by Lovecraft and Howard, but neither of them would write about the subjects I write about. Yes, I am an amalgamation of all of these artists (and Lewis too), but my voice is distinct, and there are also pieces of me in everything I write.

While you may be able to insert your preferences and voice into whatever you make with an AI, you cannot insert your experiences, and you have abdicated whatever skill you have at writing to pursue prompts.

(This is partially why I think any Writing AI will eventually fail. Because in order to get to the granularity you may want with the AI for your story, it'll be just easier to write the story yourself than to write Nth-level detail prompts. Take it from a guy who's had 30+ years of people saying that this thing or that will eventually replace programmers. Then, because they can't get the detail from the app they want from a few keywords, they end up reverting to custom programming. Every. Single. Time.)

I understand what you're saying. But it's like buying that fake Disney merchandise. It may be cheap. It's still wrong to buy it because you very well may be subsidizing theft.

I'll be done with this subject now.

Don't use it.
 
May 24, 2019
709
109
@BKHunter, so far I’ve designed all of my book covers myself, using royalty-free photos and graphic elements, and putting it all together on the (also free) version of Canva.com.

Are they amazing art pieces? No. But they’re pleasant to look at and they clearly signal their genre, which I imagine is all you’re really going for, anyway.
I might try something like this just to get something out there; I could always get a better one professionally done if sales warranted it. Someone will tell me now that the cover is what drives sales, though. :)
 

Zee

Mar 1, 2019
3,881
1,511
I might try something like this just to get something out there; I could always get a better one professionally done if sales warranted it. Someone will tell me now that the cover is what drives sales, though. :)
Yes, the cover of part of it, but I think what really makes the difference is a lot of people—and I mean a LOT—seeing and hearing about your book.

That being said, I’d recommend running your homemade cover by at least a few people before you publish.
 

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