As my book on the Craighead Naturalists inches toward publication, a cover is needed. Using a single photo for a background image wouldn’t work because the Craigheads are identified with so many things. A collage of several photos would be too cluttered. Original artwork is needed. The rub there is that I have no artistic talent whatsoever. References to a site named Fiverr.com piqued my interest. Each job (gig in Fiverr parlance) starts at $5 and goes up from there with addons, typically such things as higher resolution, commercial license, color, etc. After spending $31.50 (Fiverr charges a 50 cent commission, sometimes more, on each gig) on an unsuitable cover, I decided that going with the basic five dollar gig to see if the artist would likely generate something useful before purchasing any addons. Those can be bought later once you’ve decided the artist is the one you want to use. To speed up the process, I ordered basic gigs from three artists to see if any of them would likely create a useable cover design. Soon, I saw that a book cover designer wasn’t what I needed. Fiverr book cover designers do not usually create artwork for you, they use stock photos or artwork you provide.
After realizing it was artwork I needed, I looked at samples of art done by various artists, I selected one whose samples included one for Denali I especially liked and thought he’d be a good fit for creating something that says “Craighead.” In a few days, he sent me a back and with drawing that included a wolf and a hawk. Perfect. Except the drawing didn’t allow enough bleed area for trimming when used on a book cover. Unable to get across what I needed, I created the bleed area myself, which wasn’t too hard to do because the area that needed to be replicated was black. I gladly paid for the necessary addons and shifted my focus to overlaying the title, subtitle and author’s name onto the cover.
I experimented with various shades of green and came up with nothing useful. I went back to Fiverr book cover designers and tried a few five dollar gigs. All were duds but one. And it jumped off the page at me. He extended the black area at the bottom of the artwork an inch more than I had to allow space there for the author’s name. He put the first word of the title and the author’s name in a piercing red and the rest of the title and subtitle in black. His first choice of fonts and placement of the title and subtitle against the artwork didn’t work but, with a few adjustments, a cover I like immensely emerged. This experience taught me that, with some patience, even I can have a great looking front cover for a hundred dollars.