Monday, May 15, 2017

Update on Illustrations

Hi Everyone!

I wanted to give you an update on my attempts to find an illustrator for my books. As you probably know, I've spent months looking for someone who could illustrate my books.  It has been difficult to say the least.  In particular, it was hard to find people who could match the quality level I was looking for.

Indeed, I figured that if I was going to do this, I wanted to do it right.  I wanted the images to blow you away and, hopefully, become iconic in our little genre.  Finding someone who can do that is not easy... but I think I've done it.  In fact, I think I've done it three times over.


I have found three absolutely amazing illustrators.  Each has their own style, obviously, but each is amazing.  I can't wait to show their work to you.  Right now, I'm holding onto a couple books waiting for the illustrations.  When I have them, I will publish the books.  Then you can all compare all three and tell me what you think!  I will hopefully release all three around the first week of June.

I am VERY excited about this!!

To give you a sense of what I'm doing, I'm planning five images per book.  Each image is specially commissioned (and cost a lot).  The images I'm getting so far are gorgeous and sexy, and they fit the stories.  Hopefully, over time, all of my future books will be illustrated.

The bad news is that it takes time to get each book illustrated, so this might slow things a tad now and then and I may still have to issue some books without illustrations at times.  We'll see.  I also may need to add a dollar to the cost of each new book to cover some of the cost of the illustrations, but we'll see -- that dollar works out to $0.20 per image, which seems pretty reasonable.

In any event, please share your thoughts.  Lets me know what you think!  As we get closer, I'll give you more details and will probably post an image or two for you to see.  And in the meantime, I'm hoping to issue a new book by the end of next week.  This is one I've always wanted to write about an academy where men are turned into woman against their will.  Should be fun!



Dee Mentia said...

It seems odd for someone like me, who has created a gazillion TG captions, but I am not a huge fan of illustrations or pictures in fiction, especially within TG stories. And if it adds cost to the price, I would probably be against it. If I want to picture something contained in the story in my mind, it will never likely match what is drawn/photographed on the page, and it could take me out of the story if it is that jarring.

I recently bought a story on Amazon from Courtney Captisa with some stock photos embedded. I pretty much skipped over them as they didn't seem interesting to me, and viewing them in Kindle seemed like a waste, even if I did like them.

Since you are commissioning them, and are paying a decent amount of money for them, would it be best to offer some sort of code at the end of each book to download the illustrations in a high quality format from a personal server / website? That way they can be appreciated in a way that you cannot when reading the story on a Kindle or other ebook reader.

Anonymous said...

I love the idea!

Blackstarfish said...

I look forward to seeing the illustrated books.
I don't see it as restricting the use of my imagination, but rather as a way of keeping within the author's intentions. It will allow me to see the true story as my imagination fills in the true gaps

AnnMichelle said...

Hi Everyone!

Dee, I see your point, and I think it is a fair point. But at the same time, I have been getting dozens of requests to add illustrations for at least two years now. I can't say that either group is right or wrong, I think it's more a matter of preference.

For me personally, it's about the quality of the images. When a book comes with poor illustrations, I tend to ignore them and feel no connection to them. BUT when they are really good illustrations, I personally think they can enhance the stories. Sandy Thomas always included illustrations and I remember some of those better than I remember the stories. So to me, the issue is finding high quality images that fit the stories.

In that regard, I spent about six months trying to find great artists and I literally must have looked at the works of thousands of people. Of all those people, only a handful truly stood out to me and they've agreed to provide the illustrations. Their styles are very different, but I think each of the three is an amazing artist who can provide the types of details that will excite people and the types of emotion/seductiveness that will make the images special. I wouldn't have included the images in the books if I didn't think that. But I understand if illustrations just don't interest you too.

In terms of providing larger copies, kindle books can actually be read on computers or phones or tablets of any size as well as kindles. And these will be large size images. Moreover, people should be able to zoom on the images to adjust what they see and to check out details more closely. I think people will find it interesting.

AnnMichelle said...

Thanks, Anon!

Thanks Blackstarfish! I really think these are special. I am not kidding when I say that I looked at thousands of artists. I wanted people with a real eye for presenting the human form.

In particular, I wanted artists who could draw characters that were simultaneously realistic and yet stylized enough not to crowd out people's own imaginations. At the same time, I spent a lot of time explaining the importance of the clothing aspect, and they all wanted a lot of information about the emotions of the scene. They wanted to know everything about what the characters were thinking at the time, and they wanted to understand what I thought my readers would really want from the scenes.

The end result so far has been some fantastic drawings. Each of the three has a very different style, but each has sent me images that instantly draw you in and which I keep going back to for various reasons. I truly think people will be happy with these and will feel that these elevate the books a notch. :)

Dee Mentia said...

I can understand Ann, and I wanted to give a counterpoint because I think most people would be thrilled to have the images, and those that don't, might not say so if they are sub sissies! I guess it is just a matter of taste, as I didn't care for the Sandy Thomas graphics. They felt like they were from another time and place, which if they were from the 70's and 80's, were a different time and place! LOL

I use the Kindle for PC reader. I will have to look at the picture attributes as far as zooming in or enlarging the images. That would possibly make a difference in my mind when purchasing a story, especially since one with illustrations would be charged at a higher rate of purchase, as should be done if adding them in figures into the bottom line.

I like to try to support the community so I will check one of them out when they get released. As an aside, I'm not sure if you have talked about it in the past, but back in June of 2015, I wrote up an article about ways to buy stories on Amazon while being stealthy. I wouldn't mind if you wanted to reference it in a post of your own for your readers. Maybe it'll get a few more people to buy your stories that were afraid to otherwise!

AnnMichelle said...

Hi Dee!

Thanks for sharing your views. I definitely want to hear what people think, because my goal really is to make my readers happy, so I'm always looking to understand what people like and what they don't and why.

As an aside, on Thomas, there were many images I loved and many I did not. And I agree with you that many felt dated. I'm hoping to avoid that.

The plan right now is to use rather large images so they are clear and can be put into paperbacks as well. That should allow for a tremendous amount of zooming. I've been taking to the artists about how to use this ability effectively too.

I'd love to reference your post. I'm always looking for ways to make it easier to help people find ways to buy the books. Thanks!


Dawn said...

I think I'd offer alternatives to my readers. Buy the book with or without illustrations with a corresponding price and see how sales of each go. This would give you a better idea of the real market for illustrated works. It will also allow you to establish a better price point for your illustrated works in the future.

AnnMichelle said...

Hi Dawn, I've thought about that actually. That might work.

Anonymous said...

It really does depend on the illustrations. The problem is, without seeing a sample you can't really know whether they will be what floats your boat, but with only five illustrations you would effectively be giving 20% of your illustrations away for free if you put one on the cover. Wouldn't personally put me off buying as I don't feel it is a lot of money, though it isn't something I have ever thought your books have needed either.