Art Guidelines

Artist Submission Guidelines

For budgetary reasons and ease of production, we have been using mostly stock art and photography for our ebook covers, but we do sometimes use art from freelance artists, photographers, and graphic designers. The pay is low, topping out at $25 for an ebook cover.

Do not bother sending anything fancy to our physical address–it will go straight to the recycle bin.

What works best for us is to see samples from a portfolio that are actually available for us to purchase the rights to. We do not commission original work. We pay too little to feel comfortable demanding that artists create new work just for us, and we have too often been disappointed by unusable work that we’ve then had to reject. Artists do approach offering to create new images, but we cannot contract the work until we see the finished piece. We know that’s not fair, which is why we do not assign commissions.

Artists who wish to create a piece with one of our upcoming books in mind are welcome to do so for their own creative endeavors, but we really do not and can not contract or buy art until we see an actual, finished piece. We love and appreciate the erotic arts, but the budget just isn’t there for us to be able to commission.

When we do buy art, we tend to avoid things which are too clearly identified with simple genres–we rarely buy spaceships, unicorns, elves, etc. although once in a while that’s exactly what we need. If you have a look at our covers you’ll see they are usually metaphoric rather than literal representations of their themes.

Our covers always show a human figure in some representation, whether just their eyes, a limb, or the entire body. No frontal nudity is allowed at all for obvious reasons. What we are looking for is art that conveys sensual emotion and which fits the theme of whatever book we are looking to match it with.

Art needs to look good when small (100×150 pixels, 72 dpi) and also large (510 x 760 pixels, 72 dpi). For this reason, bold simple images tend to work better than scenes with a lot of detail in them.

Surrealistic, collage-style, Dave McKean-esque, a lot of our covers have been described that way–we have a tendency to like that kind of art. Sandy Viktor Nys is one of our top cover artists for that reason.

Another aesthetic note: we really would like more MALE figures. For some reason, 90% of the artists who approach us are interested in either drawing or photographing female nudes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but many of our readers are female and many of our protagonists are hot male characters — they need to be represented. Also we have a fair number of books with gay male themes. These obviously need male images, too. And we would LOVE to see images that show male and female figures together (though the books are rarely exclusively het). We also definitely like gender-neutral and androgynous figures.

When we do buy female figures, they are pretty much never comic-book or porno-style big busted babes. We love Red Sonja by Frank Thorne, but she is NOT the look we are going for. Overall, because our books are science fiction/fantasy, usually anything that looks like a haircut or eye makeup that would date the figure to an era (like the 1990s, say) that doesn’t fit the book is going to be rejected, with a few exceptions. (i.e. Cyberpunk can have “punk” looks of the 1980s even if the book is supposed to take place in 2100 or something.)

We do not have an art & production director. If you have JPGs or online samples to point us to that are ready for rights to be purchased for use, email editorial director Cecilia Tan at ctan.circletpress (at) gmail (dot) com with your samples or links.

You can check the writers guidelines page to see if there are any upcoming anthologies on the way which could need art. See the navigation tabs above for that page.

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