Michael R. Fletcher, the author of Beyond Redemption (excellent grimdark fantasy, see my review here) has started a thread on Grimdark Fiction Readers and Writers froup on Facebook and folk recommended some amazing cover artists there.
I am going to list those here for the indies who are looking for a cover artist, as a community service. Some of these artists are quite expensive but they have stellar credentials and track records. A couple are extremely talented and quite affordable.
Investing in a top notch cover design goes a long way. If the book is superb it will eventually sell by word of mouth but that may take months, even years. I have seen mediocre and bad cover designs shoot an otherwise splendid book in the foot and hurt the sales, I have seen stunning cover designs sell mediocre stories like hot cakes. Say what you will about the content and the quality of the story, but people are visual creatures and they impulse buy by the cover design. Only the hardcore bookish folk actually buy books by word of mouth and ignore the covers.
But when it comes to indies, cover is everything. You can get away with a bad cover if you are published from a big 5 house but an indie can’t afford to cut corners with the most important element of the marketing, which is the cover design. Bloggers are more likely to pick up a book with a stunning cover, even if they refuse self published books. Majority of the book bloggers out there won’t even touch an indie book unless the author has a good referral or the author is an acquaintance. Not to mention if you are planning to use Bookbub, you can’t get in unless you have a top of the line cover design. They are well known for being picky and outright refusing the indie books with mediocre covers. If you are planning to make actual money, you are bound to purchase a Bookbub advertisement and a killer cover is your golden key to get in there.
I can’t emphasize enough how important the cover design is. Even on Wattpad, where you don’t make a single red cent, a good cover design gets you the readers.
Ok, I think I made my point. Here goes the list:
Raymond Swanland http://www.raymondswanland.com/Pages/Gallery01.html
Marc Simonetti http://art.marcsimonetti.com/
Marcela Bolivar http://www.marcelabolivar.com/
Mitchell Malloy http://mitchmalloyart.com/
Manuel Castanon https://www.artstation.com/artist/castaguer
Lindsey Burcar: http://www.lindseyburcar.com/
Stephan Martiniere http://www.martiniere.com/book-covers
Paganus: http://paganus.weebly.com/ (He does excellent maps too, email kskulptura(at)gmail.com)