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Several years ago I left a job I had worked at for over a decade to try new things, work on a specific portion of my skill set, and oh yeah, make more money.  To make a long story short, the multi-billion dollar company I applied at was bought out by a larger multi-billion dollar company around the time I was hired and a comedy of errors ensued.

Job roles changed, pay structures changed, and within a year of my getting hired, six of the seven members of my team left the company for greener pastures.  I was one of those six (we were told that all senior developers were being made developers and all developers were being made junior developers and they were going to cut my pay to 20% lower than the salary I left to go there) and another was a guy named James.

James was the most savvy of the UI developers on our team (so much so that they had him handling the technical portion of my interview even though he was also the most junior member of the team).  He was also an artistically inclined guy.  He used to doodle drawings during meetings (reminding me of the commentary in some volumes of Dilbert and Pearls Before Swine) and he drew comic strips.  I used to feed him story lines and punchlines for his efforts and we both had great fun.

When I wrote a book, I looked around for a cover.  I am NOT artistic (in a graphical sense) and my original effort was a somewhat ominous photograph of a full moon rising over the trees (in my backyard) with a title and my name on the front.

I remembered my friend James, and asked him for his input/thoughts about it and he responded by creating this:


THAT my friends is worlds better.  That’s amateur versus my amateurish (though I have to say his “amateur” work looks pretty professional).

It gets better.  My books all have long journeys in them (every one of the five in this series does) which means that for the sake of my poor readers they deserve a map.  Book One was relatively straightforward – they traveled south, then north, then south over the same road (I hope I didn’t ruin the surprise for any of you that haven’t read it) and the bad guys came from the north.  Book Two became significantly more complex (South, southwest, east-ish, southwest, east, and then retracing it all backwards – hope I didn’t ruin THAT for you either!)

I put forth the effort to create a map.  Here’s what I came up with:


Now, that’s an improvement over the terrible cover I made at the beginning, and I felt pretty good about it.  I sent it to James and he has once again made me feel like an amateurish oaf.  There are still a couple of minor modifications he is going to make to get this just right, but here is what he came up with:



The moral of the story is that I am good at what I do and James is good at what he does.  I like to think I am a decent writer, but a man’s got to know his limitations.  One of mine is art/drawing.  Anybody out there who wants good artwork for a book they are working on, find a buddy who is more talented than you are and DON’T BE AFRAID TO ADMIT IT.