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Discussion Starter #1
I have a business idea that would cater to both self-published and traditional fiction authors. I would like honest feedback and I will not be offended if you do not like the idea.

I would provide illustrations of favorite characters, based on your books' physical descriptions of the characters. I would send the artwork to authors who in turn would sell the artwork to fans.

This probably would work for authors who have a huge number of devoted fans. 
 

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There's no reason you couldn't do that. Although you might get more business if you offered cover illustrations as well. Lots of authors won't buy character portraits to give them away or sell them, but there are tons of authors in need of book covers.
 

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That's not a bad idea at all - the drawing illustrations part. I think the bigger use case may be authors putting the character illustrations in the end or beginning, or on their website as an added feature. I've often asked my beta readers on how they "imagined" a character to be. Getting an illustration done might even spur the writer to more vividly describe the characters. I'm not familiar with the secondary market - i.e. authors selling the portraits etc.
 

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I've seen authors who either do that, or have someone do it, so it's something that may have a market. Worth researching further, at any rate.
 

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empathizer said:
I have a business idea that would cater to both self-published and traditional fiction authors. I would like honest feedback and I will not be offended if you do not like the idea.

I would provide illustrations of favorite characters, based on your books' physical descriptions of the characters. I would send the artwork to authors who in turn would sell the artwork to fans.

This probably would work for authors who have a huge number of devoted fans.
You could go to https://fiverr.com and see the similar services there, and compare them to your idea -- the illustration services.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Would there be a bigger demand for my service if I created portraits of characters (based on physical descriptions) from famous books; for example, Moby Dick, War And Peace,  David Copperfield?
 

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I've been looking for an artist to do character art for a series!

I think it's a great idea!

But...

This is really an extra / just for fun thing. I am willing to spend a little cash, but I can't justify spending much, since I don't expect to see any return on my investment.

I don't think you'll be able to charge super high rates for character portraits.

What are you charging and do you have any samples? I'm looking for cute to realistic couples portraits (so two people in a cute pose) for a romance series. It's six books and I could go with all six or the last three, depending on pricing. The characters are not stock photo findable, so I'd love some cute art.

I do think some fanart could help get you noticed. I know I've bought original art on Etsy after finding a shop while looking for fanart.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Crystal_ said:
I've been looking for an artist to do character art for a series!

I think it's a great idea!

But...

This is really an extra / just for fun thing. I am willing to spend a little cash, but I can't justify spending much, since I don't expect to see any return on my investment.

I don't think you'll be able to charge super high rates for character portraits.

What are you charging and do you have any samples? I'm looking for cute to realistic couples portraits (so two people in a cute pose) for a romance series. It's six books and I could go with all six or the last three, depending on pricing. The characters are not stock photo findable, so I'd love some cute art.

I do think some fanart could help get you noticed. I know I've bought original art on Etsy after finding a shop while looking for fanart.
My portraits would be photorealistic and not really cute art. Also, I would not be cheap, so my idea may not be feasible.
 

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This sounds very challenging, because you will have to charge quite a lot for it, but the service is not in high demand. That's a really unenviable combo. You lose a lot of voice in this scenario, in that you can't easily guide a client to something more practical to accomplish or more easily marketable when the offering is for a literal depiction as described. And if you don't enjoy selling, you may particularly dislike selling someone on the idea that they can in turn sell what you're selling them. I think you will be better off seeking work as an illustrator, and occasionally taking jobs like these at your own option.
 

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I like this idea a lot.  The only thing is that it seems like you'd be looking for a very particular author to work with.  It would be someone with a big enough series to justify something like this, and also somebody who would want to spend the time to give their fans a little extra.  Business minded authors would look at this and think whether it is worth it to coordinate and sell artwork for the fans when they could just use that time to work on their next book. 

You could always offer this as a service, you know, there's no real downside about putting the idea out there, but you might have more success with traditional covers and artwork.  Maybe it's the kind of thing that will become more interesting to authors over time.  If you build a relationship with people and offer this idea, some of them might take you up on it.  I could definitely be wrong, but I think that this would be a better supplement to traditional cover art rather than a business in itself.

All in all though, it's a great idea.  Now you just need to figure out how to make it work for you.
 

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Hmm, yeah, I don't know if photorealistic portraits are in high demand. There is photorealistic fan art, but I think you'll have a hard time pleasing authors with a photorealistic portrait, because you'll have to be that much more accurate to their vision of the character, and they won't really know how to communicate it to you.

I paid $50 for a cartoon portrait headshot and I'd pay up to $50/character, so $100 for a sketch of a couple but that would be pushing it & I'm a high earner. It's not that I don't value artists. I have a BFA! It's that I can't justify spending more on something that is not actually making my business money.

If I was using the art on a cover, then I could pay more, but AFAIK there's no demand for photorealistic covers.

I imagine you'd have more luck with selling photo realistic portraits to people looking for gifts.
 

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Crystal_ said:
If I was using the art on a cover, then I could pay more, but AFAIK there's no demand for photorealistic covers.
There's loads of demand for photorealistic covers. It just depends on the genre.
 
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