Maps are one of the first things your readers will see in your novel and can be the first thing to solidify your world in your mind seeing it on paper. With maps, readers can get a clear idea on where your characters are heading and the obstacles they face.
Growing up, we studied maps in elementary school, learning where the hottest climates are and where land ends and oceans begin. Drawing the rough beginning sketches of your world, it is possible to hire an artist to put together the final draft of your map.
Surprisingly, many writers stress over having their sketch critiqued by a professional artist. No worries! Tiffany Munro, a freelance artist, who has created many pieces of art for writers, explains the anxieties writers face: “If people are melting down from anxiety from a sketch, I let them know they can do a sketch as rough as a circle that says ‘trees here’, or record a video in which they gesture at something and talk it through, or write descriptions. I would say 90% of commissions involve a sketch of some skill level, and of the ones that don’t, half of those based on a real-world location and then the remaining 5% find other way to communicate their ideas,” (Munro). Even if the fear is crippling confidence in authors, it is common. Maps are important for any book set in a new world because readers will receive their second impression of your novel when they turn to the first page and see the world you’ve conjured up.
Although there is a lot of control on the artist’s end, the writer’s influence can be greater during the map-making process. Tiffany asks the client for a few chapters that mentions places and possibly a list of the plants, geography, and architecture. Distance scale information can also help the artist determine the precipitation and the climate of each area.
Further connection between the map and the writer can be inspired by images the writer sends to inspire the artist. These pictures have meaning to the writer and their imagination, revealing the desired style. While asking for personalized maps, and that the map not to “look like the Lord of the Rings Map,” the writers find their own unique world that is tailored to their own inspiration and personality, (Munro).
According to Tiffany the average indie author commission takes from 2 to 4 weeks. These maps can cost around 100-300 dollars typically. Not bad for a professionally made chart.
Check out Tiffany’s work at: http://feedthemultiverse.com/