So, I decided to order one copy each from B&N and Lulu, to compare the quality. Due to COVID, printing and shipping times are slower than usual (surprise), so it'll probably be a couple of weeks before I actually have my copies in hand. Assuming they are acceptable and I don't find any horrible mistakes that need fixing, I will then order more copies which I'll mail out.
It turns out with shipping & handling and taxes, there isn't that much difference in price between B&N and Lulu for a single copy: $16.84 at B&N Press, $18.09 at Lulu.
Once I get the proof copies, I will post photos.
In the meantime, the artist who did the cover, Mikołaj Szonecki, has posted the step by step process by which he created the final version at his ArtStation page. Go check it out! (And yes, I intend to commission him for future covers. Alexandra Quick and the Lands Below is next!)
Meanwhile, I, uh, spent way too much on commissioned art for the last book. It was fun (and I already went and commissioned a few pieces for the next book while I was on a buying spree - you'll see them eventually) but AQATWW is going to have a dramatically reduced art budget. Which means you get more of my awesome Poser images! :D
I have actually started taking a couple of Udemy courses on Photoshop and Affinity Photo, to try to learn proper techniques. I do not expect to ever actually become a competent artist, but maybe my work will go from "embarrassing janky crap" to "marginally less embarrassing janky crap."
WIP. Minimally spoilery.
It is possible Archie will regret letting Alexandra get a learner's permit.
(I actually like the composition of the elements here, but obviously I am still terrible at filters and adjustment layers.)