Let’s Judge a Book by Its Cover

courtesy of gograph.com

In my last post, I snuck in a reference at the end regarding having just hired a designer to work on my book cover(s). And because of it, I’m kind of freaking out. First, the designer assured me that he was doing me a favor in working with me on our negotiated price. When I excitedly told Hubby-pants what he was charging me, his jaw dropped. But he was right. The guy could easily tell me he was working with me while laughing on the other side of our email conversations and all the way to the bank. But I did a little internet searching and it turns out he is definitely working with me. In fact, I would almost call it pro bono. I got lucky. And if I like working with him, I plan on commissioning him for my author website and promotional materials. So exciting! And a heavy, cumbersome weight off my shoulders.

But wait, why am I still freaking out?

Because I don’t know what the fee should include!!! *pulls out hair* What about revisions? I obviously need to make sure the image works in ebook and print formats. Is that two different things? What if it prints out in different colors? How do own the rights to the image? What about my book blurb? (By the way, does anyone wanna write that for me? I’ll be your best friend!) He mentioned head shots in our conversations. I have to get my hair done!

Now doΒ you see why I’m freaking out? And if you guys care about me at all, even a little bit, even in that you-open-the-paper-and-see-my-obit-and-think-it’s-a-shame kind of way, you’ll provide some suggestions in the comments section.

26 thoughts on “Let’s Judge a Book by Its Cover

  1. I am going to skip over the whole thing about how you negotiated a price with out discussing what it included. Make your life simple, call/email them and say “I just want to clear this up before we get started so we have no misunderstandings. What exactly is covered by this fee/price.” Get the agreement in writing and everybody will be happier later on.

  2. EXCITING! πŸ™‚

    Stop freaking out and enjoy the ride *snigger* What do you mean that’s not helpful? πŸ˜‰

    I think you really need to clarify what the fee includes hon, and I don’t think you’ll own the rights to the image (going by what I’ve heard from authors who have used others work on their covers).

    As for the blurb, well, whoever writes that will need to have read the WHOLE MS wouldn’t they? πŸ˜‰


  3. Definitely clarify what the fee includes before he starts working on the cover!

    As for who owns the rights – Is he going to do original artwork or will he use stock images? If he does original artwork, he probably would own the rights. But I’ve never known any writers who had completely original artwork for their books.

    There are lots of royalty-free sites now where you can legally buy the one-time rights to use images for websites or book covers. If your artist is not doing original artwork, make sure he intends to use one of those sites so you don’t wind up getting a “cease and desist” notice for using someone else’s artwork without permission. Some good sites for cover art are iStock, StockFresh, and Dreamstime. Many of those sites allow buyers the right to use the images on their cover for sales up to 250,000 copies. If you sell more copies than that, you can buy extended licensing rights.

    But if you sell more copies than that, you won’t need to, because some big NYC publisher will have discovered you and will give you a snazzy new cover from their in-house art department!

  4. Well if you sign a contract (which as a designer I would recommend) it ensures all the art is in your name. As for print and ebook, I find just cropping the front of the cover (and saving separately works nicely for ebook versus print, and if he’s a professional he’ll take care of color worries. Technically color is different for print versus digital, but P.O.D. Services like Lulu and CreateSpace accept both RGB, (digital) and CYMK (print) you can email me if you have more questions. :*

  5. Well, I must say upfront I consider myself lucky because my cover artist is also one of my bestest friends, and so I didn’t have to worry about all those things you’re mentioning because I trusted him completely. Said so, my cover artist has a page on his website where he specifies exactly what you get with your money, which I think is quite the norm. What you could do is look for several cover artists and see what they ask/offer for a cover and see what’s included in their packages and what isn’t. Hope it helps πŸ™‚

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