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  1. #1
    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    (premade) Cover art question

    There's a book cover artist who's work I'm interested in. It's a sample of her work with a blank field for author name and title. She said that if I buy it, she'll add my name and title to it (I assume that means she'll then submit it to the publisher). Is that common practice for premade work? I'm not sure if I should be saying that she'd then have to submit it herself, and thus get royalties from sales of my book... or if it's a one-time purchase and then I submit it myself?

  2. #2
    it could be worse Moderator N. E. White's Avatar
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    Hey Dan,

    I think it is the latter. Most artists will not submit their cover art to the publisher unless they are working directly with that publisher - in which case, you would probably not even know who's doing it. If you hired the artist, then they'll be delivering the cover to you.

  3. #3
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    In my experiences with artists, I've found that the best approach is to be clear about exactly what you want and what the artist is offering. In your case, I would ask what they mean by adding your name and title to the cover. My understanding of this is that they would add the details to the cover and then send it to you, so you can submit your own work. But, if this is not clear to you, get the artist to spell out exactly what they mean.

  4. #4
    Registered User spearcarrier's Avatar
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    This thread is a couple of months old, but I came across it while looking for something else and saw there was no real resolution - and being as I am a cover artist I thought I should take this moment to clear up the issue a bit.

    With premade covers, it's general practice for the artist to leave a blank space or even to put on a fake title and fake author name so the author can visualize how things are going to look. Being as you would be purchasing that premade cover for your book, it only makes sense that the artist would then put your book title and your name on the cover instead of having the dummy title or even the blank space. It's part of the job.

    Unless that artist is working with the publisher, it's not common for the artist to do anything more than give you the completed cover for you to do what you gotta do with. I don't work with publishers (except for one particular case or two) so I don't know more about that end than that.

    This is a nice forum! Glad I found it. Think I'll be exploring it a bit now. Off I go.

  5. #5
    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    What I want to know is, do they get royalties like the author would? Or is the one-off purchase normal?

  6. #6
    Registered User spearcarrier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilentDan View Post
    What I want to know is, do they get royalties like the author would? Or is the one-off purchase normal?
    They *shouldn't* get royalties, no more than Boris Vallejo got royalties for the works his paintings were rented as cover art for. I've never even heard of a cover artist getting royalties as part of the author's work. Lawks, if that were the case I could afford to go back to college with as many covers as I've done. :-) We're paid to create a cover, and that's where the contract ends. So yes, the one-off purchase is quite normal.

    It's a time honored tradition, though, if the cover is an original piece the artist did for there to be a credit in the copyright section. "Cover art by Fred" or some such.

    Now when it comes to premade covers there are to watch for. Many cover artists, myself included, use stock art for some of their pieces. This means the artwork on that cover might be repeated elsewhere, although a lot of cover artists strive to make their stuff as original looking as possible.

    Thus: a cover made from scratch with original artwork is worth every single penny you pay for it providing the cover also is eye-catching. I used to charge very little for when I did but now I charge a more competitive rate because it can take a long long time, and I have a family to feed - so I just do my best to make my work worth the money being paid out. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that you want your cover to stand out like a hard punch to the eye.

    And if you're looking to make a cover yourself, I have a fairly long list of public domain resources one can use.

  7. #7
    Registered User spearcarrier's Avatar
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    I've never heard of a cover artist getting royalties under normal circumstances. As I'd tried to say in another post that my internet died on, if that were the case I could probably pay my way through college with the covers I've done. LOL It is standard, though, to put "cover by so and so" in the copyright section.

    So yes, the one-off purchase is normal. When buying, make sure of the rights that are being transferred with it. Many cover artists, like myself, will use stock art from stock resource sites from time to time. Some of those sites have legal bylaws to restrict use, like a limited amount of impressions or even image size on a webpage.
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  8. #8
    Registered User SilentDan's Avatar
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    Ah, okay then.

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