Wow. The response to last week’s article on cover art was overwhelming. I received a ton of emails, facebook comments, retweets, private messages, and an invitation to join a Facebook cover artists’ group. (Thanks, guys!) I’m so glad the information I provided was helpful, and I enjoy hearing from you!
This week I wanted to talk about the process. The things I talk to a client about before the artwork project begins, and in fact, even before they hire me. When someone first contacts me, I reply via email and at the end of my note, I paste in my “process sheet.” It’s similar to one I developed for my freelance editing, but modified to include a worksheet I ask clients to fill out to help me understand what they want.
So I’m going to share my process sheet below (with commentary in the yellow boxes) in the hope that when hiring a cover artist, you’re crystal clear about two things:
- What you expect your cover artist to do for you
- What your cover artist needs to provide you with the best possible image
My Process Sheet
- You let me know you want to schedule a project, and together we determine the timing, based on your book’s release date and my work load. A typical cover art drawing will take me about two weeks to complete.
- You email me the information in the ‘Worksheet’ sections below. The more detail you give me here, the more my artwork will align with your vision. Once I receive your design ideas, we will discuss it and come up with a general, verbal ‘sketch’ of the cover.
- 50% of the fee is due before work begins as a non-refundable deposit. Because the two payments would only be two weeks apart, you can also choose to pay the entire amount up front, if that’s easier for you.
- I send you a proof. (If the entire fee hasn’t been paid in advance, the proof will be watermarked.)
- You request tweaks and changes.
- I send you a final proof based on those requests.
- You send the remaining portion of the fee.
- I send final artwork without watermarks.
What You Will Receive
The images I produce are digitally created, original, vector art drawings, custom designed and based around your descriptions and specifications. For a front-only cover (ebooks), I typically do a 5×8 proportion at 300dpi unless specifically requested to do otherwise. If you are producing a print copy and need a full wrap-around cover (front+spine+back), please send me the correctly sized template (based on final page count) from whichever printing service you choose. (In pdf, png, or psd format)
Current typical* cover art rates:
$495 for ebook (front cover only) or $595 for print. (US dollars – Please Note: If you live in the European Union, I have to add VAT to this quote, regardless of whether you pay in dollars, pounds or euros.) *“Typical” would cover all the samples I’ve shown you – one or two characters, props, background, titling, etc. Only something that is extremely complex, such as a cast of thousands, would run more than that because it would take much more time.
I accept PayPal payments at **firstname.lastname@example.org. I can provide an invoice for tax purposes. I process all my freelance work through Coljam Consultants Ltd, a UK based consultancy firm.
Included in the price is two hours of my time to work on any tweaks and changes you request at this point. Changes like colours, moving characters around, resizing characters or titles, font changes, etc are typically small and will easily fit into that two-hour period. Any changes beyond that would cost $50 per hour, billed in half-hour increments. (This would very likely not be necessary if you simply ask for tweaks. Where this would come into play is for dramatic alterations like, “I’ve changed my mind and want the cover setting to be Paris instead of a beach” or perhaps if you ask for many rounds of tweaks and often change your mind about what you want.)
You will own the rights to the cover to use in any manner you choose.
The WorksheetPart One
TITLE (as you want it to appear on the cover):
AUTHOR NAME (as you want it to appear on the cover):
BOOK GENRE (paranormal, erotic, mystery, etc – please list as many as are appropriate, so I’m more likely to get the feel you want):
BOOK SETTING (time period, location-if you have a specific setting you want for the cover, include that too. We can discuss ideas, if you like.):
TONE (comic or serious? if a romance, is it light and funny? sensual? erotic?):Part Two
Do you have a particular vision for the cover? If so, please describe. I may not be able to be exact, but I will try to incorporate any important elements you want.Part Three
Please give a complete description of the characters you want featured on the cover. (Feel free to include images, if you had any you used as ‘inspiration’ during the writing process. If you don’t have any, that’s fine. Note: I won’t copy pictures exactly, but if you have them, it would help me get a clear picture.) Your written descriptions should include personality traits. Is the heroine shy or brash? A sexy librarian type?
A girl-next-door? A powerful executive? How does she dress, etc.
Are there any important objects or elements that you would like included as “props” in the drawing? (e.g. if a main character has a pet that’s important to the story, a magical talisman she always wears around her neck, a murder weapon, an item of clothing she particularly likes, etc.)Part Five
Any text other than the title or author name you wish to appear on the cover, such as a tagline, review snippets, a star rating, something like: “From the bestselling author of X,” “A SeriesName Book” or any other text. If you want a print cover, please include the back-cover copy.
Feel free to send me images of: other book covers you like (or don’t like!), objects, people, clipart… whatever you might include on an ‘inspiration board’ to help me see your vision of the book.
So, this is the worksheet every client of mine gets just at the point of enquiry. I’ve had great success with it, and never had a client be dissatisfied with my work. I chalk that up to clear, open communication as much as to the quality of my work. You can have the most talented artist in the world, but if you aren’t clear about what you expect, and she isn’t clear about what she does, how much she charges, and how she works, you’ve upped the chances one of you won’t be happy with the process.
Because being an author is a lifetime prospect and not a one time event, you will form a long-term relationship with your artist, so start it out on the right foot. If you’re unsure, ask questions and remember that you can never give her too much information about what you want for your book cover.
Feel free to leave questions and comments, either here, on Facebook, via email…however you like! I always love hearing from authors, readers, and other artists.