Thursday, July 7, 2011

Freelance e-Book Cover Designer

As many of you know I have started designing e-book covers for my mother, Kathleen Taylor.  You can see two of the finished covers below.  There will be four more e-covers by the time I am done with this series.


I am designing these covers for the "exposure" -which you probably know doesn't pay well- and to build my portfolio. I am certainly not complaining as I knew there WOULD be lots of exposure from this project. 

What kind of exposure? Well, besides these murder mysteries, my mom has written umpteen knitting books and maintains a blog that just topped 500,000 hits. Most -like 99.99% - of these people would never visit my blog since my writing and illustrating genres are so different from my mother's. 

Well the exposure angle worked this time.  After completing the first two covers my Mom's agency was interested in adding me to a list of freelance cover-art illustrators.  Wahoo!  This was great news but it left me with a new dilemma.  How much should I charge for this service? I had no idea so I started at the low end of the agency's norm. I still haven't found the wording for a satisfaction guaranteed clause, or any of the other legalese additions yet. These are likely to change as I get feedback, legal consulting and/or work but for now these are my contract terms:

Option #1
  • $200 
  • I keep the rights to the image 
  • An additional $100 if a spine and back cover are needed
  • The front cover/spine/back cover will be formatted for an 11"x17" poster and can be scaled down to any size needed.
  • Author may use the cover art for any promotion of your book.
  • I will set up a section in my e-store where merchandise (business cards, post cards, phone covers, etc) with the covers can be purchased.
  • These products are done through a third party and my modest commission on those items is 10%.
  • I will display the covers on my website with links back to your website as well as to any e-book venue where your book can be purchased.

Option #2  
  • $500
  • You purchase all the rights and own the front cover/spine/back cover.  
  • You will get unlimited use of the art work and may make prints/posters for purchase or sell the image on merchandise.
  • I will only use the cover for self-promotion and as a piece in my portfolio
  • I will display the covers on my website with links back to your website as well as to any e-book venue where your book can be purchased.

Discount for multiple covers

  • 5% discount for 2 - 3 covers
  • 10% discount for 4-6 covers


  • All payments will be made to me via PayPal.
  • First 1/2 of contracted price due at signing. 
  • Preliminary sketches and design work will be submitted and mutually agreed upon before the final cover design is completed.
  • Author will have at least two preliminary designs to choose from.
  • All preliminary sketches and designs will have an "obnoxious watermark" and/or low resolution to deter use of images before final payment.
  • Last half of contracted price due before shipment of final cover art design.


  1. Those sound like excellent, and absolutely reasonable terms. I still intend to take advantage of the Mom Discount though...

  2. That is a pretty good discount, although you have paid it forward many times!