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How Much Should I Charge?

 
 
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 10:39 pm
This is an open question to anyone with some advice. I am hoping to hear from some of my more published peers and past instructors.

I have been asked to draw a cover for a novel. This is from a first time author who will most likely be self published. She is a friend of mine, but this is business. What is a good price to ask? The cover will be mostly black and white with a few splashes of color. I am not sure what the going rate of such a cover is. Do I ask for a larger, flat fee or something a little lower with a royalty option? Being self published, there is no guarantee of sales. I have tried to feel out what she would be willing to pay, but I only get the "I don't know, you tell me." answer.

At the very least, I need some kind of starting point on this.

Any help is appreciated.

Thank you.


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Type: Question • Score: 6 • Views: 2,120 • Replies: 10
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Oct, 2011 10:41 pm
@Aldistar,
what do you normally charge for a piece of original work?

that is how I would base the fee...
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 12:35 am
I've never heard of cover art being sold on a royalty basis. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Just means it's rare--and unlikely in this case.

You should investigate online different kinds of arrangements and going rates.

By different kinds of arrangements I mean one-time use, first-edition use, etc.

If you are an established artist with a recognizable name, obviously you will be able to charge more than an unknown artist. Get in writing that you will be given full and printed credit for your work. This usually appears on the copyright page, but it might also appear in the acknowledgments. Consider including contact info for yourself if you want to generate interest.

I'm not sure whether the number of colors is an issue for a cover in terms of design However, printing has three kinds of color--one color, two color, and four color.

One color: Black or any other one color.
Two color: Two colors, one of which can be black.
Four color: This is full color and requires a special press to print.

Each additional color costs more to print. Therefore, your author should be the one to decide how many colors the cover will print in.

Sorry I can't offer advice about price. A lot would depend on going rates. Try doing some poking around.
fobvius
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 12:39 am
@Aldistar,
What are friends for?
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 05:34 am
Tough call.

Since this is a self-publlished book, there's no way to determine your "exposure", so consider it building your resume.

A flat fee is best, IMHO.

However . . . be sure to consider any other publishing options, i.e. e-book, posters, flyers, brochures, etc. If your cover is used in any other media, you should get additional pay for it.

0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 06:54 am
@Aldistar,
Aldistar wrote:

This is an open question to anyone with some advice. I am hoping to hear from some of my more published peers and past instructors.

I have been asked to draw a cover for a novel. This is from a first time author who will most likely be self published. She is a friend of mine, but this is business. What is a good price to ask? The cover will be mostly black and white with a few splashes of color. I am not sure what the going rate of such a cover is. Do I ask for a larger, flat fee or something a little lower with a royalty option? Being self published, there is no guarantee of sales. I have tried to feel out what she would be willing to pay, but I only get the "I don't know, you tell me." answer.

At the very least, I need some kind of starting point on this.

Any help is appreciated.

Thank you.



Do not charge a price, but a small percentage of sales or profits..
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 10:11 am
@Roberta,
I'd also be interested in the matter of what if she or he doesn't like what you come up with in cover art - how many times would you do another version to please? Or would you at all?

We used to have review meetings in our design business, and once a concept was accepted by the client and we went ahead on the designing, any concept change or change to already accepted design would be an additional fee, if there had been a flat fee in the first place.

Not sure you'd want to get into that, but some folks can tie you down with dithering. I think something written down is a good idea, whether it is a friend or not.

Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 03:23 pm
@ossobuco,
Back in the day when I worked for a publisher, cover designs were submitted first as a sketch/draft. There was always a clear tissue positioned over the draft--for notes and changes.

One draft, comments and changes, and then the final. If you have to do more than one sketch, I'd charge extra.

But how much to charge is still the issue.

I'd avoid royalties. This is a self-publish, and keeping track of copies sold will not be a formal accounting process. How will you know how many copies are sold and at what price?
0 Replies
 
Questioner
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 03:39 pm
@Aldistar,
Aldistar wrote:

This is an open question to anyone with some advice. I am hoping to hear from some of my more published peers and past instructors.

I have been asked to draw a cover for a novel. This is from a first time author who will most likely be self published. She is a friend of mine, but this is business. What is a good price to ask? The cover will be mostly black and white with a few splashes of color. I am not sure what the going rate of such a cover is. Do I ask for a larger, flat fee or something a little lower with a royalty option? Being self published, there is no guarantee of sales. I have tried to feel out what she would be willing to pay, but I only get the "I don't know, you tell me." answer.

At the very least, I need some kind of starting point on this.

Any help is appreciated.

Thank you.





Do not go with a royalty option for anything that's not coming through a publishing house, though they won't offer royalty for cover art. Figure out a flat rate based on the amount of time you believe it will take.

As a graphic designer, I typically charge friends $35 an hour and non-friends $55 an hour based on the project and how nice I'm feeling. I would think long and hard about what hourly rate you would charge, count up the amount of hours you believe such a venture would take, pad it by 1 hour, and quote that.

At worst they'll say 'no' which means it wouldn't have been worth your time anyway.

0 Replies
 
mags314772
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 07:04 pm
You are right...business is business. I am in the process of self-publishing a children's book. I wrote it, and hired my niece, who is a professional artist, to illustrate it. To begin with, make sure you have a contract, detailing exactly what you will provide and what you expect. My niece illustrated nine spreads plus cover, for a total cost of $6,000. Each two-page spread was $450, which included one alteration. I would think that $500 would be a reasonable place to start.
0 Replies
 
Aldistar
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Oct, 2011 09:47 pm
Thank you all for helping me out with this. I think going ahead with the hourly rate and waiving the royalties will be the best way to go. She is a good friend of mine, but I don't know what her plans are to keep record of how many books she has sold Smile. It is not out of the realm of possibility that she may never get around to publishing it at all.

A few years ago I drew up a pricing scale that took into account hours, medium and size, so I will have to un-earth that and see what's what. I am going to have to find out what the size ratio and bleed is for book covers. I like to work a few scales larger and then reduce it down.

She called me today to announce that she also re-writing a full color, fully illustrated childrens story she wrote several years ago. I am excited by the prospect even if I am apprehensive about going into a business proposition with friend. We will see.

Either way I'm going to make her give me a few copies of the book to read and show off Smile.
0 Replies
 
 

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