Hey there, self-publishing author! You’re amazing! Making a book and publishing it yourself is an act of love, courage, and dedication, and having art on the cover that represents your hard work and helps intrigue potential readers to find out more about the pages inside is so vital– and it’s something I want to help you with.
I’m happy to say that I now provide commissions for book cover art and interior page illustrations and would love to hear from you about your book and about your hopes for the cover!
What I Offer
- Hand illustrated, custom artwork in black and white starting at $250 plus usage rights
- High quality files of 300 dpi up to 1200 dpi if you need higher
- Tiered options for usage rights, including digital only options as well as print and digital combinations
- No charge for digital usage rights for new or establishing authors with up to 5 solo publications under their belts; you pay only the price for the art itself
- Custom vector graphic design elements for an additional small fee for use inside your book such as chapter dividers, borders, or other small black and white illustrations under 3″ x 3
- Custom black and white illustrations for author profile photos for an additional fee
Things I Need from You
Here’s what I’ll need from you before we start:
- Project dimensions
- Deadline for the finished piece(s)
- Type of pieces you’re commissioning: cover art, interior page art, or both
- Visuals, examples, notes, and details for your vision
- Samples of your writing to get to know your style (ideally 3 or so of your favorite chapters)
- Any helpful info about your target audience
- Signed contract
- Nonrefundable payment in full (this can be handled in installments)
Here’s the Process
Here’s what you can generally expect at each stage of the illustration process:
- We talk details, sign an agreement, and set up payment. Once that’s all received in full, I get to work thumbnailing for you! I’ll send you three thumbnails of general layouts for you to choose from; once you’ve decided which one you want to go with, I’ll get started on the full size pencil sketch.
- Once I’ve got your sketch with the general layout, I’ll send you a JPEG of the work in progress and see if you want to make any changes. I include three revisions per piece; this is to ensure that we continue to move forward and not get bogged down in the foreverland of revisions. This stage of the illustration process always looks very different from the final, polished piece, so this will be the time for you to be looking at the overall layout– the details and the true life of the piece come together in the inking stage.
- If we’ve done three revisions, but you still feel that the layout is an issue, I’m happy to provide up to two final revisions (for a total of 5 revisions per piece) for an additional $15/hour. If you decide to pursue these additional revisions, I will need to receive payment in full before I move on to the next stage.
- Once we’ve finished with revisions, I’ll move on to the best part– the inking process! This will be where we see your cover art really come alive, and it’s my favorite part of illustrating a piece.
- Once the inking is finished, I’ll scan the piece at the industry standard 300 dpi and send it to you in JPEG and/or PNG format; if you need another format or would like a higher resolution of up to 1200 dpi, please let me know when we’re setting up the details of the contract. And there you go! A custom, handmade illustration ready to use just for your book!
What You Need to Know
- Commissioning work does not make you the owner of that art. As the artist, I retain all rights to the work.
- Being an illustrator and not a graphic designer, I provide only the art for the book cover; please be prepared with another option for the cover design itself (text, setting up the book for print, etc.).
- Commissions are for one illustrated piece for the book art; if you would like, for example, a piece for the front cover and a piece for the back cover, it will be charged as two commissions and two usage rights fees.
- Purchasing a commission for book art will also require the purchase of usage rights which are offered as either digital only or print and digital usage rights. For authors with up to 5 solo publications, the digital usage rights are offered to you for free– we gotta support each other as budding creators!
- You have the right to use this artwork for the cover or interior of your book and for the promotion of your book, but you do not have the right to sell or license out the piece(s) created for you.
- Promotional items that are acceptable (regardless of whether you purchase the Digital Only or Print and Digital usage rights option) would be printed flyers or similar small printed products sized 8.5″ x 11″ or smaller, advertisements announcing your book, online promotion on social media and other spaces, business cards, and packaging inserts; if you would like to include any additional items, please let me know when we set up the contract, and I’m happy to work with you!
- Usage rights will apply to the first print only; any physical reprints (or first time prints if you purchase a digital only usage rights option) will require my prior written consent as well as a renegotiation for an updated fee at the time of negotiation.
Each piece’s commission price will depend on the dimensions, any additional revisions, any additional add-ons, etc., so I need some details before I can give you an exact amount for the art itself, but I can tell you that for self-publishing authors, my prices start at $250** for the commission itself for one piece, with the additional usage rights fee added on top. Here’s how I charge for the worldwide usage fees:
**If you’re a marginalized author, and you feel you can’t afford these prices, please feel free to message me with your maximum budget for cover art and usage rights fees, and I’ll see what we can do to hopefully work it out!
Digital usage rights only:
- Authors with 1-5 solo publications: $0 per piece
- Authors with 6-10 solo publications: $100 per piece
- Authors with 11 or more solo publications: $200 per piece
Print and Digital usage rights:
- Authors with 1-5 solo publications: $100 per piece
- Authors with 6-10 solo publications: $200 per piece
- Authors with 11 or more solo publications: $400 per piece
So for example, if you were to purchase a commissioned piece that costs $250, and you were an author with 3 published books looking for only the digital usage rights for your e-book, then you would pay $250 total.
Or in another example, if you were to commission a $250 piece, and you were an author with 7 books looking to acquire both printing and digital usage rights, the cost would be a total of $450.
Things I Will Not Draw
- I won’t draw anything that goes against my morals; that includes all the usual stuff: nothing racist, ableist, fat antagonistic, misogynistic, antisemitic, anti-Muslim, classist, anti-queer/trans, child porn/sexualization, rape/sexual assault, depictions of abuse, and so on.
- I’m happy to draw nudity and some erotica, but I’m unwilling to draw porn. I know everyone’s ideas on these definitions differ, so send me your ideas if you’re interested, and I’ll let you know if I’m up for it.
- I’m happy to draw gore and violence (feel free to check out my piece of Nazi-murdering merfolk), but it’s a delicate area, so just like with the above, send me your ideas, and we can talk it out.
So there you have it! If you like what you’ve read so far and want to start a conversation about the details, please feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a line in the contact form below. I look forward to hearing from you!