Would anyone be able to help me with a pricing/contracting question for a book cover? :D

  • Hi team!

    I received a request today (via my website contact form) from a person I went to college with. We were in the theater department together. Apparently he and some friends/colleagues/theater professors are putting together a drama anthology and would like to have me design the cover.

    Here's what he said:

    "Hi Monique!

    Your artwork has come a long way. Have you any interest in designing a cover for an anthology of drama? Our book of play scripts is coming together very quickly. It's a project that is meant to provide a platform, for novice and veteran playwrights alike.

    We're in the review process, so it makes sense to start considering artists such as yourself for the cover of this piece of literature.

    The anthology contributors and committee consist of a few playwrights and theatre artists from the old university, and some others from around the country have joined in, so it's a becoming a collaborative project. It would be cool to hear your thoughts."


    • Yes the email sounds weird. He was a weird dude and still is apparently, haha.
    • I have 12 years of design experience and have been shifting my focus to illustration slowly over the last few years. On July 31, I quit my design job to pursue illustration full time (yay! champagne emoji!). So I'm very comfortable with the design portion of this!! Just not the business.
    • I have never done a freelance publication project so I have absolutely no idea what to charge for this or what I should pursue in a contract. Do cover artists expect royalties for instance?
    • Does the type of industry change the pricing or contract at all? I'm guessing they're self-publishing since he is reaching out directly.

    Sorry for being long winded. I understand that there is a lot that goes into pricing and contracts but I was hoping that one of you may be able to point me in the right direction or give me some guide rails to operate within.

    Here is my illustration portfolio: moniquecucchi.com
    Here is my shop: crookedandbeautiful.com

    Thank you all so so so much for being awesome! See ya in the contest thread 🙂

  • I'm also not the best at pricing but what I generally do is start by asking for the client's budget. That gives me a sense of where they're at price-wise. If they offer more than what you expected, great! If they offer a bit less, you can explain how long it would take you and why you would charge a bit more. If they're offering WAY less, then you know right away that it's probably not worth your time.

    If they're self-publishing, you might get less than with a traditional publisher. But also since it's a group, they might be able to pool together a bit more than an individual who's self-publishing. For a cover like this I think it would most likely be a one-time fee rather than royalty payments. Try to get as much info as possible on what kind of illustration/design they want and estimate how long it would take you and how much you want to pay yourself per hour.

  • @Melanie-Ortins Awesome advice. That's the exact strategy I use for portrait commissions, I'm not sure why I was so shell shocked when it came to a cover design 🙂 Of course it would work for that as well! I guess I'm still trying to figure out the right balance of "I need to make enough per hour to buy groceries" vs "no individual personal client is going to pay this much..." I'm narrowing the window.

    I didn't think cover artists would get royalties for something like this but figured it was worth asking. Thanks a lot for your reply!

Log in to reply