contract for a Middle Grade book cover



  • Hi, everyone. I am wondering if anyone can share some experience with setting up an agreement for a book cover.
    I am doing a book cover for a middle grade novel(front and back), no interior illustration included. I wonder what is the common practice for a book cover contract. Here is my assumptions regarding terms:

    1. It is a flat fee in general (no royalty)
    2. The artist retains the copyright of the image
    3. The artist do not get to have her name on the book cover.

    Am I have the correct assumptions? what are your past experiences with book cover assignments?

    The project come from my local publisher, so the payment is not great (as most of the European publishers). But I figured it would be a great material for my portfolio, as I really enjoyed doing the cover illustration. So I am eager to build up more book cover portfolio pieces


  • Pro

    @xin-li I have actually heard of cover artists taking a royalty, but it's not always like this in the industry. It depends on what you want and what you can negotiate 🙂



  • @NessIllustration thank you so much. always very helpful and insightful advice. I will keep that in mind when negociating :-).


  • Pro

    @xin-li It really depends on the market, if it's such a small market it might be a better deal to just license it instead of taking a royalty?


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    While I have never had a book cover with royalties I know of at least two other illustrators who have received them. I love this! I genuinely want this to become industry standard, so I will be asking/offering for royalties in all future book cover projects.

    I don't know that every publisher will agree -- but you will never get what you don't ask for.

    Artist should retain copyright. You are licensing only the rights the client needs. Be as specific as possible with the rights licensed. If the client needs/demands more rights up the licensing fee accordingly.

    You should get your name on the book but likely not on the cover. Inside the back flap of dust jacket for hardcover books, on back cover for paperbacks. Request they include a url to your website.



  • @davidhohn thank you so much for the advice.

    I asked about the royality, and the norwegian publishers do not give royalty for the cover in general. So I got a "no". But I think you are right. I will keep asking for royalty for every book cover project I get in the futuren - this probably contributes to the change which makes the condition better for illustrators.

    I am so suprised to realize that having the Url of the artist's website is not a norm in the industry. I will push for that this time :-).


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