Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book covers and publishing ...

A few lessons learned ...

1. Get a pro.
They need not be expensive. 99Designs, CreateSpace, and others can help.

2. Check the licenses before you distribute the cover.
Covers include art from the cover designer from whom you need a license agreement to distribute the cover. You probably know that already. However, the covers may also contain modified images from many sources: pixabay, shutterstock, dollar photo club, deviant art, turbosquid (yeah, you heard that right), ... and sites from around the world. That's because it's much easier to modify images and assemble them than it is to generate new art - by easier I mean weeks sooner and thousands of dollars cheaper. But artists are artists and licenses are not where they 'live.'

To distribute the composite work on the book cover, the publisher needs licenses for each of the images used. A few great image sources, like NASA are free. Some images at other sources have a Creative Commons license, which is free, but requires acknowledgement. Many sources of the best images require a nominal payment or subscription and may have limitations as to the number of copies that can be made (i.e., eBooks downloaded). The publisher (author/distributor, aka you) needs to access/check/procure licenses for each of the constituent images used. If the designer has these licenses in their pocket, that's great - but it's up to te publisher to check them. It's important to have these licenses in hand before the designer completes the work (i.e., you pay them) or you may be stuck with a beautiful cover you cannot distribute. It can take days to do this, so leave time.

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