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Digiterium
04-03-2016, 02:52 PM
2 questions about cover design.

First is rights to the cover design. When you sell a cover to an author, do you keep the rights or are they transferred to the author? I've seen one website, where they say the rights to the photos and design stay with their respective photographers/designers and you can print up to 250k hard copies of the images before needing an extended license, is that standard practice? what is standard practice? I'll probably be taking my photo's, so the photos and design will all be me.

Next is generally what's the best way to size the cover design. I'm creating covers at 1563x2500 px, at 300 dpi. I want to be able to offer print versions of the covers as well, which I'm know I'm covered with, with the sizes and dpi I'm using, but I'm unsure if that helps in regards to the spine and back cover. What do book cover designers do in regards to the spine/back cover? do they design the front cover in the first place as a double width image so in theory it could be used (with some adjustment for spine) to cover the entire front and back? or they not bother with spine/back and just go back into the design and cobble something together for the spine/back best they can with the images they have to create the spine/back if needed? So I guess I'm asking is how much do ebook cover designs prepare for a possible print and needing a spine/back?

Dennis E. Taylor
04-03-2016, 06:17 PM
First, disclaimer: I'm not a graphics designer. I'd be a customer, if anything.

Regarding the question with the extended license, I'd reject that artist out of hand. Wouldn't even contact them. I've never actually seen that clause, and there are so many cover artists who don't have such a thing, why would you agree to it? Maybe if the artist was the best cover-maker ever...

Regarding the question about sizing-- you can't predict how thick the spine will be, because it depends on the paper, the internal formatting (margins, etc) and the dimensions of the paper used. There are lots of variations on how you handle the front and back, and it all depends on how much effort you want to put in and how much you want to charge. One option is to design a full-on front cover, then design something for the back cover that would serve as a soft background for the back-cover-blurb printing. Otherwise, most people just use a solid color for the spine and back cover.

Digiterium
04-03-2016, 06:45 PM
First, disclaimer: I'm not a graphics designer. I'd be a customer, if anything.

Regarding the question with the extended license, I'd reject that artist out of hand. Wouldn't even contact them. I've never actually seen that clause, and there are so many cover artists who don't have such a thing, why would you agree to it? Maybe if the artist was the best cover-maker ever...

Regarding the question about sizing-- you can't predict how thick the spine will be, because it depends on the paper, the internal formatting (margins, etc) and the dimensions of the paper used. There are lots of variations on how you handle the front and back, and it all depends on how much effort you want to put in and how much you want to charge. One option is to design a full-on front cover, then design something for the back cover that would serve as a soft background for the back-cover-blurb printing. Otherwise, most people just use a solid color for the spine and back cover.

Thanks for the info, regarding what you said regarding the first point. So you're saying you would reject a designer if they had the extended license thing? or where you refering also to the designer keeping the rights to the image?

Dennis E. Taylor
04-03-2016, 07:00 PM
Thanks for the info, regarding what you said regarding the first point. So you're saying you would reject a designer if they had the extended license thing? or where you refering also to the designer keeping the rights to the image?

Extended rights thing. It's basically a cash grab. IMO, the author does the job that they do, and it doesn't cause them one iota extra work if I sell more books. I understand, in principle, if they're trying to build a business model similar to software sales (where you pay for every install), but to make that work in a world where everyone else is going flat-fee, you'd have to sell your cover for five cents per sale or something.

And that's the real problem with that business model. There are so many artists offering their work for a flat fee, why would I or anyone take on the extra liability of an extended license fee? What is the artist offering to counteract that extra liability?

kevinwaynewilliams
04-03-2016, 07:27 PM
My technique for handling spines is to keep three separate images: generally a 6.25x9.125" front and back and a spine design that works at .25" narrower than my expected spine size. Once I have an exact page count, I know an exact thickness (CreateSpace and Ingram both have calculators, and CreateSpace will invariably be a little thicker than Ingram). I build a background image in the background color of the spine, center the spine on top of that, right adjust the front cover on top of it, and left adjust the back cover on top of it, then save the result as one 6.25"x18.25"+spinewidth cover.

If later revisions change the page count (or I change paper type), I just repeat with the process with the new dimensions.

Digiterium
04-03-2016, 07:52 PM
Extended rights thing. It's basically a cash grab. IMO, the author does the job that they do, and it doesn't cause them one iota extra work if I sell more books. I understand, in principle, if they're trying to build a business model similar to software sales (where you pay for every install), but to make that work in a world where everyone else is going flat-fee, you'd have to sell your cover for five cents per sale or something.

And that's the real problem with that business model. There are so many artists offering their work for a flat fee, why would I or anyone take on the extra liability of an extended license fee? What is the artist offering to counteract that extra liability?

I agree, although in some stock photography websites there does seem to be a limit on the number of times you can reproduce something, 250k appears to be a number which is used. But for me as a soon to be cover designer and author, I don't want to put any limit on the number of times it can be reproduced, unless there's some clear obvious reason for doing so, and so far I've not seen one.

Digiterium
04-03-2016, 07:58 PM
My technique for handling spines is to keep three separate images: generally a 6.25x9.125" front and back and a spine design that works at .25" narrower than my expected spine size. Once I have an exact page count, I know an exact thickness (CreateSpace and Ingram both have calculators, and CreateSpace will invariably be a little thicker than Ingram). I build a background image in the background color of the spine, center the spine on top of that, right adjust the front cover on top of it, and left adjust the back cover on top of it, then save the result as one 6.25"x9.25"+spinewidth cover.

If later revisions change the page count (or I change paper type), I just repeat with the process with the new dimensions.

That's interesting, your back image though, is it a continuation/enlargement of the front image? or you create a new back image using elements of the front? or just something which is sort of related? also the text on the back of the book, is that embedded inside the back image?

Dennis E. Taylor
04-03-2016, 08:34 PM
That's interesting, your back image though, is it a continuation/enlargement of the front image? or you create a new back image using elements of the front? or just something which is sort of related? also the text on the back of the book, is that embedded inside the back image?

I know you asked Kevin this, but I'm just putting in my 2 cents (1.5 cents U.S.)

If you look at my Outland cover (assuming you can see sigs), I took the billowing smoke part of the cover, expanded it to full cover size, made it 80% transparent, and set it as the background for the back cover. It provides a little bit of texture, and a tie-in with the front cover, but doesn't distract from the text.

kevinwaynewilliams
04-04-2016, 01:25 AM
That's interesting, your back image though, is it a continuation/enlargement of the front image? or you create a new back image using elements of the front? or just something which is sort of related? also the text on the back of the book, is that embedded inside the back image?

Completely distinct. Given the complexities of Print-On-Demand with its relatively large bleeds, I'd have a hard time recommending going with the wraparound approach.

You can see front/back (as well as my advertising imagery) at http://motthavenbooks.com/kwwilliams/demographics/

CetiAlphaVI
05-15-2016, 12:43 AM
The extended license thing is commonplace for many stock photography sites. A stock photo may be one price, $10, $20, $30, what ever they charge, but if you print over so many copies you have to purchase an extended license which may be a few hundred depending on the photo used. If a designer uses the photo of lesser price, they are saving you money, but you should be able to request the full price photo right out of the gate(but then if you don't sell that many copies you've just wasted some money). Good and original stock photography is not cheap. Also whether or not you are allowed to sell that photo in your design and have some rights to it, it won't be uniquely yours and the site that sold it still has rights to sell it again. If you want the photo not to be used by anyone else, then either you will pay thousands, or hire a photographer at whatever price they may charge to take a unique photo for you alone to use(probably the cheaper of the two options).

As far as design, the extended license mentioned above should be the only time they might require more money. A designer should never require more money after so many prints unless the design was built with elements that require it(like stock photography or possibly a typeface). Also, the "design" rights should fall to you upon payment. If a designer states they don't give you rights after payment, then I would run from that designer. They may retain rights to use the design in their portfolio, but that doesn't really stop you from doing anything with it.

gtbun
08-05-2016, 03:54 PM
It's pretty common practice for designers and artists to retain the rights to their work - after all, they've done the work - and when the client pays for that work the rights are then extended to them. So essentially, you enter into co-ownership with the artist. Personally, while I retain the rights to the work, I don't really do anything with it. It just means I can put the work online for portfolios or examples, etc. without permission - though I'll often ask anyway. This is all stipulated in contracts. For a designer to essentially say, "you can only print so much before you have to ask us" is a bit strange, though 250,000 copies is A LOT, so I can't see it being much of a problem.

As for designing covers, a professional designer will design the whole thing (front, cover, back) in on document, on one page. When I've created ebook covers, I've designed a full print cover first and then just taken the front of that. To work the other way might be difficult if you have an image that might interact with the spine/back. Repeating the imagery as is for the back is bad practice, and if you're not confident with adapting the imagery for the back then just go flat colour. Many book covers will have imagery on the front cover and then use a colour from that image as the back, often with a different coloured spine. Also, when trying to put together something for print, make sure you use print measurements. Designing in px for print is a nightmare, and most programs - professional or not - should have the option to convert to mm.

With an actual look at the cover one might be able to offer better advice.