How it all works...
What is your process? How do we get started?
All projects begin with the Project Agreement, which includes the copyright release to you. I also require a project deposit of 50% of the project fee to begin. The final portion of the fee is due upon receipt of final files at the end of the project. Once this is complete we can begin.
Regardless of whether we are working on cover art or formatting, branding, commercial design projects, or larger production projects, the process is the same.
What do I need to start cover art and/or formatting projects?
For formatting projects, I simply need your document and any materials you have that you'd like to include along with some information to get me started about what you might be looking for in the layout. I can work with just about any document and often work with recovery projects for those who have their book in a form that isn't necessarily editable or corrupt. However, the manuscript or book document MUST be fully edited and in it's final form, ready for formatting. Any changes made after the formatting process takes extra time and can delay your project, plus incur fees if the document you send me needs further editing after we've begun.
For cover art, the process that I use, I ask the client the following questions:
1. What do you have in mind for your cover? Also, please list all text you would like included on the cover.
2. Is there any particular point of view, object or concept that stands out or that you feel defines your book.
3. What do you like (in general)?
4. What do you dislike (in general)?
*For 3 and 4, these questions are vague and apply to anything you like or that annoys you - color, music, people on the subway standing too closely, etc. It gives me a clear picture of your particular tastes and style. Trust me, I often get more information from your answers here than through any other part of the process.
From the answers to these questions I will put together the first draft(s) for your review. Your reaction to the drafts is the defining moment in the creation of your cover. You may find you like the initial direction and it’s simply a matter of refining, other times the final product may look nothing like the first draft. Often after viewing the first draft, an author who may not have been able to clearly communicate what they wanted, or even had any idea of that themselves, has something to react to and from that point what they REALLY wanted comes to light.
How many drafts do you provide?
The amount of initial drafts that I provide varies depending on the project. The initial drafts are simply a starting point to creating the image that is unique to you and your book. I don't, however provide a specific numbers of generic drafts, of which you are required to choose one. I use the initial drafts that I create as a jumping off point to the process, a beginning of the conversation. I have had wonderful success with this process and on average each cover has only required between 2 and 4 major revisions.
Does my book have to be finished?
For cover art design, no, it does not. Often I create cover art for authors in a variety of stages of completion of their manuscript. For print covers, I design the layout and then when the book is ready for print, the author tells me the final page number, I set the final layout in the appropriate layout and submit. All of this is covered in the initial project price.
For formatting projects the manuscript MUST BE COMPLETE. I do not provide editing services and may charge extra for additional content changes that do not relate to the layout if they exceed one full 8.5 x 11 document. Minor word changes here and there are not a problem, however, constant changes take time that I did not calculate into the original project bid and often require me to adjust the ENTIRE document below the changes depending on the layout. It is most efficient to work from a fully completed manuscript, so please make certain that you make a final pass or two before you deliver the completed book to me.
Will I own the copyright?
I release full copyright upon final payment. I provide this in writing, and it is included in the Project Agreement that I send out in the beginning of the process. I do, however, retain the right to use the image in my portfolio, on my web site and in any advertising I do for my business.
What if I know exactly what I want?
I work with many authors who have a very clear image in their mind of what they want. Some have sketches, others even have stock images chosen. It's my job to create the perfect final product. If that means adapting or exactly recreating an image you hold clearly in your mind, then that is what I will do. I will take your concept and bring it to life. If you have a general idea of what you want, but no clue how to create it, it's my job to take that initial concept and help you flesh it out. In the end, we will have an image that embodies the book that you have spent months or maybe years crafting.
How do I pay you? Do you use a contract?
I invoice through Square, using their online invoicing service, which can be paid with a credit or debit card. I require 50% of the flat fee up front and the remaining upon delivery of final files at the end of the project.
I supply a project agreement at the beginning of our time together, which covers all details of the project including the copyright release.
Are you willing to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement?
What if I want a print cover, but my book isn't finished yet or isn't going to be printed until some time later?
I create many full print covers for books that aren't finalized. The print cover is created in full, based on the dimensions that you choose. The files are then delivered and payment is expected at the time of receipt. When you are ready to print your cover and have the final details including any final changes to the cover text, final page count (for spine size) and final book dimensions, I will reset the cover art in the finalized template ready for print. This is covered in the original fee.
Do you use templates?
Never. Each of my covers is 100% original and unique. I believe that cover art should be personal and never shared, which is essentially what happens when you purchase premade templates.
Do you work with children's books?
As a general rule, I do not. Cover design, layout and illustration for children's books is a completely separate genre. I prefer to leave that particular mode of creation to the experts in that niche. I do however work with YA (Young Adult) and some MG (Middle Grade) books.
Do you do any illustration?
I do. Let me know your specific needs and I'd be happy to work up some initial sketches.