$$$ Book Cover Art

Discussion in 'Business of Photography' started by daveinwilton, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. Problem -

    My business has been based as a print sale entity for several years now; however, I have recently been approached by a writer/publisher whom wishes to use one of my photographs for a book cover. This individual has been a friendly acquaintance of mine for a number of years, and I wish to do him right, but I as well would like to provide myself some income towards my hobby/business nor do I wish to under price my self or the craft. Any sale would strictly be a contracted business transaction offering some degree of exclusivity to him, and a fee based per number of copies run. I unfortunately have no firm landmarks from which to work from h ere, and my searches on the Internet have helped me little. I did find a $1000.00 / 100,000 copies no n-exclusive, single run for magazine cover listed on one site out of Miami though. So does a five year commercial exclusivity (print sales continue) and $300.00 / 1000 copies hardcover or $150 / 1000 copies paperback sound to you as a reasonable starting point in negotiations? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Why is exclusivity needed? When I license covers it is strictly one-time, non-exclusive license. If the publisher is willing to pay double the regular fees I might consider exclusivity for the topic of book they license the image for, but only for a very limited time like a year or two at the very most.

    Also, is the writer self-publishing? If not you should be negotiating with the publisher. They know the ropes, what the "normal" fee-structure looks like, what type of license is needed etc.

    As a very general guideline, I typically start my pricing for a 40,000 copies print run, one-time cover rights, North American and one language rights at roughly $1k and it goes up from there depending on a wide variety of factors and no e-rights at all are included in the base-fee. This would be for regional as well as national US book publishers.
  3. I thank you greatly for your response. He is self-publishing with a partner and has not asked for exclusivity. As I stated, my knowledge base in this area is just a tad above nil, so I am I guess fishing to learn more as well.
  4. DL:

    Find out how many copies of the book he [they] plant to print. Based on that number, run the figures through a stock pricing calculator at any agency like Alamy, Getty etc to get an idea of what the agencies might charge a non-contract client. Based on that figure you should be able to get at least a rough idea of what is typical. Be aware though that contract clients often pay 40% and up, less than what a client calling out of the blue would pay. So, as an example, say that a client calling for a license would be quoted $1,000. A contract client would then pay $600 or less for the same image and the same usage.

    Also, once you know the number of copies of the book we'll be able to give you more detailed help here on the forums.
  5. Mikael:
    Thank you for all the assist.
  6. Have your friend visit (spam site deleted) or another micro where he can license an image for $10 for a book cover. This will help his profitability.
  7. Justine Greene,
    A $10 photo is nothing more then crap.
    Won't look good and therefor no one will buy the book, becuase it looks like they bought a $10 photo for the cover.
  8. Lots of people publish books through Blurb or Lulu, where books are produced one at a time as (if!) orders come in. That makes volume-based pricing more challenging.
  9. Won't look good and therefor no one will buy the book, becuase it looks like they bought a $10 photo for the cover.​
    Not true.
    While I am the furthest from being an advocate of micro-stock, the resolution and overall quality of the images are great for many applications. When I hear statements like the one quoted above, all I hear is sour grapes from someone who can't market or understand marketing in the commercial world. I am not going to get embroiled in the "Microstock is killing me" arguements.
    You can sell from a micro-stock agency or from your own private "stock"..it is all stock to the end user.
    DL; what your friend WILL get from you is customized work, association and collaboration with the creator (you) and a good chance at future work from him and referrals...something micro-stock can't offer. This is why many of us love working directly with publishers and agents; it's called a business relationship..they know us and we know them; it's simply great once you're in because these people will call upon you often as they avoid MS sites.
    Future work with publishers allows the publisher to request changes from you..again, something you don't get from MS.
    Pricing to your friend is a tad difficult. The numbers you generated look OK to me.
    Start doing a little research on license types. (Exclusive) ( One Time) (Serial) (Extended Exclusive) (All Rights) etc...etc....
    The license type as well as in this case, copies sold will dictate a fair selling price.
    In other words, All Rights granted generally command the most money as the photographer is surrendering the Copyright. This is not always the case however. All Rights can easily be modified and often is to be constrained by length...(i.e) All Rights for 365 days with reversion to the photog after that time.
    So..;read up on license types; don't ever sell the Copyright unless you can live off it for a long time. :)

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