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Author Topic: book cover  (Read 6879 times)
lemontrip
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« on: July 15, 2008, 12:05:20 AM »

Hello,

I have a question on my book that will be in production shortly. I have a couple of picutres from popular movies I want to use for the cover of the book. Seems like I have to pay permission fees. Do you know how much they will cost? Also, if you already have books you published, how did you choose the cover design and how did the process work?

Thanks,
Anthrop
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santommaso
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Posts: 676


« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 8:46:54 AM »

Sometimes marketing people at publishing companies don't like their job usurped by the author - so be warned. They might say something like: "just because you are good at writing books doesn't mean you are good at selling them. Your job is to write the book. Our job is to make it look good to a prospective buyer."

As a general rule in academia, authors have nothing to do with what their books look like.

I edited a book and found out what it looked like by checking out amazon.com right before the book was published, and there was the cover. Happily, I liked it. I was worried it would be bright pink.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2008, 8:48:00 AM by santommaso » Logged
aristotelian
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« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2008, 9:01:18 AM »

Communicate with your editor.  In my case, I listed a few ideas in my cover letter at the time that I submitted my final revised manuscript for copyediting.  At that time, the manuscript is "in production" and they start work on things like the cover.  However, I never found out what they decided until the editor happened to let me know: "By the way, did I tell you that we designed your cover?  You can see it on the website."  I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had used my idea (although they found their own photos).

I chose architecture from a historical site that I had visited personally and was related to my subject material.   
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cranefly
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Posts: 2,261


« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2008, 9:15:25 AM »

One of my books the editor asked me for suggestions. I suggested something similar, had to clear the rights (no charge). Another book, they designed my cover, asked me what I thought, I said I hated it and they went with it anyway.

I've had to clear images INSIDE and they cost me between $20 and up to $1000 sometimes. It all depends on the company who owns the rights.
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Oh yeah--Professor Sparkle Pony. "Follow your dreams, young genius, and you will meet with success!" Students eat that up.
prof_tournesol
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2008, 4:12:59 PM »

For one of my books that has a film still on the cover I paid Warner Bros. $500. The most I ever hear of someone paying was a colleague who was asked for $3000 for a single still for use as a cover. Sadly, she had finally in love with the idea of the still as the cover and she paid it (or her grant did). Maybe she was smart, the book sold very well (for an academic book) and she might have earned that much in royalties over the course of a decade.

As for input into the cover, this is largely dependent on the press. One press where I have published gave me no input and didn't even send the image along in advance of publication. One did send the image and I was able to get the font changed. Another press allowed me to be very involved, although I signaled my desire to be involved very early. I was also fortunate in that I was able to get the subject of the book to create an original image for the cover, so how could the press turn that down?

I have a cover in my mind for my next book, but I fear that it might cost a fortune and I think that most presses would find it too risqué anyway. But it would be great.
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lemontrip
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Posts: 54


« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2008, 10:08:41 PM »

Thank you, everyone. The idea that the cover with a film picture costs between $500 and up makes sense. Good to know. I think I should be realistic and rather go for something under $30. Is there any good or popular site for cover art you could possibly recommend to me?
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paul_robeson
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Posts: 384


« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2008, 6:08:24 AM »

My advice: try to be as proactive as you can with the cover, but don't expect that the press necessarily will listen.  (This goes for titles too.)  I've done reasonably well for my 3 books; the covers have been aesthetically pleasing.  I did have a big scare last time around, though.  I moved up to a bigger press, and wound up working on the cover primarily with an editorial assistant.  At one point, he suggested an image that was just 1,000% wrong -- almost comically so.  Eventually, we settled on something acceptable, but it took a lot of work.

I've learned to build up capital with my editors precisely for moments like these.  If you're cooperative, timely, and (for want of a better word) cool, you're going to be in a better position to say, "Hey, maybe this cover isn't going to work for me."  If you complain about everything, miss deadlines, etc., the press is going to be less likely to care about you.

As for titles . . . ugh.  I came up with multiple pithy, clever titles for all three of my books, and none of them were used.
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cityprof
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Posts: 311


« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2008, 7:34:47 AM »

paul_robeson's advice is spot-on--if your editor has a good feeling about you in general, you may be more likely to get input on your cover. It's no guarantee, though. One of the many reasons I love my press is that my editor really did consider my ideas for the cover design and we ended up with a fantastic-looking book. I got very lucky that a well-known art photographer whose work I admire allowed us to use one of her images (for free, as far as I know; I certainly didn't pay anything). It made the book extremely eye-catching and "sexy," which I think helped with initial sales.

As far as titles, I was somewhat shocked to discover that the title an author gives a book is not necessarily the title with which it goes to press. My book was published with a title that my editor came up with, and although it wasn't my first choice, I also think that me being a good sport about changing it meant that he was a good sport about doing the cover my way.


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cranefly
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2008, 9:01:15 AM »

I don't think you'll find any decent artwork for under $30, unless it's a desperate unemployed person/student or a friend. Try your college's art department?
As for the title, remember Google, Amazon, etc. will be a major way people hear about the book and pick keywords that people may search for. Short is good, and check for the domain name too so you can set up a page about it.

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Oh yeah--Professor Sparkle Pony. "Follow your dreams, young genius, and you will meet with success!" Students eat that up.
anthroid
hyperdiffusionist wackaloonery!
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No happy socks because nobody gets Manitoba.


« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2008, 9:49:08 AM »

I was given a choice of colors for my first book but that was about it.  For my book coming out in January (with a big respected house), I provided photographs that I took myself over the years and the editor chose one.  No permissions needed.  She sent me the cover image last week and it's great! 
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seniorscholar
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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2008, 12:05:58 PM »

When I was on the faculty board for my university's press, we often kicked the titles around during the board meeting that accepted the manuscript. The librarian on the board often had the deciding vote, as the person who understood what keywords people would be searching for when they wanted to find a book on a topic in the library (it would presumably be similar when looking at Amazon). The "clever title: long descriptive subtitle" that works for database searches was in vogue for a long time, though more recently I see a tendency to "clear sensible title: long many keyworded subtitle." Remember, however, the marketing department of the press, whether it's commercial or academic, knows a lot more than you do about how to sell books.
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2008, 12:32:00 PM »

Are you expected to design your own cover? Are they letting you design your own cover? I am baffled either way.
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I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
lemontrip
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Posts: 54


« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2008, 4:21:32 PM »

There is no art work under $30? I am not planning to design cover art by myself. If you are good at taking photograph by yourself, I would be able to do that. But I am far from it. So, I am just surfing internet to see if there is any cool art work. Doesn't sound like this is the best idea, though. I don't have any artist friend who can paint or draw some theme specific stuff, either. For the title, I am with editor and we have no problem with it. Thanks again, everyone!
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tee_bee
I've really made it in academe, now that I am a
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2008, 11:33:56 PM »



I edited a book and found out what it looked like by checking out amazon.com right before the book was published, and there was the cover. Happily, I liked it. I was worried it would be bright pink.

Mine was bright pink. Not my first choice, but hey, it stood out at the conference booths! Sold well! My first textbook cover was really drab, but the 2nd edition was fixed when I complained. But they weren't really interested in my design concepts. However, in this case, perhaps you know something about the book (!) that the cover designer won't. Perhaps you can just shop some ideas to your editor. The publisher can figure out the legal niceties, which may include paying a fee to the owner out of future royalties.
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tenured_feminist
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Posts: 9,567


« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2008, 4:47:17 AM »

Check istock and Getty for royalty free or low cost images.

Suggest, but don't be too surprised or offended if the press wants to do something else.
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