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I am not a designer, just a hack illustrator. I created an illustration that someone wants to put on their book cover. How do I even know how to price this thing? I got an email from the publisher asking if they can use it and how much would I charge. I have no idea what to do next.

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  • Possibly helpful: laurawoodillustration.com/Pricing-resources
    – Scott
    May 24 '17 at 21:16
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    You want to charge enough where you feel it's worth it to you but not so much that it's too expensive for them. What that price is will depend on a million factors. :)
    – DA01
    May 24 '17 at 23:42
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Think some possiblities:

  • The book is a world hit, a million copies is sold in the first year and the foreign translations also have your image in the cover. You had sold unlimited exclusive rights for a flat $100,-

  • The book is a low cost paperback, no-name writer, only 2 thousands printed ever.

Probably the publisher is not eager to tell too much details (=what book, how many printed) but wants to get the unlimited exclusive rights to manage the image forever for a flat single payment, demands fast response or they take another from elsewhere.

My suggestions:

  1. only limited time rights with a clear ending date, after that day the image is yours and only yours again, no longer than 3 years.
  2. no rights to resell or rehire the rights without your acceptance. Specify that you are the participant also in all possible reselling or rehiring cases.
  3. hire to them the right to print for example N copies for a single payment, then next payment for every starting N, no rights to use elsewhere than in the named book cover and in the materials that directly advertise that book.

I have no idea how many books you can realistically expect to be printed, but be sure that you get at least 3...5 x the sum that you consider to bee good payment for the used time. This is valid, if there's no hope for a hit. In all cases demand the 1,2 and 3 in written and signed form.

Consult a specialist who knows the local law. Do it!

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  • I like the advice of 3-5x the time spent. The also want some adjustments which will take a couple of hours. The considerations about licensing are also helpful for me.
    – jqning
    May 25 '17 at 0:57
  • Very good advice. One of my favorites on the site so far! May 25 '17 at 1:10

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