I Got a Surprise Today…
With the Covers 101 workshop starting next week, I decided I needed to round out my education a little on what the writers were doing who hired people to do their covers. All of you know I think that is a waste of time and money and can hurt your writing overall, but numbers of writers I know have others do their covers, so I was curious.
So I wrote one wrier and asked a favor, if that person wouldn’t mind sending me a blank copy of the contract they use with their cover designer. I got a nice letter back saying they didn’t have a contract with them. Nothing at all.
So figuring that was just odd, I wrote another writer I knew who is a student in a few of the classes and asked if they wouldn’t mind sending me a blank copy of the cover contract they use with their cover designer.
They didn’t have one either. So I asked point blank if they had to get permission to use the cover on different things? Stunned silence, then the writer came back said, “It’s my book cover, I can do what I want with it.”
It is not your book cover.
The designer owns the rights completely to it and can make you take it down at any time if they wanted. And without a contract and the information about the art, how do you know the designer just didn’t take the art without permission. Who do you think the art owner would sue if that was the case? And since you don’t have a contract with the designer, guess what, you lose. (And you do not want to be on the wrong side of a copyright infringement suit, trust me.)
Both writers showed the complete (and fairly standard) lack of knowledge of copyright and licensing. I was afraid to ask any others and just decided I didn’t want to know what other writers were doing with covers and no longer wanted to see a contract. Especially after just two days ago I asked a writer about a font they had used and where they had gotten permission to use it and the writer said, “I just found it.”
AND THUS STOLE IT!!!!!
Fonts are protected and licensed copyright, folks. That’s what the major part of the $40 or so a month or so for Indesign is to license their font library so you don’t steal other artist’s work.
So some of you out there are paying hundreds of dollars to have someone do a cover for you without a contract and without having the art license in a file, and thus you don’t even own your own cover.
Wow, just wow. (Head planted firmly on my desk.)
You know, I used to think Traditional Writers were just uninformed. Seems indie writers are giving them a run in some places.
And if you are getting contracts from your cover designer, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to see them now, and I don’t want to know you are not doing your own covers. So don’t send me anything.
And if you are having your covers designed and can’t go to a file and get the contract and the art license instantly, you might want to silently fix that before it becomes a major issue. And if you don’t have the art license and the designer can’t get it for you instantly, pull the cover down at once. And then exhale and learn how to do your own covers.
And then go learn copyright.