What’s the best way to contact you?
The best way to contact me is by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by filling out my contact form located here. You can contact me through my facebook page, but facebook doesn’t always send me the “You have a new message!” notification and it might get missed. Email is best.
I emailed you Friday, and it’s now Tuesday and I haven’t heard back. What gives?
I get a lot of emails everyday, plus the daily back and forth emails with clients working on current projects. I try to respond to emails as quickly as possible, and that works great when I’m at the computer with my inbox open and not doing anything else. But usually I have my nose in Photoshop, only to occasionally pop up for air to ask the client a question. A lot of times new inquiries get buried before the end of the day. I try to set aside a few hours each week to clean out my inbox and hopefully catch those that slipped through. IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD BACK FROM ME WITHIN A WEEK, SEND ME ANOTHER EMAIL!!! The spam filter may have caught it, or I didn’t get it.
If you sent me an email on a Friday, or over the weekend, odds are I won’t respond until Tuesday. Weekends are for my family. This is my Mon-Fri, 9-5 job.
“You’ve responded on a weekend in the past” you say? Just like any family, sometimes mine is busy doing their own thing, and I decide to catch up on work or emails. So it does happen, just not regularly. And Mondays are spent catching up and finishing projects from the week before. So Tuesdays have become my “catch up on emails” day!
If you are already scheduled, and sent over the email with all the details, I don’t typically respond to those unless a direct question is asked. (I do go over this while scheduling) I read the emails, I save the emails, and I try to shoot one back just to let you know I got it. But I like to concentrate on the project at hand so I don’t pass ideas back and forth before the scheduled time. When it is your scheduled time, I will focus on you.
If I am out of town for more than the weekend, I will usually post something on my facebook page.
Are there certain hours/days you work?
Generally speaking, I’m a Monday through Friday 9-5er [Eastern Standard Time]. But if you work from home, you know that’s almost never the case! I have been known to put in 50-70 hour work weeks, or have weeks where if it’s not one thing keeping me from working, it’s another. First and foremost, I am a mother, wife and daughter. That is WHY I work from home. So I can be here for my kids, husband and caregiver for my mother. I try to reserve nights and weekends for them.
What are your prices?
I need a design for something not listed.
Send me an email at email@example.com describing what you are looking for and where you plan on printing it, and I will give you a quote. If it can be printed by a company, I can design for the specific product.
I noticed your prices have changed…
Just like in any other industry, prices are subject to change. If you are a past client (or plan on returning at a later date), I understand you may have planned on the same pricing, especially in the case of series, and budget for that. Once you are on the schedule, your pricing is basically “locked in”. If I have a price increase between the time you scheduled and the actual start date. It will not effect you. I may raise your pricing over time, but I will let you know far enough in advance that it’s not a surprise.
If you have any questions on this, ASK ME.
Rush Service Packages
It’s not uncommon for me to be scheduled 6-8 months out. If you need something now, this service is for you. It will in no way effect my current day to day scheduling. A rushed package will be done outside my normal working hours, namely nights and weekends, or time normally spent with my kids and family. This is a first come, first serve service with limited spacing.
After inquiry, and confirmation from me that I can make your deadline, 50% down is required to start.
COVER DESIGN PROCESS FAQs
What is your turnaround time?
My turnaround is usually 2-4 business days, but can go up to a couple of weeks. It all depends on the complexity of the cover, revisions and communication back and forth.
I’m new to all of this, what is the process like?
It’s different for every client. Once you contact me, we schedule a date. The date we schedule is the “Start Date”. That is the day I contact you and start the ball rolling. Some clients know exactly what they want, or provide me with enough details I can just jump right in. Others want to toss ideas back and forth. I’m more of a visual person, so I find things move smoother with something to look at. So 9 times out of 10 I will take the info provided and put together the first draft. Having something to look at helps both parties understand the direction you want to go. Even if we end up completely scrapping that first draft, we know that is NOT a direction you want to go.
From there, it’s basically “you give your input, I make the changes” and back and forth until it’s done. These revisions/drafts are done using the comp stock images, meaning they have not been purchased yet, are low resolution (can be a bit fuzzy) and still have the stock watermarks on them.
[Just a note here, it is against most stock sites terms to publicly post pieces designed with comp images. So do NOT post these samples for public view, even in a forum for opinions. These are for designer/client use ONLY!]
If you KNOW the images are ones you want to use, I may swap them out earlier to work directly on the original images. Otherwise I wait to swap them out for the originals after you give the final okay. Then I will send you a final sample after all the images are swapped out and cleaned up for final approval.
If you are doing both print and ebook covers, I will design the print cover first. It is much easier to create the ebook from the print cover than it is to add a back/spine to an ebook at a later date.
After the cover design is finished and final approval given, I will send over the final invoice. Once that is paid, I will either email you the files, or email you a link to a dropbox folder where you can download the files.
What type of information do you need to start designing a cover?
Start with the basics: title, author name, genre, summary of the storyline, setting description and character descriptions. If you have ideas, or pretty much know what you want, include that! If you have no idea what you want, sometimes it’s very helpful to send me a handful of links to other covers in the same genre that have a look and feel that you really like.
If you want a character on the cover, try and give me more details than “female, blonde hair, blue eyes, short”. What type of clothes do they wear? Body build? Long hair, short hair, curly, straight, wavy? Any distinguishing marks? How do they hold themselves, tall and proud? or shy and withdrawn? The more details the better (sometimes links to images help too). BUT also keep in mind, I’m working with stock images. I can add/remove/change a lot on a person, but I’m still limited to what I can find.
Make sure you let me know if you are doing just an ebook, or both ebook and print.
If you are doing a print cover, I also need to know where you are printing at, what dimensions the book will be (i.e. 5x8, 6x9, etc), white or cream paper, and the final FORMATTED page count. The page count has to be EXACT to properly size the spine.
What if I don’t have my final page count for print? Or don’t know what size I want to print at yet?
That’s ok. I prefer to know at least the book size, but can work without it. I can adjust the sizing at a later date. If you don’t have the final print specs, typically I provide a temporary “as is” print PDF file so you have something on hand. Then, whenever you do have those details, just shoot me an email with the specs. I try to get the resized PDF file back to you within 24hrs (excluding weekends)
Do you read each book before coming up with a cover design?
No. As much as I would love to, there’s just not enough time for me to read each and every book first. Sometimes I will read them after the fact 🙂
Do I need to be available to you for the entirety of the process?
You don’t need to take the day off work, or make sure you are 100% available to me the day we start. Honestly, you will probably get very little communication from me, I’m busy in Photoshop working on your cover. I will send you the initial email either telling you I’m starting, or asking any questions I may have, then the next time you hear from me will be with the first sample. That would be a lot of time sitting and staring at your email if you drop what you are doing to be available to me!
If I don’t hear back from you right away, it’s far from the end of the world. I’m usually juggling more than one project at a time, and am working on those in between responses. (and may not get back to you right away either)
On the flip side of that, if a couple days go by, you are delaying your cover. I do have a schedule to keep, and will keep plowing through it regardless if I hear back or not. That doesn’t mean I’m dropping your project, just that there is now more work on my plate and things might move a little slower.
How many revisions am I allowed?
I try not to regulate revisions too much. I want your cover to be right just as much as you do. But if we get to the point for example we’ve done a half a dozen revisions, but you just want to see how it would look with X moved a hair to the left, then a hair up, then a few notches down, then slightly to the right, and so forth over and over, I DO reserve the right to say enough is enough. If you want to continue I will have to charge you an hourly rate of $50/hr.
To date, I have never had to make that call.
I found a typo in my back text, or decided to rewrite it, can I get that changed after the fact?
Absolutely, just send me an email.
Will you be providing a copy of the PSD file for my cover?
No, I do not provide the full PSD file unless the full copyright is purchased (an additional $200 fee).
Will I own the copyright to my cover?
No. I, Karri Klawiter, hold the copyright of the DESIGN of the cover and grant unlimited, indefinite and unrestricted use of the design to the client upon full payment. Unless full copyright is purchased (an additional $200 fee). You can read my full Client Copyright Agreement here.
What does that mean? Basically you can do whatever you need/want to do with it (with in the licenses of the stock images – see the stock FAQs) except alter it, or claim the design as your own. (Would you want someone else claiming ownership of the book you wrote?)
Additionally, the original photographers/designer of any stock image used also still holds copyright of the original images used, we just licensed it through the stock sites to use in the design.
What are the benefits of purchasing the additional full copyright of the design?
You gain the PSD files and have the ability to alter the design, image, and text, and/or create your own marketing materials.
Why is it an additional $200 fee? I offer all of those services. I prefer that if you need something designed using the image I create, you come to me to do it. If I just gave away the PSD files, that is money out of my pocket. And if anything needs to be fixed/adjusted after the cover is done, that’s not something I typically charge clients for (within reason) anyways. Once I sign over copyright of the design, and hand over the PSD file, I basically “wash my hands of it”.
You can still create your own marketing materials without full copyright, if the design stays intact. (I even provide 3D book graphics you can use to make web posters or ads, etc) The difference is, with the PSD file/full copyright, you can remove the title or text, or move things within the image to create what you need. Without the PSD file, you would need me to do that.
What stock sites do you use?
First and foremost (because I have a subscription here) – www.depositphotos.com
If I can’t find what I need there, I try some of these sites:
www.dreamstime.com – www.shutterstock.com – www.periodimages.com – www.thereedfiles.com – www.hotdamnstock.com
I found an image I’d like to use on a stock site you didn’t list, can we still use it?
Stock sites are NOT all created equal. You need to actually READ their terms of service to know if your usage needs meets their terms of service and licensing. But if all of that checks out okay, sure.
What do I need to know about stock licenses?
Unless otherwise specified, I purchase the Standard Stock License for images I use in a cover.
Every stock site is different with their terms, but generally speaking the Standard License allows you to use your cover for ebooks, print books, web use and marketing materials.
What most sites do NOT allow with the Standard License is making POD products (like zazzle or cafepress), or creating anything (beside your book itself) that you will make a profit from. When it comes to author swag, you can make it to GIVE AWAY only, not to sell.
But I wanted to sell posters/t-shirts/mugs/calendars with the imagery to my fans? Then you need to purchase the Extended Licenses for each image used.
[Another Note Here: If we wind up not using any stock, or I create all of the covers components, these restrictions do NOT apply.]
When do I need an Extended License for the stock images?
It varies from stock site to stock site. And they change it all the time. You need to READ their licensing terms!!!
For Depositphotos.com you need the Extended License for each stock image used in the image for: Resale and distribution on both physical and web products (except print and ebooks).
Some stock sites may limit the quantity of print distribution allowed (like up to 10,000 or 250,000). So if you hit it big, you may have to purchase the extended license.
On every invoice I send, I include the stock site and that images ID number in case you need to purchase the extended license at a later date.
How many stock images does a cover take?
It depends on the cover. I’ve done covers with no stock at all, and some that have used 10 or more. On average I would say 2-3.
I have a picture I took, can you use that instead of stock to make me a cover?
If it’s a high enough resolution image and YOU took it (and own the copyright), than yes, we can use that.
I hired a photographer to do a custom shoot for my cover, is that okay?
As long as you have written permission to use the images from the copyright owner (photographer) as well as a signed Model Release form from the model, then absolutely!
I found this image on a the web that I just LOVE! Can we use it?
No. Every photograph or piece of art is copyright protected. Even if it doesn’t say so. You don’t want to be sued by the owner a couple years down the road do you? I know I don’t! That’s why we use primarily stock images. If it’s an image you absolutely have to have, find out who created it and ask them. Some may say yes at a reasonable price, some might quote you out of loving it. But you won’t know until you ask, I think you might be surprised. And make sure you get written permission! I WILL ask to see that!
Do you use your own photography on covers?
Sometimes yes. Usually it’s a matter of the need arising and I go, oh! I have an image that might work, and dig through my files. Once in a great while I will go and shoot specifically for a cover. Typically it’s for background images or objects.
Do you photograph your own model shoots?
No. I am not a “people person”, and I’m not good at it so I avoid photographing people. I rarely even photograph my own kids!
Is it common practice to credit your cover artist? / How would you like to be credited?
Crediting your cover designer IS the nice thing to do and it helps keep me in business. Most authors place a small credit on the Copyright page in their book’s front matter, along with credits for their editor and anyone else who helped create the book.
If you do credit me, “Cover Design by Karri Klawiter” is fine, or “Cover Art by Karri Klawiter”. Some authors add my web address underneath too, I’m really not picky on the wording, but I do prefer “Karri Klawiter” to “Art by Karri” in the credit.
Do you require copies of the physical book to be sent to you?
I don’t require it, but it is really, REALLY nice. My absolute FAVORITE thing to get in the mail is a package with a book and/or swag from a client. Holding the physical copy of the book just makes it real. Up until that moment, it’s just a file on my computer. I know you know what I mean. Imagine that memorable moment when you get your first proof of your book in the mail. All the blood sweat in tears that went into writing it. That proud moment when you tell yourself, “I DID THIS!” Believe it or not, it’s the same for your cover designer.
I try to collect all the paperback/hardcover books I’ve done covers for, and proudly display them in my office.
If you live outside the US, or want to make shipping a little less, most places like Createspace will allow you to “drop ship” the books to go directly to a person, instead of to you and then you ship them back out again. Though I do LOVE autographed copies.
Occasionally I get the request from an author who would like ME to sign a copy of their book so they have my autograph to go with the artwork. If that is something that interests you, just let me know. I would be happy to autograph and ship it back. 🙂
And FYI, my address is at the top of each invoice I send out. 😉
Why don’t you have a lot of premades in your premade cover gallery?
Some cover artists have a lot of premades, I usually only have a handful at a time. I primarily do custom covers. If I’m inspired and have time, I’ll make a premade just for fun. But my main focus and time is spent on custom artwork.
If you are looking for a premade cover, and I don’t have what you are looking for, check out the Cover Art Collective facebook page. It’s a group of designers I’ve joined up with where we post our premade covers. Each designer has their own photo album, and sometimes my album there is more up to date with new premades than my website. We also do monthly challenges and host giveaways!
I have a cover reveal planned to go along with this whole promotional ordeal leading up to the release of my book, can you hold off on posting my cover until after I do?
Absolutely! I try to remember to ask when I send the final files. Just let me know when it’s okay to post!
How far in advance should I schedule my cover?
It’s a good rule of thumb to start shopping for a cover artist at least 3-6 months before you plan on publishing. A lot of established designers are scheduled out that far or longer. If you need something sooner, it never hurts to inquire. We all have the occasional cancellation, or moments where we might be able to squeeze you in.
How long do you keep my cover’s files for?
I say I keep them for at least 2 years, but I have yet to purposely delete any files. Things do happen though, USB ports get corrupted, external hard drives fail, computers crash. I keep multiple back ups online and on external drives and suggest you do the same.