Frequently Asked Questions:
My Office Hours: I work Monday – Friday. Weekends are reserved for my family. Because I’m also an author, I design book covers for other authors when I’m not under deadline for my own books. If you see that I’m “unavailable” for custom design work, that means that I’m working on my own projects. As soon as I’ve completed my project I will change the notice at the top of the page to “Available” again. In the meantime, I invite you to look at the pre-designed covers. I do add to my stock regularly even if I’m not doing custom work. I don’t have specific hours during the week but work whenever I can be at the computer around kids schedules and caring for the horses and dogs (friend me on Facebook to see pics). Delivery time is usually 24 to 48 hours for pre-designed ebook covers and between one and two weeks for print books Monday-Friday as long as you’re responding to my emails in a timely manner. If I don’t hear back from you it could take longer. Check back often to see the current pre-designed stock and new completed projects in my portfolio.
Please note: I work fast. Please don’t order and then not respond to my emails or disappear half-way through the project. It bother’s me when I’ve been paid to do a job and then am unable to complete that job because I don’t hear from you. I also like to get the final product to you sooner rather than later. 🙂
Regarding Print Books: I am no longer offering print book packages due to the time involved and my own schedule.
Regarding images: I will select images from stock photo websites for your book cover that cost between 1 and 5 credits. This is the only way that I can include the cost of the photos in the total design price. If you want to use specific photos that cost more than 5 credits, you’ll have to purchase the photos and send them to me. Most designers do not include the cost of graphics in the design price. I include them but I have to place a limit on them because I can’t keep my prices low if I have to pay $50 – $100 per picture. In the future, I may have to exclude the cost of the photos from the total design cost. We’ll see how it goes. Many of the stock photo companies allow unlimited usage of their royalty-free images up to 250,000 / 499,999 / unlimited copies. At some stock sites, if you would like to use the cover/images in unlimited quantities, an enhanced license will be required. I primarily use Depositphotos.com because they don’t limit the number of sales. Book covers are included in their standard license and an extended license isn’t required. However, at times I do use photos from iStockPhoto.com who does limit usage to 499,999 copies for book covers. So if your sales go above that amount, you’ll need to purchase the extended license at that time for an additional fee set by iStockPhoto.com. I am also unable to give clients the original photos that I purchased for their covers due to the Terms of Service at the stock photo companies. When you hire me as a designer, you’re hiring me to create a new design that includes your name and the title of your book on that design with photos that reflect the book’s subject matter. No refunds will be given just because you want me to give you the original photos when I will have to refuse that request.
Exclusivity: All pre-designed and custom covers are uniquely my designs. I do use stock photos so I can’t guarantee that you’ll never see an element used in your cover on another book cover, however, you’ll never see the elements combined as I’ve designed them. This only applies to covers that include more than one element. If you choose to only have one stock image then you may see that image on someone else’s book. If you want to ensure that your cover is a complete original, then purchase a package that combines more than one photo or you can check with illustrators to purchase a one of a kind graphic instead of using stock images. These normally run in the hundreds of dollars and I can’t include them in my prices.
Cover Credits: I do request that I am given cover art credit and that the photographer of the images that I use is given copyright credit in the front matter of your ebook or print book. I will send you the copyright information to be used in the front matter of your book when I send the final files. I reserve the right to keep a copy of the final customized cover on my website for design showcase and marketing purposes and to post several pages that show my interior design work for print books. I will link to your website from your cover and any showcased interior pages if you provide me with your website url. If you have any questions about this, please email me.
Copyright: For ebook covers, print covers and print interior designs, Melissa Alvarez of Book Covers Galore and BookCovers.Us retains copyright to the final ebook or print cover design and has the right to use these designs in her marketing efforts to showcase the quality of her work. For covers, Melissa Alvarez nor the client owns copyright of individual photographs or artwork included within the cover design. These individual elements remain copyrighted by the image’s creator, who is also normally given credit in the front matter of the author’s book. Melissa Alvarez nor Book Covers Galore / BookCover.Us has any copyright to your written book.
Mock-up covers not chosen by clients: I reserve the right to sell any mock-up designs I’ve created for custom design packages as pre-designed ebook covers if they were not selected as the final cover file for a client’s book.
Purchasing pre-designed covers without text: I’ve had many people ask if I would sell them a pre-designed cover without the text on it. I do not do this because then it is no longer my complete design. I customize the cover for you with your book title and author name within the price of the cover even if it’s on sale.
Holding Pre-Designed Covers: I’ll hold it for you but not forever. There are many times when an author buys a pre-designed cover before their book is finished or before they’ve decided on a title. I have no problem holding a cover for someone for a reasonable amount of time. Recently, I realized that I’ve been holding some pre-designed covers for authors for three years. After writing to them several times with no response, I decided to change my policy on holding pre-designed covers. I will hold them for six months and that’s it. After that length of time, if the author has made no attempt to redeem the cover by having it customized with their title and name then I will put the cover back into the pre-designed cover pool. I will not give refunds on covers not redeemed within the six months. Not fair? Maybe not. But is it fair to me for authors to buy a cover, not redeem it and just leave me hanging, wondering what’s going on with the purchase for half of a year? No, it’s not. It’s unprofessional. So the solution is this: if you’re not ready to use the pre-designed cover within a six month time frame, please don’t buy it. 🙂 Thanks for understanding my position on this.
Refunds: If you order a custom cover package from me and I haven’t started on your cover when you ask for the refund, then I’ll refund the full amount. If you order a custom cover package from me and I’ve already started working on your mock-up covers but haven’t gotten very far into the project, then I’ll retain 15% for the work I’ve already done and refund the rest. If I’ve spent hours and hours working on your project and you find fault with everything I send to you, then I will retain 35% of the total price for the time and energy that I’ve already put into your project and refund the rest. I feel that my time has value and I’m not keen on working for free. 🙂 No refunds will be given just because you want me to give you the original photos when I will have to refuse that request (see Regarding Images above). I also reserve the right to refund clients if I have questions about the order and they never respond after multiple attempts on my part. I do not give refunds on pre-designed covers not redeemed within a six month period and will put those covers back into the available cover stock after making every attempt to contact the author to get them to redeem the cover within the time frame.
Unlimited Modifications on selected mock-up: I charge flat rates instead of charging by the hour and will make a reasonable number of revisions until you’re happy with your cover. What are a reasonable number of revisions? Let’s look at a couple of examples. You order an ebook cover and I send you three mock-ups. From those three mock-ups you’d like to see one more combining some of the elements. I send you that one and you love it but want your name a little bigger. I fix it, and you love it and we’re finished. This is fine with me and is reasonable. On the other hand, let’s say I send you those three ebook covers and you don’t like them. Okay, that can happen so I design three more. Out of these six covers you pick elements from each book and want them designed into one cover. Okay. But when you see the cover you decide you’d rather mix a different combination of elements together in two different covers. So I do that. Now we’re at nine covers and there still isn’t a resolution in sight. Then you want to change hair color or no longer want a city background but want a country look. This kind of indecision isn’t fair to me as the designer and isn’t reasonable. In cases like this, if I feel that we’ve gone beyond what I feel is reasonable, I’ll inform you that I’m implementing additional fees for each additional cover made which will be priced according to the type of package purchased. That’s fair, don’t you think?
I do not start work on your project until it is paid in full. It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular client who has ordered multiple covers from me, a close friend, or even a relative. I’ve been burned too many times with promises of being paid which never happened or people changing their minds and then not paying me for time spend on their job. Thanks for understanding.
I no longer offer cover ideas unless a package has been purchased.
I currently do not offer formatting for ebook files nor do I plan to offer this service in the future. I suggest you check Mark’s List on Smashwords for a list of ebook formatters.
For all custom work: After you have purchased your package you will need to send me your cover ideas on the form during checkout so that I have a clear idea of what you envision and can create what you have in mind. The form also asks for a blurb about the book, and a description of characters that you want portrayed on the cover. If you’re providing me with images I’ll need all high resolution photos and text copy before starting work on your project. I do all custom design work in the order it is received to be fair to everyone. I also limit the number of projects I take on per month so that everyone gets their book covers back in a timely manner.
A website banner is 468 x 60 and includes elements of your book cover design, website and author name.
A publisher logo will help brand your publishing house or company in the mind of your customers. I develop the logo concept created specifically for your brand. One to three designs to choose from based on our discussions.
For Print Packages if they’re offered for sale:
I don’t always offer the print packages for sale. I only offer them if I don’t have a lot of other obligations because they are very time consuming. If they are available, there will be a package offering on the prices page of my website. I currently work with CreateSpace for print books.
The print packages DO NOT include editing. I do not offer editing services due to my contractual obligations and stipulations with the publishers of my books. It is very important that the manuscript if fully edited before you send it to me and it must have basic formatting. It should be single spaced and formatted as you want it to read. That means if you want words italicized or bolded, they should already be that way in the manuscript when you send to me. Please do not send a manuscript formatted for publisher submission (for example: publishers want the manuscript to be double spaced with words that should be in italics are underlined and bolded and/or words set off with asterisks). I need the manuscript print ready. Please make sure you’ve gone through your manuscript thoroughly or hired an editor prior to sending it to me because I do charge extra if I have to redo the file because you found editorial problems that you want to change after I’ve sent you the final formatted files.
If the author changes their mind about the size of the book (we’ll discuss it before I start to find the size that will maximize your profits and if you pick 5 x 8 and then after I’ve completed the files then you decide you want a 6 x 9 or some other size) and I have to recreate both the interior and cover files, then they will have to pay for a whole new set of files at my regular pricing or quoted price because I will have to remake the files at this new size. Please be SURE of the size book you want before we start.
Additional Print Charges:
If I made an error I fix it at no charge. But if I’ve finished the work for your project and sent you the PDF for proofing and you find editorial errors that have nothing to do with my work, or if you change your mind about a design element that you previously approved, and you want me to redo the file there will be additional charges because you’re making me do the work more than once. I charge a flat rate of $100 per instance to redo work. Here’s a list of some examples of work that will cost you additional fees.
- The author changed their mind about a design element that was previously approved. Cost is $100 per element.
- The author finds editorial errors in the text of the manuscript that they didn’t catch prior to sending me the text. This one costs $100 per 20 errors.
- The author finds editorial errors in the text of the back cover that they didn’t catch prior to sending me the text. Cost is $100 to correct.
- The author decides they want other changes not requested prior to the final files being made. Cost is $100 per change.
- The author alters the final file and can’t fix it before submitting it to the printer but wants to keep this version because they made editorial changes in it. Minimum cost is $100 and it could be more depending on what was done to the file.
- The author sends me a previous version of the manuscript that contained errors instead of the final edited version. Minimum cost is $100 and it could be more depending on what I have to do to fit the new manuscript into the formatted interior. If I have to redo the entire thing it will cost $359.
- The author alters the final file again after I’ve fixed it for an additional charge and messes it up again. Minimum cost is $100 and it could be more depending on what was done to the file.
- If changes to the interior cause changes to the cover, then the cost to redo the cover is $559.
It is VERY important that you send me the FINAL EDITED VERSION of your manuscript and back cover copy before I start work so that you don’t run into additional expenses because you’re making me redo the work more than once. I purposefully set these additional fees high. Authors need to understand that I sit at my desk for hours upon hours working on their interior file and cover and if I’m going to have to redo work that I’ve already spend hours on because of something the author didn’t do correctly, then I need to be compensated for my time. The time spent on redoing a project because the author didn’t do their part or because they changed their mind after getting the printed book is time I could have spent on someone else’s project or making more pre-designed covers. My time is limited as it is so I charge a lot if I have to redo work. That’s why we go through several stages in the design process and why the author always has to look at the PDF in the CreateSpace Interior Previewer prior to approving the files. It shows you exactly how the book will look in print.
Other Frequently Asked Questions :
Are your pre-designed covers retired after being sold or do you sell more than one copy of each pre-designed covers? One cover for one book. If you buy a cover from me, that’s your cover for your book and it’s never re-sold to anyone else. I reserve the right to keep a copy of the final customized cover and sample interior pages on my website for design showcase purposes. I will link to your website from your cover or interior showcase samples.
How long have you been making covers? I started designing book covers when I self-published my first book in 2000 (it was published Jan. 2001). When I expanded New Age Dimensions to a small press, I did all of the ebook cover design, print book cover designs and print book interior layout designs where I gained a tremendous amount of experience. I’ve been offering book cover design services for years.
Are the rates always the same for pre-designed book covers? I’ve made getting a pre-designed cover easy at BookCovers.Us! Most pre-designed ebook covers are only $39 unless they’re on sale and then they’re even more affordable! I now offer Premier Pre-Designed Print Covers (comparable to my eBook and Print Cover Package) and Premier eBook Covers (comparable to my Simple and Premium eBook Packages) at a fraction of the cost of the custom design packages. If the cover fits your book, grab it before it’s gone! Prices are subject to change without notice and covers may be priced differently depending on the complexity of the design, the number of images purchased and the time it took to create. I reserve the right to offer different products at any time at any price point. I may run sales, put something on clearance or do a new design that costs more or less than the normal flat rates.
Where do you get the photos you use in your covers? I purchase most of them through stock photo websites. Others are pictures I’ve taken myself or are original graphics and drawings I’ve designed.
Do you do custom covers? I do custom covers because I enjoy doing design work. But, because I’m also an author, I only do custom design work on a project by project basis for other authors if I’m not under deadline for one of my books. There is a notice on the site that says if I’m available or not. When I am available I limit the number of projects that I’ll take on each month. If a month is booked out, I’ll place a notice on the site that includes what month I’m currently booking..
How long does it take to create my cover? eBook covers only require a few days turnaround time. Print books can take up to two weeks. It really depends on how quickly you answer my emails. Once I start on a cover, that’s all I do and I work fast. There are some things I can’t do until I hear back from you so if it takes a week or two to get your response, then I have to wait for you before I can move forward. I prefer that authors are available to discuss their books with me once I start on it instead of disappearing after we’ve begun and not responding because that causes delays not only in getting your book finished but also for any other authors that are next in line. I do all covers in the order received to be fair to everyone but if I haven’t received a response within a reasonable time period and after I’ve made multiple attempts to contact you while we’re working on your project, then I will move you behind someone else who is waiting. That’s only fair.
With custom work I will do a specific number of ebook cover designs or print book covers for you to pick from. In the past I have ended up doing up to twenty different covers for one book in an effort to accommodate the authors. After this happened several times, I had to make the decision that I can no longer do this because I spend hours upon hours making and remaking covers for a very low price. I now stick to the set number of covers per package and the author chooses from the ones I provide. If the author wants more than the number of covers allotted in the package they purchased, then there is an additional charge per cover of $100 for ebooks and $175 for print. I’m sorry it has to be this way but my time does have value and is limited.
I want to post the mock up covers you sent me online and let people vote on which one I should choose, can I do that? No, you can’t. Not only does it make me look unprofessional as the designer but it will violate the content license agreements of the companies where I purchase photos. Once your cover is finalized you can show the world!
How much do you charge to make a custom cover? It depends on what you want. Click here for price ranges and detailed specifications.
I bought a pre-designed cover from you and now I want to bring my book out in print with the same front cover. Can you create the print book cover and do the interior layout? Sure, as long as I’m available for custom work I can do this for you.
Where do I buy my ISBN? R.R.Bowker
Do you do consulting for self-publishers? I do offer consulting services when I have the time. I charge $49 per half hour to offer you guidance. The best thing to do is make a big list of questions and have a pen and some paper ready so that we can go through them when we talk.
Do you do other design work? Right now I’m focusing on ebook cover design and print book creation but if you like my work and have something else in mind like brochures or bookmarks just email me and we’ll discuss it. I can design pretty much anything.
Can I make my own banner or bookmarks with a cover that I purchased from you? Once you purchase the product you may use it for advertising via banners, bookmarks etc.
What type of payments do you accept? PayPal. You can pay by check or credit card through PayPal. All echecks must clear before I begin work on your custom cover or customize the predesigned cover you purchased. If you pay by echeck I will place a “reserved” notice on the cover while we’re waiting for the echeck to clear.
Need more help? If you’re completely lost and need someone to guide you through the self-publishing of your book from beginning to publication, I can do that too.