I've been shopping for a cover for my book and I found one that I could have settled for and that my writing friends thought was awesome. Went to buy it and for once, read the agreement part. Glad I did because I ended up not buying the cover.
This particular book cover e-tailer sells covers using combinations of stock photos to make up the cover pictures. These stock photos must be leased. In the agreement, it stated that the license was for no more than a set number of copies, print and digital. Probably wouldn't be a problem but if the book becomes a best seller, the author would be required to pay again to lease the cover. The author would also be responsible for informing the seller of the additional sales or risk copyright infringement. I'm thinking that if they said that, they have a way of following up and will know if the author fails to notify them. Or maybe that's just my personal paranoia at work.
Now, I don't know about you but since I am planning to self-publish so that I can keep all the money my book brings in, why would I tie myself down to the possibility of having to shell out that same money for a book cover that I don't own? Kind of defeats the purpose of self-publishing, doesn't it?
There is the additional problem, for me, of the second book cover I would need. I am writing a series and the hero of the second book is the twin brother of the hero in the first book. However, because hero #1 does not know he has a twin brother, the twin has been sporting a holographic facial disguise to keep from being mistaken for hero #1 (yes, hero #2 does know about his relation to hero #1). By the second book, we know of the twin situation so that cover will require the same face, split in half to show the disguise face.
Yeah, a bit on the complicated side but it will come together in the end. Trust me. I've already written the first book and the second is in synopsis form so I'm pretty confident of the path this story will follow.
I say all that to reiterate the headline of this post - as with any literary contract, read the fine print very closely. If something there doesn't make you feel comfortable, don't sign said contract.
Now, I realize I'm probably thinking really big here but I've heard it said and I hold firmly to this statement - "I'd rather dream big and get half of it than dream small and get all of it." If you listen to Joyce Meyer at all, you've heard her say this one many times.
So, yes. I am dreaming big. I don't want to have to pay out more money down the road for a sale that puts my book over that set number of copies. Besides that, the man on the cover didn't resemble hero #1 closely enough to suit me - physically or facially.
Don't get me wrong. The covers they offered were very well done. I saw a few that I would have loved to get and then write a story based on the cover alone. A title even popped into my head with one of them. The prices were pretty reasonable, too. Much less than some quotes I've seen for custom covers. Still, that little stipulation in the contract was a deal breaker for me.
To sum up - if planning to purchase a premade cover for your book, look first at how that cover was created and then carefully read the fine print before committing. Save yourself a nasty surprise down the road.