1. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    Cover Art Copyright Question

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by bossfearless, Oct 17, 2016.

    I had an artist render a cover art image for my first novel, and it came out amazing. He's asked if he can put it up in his personal gallery, and I'm worried that that will somehow count as the image being previously published and therefore ineligible to be used as a cover for my book. I'm not sure if this is really a thing or not, but I know that you're discouraged from putting chapters and such up on forums or Facebook etc because it will count as the work already having been published.

    Am I just being paranoid? Can anyone chime in on this?
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are you planning to self-publish your book? If so, no problem - post away. (But make sure your contract with the artist makes it clear who can use the image for what purposes).

    If you're planning to find a publisher for your work, it's unlikely they'll want to use the image anyway - they want their covers to meet their own marketing strategies and requirements. So, again, no problem - post away.

    (First publication rights are something publishers worry about - they don't want to pay for something everyone's already read. It's not a legal obstacle to re-publishing the work, it's a practical one.)
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    If you're commissioning the cover yourself, sounds like it is a self-published book. Why do you care if the cover is up online in the artists portfolio?

    Also, did you get a copyright assignment? If not, you should do that.
     
  4. bossfearless
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    bossfearless Active Member

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    Well, I figure I'll self-publish if I get rejected. Not even sure that I want to try for traditional publishing right now. Maybe. I don't know.

    But as for the copyright assignment, how do I do that?
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're aiming for traditional publishing, the cover that you commissioned is irrelevant--there's zero (OK, maybe one in a gazillion squared, but effectively zero) chance that they will also take on your cover. You wouldn't even include your cover when submitting your book.
     
  6. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    I had a contract with my illustrator where I retained all ownership and rights to the artwork, but I did give him permission to use on his website as an example of his work. He agreed not to use it until after I had published. Maybe you could do something similar?
     
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  7. Ameshin
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    Ameshin Member

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    This exactly. I send something like that out quite a bit. It is also perfectly reasonable to ask the artist to wait until the work has been published before releasing the art.
    I think its best that they don't release it at full size though.

    My own take on that, is I find it's been good to post a small watermarked version of the artwork before release to help generate interest in the upcoming book.
    Some people dissagree with this. It seems to depend on the person publishing. I don't see how it could do too much harm :)

    Surprisingly some people like the artist to keep it a secret that they did the art at all. In this case you'll need them to sign a
    NDA stating that they can not mention having worked for you.

    In a nutshell it's the equivalent of a ghostwriter type of thing. Again it seems a little silly. If you let the artist show the art you're going to get more free promotion for your book in the end.

    Edit: I should have read the date on this post. Sorry - hope this is helpful anyway. Time flies!
     
  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    The art is useless unless you are self-publishing, and if so you are not restricted by previous use as long as you have copyright.

    DO NOT under ANY circumstances include cover art when submitting to an agent or publisher.
     

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