Cover artist guide

Dear designers, before you submit your pre-made book covers to The Book Cover Designer, please take the time to carefully read this guide.

1. We pay designers a 70% commission only through PayPal.

If you don’t have an active PayPal account, our system will not be able to pay you the 70% commission of the net price you have listed, and as such, you won’t be able to sell your covers through TBCD.

You need to set up your PayPal e-mail address before you submit covers. You can do that by following the Vendor Dashboard link on the website’s footer and then clicking on Store Settings.

Payments are sent each Monday, provided that an invoice for the payment to the designer is received by Sunday evening. This means that if your cover sold on Tuesday, you will receive your 70% commission on Monday or Tuesday, depending on time zone differences. TBCD’s 30% commission will be automatically deducted from the net price you listed for your cover.

IMPORTANT: The minimum selling price for any design you submit is $49. Nothing less – including any discounts.

2. You must immediately contact the customer after a purchase.

When you sell a cover, you will receive an automated e-mail with the customer’s e-mail address, (along with notes on the author name, book title, etc. if the customer included any). It is your responsibility to immediately contact the customer after the purchase and send them the completed cover within 72 hours of their purchase. You must send the customer the completed file(s) via e-mail, Dropbox, Google Drive or some other platform.

In rare cases, the automated e-mail may land in your Spam or Promotions folder.

3. You must read, comprehend and abide the Vendor Terms.

The Vendor Terms are accessible through the website’s footer. They are your contract with TBCD. Failure to comply with them will terminate your chances to sell your book covers through us.

4. You must use our submission guide.

A step-by-step tutorial with screenshots is available for your convenience. You must carefully read the guide even if you’re familiar with the WordPress system. Failure to submit your covers properly will result in them not getting approved.

5. How many covers can I submit?

New designers are required to submit 6 book covers for better evaluation of their style. If your initial submissions are approved, you can then submit a maximum of 6 covers every 24 hours.

6. How does the review process work?

We usually publish new covers every 6 days. This means that your newly submitted book covers will usually get reviewed within 6 days. You will not get notified for approved or rejected covers. If they’re approved, they will appear in your personal store and in TBCD’s mass catalog. If they’re not approved, they will have a Pending status.

7. Why are your pending covers not getting approved?

If your covers have a Pending status for 7+ days, this means they have not been approved. In some rare cases it’s possible that your covers were “locked” during the approval batch because you were still editing them or hadn’t closed the tabs in your browser. In this case they will be published on the next approval batch.

Other than that, your unapproved covers are left with a Pending status for the following reasons:

– Breach of the Vendor Terms
Your covers use images of low quality stock elements or images with the stock provider’s watermark, which suggests you haven’t obtained the commercial licenses. Your covers fall into the category of stock elements with minor alterations (change of background, merging two photos together, some filters, textures and nice typography are all considered minor alterations). Other breaches of the Vendor Terms will also result in unapproved covers or covers being taken down from the catalog.

– Missing submission fields
Your submissions lack a price, a preview image, a name or some other submission field from the ones that are listed in the step-by-step submission tutorial.

– Missing verification collage (for illustrators who digitally paint their covers from scratch)
Your submissions lack the verification collage image explained in the submission tutorial.

– Usage of AI (Artificial Intelligence) art
Your submissions cannot feature any elements generated by an AI art platform (Midjourney, DALL-E, etc.), regardless of how small that element is or whether it’s falsely posing as stock on a stock website. The same goes for covers entirely generated on an AI platform.

– Low level of Photoshopping skills
Your covers show a low level of Photoshopping skills by portraying poor cutouts, lack of proper blending and other common beginner mistakes. Authors and publishers are looking for a professional book cover. If you wish to sell your covers through us, but your current level is low, you need to take the time to improve your skills before you try to sell your services on TBCD.

– Breach of any point in these guidelines
Please take the time to read each point carefully.

Update as of 04.06.2024

In the future we will be taking a firmer stance during the cover approval process in order to provide our clients with designs that match modern quality standards. We will be implementing this slowly and taking into account your years of experience in order to enable for you the place to grow and improve your skills, but ultimately we want to provide our clients with professional looking work.
Cover approval will be based on general art/design proficiency, technical execution, typography and marketability.
The usage of unaltered stock photography is strictly prohibited. The cover must be an original design. The usage of minor changes like filters, colors, placing typography over image and cropping does not imply that the cover can be considered an original design and such cover will be rejected.
Photomanipulations taken from sites such as Pixabay and reframed as covers will also not be approved.
Due to copyright concerns we are still not allowing AI covers or covers that include AI generated elements. Many stock sites now offer AI images. While some of these images are marked, many are not. Please keep up to date with your craft and make sure that you do not submit covers with AI elements.
Lastly, please make sure that your covers are properly marked within genre categories.

8. Can you use your own photography and resources?

Yes, you can. However, you must state that you’ve used your personal photography and resources in your covers’ description text – please see the submission tutorial for adding description text.

9. Can you charge the customer an additional fee for additional services?

Some designers charge an additional fee for paperback design, banners and other services. Such additional fees must be stated clearly in your covers’ descriptions. All additional fees are handled directly between you and the customer through a direct PayPal payment or some other method, depending on what works best for you and the customer. The only fees TBCD handles are the prices listed in bold USD under the covers’ titles.

10. Can you sell your covers on multiple platforms?

Yes, you can. If a cover is purchased on one of the platforms, you must immediately remove it from the other. This is to prevent two authors buying the same cover and us or you having to refund one. It is also a poor customer experience (telling a customer they can’t have a cover they thought they bought because you already sold it to someone else).

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