Below, I’ve provided a few basic guidelines to help you understand what can and can’t be done with your cover. Please note that I’m not a copyright lawyer and you should not substitute my judgement for your own. If you have questions about licensing, contact the stock photo company and do your own research to verify the information below.
- Unless we’ve specifically discussed it, your artwork is not licensed for commercial use. This means that it’s not legal to use the cover art on merchandise for sale or distribution (even if free) outside of using it as your cover.
- You’re allowed to use the artwork as a cover for your book, which is technically merchandise, because the value of the product is your writing, not the cover. In other words, you’re not selling the art, you’re selling your writing. However, when you create merchandise where the main value is the artwork itself, you’re required to use commercial licenses.
- In addition to using the art as your book cover, you can make personal use of the art (ex. printing a poster for your home). You’re also allowed to use it for advertising and promotional purposes for your book, such as teasers, banners, social media posts, etc.
- In order to create merchandise with your cover on it, you’ll need commercial licensing for every image used on your cover. If you are interested in commercial licensing, I must source images from affordable sites and it’s important to plan for this before the design process begins.
- I always take great care to make sure all the images used in my covers are properly licensed and used within those license guidelines. However, it’s not me who ultimately uses those licenses. Legally, you’re responsible for following the license agreement appropriately and I always recommend reviewing the terms if you are unsure about what constitutes proper use.
- Where images have been used from multiple sites that have differing permissions, you must follow the parameters of the license with more stringent guidelines. For example, if one image allows commercial use and another does not, then the cover cannot be used for commercial purposes at all.
- I source my images from a variety of sites, including DepositPhotos, AdobeStock, iStock, ShutterStock, Freepik (paid only), and Envato Elements.
THE BELOW TERMS APPLY TO ALL SWOONIES COVERS
In addition to following the license agreements for each image, I also have my own licensing that you agree to at the time of booking your custom cover or purchasing a premade cover. These terms are outlined on the invoice, my website, and in my Facebook group. Below is a simplified, plain English explanation of the licensing agreement for using my covers.
- You must abide by the license agreements provided by the stock sites used to create your cover.
- You agree not to hold The Swoonies or Holly Perret liable for your own misuse of the cover in ways that are not permitted by those license agreements.
- When you purchase a premade or custom cover from The Swoonies, you’re purchasing the exclusive right to use the artwork for your personal book related promotional materials. However, you do not own the cover or takeover the copyright of for the cover.
- You must include attribution for the cover design inside the book to “Holly Perret, The Swoonies Romance Art”.
- You are not allowed to do any of the following:
- Make edits to the final derivative artwork that is delivered to you.
- Resell or redistribute the cover.
- Use the cover for a book other than the one you originally purchased it for.
- Use the artwork to create an audiobook cover, unless you purchased an audiobook cover as part of your package or premade.
- Hire another designer to make changes to the cover in any capacity. This includes any and all changes, including color and title or text changes, unless you have my explicit permission.
- Exceptions: Premade covers that do not include title or paperback setup may have a front, spine, and back of cover text, added by any designer. Premade covers may also have book binding and back added for paperback printing.
- Falsely represent my cover design as your own or someone elses.
THE BELOW TERMS APPLY TO COMMERCIALLY LICENSED SWOONIES COVERS
In the hopes of giving you another avenue to promote yourself, your books, and to earn some additional income, I occasionally create commercially licensed premade covers and offer upgrades to commercial licensing for custom covers that allow you to sell merchandise displaying your cover to your readers.
If your cover has been licensed for commercial use, you must also follow these additional guidelines:
- You may only use the artwork to create merchandise that directly promotes you and your books.
- You are not allowed do any of the following:
- Sell merchandise that competes with The Swoonies own use of commercially licensed covers. In other words, you cannot sell the artwork for the artwork’s sake. Merchandise must clearly link to your author business.
- Create merchandise that does not display the book title or author name as it appears on the cover and distribute it through a Print on Demand site or any site where the buyer would be unaware of its connection to you as an author or the book that the cover was designed for.
- Create journals for sale with your cover on it. The exception is for covers purchased specifically for this use.
- Create fine art prints or poster sized prints of the artwork that does not display the title and author name as it appears on the cover for distribution under any circumstance.
- Use the site Printful to create and sell swag. These sites do not allow the same artwork listed by different people. I use Printful to sell my prints, so please do not attempt to upload my designs to this site.
- All merchandise created with The Swoonies Cover Art must credit “Holly Perret, The Swoonies Romance Art” clearly on the sale page. However, you do not need to credit me on social media posts or elsewhere.
Merchandise you can create
As long as the merchandise displays your title and author text as it appears on your cover, you can create and sell any of the following with a commercially licensed cover:
- Face masks
- Throw blankets
- Post cards
- Thank you cards
- And more…
If you have any questions at all, please ask.