Use of Artwork


New Member

I am a painter, not an illustrator, but a publisher has asked to use one of my paintings on the front cover of a book.

I have no idea about the legal and financial implications of this kind of procedure. I don't know how much I would charge to them for use of it. Would they actually buy the physical painting and use it as they wish, or would I charge them a lesser amount to use the photograph? I normally sell a painting of this kind for about £750. They are not a large publisher so I'm not able to charge through the nose. How much do illustrators usually charge for doing a book cover?

In a way I'm not sure whether to let them use it at all as they want to slightly change the image and add text, I'm worried that it's cheapening my work by letting them mess about with it!

Any general thoughts and suggestions of prices would be greatly appreciated.
I reckon the going rate to COMMISSION a cover illustration would be around £500+, depending on the amount of detail. You would send them a digital copy or the original if they require,
but you would retain the copyright. If they wanted sole rights to the image, that might be more like your £750, and they might want to use it for other things, too, and so you could charge more.

For them to have just the use of an existing image (second rights), then I suppose you could charge at least half of the above, as you could then sell it to someone else if you wish. Really, it's as much as you want to let it go for. You could also get
in to the legal side of things, eg how many copies they're printing, which could affect the price. It also depends whether or not you're a well-known artist, and so you could charge twice the above.