FAQ

Have a question? Take a look at the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Premade Covers

You can purchase covers from the J. L. Wilson Designs Shop the same way most standard online purchasing is done. Simply add your selection to your cart, click ‘Proceed to Checkout’ to fill in your billing information, and click the checkbox indicating that you have read and will abide by the terms under which all J. L. Wilson Designs work is sold. This website uses Stripe to securely process payments, so once you’ve entered your information and agreed to the terms, click ‘Place Order’. And that’s it. You’ve purchased your cover!

You can download the premade cover in its current form as soon as your payment has been processed. A lot of authors like to use this as inspiration until the final version is complete. Once you’re ready to send me the information I need to customized the text, just fill out the premade form here.

I price my premades based on the quality of my current skill level, the time it takes to create them, the complexity of the cover, and the expense of the assets used in the cover. What this often means is that covers that involve more elements (especially those with more than one character) tend to be a bit more expensive to account for the additional time, skill, and effort needed to incorporate these additional elements. Every now and then though, a simpler cover will simply take me more time to create or a more complex cover will simply come together quickly. In those cases, the pricing will reflect that.

Not a problem. Just add the premade to your cart and check out as normal. Once that’s done, the cover is yours. I’m happy to hold purchased premades indefinitely until you’re ready for them. Many authors grab premades that fit their story long before it’s ready for publication and others purchase premades that inspire them to write a story. I know good stories can take time, so rest easy knowing that your cover will be ready whenever you are. Until then, all covers are automatically backed up to two different secure cloud backup systems. When you’re ready to provide me with the information I need to customize your text, submit the form here so I can update your cover for you.

Premades are available for immediate purchase and can be downloaded in their current form as as soon as payment is processed.

Once you submit your author name, title, and other necessary information after purchase, I will update and send the new version to you. Updating a premade doesn’t usually take more than a few days, depending on how full my schedule is.

Custom Covers and Art

Not a problem. I offer custom covers and build your own premades. You can read up on the difference between the two services here.

Yes, of course! The process is very similar to the custom cover process where you’ll fill in a questionnaire and schedule a slot on my custom order calendar. If you’re interested in purchasing one (or just have any questions about it), just let me know here and I’ll provide the information you need to purchase and schedule a calendar slot.

Add-ons

Not a problem. You can purchase a print or audiobook cover add-on for any J. L. Wilson Designs cover at any time through the J. L. Wilson Designs Shop. Once you’ve purchased your add-on, just send me the details I need to finish your print or audiobook cover by filling out the relevant form here

Simple. Just purchase an additional character add-on for each extra character you want to include.

Sure. You can purchase a textless image add-on here in the J. L. Wilson Designs Shop at any time.

To save us both time and money, I created a host of a la carte options that can be purchased at any time. A list of the most popular options can be found here, and include a number of services like print cover conversion, audiobook cover conversion, character art, book formatting, and additional licenses to allow you to modify purchased art or use it to sell commercial merchandise.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for on the list though, don’t hesitate to message me here. I have a few other less frequently requested services I offer.

After Purchasing

This depends on the licenses you purchase. By default, any J. L. Wilson Designs premade or custom e-book cover can be used in its final version to sell an unlimited number of e-books and to promote the book. However, you’re not permitted to modify the cover or use the cover on other commercial merchandise besides the e-book unless additional licenses are purchased.

For example, if you purchase a print cover add-on, I’ll create a print cover for you so you can sell paperback books. If you purchase a commercial merchandise license add-on, I’ll grant you a license to use the cover art on non-book merchandise (e.g. books, mugs, notebooks).

If you’re interested in using cover art on commercial merchandise beyond books (i.e. items like T-shirts, mugs, notebooks that you sell), this isn’t available as part of the default license, but you can purchase an additional license to permit this. The default price for the commercial merchandise license is a one-time fee of $100 and this is the only fee you have to pay to sell commercial merchandise for 99% of my covers. This is because my default cover design process does not incorporate stock images that require purchasing an extended license to sell commercial merchandise.

For those covers where I do use stock images that require purchasing an additional extended license from the stock photo distributor to sell merchandise (in addition to my commercial merchandise license add-on), I’ll leave a note on the premade cover’s product page, so you’ll know before purchasing.

If you’re interested in using cover art on merchandise, I recommend choosing a cover that does not incorporate any stock photos that require extended licenses for this purpose. While I usually use only 1-2 stock photos like this in a cover (when I use them at all), this can nonetheless add up since extended licenses can run $75-150 per stock photo. If you choose one of the few premade covers I create that uses stock images and you want to sell commercial merchandise, the cost to do so is $100 for the commercial merchandise license from me + the cost of extended licenses for each stock image used.

If you are especially interested in being able to use a particular premade’s cover art for merchandise and the cover’s product page indicates stock images have been used, just contact me here. Sometimes I can remove the stock photo and replace it with my own work relatively easily. If this is possible for the cover you want and you accept the adjustments that would be necessary to make these swaps, you may be able to use the cover art on commercial merchandise for only the cost of the $100 commercial merchandise license add-on.

For customs, this is a very simple issue. We’ll discuss in advance whether stock images will be used so you’ll have a chance to tell me whether you’ll want to use the cover to sell your own merchandise. If this is the case, I’ll avoid stock images in your cover unless you specifically request I use stock images anyway.

Important note: If you think you might want to create merchandise with your cover art (or any art in general really), you should let me know before work if you can. All art is good for printing up to 6×9 inches at 300dpi (standard printing quality), and this works great for a number of smaller items. If I am told before I begin work, I can purposely create the artwork at a larger size to permit quality printing at larger sizes.

As of October 2020, I have started creating character portraits at a larger size than the default cover size, and so this is less of an issue if you purchase a merchandise license for character portraits than for cover artwork.

All premade purchases are final and cannot be resold without advanced written permission from me. I rarely permit covers to be resold, but in the right extenuating circumstances, I will consider it.

For custom work, you are free to terminate the project at any time if you’re not pleased with how the project is going. I don’t offer refunds for previous payments (this is to compensate me for the work I have done up to that point), but you will not be required to make any further payments on the project and I will happily suggest other designers who might be a better fit.

How long does it take to do X?

All services with the exception of customized artwork (e.g. build your own premades, custom covers) have a default turnaround time of 10-15 work days from the time I receive the last of any necessary information from you. I work M-F, excluding major U.S. holidays, so it’s usually easy to calculate when is the latest you should expect to receive final versions of files from me. If you’re uncertain whether to count a day as a work day or not and you’re under deadline, feel free to contact me here.

Note: I’ll be honest, I usually take less time to complete most projects, so if you’re having me update a premade cover or create a character portrait for you, you may be pleasantly surprised to have a final version sooner than expected. That said, this sooner time frame isn’t guaranteed, and my default turnaround time is 10-15 work days.

I do my best to stay punctual and meet deadlines, but if delays occur on your end (e.g. you’re not able to provide your feedback for revision rounds promptly, there is missing information in your submitted form, invoices aren’t paid promptly), this obviously may delay the project. Similarly, circumstances may sometimes arise beyond my control (e.g. illness, an unusually high volume of orders). If unexpected delays crop up on my end, I will notify you by e-mail, so you’ll always know where we’re at in the process and when you might expect your files.

Services that do not have a default 10-15 work day turnaround are scheduled on a calendar. Custom covers and other large commissioned art projects are done on a first come, first served basis. You pay a deposit to book a slot on my calendar, and I’ll contact you before your calendar slot to take care of any necessary admin. This way, I can begin working on your project on the day you reserved. It’s difficult to estimate how long custom projects will take since so much of it is dependent on how quickly you respond and how long revision rounds take. With that in mind, most custom projects are completed within 10-15 work days from the reserved calendar date.

Just send me a message here. If there’s room in my schedule, you can get a service completed faster for an additional fee.

Licensing, copyright, and contracts

Yes. I know terms and conditions/contracts can cause a lot of anxiety, but I spent a lot of time trying to create a contract that is clear, transparent, and easy to understand. It ensures that you know in advance exactly which rights you have if you purchase a cover from me and what will be expected of us both during the process. It also protects me from clients operating in bad faith and lets you relax knowing that I’ll be held to a certain caliber of professionalism as well. You can read the default contract I work under on the Terms and Conditions page of the website here. These are the terms you will be agreeing to when you purchase anything from the J. L. Wilson Designs Shop or request any work from J. L. Wilson Designs. I want to be as transparent as I can be about what working with me entails, so that you can decide in advance whether I’m the right person for you.

I’m afraid not. I have a standard contract I work under to protect you and me, and this contract can’t be changed. Please do contact me here if you have any questions about it though. The contract is designed to make the process a positive one for us both. I always want you to feel comfortable that you understand what you’re signing.

This is a common misconception. A lot of authors who are new to purchasing book covers think they’re purchasing the copyright for the art itself and that they can then do whatever they want to do with the cover. That’s rarely ever the case in the cover art world.

I wrote a short article to answer the question in more detail here. 🙂

I use 3d models as the base for my covers. I do this in part to make it easier/less expensive for authors to use the artwork to sell their own merchandise if so desired, but also because I prefer the flexibility of 3d models. They’re far more customizable in terms of clothing, skin color, hair color/style, posing, and lighting than stock photos.

When I do use stock photos though, they usually come from DepositPhotos or NeoStock.

That’s a really good question, and one that a lot of authors don’t yet know to ask. I wrote a short article to better answer the question here.

Other

Yes! Current discounts are listed at the bottom of the front page of the J. L. Wilson Designs Shop. These discounts change every so often and are applied automatically in the shop, with the exception of discounts distributed through the J. L. Wilson Designs e-mail list. Those most be added manually.

If you’re new to purchasing covers, you may not realize just how many different ways there are to make a book cover, and what the methods used can mean for what you can do with the cover afterwards. I go into the most common methods used to create fantasy and science fiction book covers over here.

I actually do almost entirely 3d art (3d model manipulation+Photoshop) with a nice dose of digital overpainting. Basically, I have a library of 3d models and assets that I can manipulate in an endless number of ways to create the exact character, pose, outfit, props, and look we want for a book cover. For example, I can adjust extremely specific details of the face and body, and apply different types of skin textures, hair styles/colors, articles of clothing, clothing textures, and props. I can create a variety of backgrounds and then pose any of the models I’ve customized in an endless variety of poses (from an endless variety of angles) before applying different lighting effects to make the whole image really pop. And that’s just the initial render! (Renders are still images created by the 3d software based on the camera angle used to capture the image of a customized scene/character pose.)

Once the renders are created, I use Photoshop to do a fair bit of digital overpainting to create whatever the specific look is that we’re going for (e.g. a more photorealistic look, a more airbrushed look, a more painted look). At this stage I can add an endless variety of magical and color effects, composite several different rendered images together so that they blend into a single cohesive image, and create a stunning title treatment complete with text effects to add that extra oomph to the final cover. And that’s my process. If you look at the J. L. Wilson Designs Shop, you can see examples of my work.

I specialize in fantasy and science fiction, but I do the occasional post-apocalyptic cover as well.

If your question wasn’t answered here, I recommend checking the default contract I work under. You can find it here.

Yes, I know contracts are boring (and can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re new to the business), but I promise I worked hard to make my contract transparent and easy to understand, and I have included how I handle most common situations or requests so new clients can know in advance what to expect if they decide to work with me. That said, if the contract still doesn’t answer your question or you need further clarification, please don’t hesitate to send me a message here. I’m always happy to help!