Fair Fee for Reproducing Your Art?

Laura Lein-Svencner writes:Laura1

I have been offered the opportunity to have a piece of my work [pictured here] published in an 9-12th grade educational bilingual art/photograph book this winter. I’ve done some surfing around and put out some emails to the artists that have dealt with the company. My question is what is a fair price?

They offered me 300.00, tear sheets and if I want to buy a book when published at 50.00. I have heard about 2000.00 to 1000.00 if a flat fee. It would be nice to get more then 300.00.   

So, what is a fair price? Can anyone help Laura with this? It seems to me that $300 would be a reasonable offer for an educational manual, but I don’t feel qualified to answer this one.

Image: Laura Lein-Svencner, Creative Lifeline. Assemblage, 9 x 7 x 2 inches. (c) The Artist.

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16 comments to Fair Fee for Reproducing Your Art?

  • Here in England I would, after agreeing a price, follow with a licence contract with usage etc.

  • I’m an artist and an author and I can tell you that $300 is a very good offer. The dollar figures of $1000 – $2000 are closer to what the author of the book would receive as an advance on the entire piece. You must remember how many pieces of art they want to include in the book plus the author’s royalties as well. Hope this is helpful. Maria Peagler mariapeagler.com

  • I think that is amazingly generous if a book offers to pay you to publish your work. Most books do not offer to pay you at all only offereing a discount on a book purchase. Keep in mind this is good publicity! And it looks good on your resume! If you have to make a special project for the book, that is a different story. I think you should be paid for a special project for a book with step-by-step instructions or photos.

  • I once had an image of one of my collages printed in a fourth grade art textbook. I was paid $175 for that edition of the book, and they also used it in a CD that was distributed to art teachers. $300 is a good price, assuming they don’t want full rights to the image forever. bobbi c.

  • Thank you all for your comments, it has been very helpful on this subject. I had know Idea what was a general going price for this. And I did move forward with this for a little more that what they offered me and a book plus tear sheets and a pdf file too. Feeling content with it now. ~v~Laura

  • I have done work for educational material publishers and $300 is a decent price especially if you are not selling the full rights.

  • Thanks Janet, I’m really glad I ask Alyson if this could be posted, I think it might help other artist too. So funny how you start talking about something and you find out other have had the experience too. ~v~

  • BTW, keep in mind that they will probably 1099 you.

  • I worked as an illustrator for many years for everything from Time Magazine to The New York Times to educational publishing. I do advise everyone out there who is selling publication rights to their art work to join The Graphic Artists Guild and get a copy of their book Pricing and Ethical Guidelines which gives a range of prices for each type of publication or project and is published yearly. Much depends on the print run and how big the publisher is etcetera. It is quite common to get $300. for a 1/4 page color illustration in an educational textbook and much more for corporate or editorial illustration. Hope this helps.

  • Wow. I’m learning all kinds of things from you all! And I know of a new resource now. Thanks, Cath.

  • I have never sought out illustration or book related markets for my art, but a gallery I was in had an image of mine on their web site. A large publisher contacted the gallery, and asked us (the gallery and I) for the rights to this image for the cover of a college textbook. We had no idea what to ask, and so I went to google and dogpile, and found that there has been a bottoming of the market for this sort of work in the past few years. What used to reap $1,000 now is more commonly getting $300. But, I knew that the market and economy where in an upturn, so I asked my gallery owner to negotiate at the $1,000 fee, since it was a work of fine art, and I never intended to go in this direction with my works. They came back accepting my price(and they did open with a $300 offer). I now have 2 copies of this beautiful book, and an open file at that publisher, and a cool little jpeg on my resume of that cover. I hope this encourages other fine artists as to the “cinderella” stories that you can have happen to you, too. I split the fee 50/50 with the gallery, who had posted the image, and did the negotiation and intial contacts. BTW, although I’m not required to, I did contact the owners of the original to clear the deal first. They thought it was great and got a “collection of so and so” line in the credits.

  • I would like to add that the Pricing and Ethical Guidelines is a great and necessary resource to anyone selling illustrations, etc. and that you can buy it on Amazon.com if you are not ready to join the guild. I only do a small amount of illustration work and my membership in the guild was not cost effective after the first year (I joined to get the book) I have since seen it in Borders and on Amazon so you can order the latest edition–it is chock full of good info for graphic artists and illustrators.

  • I have to say, “ask the people that have had the experiences,” you’ll be surprised by the answers they give. This has been so informative that I’ve passed it along to a couple other friends of mine that are working this part of their career too. ~v~

  • The Pricing and Ethical Guidelines can be found at a good public or university library. If your neighborhood library does not have it, they can arrange for a interlibrary loan. Here in Texas, i beleive they will check any library in the state and have it sent to your library of choice for you to pick up! Libraries also have funds to order/purchase a book to add to their collection based on your suggestions.

  • I have created paintings for over 8 books covers, including several cookbooks, fiction and non- fiction literature. I charge $500.00 to use an existing image and $1000.00 to $2000.00 for a custom one. Artists, please dont sell yourself short. Your talent should be properly compensated The publisher should always provide you with free copies of the book and NEVER sell your copyright or the right to transfer or assign. You can see all my book covers at http://www.lindapaul.com/Book_Cover_Art_Illustrations_Illustrators.asp I also license my work as fine art prints, on household and food products, cd covers etc.

  • The last comment was posted 3/07. If this thread is still active, I am curious to know if the artists who have licensed artwork for books make a distinction between interior images and art for the cover of the book when setting a price. We have licensing agreements in place for paintings that were utilized on interior pages, and have just received an offer for a book cover of a scholastic textbook. Anyone have info to share on this ? http://www.originaloilpaintings.typepad.com