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Writing Books/Stipulation in a book contract


Hi Cathy,

I was wondering, is there any professional way to let a publisher know when querying that you have a stipulation when it comes to cover art? I use to be an indie music video director, and am now writing erotic fiction. My first novella was picked up by an epublisher and will be released this summer, and I am currently working on my second one now. Although the publisher seems open to what I would like the cover art to be and such, sending me a Cover Art Request Form and all, I have yet to see if they are going to stick to my wishes for the book cover. Being a formal visual artist, cover art really means a lot to me, and if possible I would like to make sure I have the right with my future books to decide what the cover art will be. Is there a professional way to let this be known, without coming across as too demanding?

And would you happen to have any other advice for me as far as promotion, advances, and any other knowledge you can pass along that will help me with my new career?

Gratefully Yours,


Hi, Rico,

Unfortunately not. Very few publishers are willing to add even cover consultation (which is when the publisher allows you input into cover design), and fewer still that allow cover approval (when you get the final say on the cover.) They might take your input as a courtesy, but to insist they do so isn't likely. Much of the cover design is up to the sales department, and they base it on their knowledge of readers. It's not really the author's wishes they're looking to satisfy.

That said, you're certainly welcome to tell them of your arts background and perhaps suggest some images, or send your editor some concepts of what you'd like. I've had good luck with that with our publisher.

Hope that helps! Good luck!


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Cathy Clamp


I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.


I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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