This blog entry was supposed to be about creating the book cover.
That was fully my intention. I was going to lead you through the process of how I found the picture that eventually became my book cover, how I obtained permission to use it, and converted and edited it using free software.
But I ran into a snag. I thought it would be a good idea to show you the original photograph so you could compare it to the finished version. And that’s when the trouble started.
You see, I actually asked permission from three different people about using three different photographs. I received permission to use this one:
Unfortunately, I used this one by mistake:
Now, here’s the dilemma: at this point, I’ve already published the eBook in a variety of formats, and I have already approved the final version of the printed book at CreateSpace. I have in my possession a proof of the book with a photo credit to the person responsible for the first photo even though that’s not his photograph.
What do I do? The temptation is there to just ignore the problem. After all, this is a little book. I doubt anyone besides my family and friends will ever read it. The likelihood of the photographer finding out about it is relatively slim.
But I can’t do that. Copyright law and my own conscience compel me to correct the problem, even if it means that I have to start all over again with the book cover. The book waited over 20 years to see the light of day. Another few weeks to straighten out this permissions issue is a drop in the bucket.
So it was that I found myself making a phone call to California at about noon yesterday to try to get permission to continue using the second photo. If the permission is not granted, I will have to completely redesign the cover. If they grant permission, all I have to do is make a few changes to the text to credit the correct person.
In the meantime, I pull the book from distribution. I don’t want any more copies sold until the credit for the original photo is correct.
Thankfully, the photographer was very polite about the whole situation. I explained the confusion and how the issue came about. She asked me a few questions about the book and whether there were potential issues with the shops depicted in the original photo (more on that in another blog entry). I e-mailed her a copy of the completed cover and after a few hours, she sent me back an e-mail granting permission to use the photo and letting me know how the credit should read. This morning I have uploaded corrected versions of the text to KDP, CreateSpace and SmashWords. I am awaiting review at all of the sites before the book is available again.
The lesson in all of this? Firstly, be extremely careful that you only use the images you have permission to use. The second photographer would have been perfectly within her rights to tell me no. It’s entirely my fault, and I am very blessed that she did not ask for compensation for the copies of the eBook I’ve already sold using her photo.
Secondly, I was once again reminded that there are indeed people out there who are willing to share their talents with you for the sake of art. While I don’t claim to be an artist, I am very proud of the book cover. The fact that the photographer allowed me to continue using it shows that she is proud of it, too.
Lastly, even making a minor text change is a pain in the butt this late in the game. Make sure everything is indeed kosher rights-wise before signing off on a final version.
Next: Designing the cover… (And this time, I mean it!)