Q&A with a Book Cover Designer: What Photographers Need to Know to Make Licensing Sales

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For any photographer who is looking to break into the book cover licensing world, there are so many questions!

What makes a good book cover photograph in the first place?

How do you know that the images you are creating are going to help your portfolio stand out and make sales?

Well this week I decided to talk to a book cover designer to find out!

For the second broadcast in my Facebook Live Q&A series, I interviewed Mariah Sinclair of MariahSinclair.com and TheCoverVault.com.

 Mariah Sinclair, of MariahSinclair.com and TheCoverVault.com

Mariah Sinclair, of MariahSinclair.com and TheCoverVault.com

She is an award-winning designer who focuses on designing book covers for independent authors.

Mariah also has an extensive background in marketing, advertising, and design.

As someone who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, she brings an incredible analytical point of view to her business.

She blew me away with some of the stats she shared about her market research into the book cover market.

For example, when she was building her business, she looked into how many books were being published a day, on Amazon alone.

Did you know that the number was around 3,000?

My mouth almost dropped when she shared that with me.

Let me repeat that because it's that important!

Over 3,000 books a day are being published on Amazon alone!

That meant, for her, there was a large market of authors to serve with book cover design.

And for photographers, that means that there are a lot of authors who need book cover photos!

Now, many of those books on Amazon might be self-published books using Royalty Free images.

Most of my business is built on Rights Managed licensing sales.

However, there is no right or wrong with licensing models.

The fact is, that that stat alone lets us know that there is a viable market for images to be licensed.

Mariah spent over an hour talking to me and the Beneath the Surface Facebook group, and there were so many great takeaways!

In this talk you'll hear about:

  • How she built her design business from scratch, and what photographers can learn from her experience

  • How photographers can learn what is currently selling in the market.

  • Why standing out in the market isn't always a good thing.

  • The quickest way for photographers to find out the kind of images that book cover designers and authors want to buy.

  • The one popular thing photographers do that she hates, and will immediately disqualify that image's sale.

Take a listen to the talk here:


If you're interested in joining us for this live broadcast series, come on over to my Facebook Group "Beneath the Surface


We go live on Thursdays at Noon EST!