Fiverr Book Cover: Look Before You Leap

Fiverr eBook Cover

Ask any eBook guru where to get an eBook cover made, and they’re likely to suggest you go to a site called Fiverr.com.

Fiverr (a registered trademark) is a website where freelancers from around the world gather to offer various kinds of services. These micro-jobs are called “gigs.”

The big attraction at Fiverr? You can get these services, including an eBook cover, for $5.

Getting a Fiverr eBook cover might be fine. However, my suggestion is that you carefully examine Fiverr offers. Despite the fact they all seem to have rosy reviews, you won’t get much for $5. Let the buyer beware.

The Fiverr Story

Fiverr was started in 2010 by Shai Wininger and Micha Kaufman and is headquartered in Israel. At first, all the gigs offered were $5. They gathered a huge number of sellers, most from Third World countries where US $5 had buying power. Within two years, Fiverr was offering more than 1.3 million gigs.

Today, Fiverr gigs range from $5 to $500. You can still see the $5 price on almost every offer, but that price is often just a lure. When it comes to eBook covers, you’ll only get minimum effort from the provider for $5. As we’ll see, and that doesn’t help you meet your publishing goals.

Even if you buy a $5 gig, it will cost you $6. Fiverr tacks on a $1 PayPal surcharge up to $20 spent and 5 percent of your total beyond that. You pay in advance and Fiverr pays the service provider after you approve the job.

The seller doesn’t receive the full amount. They get 80 percent of the net amount. When you buy a $5 gig you’ll pay $6 for it, and the service provider will get $4.

Fiverr doesn’t police gigs very well. Amazon took legal action against 1,114 Fiverr sellers in late 2015 for offering fake Amazon reviews. Fiverr officials claimed those gigs violated their Terms of Service, but they were not proactive in stemming the unethical activity.

Three Random eBook Cover Gigs Examined

The focus here is on eBook covers, but the same applies to print book covers. Many Fiverr vendors do both.

Many offer a flat cover and a 3D cover as part of their offer. You use the flat cover on Amazon and other sales sites, and you use the 3D cover on your own site or in promotions.

I looked at three random book cover gig offers and this is what I found.

Gig 1

W from Pakistan offers a 2100 x 3000 pixel (px) jpg, png and pdf front cover only (no 3D) at 72 dpi for $5. This does not meet the requirements of Kindle or most other book selling sites. Kindle requests a jpg or tiff cover that is 625 x 1000 px. A proportional cover may be up to 2500 px on the longest side, but the 2100 x 3000 px exceeds this and is not proportional.

Also, the $5 cover is not licensed for you to use commercially. Someone from Pakistan is unlikely to be able to enforce that, but they could. It’s pointless to offer a cover that is not licensed for commercial use since the reason for having one is to use it commercially.

W confuses matters more by offering a “bells and whistles” for $15. It appears to be the same except you get a 3D cover and it’s licensed to for use commercially. You get the source file too (usually Photoshop, but W doesn’t say), but you’ll need the correct version to open it.

W offers a $25 cover but the specifications do not seem different from the $15 version except it includes a custom illustration. However, in the small print W says he does not create illustrations, so that’s a puzzle. W uses free stock photos, but if you want to supply your own photo, add $10 to W’s fee.

Gig 2

X from Netherlands offers a properly formatted Kindle cover for $5. You get four revisions for that price and two-day delivery. But this is not without confusion.

In the small print, X says that for $5 you get a 3D cover on request, but we don’t know if that is in place of, or in addition to, the flat cover. X says you get the source file too (a Photoshop PSD), but elsewhere X says you must pay $20 to get a 3D cover and source file.

X requests an addition $5 for any package to buy a “premium royalty-free image” to “avoid copyright issues.” A designer should be using premium images anyway, but X makes a point. If your designer grabs a copyrighted image off Google Images or elsewhere, you may be subject to heavy fines or legal fees. You must know the source of the image your designer uses. You need to verify it is either royalty-free for your use (royalty-free licenses vary) or in the Public Domain.

Gig 3

Y from Nigeria offers a full book cover package for $40. However, there are some warning signs that should trigger questions.

First, there is a list of six things Y designs, but there are only two things on offer—eBook and print covers. Y uses different words to describe the same things.

Y also says you’ll get “free high quality work,” but alas, it’s not free. You’ll be paying a minimum of $40 for it. Also, Y advertises “unlimited revisions” in one section, but in another section charges an extra $5 for later revisions.

Even though he offers a “paperback” and “CreateSpace” cover (usually the same specifications),  in the $40 package, Y charges $15 for a CreateSpace back and spine (required for paperbacks) and another $5 for it to be “print ready,” another CreateSpace requirement. What’s going on with this confusing offer? It’s hard to know.

Y also asks for another $5 to use a “licensed stock image.” You can presume that Y is using an unlicensed image unless you pay extra, and that could mean legal headaches for you.

Final Considerations

Many people will tell you they have used Fiverr and that it’s wonderful. However, others will tell you they had an unsatisfactory experience.

One thing you’ll discover is that all the sellers expect 5-star reviews so they can get a 100% rating. Even if you’re happy, but only give an honest 4-star rating, the seller may harass you until you give them the 5-stars they want. They may even offer to cancel your job to remove your honest 1-4 star rating. Thus, ratings on Fiverr are meaningless, so don’t select a seller based on that.

Keep an eye open for bait and switch tactics. Don’t expect a decent $5 cover. Fiverr providers want to up-sell you and it appears that many of them use misleading tactics to do that.

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