Service Agreement for Independent Authors



Thank you for deciding to use Lawston Design (sometimes referred to as ‘I’ and ‘Me’ below). These terms set out how I work with clients and cover both your rights and responsibilities. Please read through them carefully and if you have any questions please let me know before signing. Many thanks!


1. You, the Client, commission Lawston Design to carry out the Services outlined in the specific terms agreed between us in writing at the time of the commission ‘the Deal Terms’  and Lawston Design agrees to provide such Services. 

Payment and Expenses

2. In consideration of the Services You agree to pay the Fee consisting of the Deposit and Balance of Fee. The Deposit is payable when the Deal Terms are agreed and these general provisions acknowledged by You in writing. I reserve the right not to start work on the Services until I have received the Deposit amount. 

3. I will invoice for the Balance of Fee following completion of the Services. 

4. We may occasionally agree further expenses for which You will reimburse Lawston Design, for example if You were to require a specific font or image from a third party which is outside the normal scope of expenses  for the Services. I will never incur such expenses without Your prior approval. I will invoice You for any such expense and reserve the right to do so before incurring the expense. 


5. Lawston Design provides bespoke services and  reserves the right to charge a Cancellation Fee if You cancel at any time following signature of this Agreement and/or my receipt of the Deposit. 

6. I will inform You by email when I am about to start significant work on the Services. Please regularly check your email and spam filters so that you see my messages.

7. If you cancel the Services before I have started significant work on the Services I will refund your Deposit minus £100 to cover administration costs. 

8. If You cancel the Services after I have informed you that I have started significant work I will calculate a reasonable cancellation fee based on the total Fee proportionate to the number of hours  I have spent performing the Services. For example if You cancel on or very close to delivery I reserve the right to charge 100% of the Fee and will send You an invoice for such amount minus any Deposit already paid by You. 

9. In the event of cancellation by You, ownership of all rights granted under this Agreement shall revert to Lawston Design unless otherwise agreed.

Payment Terms

10. All payments and expenses are due within 28 days of the date of invoice, the ‘Due Date’. 

11. I reserve the right to charge a late payment  fee of 10.00% per month on any amount still owing calculated from the Due Date until the date of receipt by Lawston Design as an estimate of the interest and administration costs suffered by my business when I am not paid on time.

Copyright and rights

12. Copyright in the Commissioned Design including visuals is the exclusive property of Rachel Lawston trading as Lawston Design.

13. Lawston Design will include the Copyright Notice on the back cover of any cover design and/or copyright page and/or other suitable location within the Commissioned Design and You agree to use the Copyright Notice and/or credit Lawston Design where possible. 

14. Lawston Design grants to You the Client’s Rights to use the Commissioned Design as listed in the Deal Terms agreed between us.  Please check before agreeing  to the Deal Terms that the Client’s Rights listed correspond to Your understanding of what You are paying for. Please note that unless otherwise stated in Special Terms You may only reproduce the Commission Design up to 500,000 times. This is imposed by the general limit from image libraries unless You or Lawston Design purchase an extended licence.  If in any doubt please contact Me to discuss. 

15. All other rights in the Commissioned Design and related products of the Services carried out by Lawston Design under this Agreement are either retained by Lawston Design or a third party. The Commissioned Design cannot be reused, re-sold, loaned to a third party, or distributed in any way other than for purposes consistent with the Client’s Rights in the Deal Terms without further permission.

16. Please contact Me if you need permission to use the Commissioned Design for further purposes. For example if the Client’s Rights are for e-book only you will need to contact me for further permission if You wish to use the Commissioned Design for a paperback cover. Where I am able to grant You permission I reserve the right to charge a further fee.  Please also note that imagery used in the Commissioned Design may have been purchased from a third party by Lawston Design for use only in the Commissioned Design. An example of unacceptable further use would be the use of elements of the Commissioned Design in marketing materials where this is not included in the Client’s Rights.  I may not be able to grant You permission for further use but will use all reasonable efforts to refer You to the appropriate person or business who may be able to do so.  

17. If You secure a publishing contract and your publisher wishes to use the Commissioned Design for the same formats as outlined in the Services, please ensure they credit Lawston Design on the cover and copyright page and that I am notified in writing. Any artwork created by an illustrator or images purchased for the design will need to be relicensed by the publisher. 

Return of Property

18. Upon completion or cancellation of this Agreement, Lawston Design will return to You any property, documentation, records, or confidential information which is the property of You, the Client.

Lawston Design as Independent Contractor 

19. In providing the Services under this Agreement it is expressly agreed that the Lawston is acting as an independent contractor and not as an employee. Both parties acknowledge that this Agreement does not create a partnership or joint venture between Us, and is exclusively a contract for service. 


20. The Deal Terms (including Special Terms) together with the General Provisions  constitute the Agreement. The Deal Terms will take precedence over these General Provisions and any Special Terms will take precedence over the other Deal Terms. All previous agreements and understandings whether written or oral are superseded. Any amendment or modification of this Agreement or additional obligation assumed by either Party in connection with this Agreement will only be binding if evidenced in writing signed by each Party. Further, any Client amendments to the General Provisions and/or Deal Terms will only be valid if initialled or otherwise explicitly acknowledged by Lawston Design. 

21. In the event that any of the provisions of this Agreement are held to be invalid or unenforceable in whole or in part, all other provisions will nevertheless continue to be valid and enforceable with the invalid or unenforceable parts severed from the remainder of this Agreement.

Governing Law

22. This Agreement will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England.