One of the first questions newbie indie authors ask is, how much should I pay for professional book cover design?
What is the average price for creating a cover? Well, prices vary.
You can get a nice cover for $5 on Fiverr or spent hundreds of dollars using professional services such as Signature Book Cover design from CreateSpace.
Why are prices so different and what influences them?
First, there are two types of covers; custom covers and illustrated covers. A custom book cover design is created helped by stock pictures.
The illustrated cover is professionally designed from scratch.
In this article, I will tell you more about what the influences are on a custom book cover price, and at the end, I will compare the cost of creation of these two types of the covers.
Custom covers are created by using stock pictures. So, it is obvious that the price of these pictures influences the cost of the cover.
- There are a lot of free stock picture websites where you can find good images for your cover.
- Another type of stock pictures is from low-cost stock websites.
- Also, there are more expensive pictures. One of our favourites is NeoStock.
- Now as I promised let’s compare the cost of custom and illustrated designs.
- Let’s summarize what influences the cost of a book cover.
There are a lot of free stock picture websites where you can find good images for your cover.
As the designer need not purchase the picture, the price of the cover stays very low. The problem is that there are no suitable free pictures for fantasy, thriller, sci-fi, and historical covers.
On such free pictures websites, you may find many scenery images, hugging couples and something abstract. Cover images created with such pictures cost $5. And here are two examples.
Another type of stock pictures is from low-cost stock websites.
The most popular ones are Depositphotos and Shutterstock.
The cost of one image ranges from $1 to $5.
You may find high-quality images of many models and your cover will look better as there is a possibility to use the model and a different background. Covers such as the examples below cost approximately between $15-$35.
Also, there are more expensive pictures. One of our favourites is NeoStock.
The cost of one picture there is $25. However, the pictures there are worth every penny. They are perfectly suited to different fantasy and horror covers.
Of course, the cost of the cover where a $25 picture is used cannot be lower than its image price. If you consider that the designer may use at least three pictures for one fantasy cover, it could cost at least $100.
The next stock pictures are pictures for which you can buy exclusive rights. One of such stocks is Getty Images.
The cost of the highest resolution picture there is $499, so you may imagine how much covers with such pictures could cost.
The next important factor that influences the price of great book cover design is the number of images used. Sometimes our designers have to use more than ten pictures for a single book cover.
Sometimes we combine pictures from different stocks. For example, we take a picture of the main character from NeoStock and pictures for the background and various effects from cheaper websites.
This helps us to keep an affordable cost of $100 for an ebook cover.
Also, the time that is taken in cover creation also influences its cost. The more characters and details you want to see on your cover, the more time a designer has to spend on its creation. So, it is obvious that more complex and detailed covers will cost more.
What is mentioned above are direct expenses for a book cover. However, what else influences its cost?
One of the most important factors is the experience of the designer. If the designer is experienced, it means they create better covers. If they create better covers, more authors want to order from them.
If the designer has a lot of customers they raise their prices. There are a lot of famous book cover designers who charge from $300 up to $700 per cover.
These designers have proven skills and people trust them. And the cost of their services includes this trust.
In my mind, the Internet connected the world and gave us the possibility to communicate even if we are on different continents.
This is why any US author can order book cover design from a freelancer or company in Europe.
Most of us know that US or UK freelancers will charge more than freelancers with the same skills level in another country.
The location of the designer influences the price of their services. As the example let’s take our team at MiblArt.
We are located in Ukraine, Europe.
If you look at our portfolio, you will discover that our book covers are of a very high standard, but would cost you a lot more if you order them from some well-known designers.
You can see the same tendency if you look for design services from different companies from Eastern Europe countries.
So, never be afraid to order something from non-American designers, as they can offer you the same professional covers, but at a lower price.
Now you know what is involved in the cost of designing a book cover created by using stock pictures.
Now as I promised let’s compare the cost of custom and illustrated designs.
The minimum time required for the illustration of a color book cover is at least ten days.
But if you want your cover to have more than one character or want to show much more detail, it will take longer.
The illustrator doesn’t use stock images for the cover, so they spend much more time creating the illustrations. This means the cost will be higher.
For example, we spent up to 3 days for an ebook cover design and such a cover costs $100.
The average time it takes for an illustration creation is 15 days which is five times more.
Because of the extra time and work, the cost of an illustrated cover can be $500, but we do not spend money on picture purchases, so it can be a little lower.
As a result, the final price of an illustration which we create is $300. Such an illustration includes the background and two characters. If you want to see more characters on your cover, it will cost an additional $50 as it will take more time.
Here are some examples of our illustrated covers.
Let’s summarize what influences the cost of a book cover.
• Is the cover using illustrations or is the cover created from stock images. Illustrated covers always cost more.
• The cost of the pictures. Using more exclusive pictures costs more.
• The number of pictures used. If you want to see more characters and details on your cover the designer must use more pictures, which influences the final price.
• The name of the designer and their location. If the design company or freelancer is well-known, the price always will be higher. US and UK designers also charge more.
I hope this article will help you realize how much you are ready to pay for your cover and what you will get for $5 and $100.
Ihor Tureha is one of co-founders and CEO at MiblArt. He started his career as a freelance Graphic Designer and after a year founded a book cover design company called MiblArt. He specializes in urban fantasy book cover designs. Now Ihor spends more time learning online marketing and designing marketing materials for indie authors.