The Price of Cover Design

The price of cover design is a widely argued subject. How do you price your design? What should the average price be? Should there be packages? What do you think?

So many questions and so many answers!  For everyone it is different. Prices can start as low as $35.00 (see http://www.thebookcoverdesigner.com) and the sky is the limit. There are even sites where you name your own price and designers will submit their work and you can chose the one you like (see http://www.99designs.com).

How do I decide what to charge?  My fees are figured the same across the board. A rough estimate of how long your design will take me to complete (hours) x $25.00 (fee) and I arrive at a price. This does not include resources such a stock and fonts. I am able to provide affordable rates by requiring you to provide your own stock images, but I can and will help you chose them for your project. A free consultation isn’t just for you, but helps me determine what you’ll need before we start to discuss what you want. These are but pieces of the puzzle that will make for successful design.

For the basics, let’s play a game of q&a:

Question #1: Do you need a print and e-cover? Or just an e-cover?

Why I need to know:
Print standards are different than that of E-covers.  The quality of the image is extremely important and even more so for print covers. Print covers require 300 dpi while an E-cover only requires 72 dpi. Something to watch for if you must have a print cover. The E-covers may look the same and sometimes they are more vivid than the print, but trust in that the eye is easily fooled! What you see on an LCD screen is not what you get when printed.

The dimensions of a print cover are also different than that of an E-cover. For print you will need to know the trim size of your book, the page count of your print format  and the paper (black and white or cream?) you are printing on. All of this information is used to determine the measurements of the spine of your cover.  Never guess.  Otherwise, the spine may bleed over onto the front and back cover. That wouldn’t make for a pretty cover!!  And your printer will reject the cover.  That is no fun for anyone.  Get the precise numbers and we will get it right—- the first time.

When you view an e-cover, it is usually a thumb-nail sized image nestled among others. So tiny!! But what happens when you click on that small image? It’s suddenly large. Many ask, why do I need the large image when the e-covers are viewed so small? That small image is generated from the larger one, while the larger one is usually what is embedded in your book and on the website (places like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc). While their requirements vary most advise that images be no smaller than 1400 – 2000 pixels on the shortest side. To make images smaller is no problem. However, if you try to enlarge a smaller image you get distortion or pixelation, resulting in a blurred image. If it does get attention, it definitely won’t be the good kind.

Question #2: What is your time frame?

Why I need to know:
Does your cover need to be expedited? This may cost more, especially if other designs are waiting to be completed. Not to mention, you may want time to query a cover (test it on a trusted audience) and request revisions. This also let’s me know if I can deliver what you want within your needed time frame.

Question #3: Do you have concept art and have you started looking for stock?

Why I need to know:
If you already have a concept in mind and stock sitting in a light room, the design of your cover will go smoother. Consider your genre, the feel of your story and idea you’d like conveyed on the cover. All of these things must be easily identifiable to your audience. If you do NOT have a concept and we are starting from scratch, your design will take additional time. We can shop for stock together and I can advise you on images.

Question #4: Do you need more than just a cover?

Why I need to know:
While I’m designing your cover(s), I can easily design other graphics to co-ordinate with it. Such as screensavers, facebook covers, blog banners and/or 3D Book graphics that make great promotional items. Some like additional swag such as custom bookmarks, posters and even t-shirts. Knowing all of this ahead of time allows me to design a high-resolution pdf in a large size that can easily be made smaller for each particular item. This saves me time and time is money. Which means, if I save time, you save money. This translates to discounts for you!!

So many have asked me how can I price my designs so low? If you’ve looked around, then you know that quality designs are usually priced $99 and up with the average for more known designers being between $199 and $500.00. I design because it is what I love to do. I do not do it for fame or fortune. I believe that everyone should have a great cover and I know that not everyone has the same budget. Should this limit you? No. Will I let it limit me? No.

Success for me is knowing that I delivered a great design that not only did the author LOVE but will be in the hands of generations to come. Books are immortal. I’m already living my dream……

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