Last Updated: March 23, 2022
For self-published authors, publishing a book can incur many expenses, from marketing and editing to interior formatting. Among these expenses is book cover design, which entails the artwork, typography, and formatting of your book cover, from its electronic form (or e-book cover) to its printed form (paperback, hardcover, and/or dust jacket design). With the range of options available for cover design, book cover costs vary widely with different options and levels of quality. Below, you can find a brief guide outlining the different price points for a custom book cover design in 2022.
At the very lowest price bracket, $5-$75 is an extemely tight budget for a custom book cover design and is also the most risky. While there is a small chance you may be able to commission a decent cover at this range, there is a high risk that your design will not be original and/or will not be of professional quality. Instead, you may want to opt for a premade book cover at this price point. There is a better chance you'll find a solid premade to fit your cover design (closer to the $50-$75 range), especially if covers in your genre are more visually straightforward and less detailed in their design. This may be true for genres such as contemporary romance and thriller, which usually feature covers with more minimalistic, photo-based designs.
While still on the lower side for custom cover designs, this price range is great for looking for a quality premade book cover. At these prices, you will be able to find more complex book cover designs for fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fiction. For custom covers, this range could potentially be viable for an e-book cover design alone. Many hobbyist arists, budding small businesses, and/or designers looking to build their portfolios may price their e-book cover designs within this price point. This pricing could potentially allow for a full cover design if a premade front cover is purchased with the design of the spine and back cover ordered for an additional fee. Overall, this is definitely a safe range to explore some great, quality options while working with a conservative budget.
This price range is the most common price point for custom book cover designs, which often includes the e-book cover and full print cover design. At this range, you will be able to access high-quality book cover design services while being within a fair budget, as many professional book cover designers and book cover design companies price their covers in this range. Covers in this range can span from more complex photo manipulation to custom illustrations. Very high-quality premade cover designs also fall in this range. For self-published authors wanting the best value, this price point is an optimal range to consider.
On the higher end of the spectrum, book covers in this range tend to maintain a strong, professional quality and often entail extensive creative labor on behalf of the designer and/or company. At this price point, you can find very elaborate photo manipulations and digital mixed media art, highly detailed illustrations, and/or custom photography. Designers and companies in this range tend to promote their book covers as premium services due to their expertise and increased demand. At this price point, it is not uncommon for authors to book their cover designs in advance or be waitlisted by the designer or company due to larger client lists. Some designers and companies have been known to close bookings for periods as long as several months to a year, so be sure to consult your designer or company to ensure their availability before moving forward.
While extremely rare for a self-published author to come across, designers and companies in this range are typically prominent artists or figures in the publishing world. Carrying many of the same qualities from the previous price range, book cover designs within this price point are virtually guaranteed to be of top quality from veterans in the industry and/or renowned illustrators and photographers. Covers in this range are a much steeper investment and may also incur a significant waitlist time depending on volume of business.
How will I know which price range is right for my book cover?
With prices spanning as low as $5 to as high as thousands of dollars, it is clear that there are several options that each come with their benefits and drawbacks. Self-published authors generally aim for a great cover design (premade or custom) at an affordable price, with cheaper options and more premium services available for selection as well. Before choosing a book cover design service, consider these questions while deciding:
• Do I have a budget in mind that I am comfortable spending for my book cover design?
• Do I want to invest in my brand/business as a self-published author?
• What am I looking for artistically for my book cover design?
• How soon will I want and/or need my book cover design to be completed?
• Do I feel more comfortable working with an individual designer or a book cover design company?
Whichever option you choose, allow yourself to enjoy the experience of working with your designer or book cover design company. The book cover design stage in your publishing journey is fun, interesting, and often times very collaborative. If you have any questions on book cover pricing, feel free to reach out or comment below.