When I started designing covers, I charged a few hundred bucks and couldn’t believe some designers charged over a thousand dollars for book cover design.
Here are some factors that impact how much designers charge.
- They’re process and how long it takes.
- Whether they offer unlimited variations and changes
- Whether they’re also including promotional graphics
- Whether they are working for themselves or outsourcing to cheaper designers
- Where they’re from (average cost of living)
- Amount of traffic and reputation they have
- Specific knowledge of the industry
- Marketing experience to know which covers will actually sell books
I started by pricing cheap and have built a profitable business by creating lots of great content. Now I have enough demand to charge enough that I can focus my time on making a handful of clients happy, rather than trying to keep out with the demand at a lower price point.
Pricing is a matter of how much someone is willing to pay for what you’ve got.
In general, $600 can get you a great cover, and you might be able to find a cover for $300 (though those designers sometimes don’t have as much experience and can get things like the text and fonts wrong).
I charge more because I end up being a publishing coach and marketing consultant for all my clients, which is more valuable than just the cover alone. But I also put out cheap or free resources on cover design (including cover design templates and DIY videos) for indie authors who don’t have the budget for professional cover design.
For your first book, I don’t recommend spending too much on a cover until you’ve gotten beta readers in your target market and see how they respond to it (strangers, not friends and family). But, a great cover is also important for all of your marketing… so get the best you can currently afford, rather than going cheap and spending a lot on marketing or promotion, which will fail without a great cover.
Before you hire a designer, make sure to learn the important elements of book cover design so you know what mistakes to avoid. I have resources that will help at www.diybookcovers.com