Book Cover Design

Explanation of Process & Price Range

We have partnered with a talented design group to offer our clients expert assistance in the final production stages of their books, websites, and promotional materials. Based on a 10% discount exclusively for our authors, we can present book cover design from roughly $100 to $500, depending on the level of customization you require. This price is better or similar to the package services most standard self-publishing venues offer, but the quality, artistic integrity, and marketability of our covers exceed that of the average vanity press or self-publisher. You won’t have to settle for a cover that screams “self-published”—giving your book a better chance of being picked up by reviewers and the readers you seek.

Our preferred vendor can design a polished, audience-attracting cover using preexisting stock photos/images (which can be altered to fit the hook and tone of your book), or create a custom cover through a professional photo shoot that incorporates locations, people, and props of your choosing. Your individual needs and your level of direct involvement determine your price.

Deciding on your particular needs will be achieved by having a brief conversation regarding your book via phone or email with the designer. The title of your book and a brief synopsis will also be required so the designer can gauge the tone and hook of the story or subject and get to know your main character (fiction) or the author (nonfiction). The discussion will also cover whether you prefer a photo-based cover, illustration, or typographic style. If you feel confident in understanding the marketability of certain types of covers, having some contemporary covers in mind (that you feel represent your genre well) to which you can refer the designer would also be helpful.

The designer will also need to know the specs of the book: the physical size (6 x 9, for example), whether it will be soft or hardback, any special characteristics for the cover (spot varnishes, foils or embosses, which the designer can explain to you if needed), the quantity for the print run (to obtain any extended licensing for images), and where the book will be printed.

All pricing is subject to the final details of each individual project. (If you are interested in seeing  sample covers demonstrating the pricing range, please contact us.)

Pricing Variables:

The following breakdown of cover creation can give you an idea of the process differences between the stock photo/image option and the custom cover option; we’ve included information on what variables would affect price so you can have them in mind when talking with the designer.

Stock photo/image option

The following steps are included in the basic package for a stock photo cover design, usually priced in the range of $200–$300.

1. After discussing your preferred price range and your book, the designer can direct you to any number of stock photography websites (preferably iStockphoto.com), and you can briefly search for photos or photo styles that you prefer (such sites allow you to search by topic or type of image). This cuts the overall design costs because the designer won’t be searching for a range of photos that you, as the author, may or may not prefer. If you do not have time for this or find it intimidating, our vendor is more than willing to spend a nominal amount of time putting together a sample contact sheet of 10–25 photos they feel will fit your book.

2. The author then chooses a few images and the designer will create 3–5 design comps for the cover (including front, spine, and back) and present them to you for review. This design process includes basic photo/image manipulation (to better fit the tone of the book). At this stage, the author also provides the designer with the backliner/blurb, author headshot—if you are not placing it inside the book—or anything else specific you may want on the cover.

3. The author chooses one design direction, provides feedback, and the designer will iterate on their feedback for two rounds, which is usually sufficient to achieve the author’s goals. (Any additional rounds of changes will be billed hourly).

4. With the final design selected, we will work directly with the printer to get them the artwork in the format needed. If a press check or color proof is needed by the author, we can attend an onsite press check or proof check, or order a color match, to provide the printer. (In the latter case, such costs will be dependent on the location of the printer and the size of the color match).

Please Note: Hourly design charges outside the scope of the project are billed at $75/hour. For covers that require extensive photo manipulation, are very complicated, or require additional photography, we can provide a quote. All prices will receive the 10% discount (except the extended licensing, which is dictated by the stock photo company). Lastly, in cases where the stock art is beyond the normal price range, there may be an extra fee to cover this additional cost. (If you are interested in seeing sample stock-image covers demonstrating the pricing range, please contact us.)

Custom cover option

A custom cover can range from roughly $100 to $500 depending on several factors. The basic service includes the photo shoot, the art direction, set dressing, and post-shoot photo processing (Photoshop work, etc.). Steps 2–4 above (the stock photo/image process) would also be included. The variables in the price range would take into account such things as any location fees, prop rentals, model fees, or travel costs beyond a 50-mile radius from the designer’s workplace. A quote will be provided based on the author’s needs and requirements. (If you are interested in seeing custom sample covers demonstrating the pricing range, please contact us.)