Can You Make Money By Designing Book Covers?

There are many ways to monetize your graphic design skills. Some examples include t-shirts and merchandise, business logos, and cartooning. However, with the advent of e-books and self-publishing, book cover design is a field with increasing demand for graphic artists. But can you make any money by designing book covers?

You can make money designing book covers. Although it takes hard work and commitment, with relatively modest earnings in the beginning, veteran cover designers can make $25 per hour or more and create a successful side hustle by designing covers.

Of course, there are a host of factors to consider when it comes to profitability and cover design. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about making money through book covers!

Can You Make Money By Designing Book Covers?

Yes, you can make money designing book covers.

However, like any type of business venture, designing book covers will not be a cash cow for you overnight. You have to plan, put in the hard work, and, of course, produce quality art.

If you do all of these things, you will eventually see your book cover business evolve into a lucrative little side hustle, with the potential for even more.

How Much Money Can You Make Designing Book Covers?

As with any type of freelance work, there is no set-in-stone answer to this question. The initial response is that “you get out of it what you put into it.”

With that said, be prepared to make a humble wage in the beginning. Many artists starting out in the field of book covers end up making around $10 per hour. They have to set a competitive price per project, and their work regularly gets sent back for edits.

However, once you get more experienced and proficient in cover design, and start securing some loyal, long-term clients, it is not unreasonable to make over $25 per hour making book covers, with some master artists reporting incomes over $100 per hour.

While few cover designers end up making this kind of money, it gives you an idea of what is possible if you set your mind to it. 

How to Make More Money Designing Book Covers

Okay, so you know that there is money to be made in book cover design. How can you leverage your skills and make even more?

Produce Quality Art

Book cover design is a competitive field, with relatively few barriers to entry. There are people all over the world with computers, Adobe Illustrator, and a passion for design who wake up one day and decide they want to freelance their cover designs.

Therefore, it is critical that you produce quality, professional art to stand out in a crowded field. Have an extensive catalog on your digital storefront (Upwork, Fiverr, personal website, etc.) of past projects and mock-ups through which clients can peruse. Use high-quality Placeit logos in favor of clipart or other stock images to further set your covers apart. You can also use Placeit to customize book cover templates.

If you do a good enough job, you will have clients choosing one of your covers to match their book, and not the other way around.

Be An Elite Communicator

Clients can be notoriously finicky. You may have produced what appears to be the perfect cover for their project–but they want you to make one minor edit. Then another. And another.

While it can be frustrating to your design sensibilities, always respond to these requests promptly and professionally. Let clients know that you take their requests seriously and don’t “ghost” them if they start becoming more trouble than they are worth.

At the end of the day, if you want to make money in the design game, you have to be equal parts businessperson and artist. Communication is king when it comes to running a successful business.

Develop Long-Term Clients

Even if you are able to get $500 for a single cover (congrats if you do!), remember that one-time payments do not make a lucrative business. You need a steady revenue stream to be sustainable. The best way to accomplish this is through long-term clients.

Be on the lookout for e-book publishing companies and other types of businesses who order covers with regularity. Take the time to study these entities and have a firm understanding of what they are looking for. Pitch mock-ups to them and offer bundle deals that can catch their attention and help secure an ongoing relationship.

Price with a Purpose

Pricing can make or break any type of business, and it can be extremely tricky for cover designers to arrive at the correct figure for their services.

On one hand, if you are new to the field and are charging $100 per cover with no ratings or past client recommendations, you will immediately be struck from most clients’ consideration set.

On the other hand, if you are charging $5 per cover, you run the risk of conveying inferior quality through such a low price.

Start with a modest price figure in the beginning, adjusting as needed to get a steady flow of clients. As the reviews and recommendations start coming in, raise your price accordingly to help increase your profits.

The Bottom Line: Is There Money in Designing Book Covers?

Yes, you can make money designing book covers. Like any type of business, it takes time and effort to become profitable in this enterprise, but once you break through, it is not unreasonable to turn your cover design business into a substantial side hustle. Use the advice listed above to get on the right track for making a profitable cover design business!