How Much Do Book Cover Artists Make Per Book?

It seems like everyone is a self-published author in 2022. Whether it is another self-help book or steamy romance fantasy, e-publishing has given an outlet to all of those aspiring artists who are tired of getting rejected by traditional publishing houses. With this comes an increased demand for book covers. Just how much can book cover artists make per book?

Book cover artists can expect to make about $50 per book cover–a very rough estimate. Some artists in developing countries charge as little as $5 per simple cover, while more complex projects from established graphic artists can return well over $150 per cover.

As can be expected, there are myriad factors that will influence just how much artists can make for a book cover. Keep reading to find out all of the details on what graphic artists can expect to make per book cover!

How Much Do Book Cover Artists Make Per Book?

Book covers artists can expect to make anywhere from $5 to $150+ per book cover.

When all of the extenuating factors are considered on a case-by-case basis, it is likely that a cover artist will make roughly $50 per book cover, on average.

How Much Can Book Cover Artists Charge?

There is an extremely wide range for what book cover artists can charge. Some factors that will influence asking price include:

  • Geographic location – most cover designers have a presence on global marketplaces such as Fiverr or Upwork. As a result, some artists in areas of the world with lower costs of living charge little for a single book cover, while those in more expensive regions will charge more
  • Experience – beginning designers will usually have to charge a modest fee for their cover designs, while highly experienced, master designers can charge a premium
  • Scope of project – if you are designing a cover for a first-time, self-published author on a low budget, a cheaper cover may be produced in little time. More ambitious projects for clients with deeper pockets may require a cover to match the content
  • Quality of materials – if artists are using nothing but stock images and clipart in their designs, the fee will be lower. If they are using professional Placeit logos or custom photographs, the fee will be higher
  • Number of edits – some artists that charge a low fee for their services use a “you get what you get” approach, yielding a more generic cover. Artists willing to go back into the file and make extensive edits to increase specificity for the project will charge a higher fee

As you can see, there are myriad influences that can affect the fee charged for designing a book cover. As a designer, you need to determine where you fall along the continuum for each of these factors to help you arrive at a competitive price.

How Profitable Are Book Cover Artists Per Book?

Okay, so a rough estimate reveals that book cover artists can make about $50 per cover. But is that good? Is that a figure that makes designing book covers worth it?

While you would have to design a lot of book covers each month to make a livable wage at $50 per cover, it can turn out to be a nice little side hustle if set up correctly.

Simple book covers can be finished in as little as a day. This type of cover will likely include little more than title, author, and stock image. While this type of cover may fall short of the $50 figure, it is entirely possible that you could be working on several of these projects–along with other projects in your repertoire–simultaneously without undermining quality.

More complex book covers that include custom photographs, uploaded freehand art, and greater layers in design can occupy your time for up to a week. While these designs will be more labor intensive, remember that you can likely charge above the $50 figure for this type of project.

The good news about designing covers is that even though the income can be modest, the costs are relatively low. Once you have your computer paid for, it is nearly all profit from there. The main factors to keep in mind are that you will probably need to pay a monthly fee for your editing software and that online marketplaces like Upwork or Fiverr will take a cut of your project fee for listing on their platform.

On the plus side, you can use your cover design gigs as a tax write-off, with home office space, utilities, subscriptions, and technology upgrades a few of the items that can help lower your tax bill and make your cover design business as profitable as possible. 

The Bottom Line: How Much Do Book Cover Artists Make Per Book

As a general estimate, artists can expect to make around $50 per book cover. However, this is a very rough figure, with some simple projects yielding much less and more complex designs bringing in much more. Whatever the case, use the breakdown listed above to get an idea of what you can expect to make for your book covers!