How Much Do Illustrators Make Per Book?

Illustrators can make quite a bit of money as book cover artists, but those just starting out may not know what to charge. Most illustrators do a one-time payment for each project. So how much do illustrators make per book?

The amount an illustrator can make from one book varies depending on what type of book cover it is and how complex the requirements are. The amount could be anywhere from $30 upwards to over $1000.

The amount varies depending on if the book cover is premade or specifically designed for a book. An illustrator can make royalties instead of a one-time payment. It really all depends on the illustrator and what they ask for.

How Much Do Illustrators Make Per Book?

This number varies depending on the demand of the illustrator and what type of project it is for a book. A pre-made book cover will be much less than a specially designed one because there is less time and effort put into it.

Here are the many types of projects that an illustrator can take on regarding a book. This includes the following:

  • Pre-made book covers
  • Children’s books
  • Special Designed Book Cover Requests
  • Selling Via Royalties

Each of these has a different income for an illustrator. Anywhere from a one-time payment to a steady income during a book’s run.

Pre-Made Book Covers

Pre-made book covers are often cheaper for authors to buy, so an illustrator may not make as much on them as on other types of projects. This is because illustrator has artistic license to create whatever they want.

For simpler book covers, an illustrator may charge $25, while more complex covers can be up to a few hundred or even $500. Now, this amount may change if edits are requested to the cover, and extra payments can be requested. This is at the discretion of the illustrator.

Children’s Books

An illustrator who takes on a children’s book will receive more than a one-time payment. They usually will receive about 10% of royalties during the run of that book (normally one run). This is because they create illustrations for the entire book, not just the cover.

Special Designed Book Cover Requests

Specially designed book covers will bring in much more income than pre-made ones. Some illustrators can even charge more than a thousand dollars depending on their demand of them and the complexity of the cover.

Selling Via Royalties

Illustrators can sell their work through royalties. They may earn up to 10% royalties for book covers on ebooks. An illustrator can request a higher rate because there are no costs to printing the book.

For hardback and paperback novels, royalties will be less because of printing costs. The royalty amount could be as little as 1% and only ranges up to 5%. 

As for an illustrator for comic books, mangas, and other illustrated books, this all depends on how much time and effort they put into the project. If they write and illustrate the book, they would receive most of the royalties, but if it is between a writer and an illustrator, there may be a split.

Each case is different regarding royalties because no project is the same. Figuring out the royalty percentage may change depending on the illustrator, the publisher, if the brand is popular, and so on. 

How Much Do They Make In A Year

There is a wide gap between an illustrator’s minimum amount in a year and the maximum. It could be anywhere as low as $16,000 or as high as $100,000 a year, but the average book cover illustrator can make about $50,000.

So How Much Should An Illustrator Charge?

An illustrator has to make a decision on how much they should charge. If they are just starting out, they may not charge as much, but if they are in high demand, they can charge more. 

It is good to see what others are charging in the area you want to sell your book cover and go from there. The average charge for a book cover is a few hundred dollars, but this number can go up depending on the client and their demands.


Illustrators can make quite a lump sum off of a single book, or they may not make as much as you think. Either way, the amount varies drastically, case by case. Sometimes it is more, and sometimes it’s less. It all depends.