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Judging a book by its cover: A peek into the life of a freelance book cover designer

Judging a book by its cover: A peek into the life of a freelance book cover designer

We’ve all heard the phrase don’t judge a book by its cover. I know that it doesn’t apply to its literal meaning but also to life. For book cover designers, on the other hand, this statement may feel a little offensive. Because whether we admit it or not, a book cover is one of the factors that we look for when we visit a bookstore or a library. As a freelance book cover designer, making one requires a lot more than just skills. It consumes your time, energy, electricity, and money. It was like investing something hoping to get something in return, or even more than that.

You eat with your eyes first.


Judging a book by its cover: A peek into the life of a freelance book cover designer

Book styles

Before diving into the world of a book cover designer, let’s have a brief introduction to cover styles first. These types determine the appearance of the cover itself. It sounds complicated. However, below are photos of some of the styles that you would usually find in the industry.

Pre-made and custom covers

Unlike working in a company, artists create premade ones while also offering customized book covers. By definition, premade covers are the ready-made ones that authors choose from and purchase for their stories. It can also serve as an inspiration for their new and upcoming stories. Premade covers, in comparison to custom covers, are made solely from the artist’s ideas and creativity. Conceptualizing a cover design is harder than following what a client wants, but at the same time allows an open creative space for the artist to work on.

How and where to advertise

Just like any other freelance artist, advertising and promoting your work is hard especially if you are just starting in the field. Being the most used social media platform, it is easier to advertise through Facebook groups. There are various premade book cover marketplaces where an artist can post their services to.

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But since this is not a small community, it will be harder to get the attention of clients in one go. Posting frequently helps build your audience and build your own website and group page as well. Since there are a lot of competitors in this field, pricing may be a bit harder. You don’t want to lowball yourself and crash the prices for other artists. And you also don’t want to overprice your work. The usual price for a premade cover is about 100 USD on average.

Being a freelance book cover artist in general

There are a lot of factors to consider before posting your newly made premade cover or just offering your services to authors. From conceptualizing the cover and researching what type of covers authors like and look for, to promoting and selling it.

Just like authors who are trying hard to develop a story that will stand out from the other million stories available in the market, artists also take time, effort, and talent to do the same.

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