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Who designs most/all of your covers, and coincidentally how much do you make self-publishing?

  • Big-name designer, custom design, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Big-name designer, custom design, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Big-name designer, pre-made, $85k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Big-name designer, pre-made, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Big-name designer, pre-made, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Big-name designer, pre-made, $4200+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Big-name designer, pre-made, under $4200 monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderately priced, not-quite-as-well-known designer, custom design, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderately priced, not-quite-as-well-known designer, custom design, $4200+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderately priced, not-quite-as-well-known designer, pre-made, $85k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderately priced, not-quite-as-well-known designer, pre-made, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderately priced, not-quite-as-well-known designer, pre-made, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Moderately priced, not-quite-as-well-known designer, pre-made, $4200+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, custom design, $85k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, custom design, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, custom design, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, pre-made, $85k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, pre-made, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, pre-made, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, pre-made, $4200+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, custom design, $85k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, custom design, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, custom design, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, custom design, $4200+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, custom design, under $4200 monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, pre-made, $85k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, pre-made, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, pre-made, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Bargain basement, basic designer I found on the web, pre-made, $4200+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Close friend/family member designer, $85k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Close friend/family member designer, $21k+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Close friend/family member designer, $8500+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Close friend/family member designer, $4200+ monthly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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The poll doesn't allow us to choose two options. I've sometimes been this one:

Largely unknown, best-kept-secret designer, custom design, $8500+ monthly

And other times been this one:

I design my own, $21k+ monthly

A professional designer is obviously more likely than the average person to create an attractive cover, one that also appropriately signals tone and genre. So an author who's not prepared to invest lots of time in learning design is usually best off hiring someone who already has that experience.

Still, design is a skill like any other and can be learned and practiced if an author truly wants to put the effort in. Just realize that the same principles that apply to writing apply to cover design: early efforts are rarely good, and the creator is often too close to the work to accurately judge it. Plan to invest learning, practice, and care on covers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jena H said:
Maybe. But the amounts listed (4,200, 8,500, 21k, 85k) seem pretty random.
Multiply each by 12 (as in, 12 months), and it becomes less random. Roughly $50k per year/$100k/$250k/$1M.

The $50k per year is set as the minimum, because in many (no, not all) cases that's considered one bar to clear that means you can do this business full-time. Obviously, yes, this will depend on a number of factors including where you live, how you manage your finances, etc. But, $50k per year seems a good starting point. The other annual incomes are useful benchmarks as well.

However, for the poll, I broke it down monthly for the added detail it provides, rather than the pat answer of the larger sum (the annual amount) that authors will tell you, and usually tend to be less accurate than if someone tells you what they bring in each month.
 

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I feel like there's a big flaw in this poll. You can't determine if someone is earning more because they are using a more well known designer or if they are using the well known designer because they are earning more.

Even if I was earning $84K+ a month, I probably wouldn't go with a big name designer because a lot of them are booked out over a year ahead. That would take way too much planning for me. I don't necessarily think the cover designer's fame correlates to the best possible cover for ME. There are some designers that charge top dollar and do fabulous work but the reason they charge so much is because they do things like custom illustration which wouldn't work for the genres I write in.

Even though I answered the poll, I tend to be all over the place with cover designers. If I find a $50 premade that works for me then I'll go for that. If I want covers for an entire series done at once, I'll use a designer that I know is reliable. I'd bypass a designer that i think is 10/10 for design skills (if you could possibly measure that objectively) for a designer who is 7-8/10 but who has good time management, is professional and knows the market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
kathrynoh said:
I feel like there's a big flaw in this poll. You can't determine if someone is earning more because they are using a more well known designer or if they are using the well known designer because they are earning more.

Even if I was earning $84K+ a month, I probably wouldn't go with a big name designer because a lot of them are booked out over a year ahead. That would take way too much planning for me. I don't necessarily think the cover designer's fame correlates to the best possible cover for ME. There are some designers that charge top dollar and do fabulous work but the reason they charge so much is because they do things like custom illustration which wouldn't work for the genres I write in.

Even though I answered the poll, I tend to be all over the place with cover designers. If I find a $50 premade that works for me then I'll go for that. If I want covers for an entire series done at once, I'll use a designer that I know is reliable. I'd bypass a designer that i think is 10/10 for design skills (if you could possibly measure that objectively) for a designer who is 7-8/10 but who has good time management, is professional and knows the market.
As with any poll, it's difficult if not impossible to provide enough permutations and choices to where you're nailing down every situation for every author. It's more about who or what designers authors tend to go with most of the time. A rough approximation is the best any poll can hope for. It's meant to provide a sketch or a general outlook, rather than a specific, well-defined photograph of industry norms.
 

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Corvid said:
Multiply each by 12 (as in, 12 months), and it becomes less random. Roughly $50k per year/$100k/$250k/$1M.

The $50k per year is set as the minimum, because in many (no, not all) cases that's considered one bar to clear that means you can do this business full-time. Obviously, yes, this will depend on a number of factors including where you live, how you manage your finances, etc. But, $50k per year seems a good starting point. The other annual incomes are useful benchmarks as well.

However, for the poll, I broke it down monthly for the added detail it provides, rather than the pat answer of the larger sum (the annual amount) that authors will tell you, and usually tend to be less accurate than if someone tells you what they bring in each month.
I did actually figure this one out (x12), and assumed you meant net, though I'm supposing some people might have answered gross, which can be a big difference.
 

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Interestingly, the vast majority design their own covers and are under the lowest figure. I like designing my own covers for fun. Otherwise, I'll go for a premade for under fifty dollars. Some are fantastic. I've seen some that are far more expensive and are meh! Fantasy and Science fiction covers seem to need the most skill sets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Kenneth Rosenberg said:
I did actually figure this one out (x12), and assumed you meant net, though I'm supposing some people might have answered gross, which can be a big difference.
True, but hopefully some will find the answers useful.

wearywanderer64 said:
Interestingly, the vast majority design their own covers and are under the lowest figure. I like designing my own covers for fun. Otherwise, I'll go for a premade for under fifty dollars. Some are fantastic. I've seen some that are far more expensive and are meh! Fantasy and Science fiction covers seem to need the most skill sets.
Yes, I found that interesting as well. And, I agree, SFF typically requires the highest degree of skill, design-wise. Might be best to hire it out if writing in those genres/subgenres.
 
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