What's the going rate for book cover design?
May 19, 2010 12:12 PM   Subscribe

What is an approximate going rate for freelance book cover design in the US?

Let's say for a young-ish designer, not so long out of (very respectable) school, with a a good amount of experience for their age but new to freelancing. Major US city, small- to mid-size press. Looking for an piece-wise, not an hourly, rate.
posted by kickingtheground to Work & Money (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I didn't respond to this before because I don't have a direct answer, but I guess that some advice is better than no advice. I absolutely won't work at a project rate. For me, it's so hard to figure in costs for things that *might* happen that I then worry about overcharging. But then again, am I selling myself short if I give them a lower number? What if they're a pain to work with and they email me every 15 minutes? This process makes me crazy, so I charge an hourly rate unless it's a very defined, very simple, very short project.

My rate varies on how difficult the project is, how difficult the client is, and whether it's a corporation, nonprofit or friend. If you're in a major city, maybe start thinking about $75/hour, since you're new-ish, and they'll feel like they're getting a deal? Does that feel like it's way too low, or about right? As with any negotiation, I'd start with a higher number than you'll really settle for.

I do realize that some clients really aren't comfortable with an hourly rate, or say things like, "Can you do this for $____?" What I do, if I really really can't talk them into an hourly rate, is create an estimate for the project, then add about a third of that estimate for contingencies, dealing with calls and emails, etc. I then present that amount in a project brief that details the scope of the project and what I am to deliver, and the number of revisions the client is permitted. I then note that any contingencies (another round of revisions, or taking the project in a new direction entirely, whatever it might be) will be charged at my regular hourly rate of $__.
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:34 AM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

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