Designing Stock Book Covers

Hello colleagues,

Through another design colleague, I have become aware of, a site where designers can create and sell book covers, and self-publishing authors can buy the rights to use them for their books. My colleague loves it and does well on it. I am considering it as a revenue stream, but I have some reservations and would like to hear your opinions.

  1. Is it worth my time?
    Each cover must be unique and can be used for one book only. It looks like the prices vary from designer to designer and range from $75 to $125. That is a really low price for the time it takes to create a unique design that cannot be reused. I can’t design this quickly if I want to produce good work, stock or no stock.

  2. Will it hurt my future prospects in the publishing industry?
    If I ever get a project designing for a publishing house, which I hope I do, will a stock cover gig hurt my reputation?

Have you had any experience with the site and/or what are your thoughts on the issue?

Many thanks!

I think you answered your own question.

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I looked at their book covers. They’re almost all the Photoshop montage conglomerations common to supermarket paperback romance novels. Not only is that look not my thing, they take a long time to make.

So if the book cover sells for, say $70, how much does the designer actually make (didn’t look into the details)? My guess is it’s considerably less.

So would I recommend spending several hours on a book design on the off chance of getting 50 bucks out of it? No, not unless I just enjoyed designing book covers so much that I wasn’t concerned about making money from it.

As for your other question about it hurting your reputation. I don’t see why it would. Some people might question your judgment, but how would anyone even know?

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How many book covers can you pump out an hour?

Just use a pseudonym.

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Pseudonyms are a pet peeve of mine.
When I buy something for a project, licensed or one-shot commissioned, I have to get a real live person’s name and sign off. Nor do my clients like putting “Image courtesy of DogRot/” on their credit page/graphic panel. It’s gotten to the point where if the person selling the image doesn’t have a profile page with a portfolio link, we move on to a different image. Gone are the days of chasing people down (I used to get 4 hours per image. Not any more.)

If you are gonna do it, OWN IT.
Do the best darned book covers on that website. Take the credit if selected for publishing (for whatever self publishing is worth these days.) What you do in your “free” time isn’t going to hurt you. Much.

All that said, you ask is it worth it? Not really. But if you got nothing else to do some rainy afternoon…

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Thank you all for your input! Helpful and valuable! It looks like the consensus is that it is not worth it, and to be honest, I am leaning in that direction too.

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