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Old 12-06-2010, 01:35 PM   #1
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Production Costs?

Yup. I'm calling out all of the self publishers out there. Sorry, Neil. You can't play today.

I just solicited a friend of mine from college for a cover design. He's one of those artists that is paid by new york companies to design greeting cards and advertising copy..

Anyway, his total price came out to be $1800 for three separate cover designs. Font, graphics, all that jazz. Or around $600, individual work.

So, here's my question to people like Lee and Steven and whoever else wants to pipe up..

My total production costs, including one round of editing through Scribedeni or something similar ($1200) are around $1800, that's without advertising budgets and relying on word of mouth to do its thing.

Sounds a bit high. I realize that there are production costs associated with content creation, but what are your total costs? And how long does it take to break even? Do you even get that far?

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Old 12-06-2010, 03:54 PM   #2
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Ouch. That sounds high, high, HIGH!! When I don't make my own covers with Photoshop on my computer, I go to Dvorak Designs, http://www.dvorakdesigns.com. I'm working on children's books using my three Persian cats, and the covers are less than $50.00 each, with much work involved. That sounds really high -- what your costs are. Hope this info. helps. Calibre is great, too, if you want to make different formats. Feel free to contact Preston at Dvorak Designs, if you like.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:39 PM   #3
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Well... I'm one of those slobs who didn't spring for outside editing, so I didn't have that cost. I spent $300 on the cover for Venom, and $50 for the cover of Kinshield. Ronnell does covers for $50 each: http://www.wix.com/ronnelldporter/design -- granted they are front covers only, but I'll bet he'd work with you on a wraparound design if you asked.

P.S. Joe Konrath uses Carl Graves, who does front covers for around $300.
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Old 12-06-2010, 04:56 PM   #4
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For The Girl Who Ran With Horses:
Cover art - $300
CreateSpace Pro Plan - $39

Total: $339

I don't pay for editing, but I have invested $55 in Serenity Software's "Editor" proofreading software. That cost is being spread across all projects, though.

$600 for a cover doesn't seem high to me. I would say it's on the high end of the middle of the price range. Break into 4 digits and I'll agree with "high".

-David
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:37 PM   #5
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Thanks for your help guys. How long did it take on average to break even on your investments?

//add//

I figured that around $600 would be right around the ballpark, I suppose you could split it to 300 for front and 300 for rear...with the spine for free
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidRM View Post
I don't pay for editing, but I have invested $55 in Serenity Software's "Editor" proofreading software. That cost is being spread across all projects, though.
I have Grammarian, and while I value its use and the passive voice detector, it doesn't find my goofs. Like right now I'm writing the first drafts of Hills and Ashes. Hills is 3rd person, Ashes is first. I found myself slipping into first on the third and third on the first....

...And it didn't catch my goof with my male horse being called a mare. Oops.

Things that were useful with beta readers and crit circles, but don't seem to be very helpful anymore. At least, my DF group sucks.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:07 AM   #7
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While I haven't figured out the total costs, I figure it's going to be around 4K. I would say 95% of it will be because of editing. I will write a post on my site in more detail about it when I'm done. I also haven't published anything yet so I haven't made back any money. In a few months, we'll see.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:45 PM   #8
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$1200 is really steep.

You can get some incredible deals by just placing you work up for bid on one of the many freelance sites out there. I've had some great design and layout work done for peanuts on these sites. You do have to spend some time checking peoples portfolios and reviews, but you can save a lot of money by hiring a freelancer.

Here are a couple of the more popular sites:
http://www.freelancer.com/
http://www.elance.com

There are many more … just use Google.

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Old 12-07-2010, 01:19 PM   #9
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He's given you a price for three designs. The way it works is one design will be average. The second design will do the job but won't be spectacular. The third design will be the one the artist put the most effort into and will be pushing you towards. If you trust the artist's judgement/skill, at the outset suggest what you think the cover should be like (this saves them floundering around) and thus you will pay for one. If he wants to keep you happy and ripe for your next future cover, he will make adjustments you may think necessary. You will find the artists are proud of their work too and will strive to make it good for you.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:14 PM   #10
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Hi Notre. I have confidence in the guy's talent. The price was actually for three separate commissions for three separate books.

Karma to bookmark for pointing me to that site, I'd never heard of them before.
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:36 PM   #11
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Jaxx, nowhere did you mention it was for three separate books, and all the other replies assume the same as I did, i.e., we were talking about one project. In that case . . . My advice would be to commission one - if it doesn't match your taste or that concept you had in your head which you didn't explain to him properly and fully, it's easier to refuse one than three ;-)). One often finds oneself talking at cross purposes with artists & especially printers. Or so you realise later. Really, it comes down to words of one syllable. Then if you like the first cover you can go ahead with the other two. Have you self published before?



http://chrisscottwilson.co.uk
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Old 12-07-2010, 07:52 PM   #12
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I noticed the 3 different books mention in the original post:

Quote:
Anyway, his total price came out to be $1800 for three separate cover designs. Font, graphics, all that jazz. Or around $600, individual work.
I don't think $600 per book is outrageous, but there are lower prices out there if you're trying to save money.
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:16 PM   #13
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To be honest, I don't think that $1800 is outrageous - it's just too rich for most Indies.

Really good professional design costs a lot of money. However, you can definitely get good work for less too.

I have enough design training that I have simply been doing my own work until I can afford to hire a designer that satisfies me. (I satisfy me at least as well as the designers I can afford.)

My production costs tend to be really low. I'll use some clip art, and when i get around to doing a paper version I'll pay the $39 for the Pro Plan at Create Space. If you count my wages and time, however, I think $600 would not be out of the question.

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Old 12-08-2010, 05:35 AM   #14
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All my own work, so it didn't cost me a penny.
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:05 AM   #15
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Ronnell seems to do really good covers. The editing is a lot more difficult.

I did my own cover and most of my own editing. My wife and a friend both went through it and found things to correct. Editing is hard and finding a private editor that charges a decent price while doing an excellent job is . . . near impossible?

Anyway, cover - me, no charge
editing - me, no charge (this is very dangerous, it's hard to look at your own work objectively and it requires knowledge of the rules of the language. I spent a great many hours verifying those rules)
publishing - me, no charge
marketing - me, no charge
being awesome - me, no charge. (this part is optional, though I highly recommend it.)
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