Designing your book's cover is one of the BEST parts of being an author. This is the moment when your project goes from a dream to a reality, when you get to see your hard work transform into an actual book. It's surreal, exciting, and maybe even a little confusing.
As an Indie author, budgeting for your book's cover can sometimes be an after-thought. Often as writers we get wrapped up in the enthusiasm of our dreams finally coming to fruition and forget about the realities of what our visions can cost.
This month we'll be exploring all things book cover-related, from the DIY, to making an informed decision, to how much it can really cost to have a professional design one for you. Tune in each Tuesday at 8am this month for more on this topic and check out our Editing/Publishing category for more relating advice.
Hiring a professional book designer may not be feasible or right for every writer. If you're working on a tight budget or timeline, have design experience yourself, or simply love the idea of having full creative control over your book then this may be the best option for YOU!
Here are 5 DIY options for designing your own book cover:
1. Canva: This is an AMAZING option for any and all design needs. From social media, to newsletters, to designing your book's cover, this creative platform has everything you need to keep your author business going. It's a fan favorite because it's so easy to create professional looking marketing materials without the professional know-how. Many of its features are free to use, but upgrading to the Premium option is definitely worthwhile if you use it every day like we do here at Writing It Wells. It gives you access to even more copyright photos, design elements, and different ways to create.
For book cover designing, there's a simple drag-and-drop setup. Featuring images, stock photos, vectors, and illustrations that can be edited with filters, icons, shapes, elements, and different fonts, the options are virtually endless. Another handy feature is a built-in Design School option where you can learn the fundamentals.
2. Gimp: If you crave more control over how your photos are retouched, want to manipulate multiple images, or compose entirely new ones look no further than GIMP. This acronym stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program" and is a free downloadable software that gives you access to a variety of editing tools.
A great alternative to Photoshop, which isn't free, you'll have similar tools to help you build your book cover without the price tag attached. It is compatible with GNU/Linux and UNIX, as well as Windows, Mac and other systems. Depending on how well-versed you are in coding, this can be a pro/con program. If you're knowledgeable in coding you'll find this program useful, but if you're a beginner or struggle with tech, this may not be the best option for you.
Pro Tip: Use multiple platforms to create the ultimate book cover. By mixing and matching imaging tools, you unlock even greater potential to design an eye-catching, unique cover.
3. DIYbookcovers.com: Need a helping hand while coming up with your design? Check out Derek Murphy's customizable templates for Indie authors on DIYbookcovers. These no-hassle options ensure an eye-catching composition in half the time.
Another helpful aspect of this website are the free training videos Murphy offers to help guide you in the design process. These promise to help you come up with your cover in 30 minutes or less and are perfect for writers who don't have a lot of time to spare during the day. He also offers a free, online cover creation tool and a handy tutorial to lead you step-by-step.
Want to double your books sales and cut your marketing budget in half? Through rigorous testing and market research, Derek Murphy has discovered what colors, fonts, images and themes connect with readers from each genre. Improving your book cover even a little can make a huge impact on your book's success. Discover how to make your cover stand out and capture reader's heads and hearts.
Read more by clicking on the book cover!
4. Microsoft Word: You don't have to scour the internet to find a software that works for you. All you have to do is look at a common software you already have- Microsoft Word. Didn't think you could use it to design your cover? Neither did we! But as it turns out, this can be an effective way to develop an awesome book without the work of finding and learning a new design program. Derek Murphy has a great guide to how to put things together: How to make a full print book cover in Microsoft Word for Createspace, Lulu or Lightning Source.
This is a fantastic option for writers who don't want to invest more money or time into a new program, have low-tech or design experience, or who simply love keeping things simple.
5. Pixlr: Similar to Canva, Pixlr is an image enhancer with various built-in features. Completely browser-friendly, anyone can use its editing tools to layer, replace colors, and transform images. Use the express option for quick fixes and to add personal touches. While some of the images and options are free, it does require a fee to unlock all the tools.
Complete with hundreds of stock photos, it's ideal for designing and tweaking your book cover's photo. Bonus: you can use it's many templates to help you create other marketing materials as well.
Creating a book cover from scratch isn't for everyone- and that's okay! No matter whether you choose to create your own or opt to hire a professional, careful research and market comparisons will help you decide what's best for your project. For more advice on book covers see: Book Cover Designs: 6 Smart Tips You Need To Know.
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