Best free online graphics editors for making your own book cover designs

Update: my design tool is live, here: www.diybookcovers.com/covermakertoolIt works, but the real value will be in all the templates that I’ll be adding soon. Go play with it and see what you think.

So here’s an interesting problem: self-publishing is exploding globally.

People want to publish quickly and cheaply. Formatting can be automated to some extent.

But getting a high quality book cover is still really hard.

There are some free or paid online tools to help you do it better.

I put out my DIY Book Covers in MS Word templates to make things easier.

But what the world really, desperately needs, is a simple, easy to use, online graphics software that lets you upload a picture, add text, and save it as an ebook cover.

I want one, dammit. I want one on some of my websites.

I want something free and easy and useful.

So I’ve been searching around.

This is what I’ve found.

Free ebook cover making tools

Some of these are interesting. Not all of them let you set your own custom image size however, and an ebook cover should be 1600px X 2400px.

“Canva.com” is the coolest, and makes slick, flat design hipster awesomeness – but that style won’t work for the majority of book covers.

 

Update: www.befunky.com

Just found “be Funky” and it’s pretty sweet.

  • www.fotor.com
  • www.canva.com
  • www.piktochart.com
  • www.picmonkey.com
  • www.quickpicturetools.com
  • www.ipiccy.com
  • www.flamingtext.com
  • www.flashimageeditor.com

The “FlashImageEditor” is almost perfect, but the interface is cluttered and hard to use.

“Quick Picture Tools” has all the options I want, but can’t make an image big enough.

 

5 4.templates 3.systemfonts 5b

www.befunky.com and www.canva.com are awesome but have limited font choices and can’t blend layers.

PAID Ecover making tools

I’ve had my eye on “Myecovermaker” for about a year – it’s a great program and I love the “save as 3D images” option. But it’s lacking a few key features for making quality book covers

  • www.myecovermaker.com
  • www.kdrenegade.com
  • www.instantebookpresence.com

KD-Renegade and InstantBookPresence are partner sites – beautiful, easy to use interface. I want to love them, they’re almost perfect, except as they are, they don’t offer enough flexibility to be truly useful.

What’s wrong with all of them

My favorites so far are the paid ones, which have some nice features.

The thing that sucks with all these options, is that they give you the tools but not the guidelines.

If you’re starting from scratch and a blank canvas, you’re probably going to make something ugly.

Myecovermaker and Kdrenegade/instantebookpresence have pretty boring, information-product style covers, and some not great looking fiction covers. There are a lot of new solutions out there offering book cover software, or premade book cover templates, but a lot of those are also ugly.

Or worse, they’re mediocre – so they may look pretty great to you, but they still won’t help you sell books.

Publishing is getting more and more competitive. You need an amazing cover.

I want to have a kickass program, where I can make 100 starting templates, that you can use and customize. I don’t have it yet, but I’m looking to invest.

These are the essential features:

  • Custom sizing options (for different sized books)
  • Save as JPG
  • Robust drop shadow and outer glow
  • Letter spacing/Kerning
  • Ability to add fonts or use system fonts
  • Lets me make a bunch of templates that you can start from
  • Layers with transparency and different blending options
  • Ability to add gradient layers for a ‘faded to black’ or ‘vignette’ look.

 

I’ve found all the features I want in the links posted above – so I know they’re possible and the code is out there. All I want to do is put everything together in an easy to use program that actually lets you design amazing book covers easily.

A programming friend of mine says he wouldn’t touch this for less than $50,000. I put it on Elance and barely got any bids (a couple were around $5000).

I’ve spent about $3000 so far, on a white label software and a handful of developers.

I created my own interface for it: I’m trying to make it as simple and user-friendly as possible.

newinterface-windows newinterface1

I’ve never done anything like this before so I’m not sure how it will all turn out, but there’s a free version at www.diybookcovers.com, with a paid option that includes more awesome templates. Altogether, this should be heaps better than anything else out there, and give you the tools to easily make a professional book cover that blows people away.

My cover design tool is live, here: http://diybookcovers.com/covermakertool/; and I will be adding cover templates soon.

 

 

About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me
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  • Shelby Morrison

    You’re kind of amazing. Thought you should know. Looking into publishing my next series, stressing I wouldn’t have the $ to do 4 book covers so close together, even though my designer is suuuuper affordable. Then I see your DIY Book Cover Template site. That might just be doable. Then I see this little site you have and am continued to be blown away. So yes. You should know you are a rockstar and what you’re doing is freaking awesome. Haven’t even gotten the DIY Cover membership yet. But you had to know 🙂

    • Flattery will get you everywhere – just added you to DIY Covers, it’s still a pretty cool idea (making covers in MS Word) but I’m more excited about the online cover designing software I’m developing, which should be even easier to use… Let me know if you need any help with the covers, or formatting, or marketing, or other publishing stuff.

  • angelia smith

    This is exactly what I need to create covers for the children’s books I have written. You have an excellent idea designing this program. I can’t wait for your finished product. Please include children’s books in your templates. These do not exist anywhere.
    Angie Smith

  • Had to let you know – your gizmo WORKED – for me! My geek-rating is lower than whale poop (I’m still looking for the OFF button on my computer] but even I was able to create a Kindle cover for my latest book. Depending on Beta reading feedback, the yarn should launch in February. Many, MANY thanks. I’ll send you a Premier ticket when Hollywood makes the movie ;^) BTW – the 1st in the series ‘Midshipman Porter – In Harms Way’ is listed on Amazon. Cheers!

    • That’s awesome! I still have more work to do on it, and more templates, but glad to know it works!

  • Awesome – I met a 12 year old last night that’s been writing a book for 8 years (but all in his head). The hard part is the writing, consistency, a little bit every day over a month or two. Let me know if you need help getting it out there once you’ve finished writing.

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