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

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. (Most online graphic editors have limited fonts that may work for web design, but not for book covers; and they’re missing the ability to blend layers for really gripping effects).)

 

Update: www.befunky.com

Just found “be Funky” and it’s pretty sweet. Here are some others.

  • www.fotor.com
  • www.canva.com
  • www.designwizard.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.

 

3.systemfonts

 

I also really want a 3D book mockup generator, like this one (I wanted to partner with them, but their default image size isn’t right for actual ebook publishing on Kindle (too short and wide)… it’s OK for product mockups or lead gen offers – simple internet marketing stuff – but not serious graphic design.

5b

www.befunky.com and www.canva.com are awesome but have limited font choices and can’t blend layers. You can get away with a simple memoir or self-help cover, but for the emotional resonance you need for commercial fiction, you need more.

 

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 $8000 so far, on a white label software and a handful of developers.

I created my own interface f 

 

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 of the online cover creator tool HERE.

I was never satisfied with it, so I didn’t make the templates.

 

2018 updates

The quest for the ultimate online cover creator continues. I’ve had my free online tool redesign again and it’s getting *close* to ready for me to actually make templates. Because of all the advanced features, it can do things that no other online graphics editor can, which will allow me to make some really amazing book cover templates.

 

I’m also working with another developer on a tool JUST for 3D book cover mockups – ideally it will be a one click conversion from your front cover to group mockups like this:

 

 

You’ll be able to use those in my book promotion templates for great marketing graphics like these:

 

These resources will always be 100% free – I want everyone to be able to get a great cover for their book, even if they don’t have a budget for a professional book designer.

I’m trying to make my tools as simple and user-friendly as possible.

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.

PS. If you want to be notified when these tools are available, sign up HERE and get a free package of book design templates.

 

 

About Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a book editor turned book designer with a Ph.D. in Literature. He's been featured on CNN and spoken at dozens of writing conferences around the world. These days he mostly writes young adult fantasy and science fiction, while helping authors write and publish bestselling books. FREE GUIDE: Sell your work without selling out.