Looking for a book cover maker? So was I! But I’ve built some recent solutions to book cover design, scroll down to see the latest stuff!
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).)
Just found “be Funky” and it’s pretty sweet. Here are some others.
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.
I also really want a 3D book mockup generator, (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.
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
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.
The latest, newest online book cover maker I’ve found is this:
It looks very very cool, very slick and polished.
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
- tons of gorgeous font effects.
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 $25,000 so far, on a white label software and a handful of developers.
I created my own interface, then built it for flash… then flash died.
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 (cover maker)
The quest for the ultimate online cover creator continues. I’ve had my free online cover design tool redesigned 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.
Online Book Cover Maker (update!)
Sorry for the long preamble, I’ve been wrestling with this problem for 9 years… but just put up the newest, latest version. It’s hard to see at a glance why it’s so awesome, so I made a video showing off some of the features. You can use this to make your own amazing book covers, and also some promo graphics for social media (facebook and twitter covers, blog headers and banners, adboxes etc).
BUT the main thing is, I can finally make awesome book cover templates that you can just open up and edit. I’ll rebuild the whole site and make a few dozen templates for every genre.
I also built another 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.
How to make a book cover design?
I know this blog post is a mess because it’s the saga of my quest to build the best online book cover maker… but here are some super important points.
1. your book cover is hugely important to book sales and marketing. You can get something cheap or simple, and you can DIY your book cover design… but not all tools are the same and there’s a massive difference in quality.
2. a flat, basic cover might be OK for a simple online mockup, cheatsheet, workbook or optin offer. But it won’t work for standing out on Kindle and getting sales…. and having the paperback print like bookstore quality. That’s tough to do without professional design.
3. *my* online cover maker allows you to blend layers, and has a ton of fancy fonts and text effects, so you can get much closer to professional book design by yourself (but only if you use all my premade cover design templates, that are already optimized.) It’s a bit overkill, but especially for fantasy or scifi, those gorgeous covers with movement and depth, you need a powerful enough tool to get the right results. My tool is like canva + photoshop, but it’s all online and free.
Obviously, it’s not a perfect, million dollar cover design software, I’ve bootstrapped all of it. But it works, and the templates will make it easy to design your own covers.
4. cover design is changing in a huge way anyway. Previously I’ve kept a list of where to get stock photos; the best designers, and tutorials on book cover design. Here are some quick resources (no matter the tools you use, it’s crucial to learn the basics of book cover design – or hire someone who can make the cover your book deserves:
- Where to find royalty-free stock images for your book cover
- 300+ Fool-Proof Fonts to use for your Book Cover Design
- Cover design secrets that sell books
- Here’s a list of my favorite designers.
7 Must have qualities for a book cover that sells
I never really introduced myself: I’ve designed a number of bestsellers and my work has hit the WSJ, USA today and even Oprah’s magazine. I’m not the best book cover designer, but I’ve had a lot of experience and am pretty well connected in the publishing world (also, I have a PhD in literature, but that’s beside the point.) The point is, I teach book design and help authors quickly double their sales…
Follow up with this post:
Midjourney AI art for book cover design
Like I said, things are changing fast. New AI text to image generators might replace stock photography altogether, and it makes it a lot easier for authors to get super high quality art and illustration, especially in tricky genres. I was on a podcast recently and said we may not need cover designers in another year – and that’s not quite true. But the days of searching for stock photos, and spending tedious hours blending layers together in photoshop to create a realistic scene… those might be behind us.
AI art can produce pretty amazing stuff already, and it’s only going to get better. So it’s worth checking out, and also making sure you understand the legal risks and limitations:
You can learn more about using AI art for book cover design here.
I’ll also be building new templates and tutorials over at diybookcovers.com.
PS. I’m working on the first huge batch of book cover templates now; sign up HERE and get a free package of book design templates.
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.