Your book needs a book cover design as great as its content!
Since a picture paints a thousand words, and since your cover will be what really captures the eye of people browsing Amazon, you really need to make sure it’s the best it can be (within your budget).
Here are some options for getting a fantastic cover design created quickly, whether you’re happy to spend $5, or $500. Or even if you’re not looking to spend a single dime!
Now, you can of course create a cover design yourself using software like PhotoShop or even just in Microsoft Word, and if you’re artistically inclined that may be a great option for you. However, that can be quite a fiddly process.
I will in fact be talking through some software that makes creating your own covers very quick and easy — much easier than advanced graphic design software!
But first of all, you need to start with ideas in mind, as it makes the process of designing and deciding upon your final cover, a lot easier.
Here’s some options for getting under way with market research:
Browse Amazon in your market for design ideas. Pay particular attention to the best-selling books.
That said, you don’t need to limit yourself to your market. Spend time looking at best-selling books in other related markets and see what ideas it gives you.
And it’s also well worth downloading book samples from Amazon to see how other authors have designed and laid out their books.
Now let’s run through ten great options for creating your own fantastic book cover:
Get Dozens of Designs at 99 Designs
99 Designs is a hugely popular site for getting many design ideas in just a few days, and the final design a few days after that.
How it works is as follows:
As a client of the site, you’ll have hundreds of designers competing to create the perfect design for you.
So initially, you choose your level of “prize”. This is a financial amount, and the higher this amount the more designers you’ll have competing for your attention, and the better quality the designers will be.
You put together a project brief and launch the contest.
The designs start to come in.
Once the contest has ended, out of all the designs you received, you choose finalists.
You work with the finalists to create the perfect design for you.
Now, 99 Designs isn’t the cheapest option, but how much you spend does depend on the prize amount you choose. However, with this site you get what you can’t (affordably) with any other site, dozens of design ideas in just a few days.
Get a Unique Design for $5 at Fiverr
Fiverr is a hugely popular online marketplace for services, where everything is just $5. Well, basic options start at $5 anyway. There’s often many upells that can add to the price significantly. For example:
Want 24 hour turnaround? That’s an extra $20.
Want all the source files to your design? Add $10.
… and so on.
But, with a little hunting, and by reading the reviews, you can get a decent cover design.
It will generally be created relatively quickly (a few days) and it will likely be okay, maybe even good. Probably not great. But of course for $5, your expectations can’t be too high. If you’re looking for a lot of collaboration between you and the designer, this isn’t the site.
Find Talented and Affordable Designers at UpWork
oDesk and eLance used to be two separate sites that were marketplaces for services. Effectively sites where people could post projects of what they needed done, and then freelancers would bid on the project in an attempt to gain the work.
One (not entirely unfair) way to categorize the two sites was that oDesk catered to the cheaper end of the market, whereas eLance was often more expensive and by implication, the quality of freelancers was higher (although not always the case).
However, the two sites have now become one! And it’s called UpWork.
Now, there’s thousands of very talented designers on this site from all over the world, and prices do vary quite a lot by country, by skill level, and sometimes simply because freelancers over or under-price themselves.
So you can either approach a freelancer directly and set up a private project with them, or you can post a project and let designers bid on it.
If you post a project, you then filter through the people who have placed bids on your project to choose who you’d like to communicate with further, and so you can choose one (or more) designers to work with.
When choosing designers, be sure to check out their work history and portfolio. It’s ideal if they’ve created book covers previously and can show you examples of their work.
And if you’re clear about what you’re looking for and find a designer who creates great work and communicates well, you can often get great designs for even less than $50.
More Great Designers to be Found at People Per Hour
Another site where you can find very talented freelancers is People Per Hour.
It’s worth noting that although it is an international site, a large proportion of the freelancers on this site are from the UK. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them if you’re outside the UK!
But be aware of time zone differences, and in particular that they’re not going to offer the kind of low prices that are available from some designers on UpWork.
Interestingly, this site also offers simple services at a set price, and it calls these Hourlies.
This way, you don’t always need to go through the process of posting a project and interviewing people. You can just purchase a ready made service and have it taken care of promptly.
Get Your Own Exclusive Pre-Made Book Cover
Author Marketing Club is an inexpensive membership site that gives advice and tools to help independent authors with writing, publishing, and promoting their books.
They offer a large number of ready made exclusive covers. You can choose one of these covers, have it customized just for you, and then either buy exclusive rights to it, or get it as a bonus when you become a paid member:
Use the Free Software Canva for Easy Book Cover Designing
Canva is free software that makes designing easy. It has all sorts of features, but one particularly relevant part of its functionality is its book cover creation.
And interestingly, instead of asking for payment up front, their business model is as follows:
You can use the software for free.
You can create your cover for free.
You can choose from over a million images available within the software, to help create your design.
However, the images have watermarks, so if you’d like to use an image for your cover, you need to pay for rights to the image so the watermark is removed. So in a way, it’s a stock photography site, with some software attached to the front!
But, if you supply your own photographs or stock images, you don’t need to pay to use those of course, so using the software then may not cost you at all.
That said, there is also an advanced version with more functionality billed monthly.
Cover Creator is Free Software for Creating Book Covers
Cover Creator is entirely free web-based software for designing book covers. It’s not the most feature-rich software but it’s a quick and easy way to get started:
Easily Design Great Covers With Book Cover Pro
Book Cover Pro is software that helps you to easily and quickly create great looking covers for your eBooks, even if you’re not technical nor particularly artistic!
There’s no free or demo version of this software on the main site, to try before you buy, but there are many testimonials on the site so if you do decide to take the plunge with this software, it looks like you’ll be in good company.
That said, currently you can download a demo version from CNET and there’s some further reviews there.
Get Your Own Exclusive Ready Made Cover
Like Author Marketing Club mentioned above, there’s two further sites you can choose ready made covers from, and get exclusive rights to one you like: Go On Write and related site Vamos Write.
Prices for covers are currently $45. You browse the covers available, and if you see one you’d like for your book (with the text changed of course), you place your order, and that cover gets customized and becomes exclusively yours to use.
This is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to get a cover you like, without all the usual back and forth of working with a designer.
The Cream of the Crop of Cover Designers
If you’ve the budget for it and are looking for the absolute best cover you can get, you may want to pay a visit to Creativ Indie Covers.
This service comes recommended from best-selling independent author Joanna Penn as she uses this service for her own books (which have sold over 300,000 copies).
Although due to the expense you may need to feel confident about your book’s sales, and have a significant marketing push lined up, before spending a large amount on a design.
You could of course start with a cheap cover to test out a book, and then upgrade the cover once it’s making sales. Although a cover can certainly affect how well a book sells, it’s not the only variable, so you may not want to jump into expensive decisions feet-first if the funds are a stretch for you at this time.
Three Bonus Resources…
While 10 is a nice round number, 13 is less so! But I would be remiss to exclude the following options too for having your cover designed:
Book Baby offers a number of services to help authors create and promote their books. Of course I’m going to focus on their eBook cover design service.
Currently, their price for design starts at $199 for a fairly basic offer, going up to $299 for more complex designs with multiple photos, textures, graphics, and unique fonts.
eBook Launch offers formatting and design services for authors to help your book look fantastic for its publication date.
The lowest price option is for premade covers. As you can see the price is double (or more) compared to other services so isn’t competitive, although you can of course browse through their options and see if a cover jumps out at you.
Whereas the higher-priced options are custom designed just for your book.
The Book Cover Designer specialize 100% in book covers for authors. You have the option of premade covers and prices vary quite a bit.
They also offer a custom design service which is very affordable starting at $90. However, the basic offer is not as flexible as other custom services. And additions to the basic service (more images for example) add to the price, so it’s best to get clear at the start of the process how much it might end up costing you.