When you are looking to self-publish, you are in control of everything about your book, including the cover. Since traditional publishers usually have their own resources for creating the perfect cover for your book, it isn’t something everyone stops to think about until they are faced with the problem of acquiring their own.
There are a few options at your disposal. Firstly, you could do what the publishing companies do and pay someone to make a cover for you.
Since these covers are personalized and tailored to your exact needs, this can be a pricey option so make sure you know what you would be paying. If there isn’t a payment plan outlined, ask for a free quote on your project.
There are also a few sites which offer pre-made covers for sale. These pre-made covers are usually separated by genre and contain a temporary title and author name placeholder so you can see what the cover will look like with the font included. Depending on the site, there may be one person responsible for creating the covers or a group of people and prices will vary.
For these sites, you need to only pick the cover you like, submit the information you want included on your cover, and pay. Then the cover is yours. However, you may want to double check and make sure that the site doesn’t sell the same cover to more than one author.
Here are some sites which state in their FAQ that they don’t resell covers:
But if none of these strike your fancy there are pages of Google results waiting for you to find your perfect cover. Some of these services also offer custom design options.
Lastly, the author can choose to make their own cover. This option offers the most control. There are three basic components to a cover: image, edits, and text.
You can’t just use any old image you find on Google on the cover of your book. You could either take an image yourself, use an image which is licensed for commercial reuse, or purchase an image. You have a fair amount of freedom when you are using a self-taken image. But you should avoid brand names and images of people who haven’t given their consent to be on the cover of your book.
If you want to find an image which you can use commercially, try using the advanced search function on Google Images. Type in the phrase which you wish to search for in the box that says “all these words” and then make sure to change the “usage rights” to an option which includes the word “commercially.” I would recommend “free to use, share or modify, even commercially.” These images are legal to use for commercial reasons and it is also legal to edit or modify them before sale. You will likely need to edit them for your cover.
But keep in mind that only some of these sites offer their images for free.
There are a lot of websites and programs out there to edit and design your covers with.
One of the first ones to check out is Canva. This program is great for helping you design the cover of your dreams. It has a whole section specifically dedicated to designing book covers.
You can pretty much use any font you would like for the writing on the cover of your book as long as it isn’t trademarked or patented. All of the fonts on your typical Microsoft Word program should be fine.
Most importantly, make sure that your font is legible. No one will read your book if they can’t even read the title.
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Kim Batchelor is a recent graduate of University of Michigan and avid consumer of media. She is the Buzz Manager at BookHive and is working on creating her own blog.