Self-Publishing an eBook: Part 3 – Creating the Cover

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

After writing and editing your ebook, it’s time to start thinking about the cover. This is the graphic that is shown to readers that will tempt them to buy or read the book. So, you want it to look nice because people often will judge a book by its cover.

Much like how thumbnails work in YouTube, the visual you create for the book needs to engage the potential reader. After all, it’s the cover that will act as a first impression.

Afterward, it’ll be the book’s description and details that determine whether someone buys or downloads the eBook.

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5 Ways to Make an eBook Cover

There are two distinct methods of setting up the cover for your book. You can either do it yourself or pay someone to do it for you. The prices of having a designer create something awesome vary greatly.

I’ve seen designers whip out something nice for anywhere from $25 up to $200. Of course, this also depends on how elaborate you want the cover to be.

Also, keep in mind that eBook covers do not include the backing. If you have a back cover for your book, platforms like KDP will simply add the image as the last page of your book.

Creating a book cover for paperback or hardback alternatives is a bit different.

1. Using Photoshop

If you have Photoshop and are graphically inclined, you can easily whip out an eBook cover. Simply set the dimensions of the new project and dive in.

I’ve toyed around a bit using Photoshop for book covers. What I love about Photoshop is that I can add virtually anything I want as long as I own the rights to the images.

2. Using Photopea

If you can’t afford to pay for Photoshop every month, Photopea is a great alternative. It works nearly identical to Photoshop, and it even supports PSD files.

One of the great things about Photopea is that you don’t need to create an account to start using it for free. Just go to the website and start working.

3. Using Canva

A superb free eBook cover creator is Canva. This platform already has a lot of common sizes and templates built-in for covers and comes with a wide range of tools you can use.

If a size you want isn’t available, you can always start with a new template and customize the dimensions in Canva.

In fact, I use Canva quite a bit. Mostly, I use it for video images and B-roll for the YouTube channel. However, it has a vast array of templates you can use for almost anything online.

4. Using Fiverr

If you’re not very skillful when it comes to graphic design, you can always try out freelancers on Fiverr. This is a common method a lot of people use because you can get some decent images without breaking the bank.

Though, you do need to be wary. I’ve seen some people charge an outrageous amount for simple graphics when a cheaper designer provided superior quality.

Still, Fiverr isn’t a bad platform if you’re in need of a quick cover for your book.

5. Using Social Media

There are freelancers galore advertising themselves all over social media. I see designers using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn all the time. And usually, you can find affordable artwork from some amazing people.

It might take a bit more digging to find a quality graphic designer as opposed to something like Fiverr. Nonetheless, I’ve seen some astonishing talent on social media from creators who won’t charge an arm and a leg for a book cover.

I’d start with LinkedIn if you’re searching for an artist or designer.

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Design Methods for Your eBook Cover

Now comes the fun part of setting up your cover: what kinds of elements are important?

In reality, it all comes down to what you decide to put on the cover of your book. However, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind when deciding on a design.

Colors to Match the Tone

Do the background and foreground colors match the style and tone of your novel? For example, you wouldn’t want black and red as the primary colors of a children’s book about sharing.

This is where understanding color theory comes into play. Certain colors denote specific emotions, which could benefit connecting with an audience to set the tone for the book itself.

Then again, having an amazing design regardless of color can easily prompt people to at least check out the description of the eBook.

Font Styles Matter

Like color, cover fonts can also help set the tone for the eBook. Everything from style to size can help engage a potential reader. Not only does the font needs to be legible, but the style can accentuate the book’s content.

You don’t want to simply slap up any font you come across. Use something that gives your content power for what you’re trying to convey.

What Images Should You Use?

Image use is another one of those things that is up to the author. Though, like everything else above, you want it to be relatable to your book without giving too much away.

Think of it more like a teaser to pique the interest of a potential reader.

For example, I plan on using myself on the cover of A Freelancer’s Tale. This is because it’s the story of how I became a freelance writer while battling through a severe depression.

My next book, Kingmaker, will have elements that depict the beginning of the tale while avoiding imagery that gives away the ending.

Do Some Recon Work

And lastly, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a bit of recon work for your eBook cover.

Take a look at some of the books written by popular authors on your platform of choice. See how their covers connect to the book’s content and description.

It will help you get a few ideas when you start designing your own.

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Sizes for Your eBook Cover

Because there are so many publishing platforms on the Internet, a lot of them will have specific size dimensions. If you’re not sure, you can always look through the requirements of your preferred platform.

Sometimes, though, it’s easier to just Google it. Just keep in mind that sometimes platforms will change their required image dimensions. This means it’s a good idea to always check each time you upload a new eBook.

After all, you want your covers to be optimized for your preferred platform.

Kindle Direct Publishing

Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, is a bit different than many other eBook sites on the Internet. Its size dimensions are somewhat larger than others.

The image size requirements for eBooks on Kindle Direct Publishing are:

  • 2,560 pixels high x 1,600 pixels wide.
  • 72 dpi
  • File Size of 50MB or smaller.
  • JPEG or TIFF files.

I suggest starting off at 300 dpi and then saving the finished product for web at 72 at maximum quality. This will help against detail loss when trying to “shrink” an image for upload.

Though, you may need to alter the design or settings if you surpass the 50MB threshold for KDP. In reality, 2560 x 1600 is a relatively large image for the web.

Also, don’t use image compression tools. You want the image as detailed and visually appealing as possible. Some compression tools greatly reduce quality.

How I am Making My First eBook Cover

Self Publishing an eBook - Part 3: Using Canva for the Cover
Watch this video on YouTube.

Because I am doing a blog and video tutorial about using Canva for KDP covers, that is the platform I am using for my first eBook. Besides, I’m trying to demonstrate how you can publish a book for free.

So, I’ll use as many free tools as I can on the Internet to produce the best quality possible. And Canva is full of incredible tools and features that make the process so much easier.

The only downside to using Canva is that it doesn’t have a template for the KDP eBook cover size. But, it doesn’t take much to start a custom design.

The hard part is getting a decent picture of myself for the eBook cover. I don’t have that many “professional” images of myself, but I suppose I’ll need to take some if I want to be taken seriously as an author.

In any case, I’ll be using color theory to accentuate the book in the design process. This means using colors that are more reflective of the type of content that is within the book, which is more professional while touching on mental illness.

In this instance, it’ll probably have quite a few shades of blue, which is often used for both professionalism and men’s mental health.

If you know of any free eBook cover makers, feel free to leave a comment. I’m always looking for new tools.

Make Your eBook Cover Stand Out

There’s no doubt that people will judge a book by its cover. That is until you gain the popularity of someone like Stephen King. At which point, people will buy the book even if he lets a three-year-old design the cover by splattering spaghetti against a wall.

Anyway, you want to make sure your eBook cover design is inviting and engaging. It’s what people on the internet are going to notice first about your work.

Remember, the cover of your book is its first impression, and a lot can happen within those first few moments.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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