I’ve made lots of resources and free book cover templates to help authors make their own covers. But the right tools alone may not result in a cover that sells books. First, you have to understand basic design principles (here’s a checklist):
- Keep fonts flat and simple, without heavy bevel or dropshadow.
- Keep it to 2 main colors
- Use a fancy font that expresses the genre and is easy to read for the title
- Author name should be in simple serif or sans serif
- Each text element is roughly 1/2 size (TITLE >> author name >> subtitle or tagline >> teaser)
- Keep things simple (check out these 3 book design layouts that work for any genre)
Online software to make book covers
I’ve always wanted a super online tool that I can use to make book cover templates… but they were too limited. Canva.com is one of the best options, it’s smooth and easy to use, but you don’t have enough flexibility to blend layers or choose fonts. You can make a simple, flat, probably nonfiction or memoir/biography cover pretty easier, but for commercial fiction (horror, paranormal, fantasy, scifi) you need something more powerful. A few years ago I experimented with making book covers in Microsoft Word, and that can surprisingly work pretty well.
And there are several online tools specifically designed for creating book covers, but they’re often made by internet marketers or web designers – the templates are cheesy, and may work great for 10 page PDF “lead magnets” but look silly on a real book. Here’s another list of online tools to make book covers, that might be helpful:
The challenge is finding something that’s easy and simple enough for non-designers to use, which also has enough robust features to make covers similar to the ones I make in Photoshop (so it needs some basic functions, like an eraser tool, blending layers, font effects and styles, etc).
I’ve spent the last five years working on something new… and it’s getting pretty close to finished.
3D Book Cover Design Mockup Creator
After you make your front book cover, which should be about 1800×2700 (that’s a six-by-9 book cover at 300dpi), you may want to use a 3D mockup generator to make nice looking graphics – you can combine them with some promotional backgrounds for online advertising or social media promotion.
PS. If you want to play with these, you can join my Epic Book Design Bundle to download the templates and make your own book covers.