Whether you’re an avid reader or a leisurely library peruse-r, let’s face the facts — we all judge books by their covers! This creates a lot of stress for writers to create the perfect image to completely capture their entire plot, setting, genre, and the overall feeling of the book. Finding someone who can create the perfect cover can prove to be quite the complicated task, especially when the price tags get in the way.
Being an author who is a teenager and doesn’t just have money lying around, I found the prices many cover-creating companies set to be a roadblock getting in the way of seeing my publishing dream become reality. After searching for hours and comparing prices of $40, $50, and even $300 fees for covers that might not even be the cover I wanted, I decided to go by the old saying, “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
In this article I’ll walk you through two different ways I discovered to make stunning, beautiful book covers, the same kind you would usually pay upwards of $50 for, now completely free of charge! But first, some tips.
- Make sure everything on your cover is readable, including your title, name, and any subheadings or quotes you want on there as well. When you’re finished, have a friend look at your cover, just to make sure it can easily be read.
- Keep a colour palate. Try to stick with the same few theme colours instead of using whatever color you want wherever you want. If your cover image has some light red and soft pink hues off in the corner, consider using those same shades for your title. It’s much more pleasing to the eyes than introducing a totally unrelated colour.
- Balance your sections. Imagine your book cover being split into four equal sections. Make sure one section isn’t heavier with words than the one kitty-corner from it.
- When finding a cover photo, choose one that is high-quality and will still look okay when stretched to fit your book cover. Many stock photo sites provide beautiful galleries you can use for photo shopping (and there are a lot of free ones out there too)!
Now, on to creating your cover!
Canva.com is an absolutely phenomenal resource for everything from making exquisite event flyers to creating crafty business cards. The best part — it has book cover templates too! Canva is free to sign up for and free to use to make and download unlimited book covers of your own creation. The only thing you have to pay for is the extra elements in the design studio that come with being a paying member (in my opinion, it’s totally worth it).
Canva is very user-friendly and comes with an amazing online design studio. Simply start with a blank base or choose from the loads of amazing, free book cover templates provided. Then, add your cover image. From there, it’s just a matter of adding your title, name, and anything else you want on your cover, then picking your font, colours, etc. It’s so easy, I was able to create the sample cover you see below in only ten minutes!
Creating a cover in Microsoft PowerPoint is a more advanced method, but there are a lot more freedoms in doing it this way. It’s also more comfortable to do it this way if you’re familiar with PowerPoint, Word, or the general setup of Microsoft Office apps.
First, you’ll need to format your document to look like a book cover. Click on the Design tab on the top bar of the screen. On the right side of the design bar, locate and click on Slide Size. Choose “Custom Slide Size…”, and a box should pop up. On the right side of the box, change your slide orientation to Portrait. Ignore the handouts part underneath it. On the left side of the box, set your dimensions to the standard book size (width 6 in, height 9 in). Click “OK”. If another box pops up asking you whether you want Maximum Fit or Ensure Fit, choose whichever one, it really doesn’t make a difference.
From there you’re ready to go! Insert your cover photo and use text boxes to add your title, name, etc. Don’t be afraid to play around with the awesome elements PowerPoint offers. Fill your cover with complex lines and shapes or leave it plain, the choice is yours! Below is an example of a cover I created in PowerPoint in ten minutes, the same amount of time it took to create one on Canva, with the same stunning results.
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