Most authors publish their debut novel on a shoestring budget. It is one of the biggest hurdles for many self-publishing authors. The easiest way to reduce the book’s production cost is by designing your book cover without hiring an expensive designer. At its most basic level, a fantastic book cover design will help readers take you and your book seriously.
DIY Book Cover Design
- Find ideas and inspiration for your cover: Apart from your knowledge to produce a design, the most significant aspect of book covers is their ability to relate with the target market: that is, the individuals who are expected to buy the kind of title you’re writing. Therefore, your first stop for motivation should always be the other novels in your genre.
- Pick your cover design software: Any graphical software can be employed to design a cover. Some websites are fit for non-professionals, but those, like Canva, are amazingly easy to use and offer some smart-looking covers. They are, however, somewhat confined by the number of templates they have in any chosen genre. Anyone can download professional tools like Photoshop and InDesign (which both offer free trials) with a much more precipitous learning curve: many people know how to use Photoshop, but not quite.
- Find free images or use Shutterstock: You’d be amazed at how many artists pick images from Google searches without giving proper credits and/or paying for the image. This is wrong, illegal, and likely to land you with a letter from the rights holder demanding money for damages. You can choose a free-to-use image from Pixabay. If you have a budget, it’s always better to purchase a photo from websites like Shutterstock.
- Decide on your cover’s dimensions: If you’re only producing an ebook, this is easy: Amazon recommends a size of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels — however, you have some liberty to play around with various aspect ratios. Other distributors and retailers have similar suggested sizes, so you’ll be safe if you hit this Amazon ideal.
- Make sure you export the right files: The most high-grade design on earth won’t matter if you can’t deliver your cover in the proper format. For an ebook, you’ll need to export your front cover as a good old-fashioned JPG. Suppose you’re using a Print on Demand ( POD) firm to sell print copies. In that case, you will have to closely follow their requirements — which will typically involve exporting a PDF of the spine, front, and back cover that has the right resolution and uses the exact color system.
- Test your designs: If you’re confused between two cover designs, why not test them with your audience? Use Instagram advertising to run a one Vs. two tests — where you get two sets of people from the same target audience and expose them to an ad. One audience witnesses an advertisement with your ‘1’ cover, and the other sees one with your ‘2’ cover. The ad that gets more clicks is the champ.