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Archived Author Help > Making Book Covers

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message 1: by D. (last edited Jun 28, 2017 10:37PM) (new)

D. Fischer I've been making my own covers on a very weak program. I would rather make them then pay for someone else to do it.
BUT! I need a new program, and it has to be downloadable or membership (obviously, I realize it will cost money for that.)
What's your recommendations? I hear photoshop is good, BUT will it do everything I need it to?


message 2: by G.G., Genre Buster Extraordinaire (new)

G.G. (GGAtcheson) | 2589 comments Mod
I hear Gimp is a great program for that and it's free.


message 3: by S.W. (new)

S.W. Wilcox (swwilcox) | 6 comments I use the less expensive Photoshop Elements and it does everything I need. Used copies (I use an older, 8.0 version) are super-cheap on eBay. In the meantime, f you need any quick (empahsis on quick/minor) touchups/text formatting for free, just drop me a line here.


message 4: by Jon (new)

Jon Stubbington | 9 comments As an illustrator/cover designer, I use Photoshop and I would be lost without it. I would say it would definitely do the job for you, but it's probably not a necessary purchase if you only need to use it occasionally. I pay a monthly fee for the Photoshop CC package, which means I always have access to the latest version. (It's also easier than paying for the whole program outright, as it spreads the cost.)

As suggested, GIMP is free and does all of the things you would need from Photoshop to get a cover created. It's marginally less user friendly (I think) but there's plenty of online help out there. Just watch out for odd search results when you start googling for GIMP assistance!

I also have a Wacom tablet and pen. More than the software (Photoshop, GIMP), the tablet/pen is the thing that allows me to do my best work. Whether you need one or not would depend on the amount of manipulation or artwork you need to do, but I would be lost without them. There are super, touch screen versions out there, but I have a (relatively) cheap Intuos model and it does most of the things I need it to do.


message 5: by H.E. (last edited Jun 29, 2017 02:08AM) (new)

H.E. Bulstrode (goodreadscomHEBulstrode) | 111 comments As Jon has said, I think that Photoshop would do everything that you need. That said, it does seem to come with a rather hefty monthly subscription, which is a pity. As both he and G.G. have noted, GIMP is free, and you can use it to create a cover readily enough, although it isn't exactly an intuitive program, and I wouldn't pretend that I've fully got to grips with it yet. If you haven't yet used GIMP, I'd recommend downloading it and trying it out before committing yourself to a Photoshop subscription.

Oh, by the way, most of the covers displayed on my author page are my old pre-GIMP ones that I've since updated, so don't let their appearance put you off using the program :-)


message 6: by Anita (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 59 comments Photoshop is great, but it can be complicated. After two years of using it, I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what this program can do. I use a combination of programs. The base design is done in Microsoft Publisher. I like the program because it's like I have a large design board. I can move elements into the design or off to the side. I use Photoshop when I need to redesign or alter a photo and even the Paint program on occasion. Once the design is complete, I save as a jpg, then open it Photoshop, convert it to a CMYK color profile, then save as a photoshop PDF. Once I started adding this last step I have not had any color shifts in the printing of my covers either by Createspace or Ingram Sparks. If you pull up my website you will see a number of covers. These were created, using a combination of Publisher and Photoshop.


message 7: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 368 comments Jon wrote: "As an illustrator/cover designer, I use Photoshop and I would be lost without it. ..."

Me too. I also love my Wacom tablet--still works after all these years, although they no longer release updated drivers for the model I have. It makes things like masking hair or other complex objects much easier.

I use several Adobe apps in my daily work, and find them indispensable. However, GIMP is a reasonable alternative for folks who aren't designers.

For something even simpler, I've heard a lot of authors recommend Canva. I played around with it a while back, but it was too simplistic for my tastes.


message 8: by D. (new)

D. Fischer Currently, I'm using PicArt. It does alright, but not enough. It's so limited.
I used to use photoshop back when it was the norm to have a boxed monitor screen. It's been a while 😬.
So all in all, these are good recommendations. I'll try out the downloadable one first. Thanks everyone!


message 9: by Grace (new)

Grace Anthony (AnthonyBooks) | 65 comments I use Paint.NET. It's free and it takes a little getting used to, but I love it.


message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert Krenzel (Robert_Krenzel) | 11 comments I use Canva.com to build cover files for my novels in Createspace. I have not done anything complicated, but I have been pleased with the results.


message 11: by D. (new)

D. Fischer I'm not worried about how complicated it can be. I'm more worried about if it will do everything I want it to.


P.D. Workman (Pamela) (pdworkman) | 386 comments Photoshop for me. Do have have specific tasks that you are worried it will not do?


message 13: by D. (new)

D. Fischer I haven't used photoshop since I was a teen. I have no idea what it's like now, so I thought I'd reach out. I'm comfortable with the more complicated works but I really want it to be downloadable. Can you download photoshop?
Mainly, I just wanted to see what book cover makers were using. My PicsArt is so limited and I never am satisfied because of its limitations. I need something that's downloadable and can take cover making a step farther. I'm constantly on my PicsArt so I'm not worried about membership fees for programs. It would get used often.


message 14: by Ashleigh (last edited Jun 29, 2017 10:43AM) (new)

Ashleigh Reynolds (AshleighReynolds) | 7 comments I use Photoshop and In-design. They can deff be complicated. Thankfully, you can learn anything from YouTube. They have a ton of tutorials. It's my go-to if i'm having issues.

And yes, you can download Photoshop. They charge monthly or yearly now. But you can have basically the whole suite.


message 15: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 4073 comments Just throwing in another vote for GIMP and noting that as a former Photoshop user, I actually find GIMP to be a bit more user friendly instead if the other way around. I would also suggest Inkscape if you're doing any design elements by hand. It's a great free drawing program.

On the super simple side (for ebook covers only), I use Pixlr and Pixel Lab, which are both apps I use on my phone. I've done all of my short story covers this way.


message 16: by D. (new)

D. Fischer This is all so helpful. Thank you guys and gals so much!


message 17: by V.M., The Gentleman Ninja (new)

V.M. (VMSawh) | 783 comments Mod
Vouching for Pixlr and GIMP here, though I do use Photoshop for all SIA-related materials and pro-touch-ups. If I could afford Photoshop, it would be my go-to tool, however - for bookmarks and other author-related material Canva is a great resource.


message 18: by Kelly (new)

Kelly | 1 comments I love the Adobe suite! Photoshop and Illustrator are so useful. They take some getting used to, but are worth it. I've also had really great luck with Pixelmator, which is much less expensive.


message 19: by Dan (new)

Dan Burley (danburleyauthor) | 154 comments I will swear by GIMP until I'm blue in the face, then keep it up until I'm dead.

I've used it for pretty much every single art project I've done since the early '00s (this includes all of my book covers, both for digital and print). And, not only is it a free program, but it is equipped to use certain photoshop add-ons like brushes and textures.


message 20: by T.R. (new)

T.R. Briar (TRBriar) | 72 comments I use Photoshop myself for all my artwork and I'd say that it definitely has everything you'd need for book covers and more, but I'd also agree the price makes it a tough sell, and it can be very complicated for beginners. Maybe try one of the free programs like Gimp and see if it has what you need, or look into a free trial of Photoshop or Illustrator to see if that might be better suited for you before taking the plunge and paying for it.


message 21: by Shoshanah (new)

Shoshanah Marohn (ShoshanahMarohn) | 32 comments Gimp is excellent.


message 22: by V.M., The Gentleman Ninja (new)

V.M. (VMSawh) | 783 comments Mod
Previous comment deleted for promotion of 3rd party service. OP asked for a program. Thank you, carry on.


message 23: by D. (new)

D. Fischer Thanks V.M.


message 24: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (AmandaSiegrist) | 289 comments I use Paint.net for everything I make. It did take a while to get used to it, but I also never used a program like that before so... lol that's probably why. It's also free and anytime I wanna figure out how to do something new/different I google it and the forum for Paint.net and/or YouTube videos are so helpful!


message 25: by Maheshwaran (new)

Maheshwaran Jothi | 5 comments I second that. I have found that the free Paint.Net is really a good tool for cover designs. Moreover, there are plenty of help in internet for it. Also, there are many effects and filters available that can be downloaded to have similar effects as in the regular adobe photoshop or other professional tools.


message 26: by Dan (new)

Dan Burley (danburleyauthor) | 154 comments I'd like to add that befunky is a nice, online photo editor with a lot of nice filters and things (both free and paid). I don't know that it's all that great for building your covers, but if you want to add a little more punch to them once you have, it's a nice way to get it done without having to take a whole lot of time.


message 27: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 941 comments I just creep to my friends. Works for me...


message 28: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 99 comments My sister who has actual artistic talent makes my covers with GIMP and I sometimes play around with it as well. She edits the images with GIMP and then I save as a jpeg and use MS Publisher to add the titles. This method works well for me.

I also find GIMP is easier to use than inkscape, which was mentioned above. And it has a lot of functionality built into it that we have not yet learned to use, so I'm confident it would have what you need for most projects. And as others have mentioned there are many tutorials out there that can be really helpful if you're not afraid of the complicated side of things.


message 29: by Melissa, Queen of the Beasties (new)

Melissa Jensen (Kdragon) | 485 comments Mod
I use GIMP (well, Corel Painter now but only because it came free with my art tablet) for images and Inkscape for font design. Inkscape can be pretty finicky but it has a lot of effects that can help make your title more interesting. And exploring the different things you can do with GIMP is just plain fun.


message 30: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Vespia (CynV) | 27 comments I'm a cover artist and author. I use Photoshop for all my covers. It can be tricky to learn but there are alot of tutorials online. I'm not sure if the Adobe programs are downloadable though.


message 31: by Lyssa (new)

Lyssa deHart (loves2read) | 2 comments If you have a mac, I have created several book covers with Affinity Design. I like it as a program.


message 32: by G.G., Genre Buster Extraordinaire (last edited Jul 03, 2017 07:41PM) (new)

G.G. (GGAtcheson) | 2589 comments Mod
Rachelle wrote: "***"

Not what the OP asked


message 33: by Robert (last edited Jul 04, 2017 12:59PM) (new)

Robert Stephen | 6 comments If you have an artistic flare for making covers but no Photoshop you can find a site and download CS2 for free. I have it on my computers and works fine.


Of course, there is Canva which I just discovered and it works well too.


message 34: by J. Daniel, Lurking since 2015 (new)

J. Daniel Layfield (jdaniellayfield) | 94 comments Mod
Please remove the links from your post or it will be deleted. For everyone's safety, we don't allow posting links of any kind.


message 35: by C.B. Matson (new)

C.B. Matson | 141 comments Boowah ha HA!! I use PowerPoint, yes the devil's creation.

It's a wonderful compendium of bit-map and vector graphics that can accept almost any font you want to download. I've even made my own fonts in PP.

Okay, confession, I use PS Elements for it's clone stamp and erase capabilities. Could use Gimp for the same thing.

P.M. me and I'll point you to a blog post with some fun PP hacks.


message 36: by V.M., The Gentleman Ninja (last edited Jul 06, 2017 05:47AM) (new)

V.M. (VMSawh) | 783 comments Mod
** Previous comment neatly sliced for
a) not being an art program
b) posting a link
c) being a promotional service using a fresh Goodreads Account**

*wipes and oils katana*


message 37: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 941 comments Canva is quite fun. I do a lot with it, but nowt too technical


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