Create Your Own EBook Cover Without Photoshop
Cover Created Using These Tips
Getting Started On Your Cover
One of the most challenging problems of self-publishing is creating an eye-catching book cover. If you have the money, you can hire a professional artist to design one for you. But most of us don't have several hundred dollars laying around doing nothing.
So you're poor, not very artistic and you don't own PhotoShop, can you make a cover that sells books?
Yes, you can.
STEP 1: Have a clear idea of what you want your cover to look like. What's the mood of the cover? For example, for a cover for the book, Preacher's Blood, I want a house or compound sitting over a marsh or a lake. I want a girl either in the distance or in the shadows. The overall mood of the cover should be dramatic and a bit suspenseful.
*Common Mistake: All pictures that show a 'face' of a person must have a model release or be from a website of public domain pictures that have model releases included. For faces, the three easiest ways to solve this issue is to use photos of relatives (with their written permission), use the web pictures with the rights already cleared or make sure the face is obscured. I, personally, got lucky and made friends with an amateur photographer and I trade for her photos.
STEP 2: Search the public domain sites for pictures that suit your needs. For Preacher's Blood, I'm looking for two photos. The first is of the lake house and the second of a sad looking girl.
Public Domain Picture Sites Listed Below:
These sites contain mostly public domain pictures. However please check the license explained on each site. Some do require you to acknowledge in your book where the art came from.
TIP: Make sure you ask friends and family for pictures from their vacations. Photos that do no contain people or that can be cropped to be without people are extremely useful.
My sister went on a business trip to New York and New Jersey, she snapped a shot of some houses sitting on a lake. I also have permission to use a picture of my twenty-four year old niece. I'm going to blend these pictures to make a striking suspenseful picture for my cover.
House on Lake
Merging Two Photos
I have my two photos but how do I merge them together without PhotoShop? I use a really easy free site called FotoFlexer.
Click Upload Photo.
Always load what you want the background of the photo first. So I'm loading up the picture with the house on the lake.
Once the picture loads, you'll see a row of picture options. The circular arrows can flip the picture upside down if you need it. The arrow on the book pages can flip the angle of the photo from left to right or right to left.
You want to click on the TAB that says 'Layer' on the far right of the screen.
Once the layer screen opens, click ADD IMAGES.
Upload the second picture. I upload my niece's photo.
You'll see that the second picture is surrounded by dotted lines with little gray boxes at each mid-way point. You can drag the photo with the gray lines around it to the position that you want. You can use the click on the gray boxes to make the picture smaller or bigger.
Tip: Remember you are going to crop the photo so if you have some overhang with the second picture, don't worry about it, you can crop it off.
Click on the Second Picture then Click the Opacity function. This will give you a sliding bar. Slide it to a lower percentage to make the picture see through. This is great for two things. One for positioning the two pictures together or for layering one picture over the other.
I'm layering the two pictures together. I reduced the solidness of the photo by about 65%.
Although FotoFlexer is really easy to use to merge photos, it isn't great at editing photos so we'll use a separate site for that.
Once the photos are merged, Click Save at the top of the left-hand side of the screen.
Merging on Ipiccy
ALTERNATE Merging on IPICCY:
You can now merge in www.ipiccy.com as well.
After you upload your photo then click the three layer/tray icon on the icon bar. See the above picture for help finding it on the icon tray.
Upload the new photo.
Drag the new photo where you want it and expand it to cover the original photo.
Then on the left, use the FADE to fade the photo.
For advance options, use the Blend Mode to change how the two photos blend together.
Once you get it the way you want it merged then Click DONE on the right.
This sets the merge photos.
**Don't forget to save.
Merged Photo Before Editing
Editing Your Merged Photo Into A Cover
The next step in our cover odyssey is editing.
I prefer another free site called Picnik. ***Picnik has now been discontinued but you can do many of the same edits on www.ipiccy.com instead.
Click Start Editing (big yellow button at the bottom). You do not have to register to use the free options on this site.
The picture will open on the Edit Tab (Camera Icon).
These will be the most used editing options.
Drag the edges until you get to a cover that is longer than it is wide.
You can resize but I find cropping cures many issues.
I clicked APPLY when I get to the size I want.
I then click Exposure under the Edit Tab (CAMERA ICON).
I moved the Exposure to -14 and the Contrast to +22. This gives me a more darker more defined picture.
Now change the Edit (Camera again) Icon to the Create (Magic Wand) Icon.
Click Sepia. This will change the color to a golden old photograph look. This will add drama.
I could also make it black and white or boost the color to make it brighter.
Under Frames Icon-(click the frame picture at the top on ipiccy), you can also add a mirror frame or a border if you like. Most of the time, I don't think it works all that well.
To add the Title and Author Name, click on the Three Layers Icon Tab at the top of the screen. You have two choices there. You can add a bar to place the Title on or you can put the Title directly over the cover itself.
Three Layer Icon--If you want to add a bar, Click on Stickers then the Square.. Adjust the color on the left side Color button. Use Fade to lighten the color.
Click Text under Three Layer Icon to add lettering.
Drag it to where you want it.
Type the Title in, Click DONE after you pick size, font and color..
Tip: You can use the fade on the on the left side menu to make the title partially transparent or use the slider to fade the color out.
Add the Author Name.
I then went back to the Camera Icon and Vibrance to bright the Sepia. I then used the fade keys to make sure it's just the right amount of color.
I also clicked on Frames Icon.
Then I clicked Mirror Frame and adjusted it smaller.
Then I'm done.
My cover is finished and it doesn't look half-bad.
***For advanced options, you can add textures under Checkerboard Icon or add a photo background under the photo option under the Three Layer icon.
There are a thousand ways to change this cover depending on your taste and pocketbook. But you have to admit that it looks better than just picking a random picture and sticking a title on it.
I also love the cloning feature on iPiccy. Cloning allows you to copy an item off one photograph into another. This is such an easy way to make cool dramatic photos. It's under the Camera Icon.
So you don't need PhotoShop to make a great book cover. You just need patience, a few good public domain photos and trial and error.
This creates the front cover of your book. If you need a front, back and spine, you can pop this cover into CreateSpace's cover creater and it'll merge it into a front, back and spine for you, for free. You must have the art for the front and back covers created before you go out to do that.
Need a higher resolution? Go to iPiccy, make the picture as large as you can under resize. Save the picture. Then download GIMP and resize by inches. If you've made the picture large enough, you should be able to get it 300 DPI or higher. But for ebooks, you really only need 72 or higher. DPI is important for print books.
Good luck and good cover creating.