Do not underestimate the power of your book cover. In the digital world, this is the only thing (along with your title) buyers are going to look at when deciding to even click to your sales page. Your book description comes much later, after the buyer-reader reaches your sales page.
Treat Cover designing, therefore, as a part of your book writing. When I start writing the first few chapters of my book, I also start thinking about what my book cover is going to look on Amazon.
Although it is possible to design a book cover, without using any pictures or drawings, I find these become much more eye-catching if you use one. For pictures, you can research a number of stock photography sites like Shutterstock and Dreamstime to get an idea but bear in mind that images from stock photography sites cost money. Or if the theme is very clear, you can use one of your own photographs.
Either way, you need a photograph or a drawing to start with. For the cover for my book on “Healthy Cooking”, I just arranged some fresh fruits and vegetables in a tray and used my point-and-shoot camera to click a picture. I used natural light to avoid the glare that the flash gun imparts and shot at the highest resolution possible. Look at the unedited result here:
Next, I used the free picture editing software paint.NET to add the twist effect to emphasize my series theme of “cooking in a jiffy”. The picture now looked like this:
Now I could go on to the cover design part. You can use Microsoft’s PowerPoint or even Word (you can view the word version on Joanna Penn’s website) to design a good looking free book cover. I used the tips given by William King to design the book cover of my first book using a free image from the MS-Power Point image stock. It looked like this.
However, when I stumbled onto the free book cover templates provided by Create Space, an Amazon associate, I found the results to be much more professional. Look at the results below using the Aspen theme. Create Space has got lots of professional looking free book cover themes to choose from. I chose Aspen because it was going well with my cooking theme.
The Create Space experience is almost idiot-proof. You choose a template, import your image, write your title and sub-title, put your book description for the back cover, insert your photograph and you are done. You can also adjust the font size, colour and background colour. 99% of the time your free book cover looks pretty professional and the bonus is that it also converts well in a thumbnail when you put it out on Amazon.
However, if you can afford it, you can choose a professional cover designer and pay $100 upwards for your book cover. Even Create Space allows you access to such services if you pay extra. I have heard that you can get your cover designed for as low as $5 at sites like Fiverr.com, but I have not really used the service.
What is your favourite way of cover designing without paying anything for it? I do look forward to hearing from you.