You’ve just logged in to check your book sales. You're feeling a glimmer of hope that today will be better, but disappointment soon hits as you see that low number again.
What’s worse is knowing the countless hours of precious time and all that money you invested to create that book. You know it’s a good book, but why does no one else seem to realize that?
It could be your book cover. Just a few tweaks of a book cover can double or even triple sales for self-published authors. But how do you make a book cover that looks professional if you’re not a professional graphic designer?
Let's take a look at the best book cover design software, services, and designers that can help you create an absolutely stunning book cover. Note: When possible, I'll use affiliate links, which help cover the costs of running this site.
In this article, you will learn:
- The best book cover software and templates for the DIY designer
- Where to find talented book cover designers and services
- Several ways you can test your book cover to find which one will sell the best
- What other articles I recommend to authors who want to learn more about book covers
Best Book Cover Design Software
If you decide to make your book cover yourself, you’ll need software that is capable of making a cover that looks professional, matches your level of design skills, and suits your budget. There are a variety of online design tools and cover design software for you to choose from that are both free and paid. You may even have some of these design tools already.
Here are six of the best design software for making book covers, including cost, a brief description, and links to tutorials to help you use each tool.
|Cover Design Tool||Cost||Tutorial||Description|
|DIY Book Covers||Free package|
$87 Epic package
|DIY Book Covers Tutorials||Free online design tool created by The Master Book Designer. Templates and tutorials included to create bestselling covers for the DIY book cover maker.|
|Adobe Photoshop or InDesign||$20.99 per month||Advanced software for those with superior design & tech skills, and lots of time.|
|Canva||Free||Canva Graphic Design Tutorials||Free online design tool that’s simple to use, but advanced features and many images must be paid for. Templates are free.|
Free (if you already have it)
$150 (or a monthly subscription) if you don’t yet have
|Make an Ebook Cover in Word||Common software that isn’t ideal but can be used to create adequate book covers.|
|BookCreative Book Design Software||Downloadable app software for cover design and page formatting. Get critique from a pro designer for 3 covers. Tutorials and templates only available in the deluxe version.|
|Cover Creator||Free||How to Make a Free Amazon eBook Cover||Amazon KDP's free online cover design tool can make basic book covers with a limited choice of templates.|
Book Cover Design Templates and Pre-made Book Covers
You can also use a book cover template to get your cover art started. With a template, some tutorials, design software, and time, you could create a cover for your book that looks professional, stands out, and sells well.
If you didn’t find a design template you love above (at DIY Book Covers or at Canva or BookBrush) here are a few more places to find book cover design templates and premade book covers. There are designs for every genre and budget, so keep searching until you find the right one for your book.
At Cover Design Studio, you'll find a selection of premium designs and DIY templates with the beginner designer in mind. You can also find tutorials to help you create a custom cover in an hour, along with stock photos and interior book templates. Bonus: Their templates are guaranteed to meet all Kindle and CreateSpace requirements. Super Bonus: You can save 30% just for being a Kindlepreneur fan. Simply use the code “Kindlepreneur”
This site has over 9,000 pre-made book covers. Each genre has hundreds (if not thousands) to choose from. The prices range from $15 to $1,100, so there’s a selection for any budget. The designers will add your text for free. They may even make small changes to colors or fonts.
Kingwood Creations has about 100 premade covers in the $50-$200 price range. There are nicely designed fiction covers, as well as a few nonfiction, business, and self-help designs to choose from.
Best Book Cover Designers By Genre And Specialty
If you want to really nail your book cover, save your precious time for other things, and potentially earn more in book sales, hiring a professional designer might be the way to go. Make sure you find one with experience designing covers you love by reviewing their portfolios.Awesome Covers Get Clicks. Don't Skimp On Your Cover #SelfPubClick To Tweet
Here are some of the best designers in the industry, all of whom have been recommended by self-publishers. Most create covers in all genres, but a few have specialty experience. Contacting cover designers and reviewing their portfolios will help ensure you find one that fits the style you're looking for.
|Derek Murphy||CreativINDIE Covers||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Anna Dorfman||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|JD Smith||JD Smith Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Ana Grigoriu||Books Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Robin Ludwig||Robin Ludwig Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|James T. Egan||Bookfly Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Laura Gordon||The Book Cover Designer||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Peter O’Connor||Bespoke Book Covers||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Jessica Bell||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Teddi Black||Teddi Black Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Karrie Ross||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Fiona Raven||Fiona Raven Book Design||Fiction & Nonfiction & Children’s|
|Simon Avery||I Do Book Covers||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Lieu Pham||Covertopia||Fiction & Nonfiction, also predesigned covers|
|Fran Platt||Eden Graphics||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Audria Wooster||Indigo Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Joshua Jadon||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Glen Edelstein||Hudson Valley Book Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Nick Zellinger||NZ Graphics||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Brandi McCann||eBook Cover Designs||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Alexandra Brandt||Fantasy & Science Fiction|
|Mars Dorian||Design Illustrations, Sci-Fi author|
|Hampton Lamouroux||TS95 Studios||Portfolio mostly Dark Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi|
|Syd Gill||Syd Gill Designs||Portfolio mostly Romance|
|Perry Elisabeth||Perry Elisabeth Design||Fiction & Nonfiction|
|Jeff Brown||Jeff Brown Graphics||Sci-fi, Fantasy and Fiction covers|
Other Places You Can Find More Designers
I have a few more places for you to look listed below. Some of these are places especially for book cover designers, while others are for general artists and designers.
Here are even more places to find talented designers:
- Reedsy – A marketplace for book designers with high accomplishments in the industry. This whole site is dedicated to connecting writers with quality specialists, like designers and editors. You're sure to find a cover designer or interior designer with experience in your genre here.
- 99 Designs – At 99 designs you can create a contest by telling all their artists what you're looking for, and you'll get lots of cover design options in return. At the end of the contest, you pick your favorite design. If you don't like any of the designs, in the end, you get your money back. If you find one you like, the artist who created it gets paid. Design contests start at $299. You can even get designs made for other parts of your author brand too, like logos and business cards.
- 100 Covers – For just $100, you can get a legit custom ebook cover design made especially for your target book categories. Or there are $200 and $300 packages that include a guaranteed promotion on Buck Books or a full CreateSpace-ready print cover design.
- Upwork – A place where you can post a design job for free. Freelancer designers are hired then rated based on their performance, so you can narrow your search by job performance, hourly wage, or type of design. You can find designers from all over the world in any price range.
- Deviant Art – An online community where artists post their work. Here you can find an artist with your kind of style and contact them for creating your cover design job.
- Amazon – You probably already have or will later search your target kindle categories on Amazon several times. While you’re there, if you find a cover design you like, figure out who designed it and contact them. If you can click on the book to “look inside,” look to see if the author gives credit to a cover designer. Here Joanna Penn gives credit to her book cover creator, JD Smith
Best Book Cover Design Services
You might also come across design service agencies, which usually have a team of designers instead of just one freelance designer like the list above.
On a site like Damonza, your cover will be created by one of the professional designers on their team, but all covers are approved by the head honcho, Damon, before they’re returned to the author.
This team of designers has created multiple ebook cover design winners for The Book Cover Designer’s monthly cover contest. Their custom ebook cover designs cost $349, while their pre-made covers sell for $99. This family business out of Canada also offers fast and professional book formatting.
This team provides book cover services, formatting, and even book trailer packages. You can see over 800 samples on their website to see their proven track record of creating stunning books. Their custom book cover design packages range from $495-$820, or predesigned ebook covers cost $195. Bonus: For Kindlepreneur readers only, there’s a 5% discount if you use the code: KINDLE5
This full-service agency has designed hundreds of custom book covers for $550. In addition to cover designs, this team offers ghostwriting, editing, proofreading, formatting, book description writing, and audiobook production.
A team for everything self-publishing, they have packages and individual services for book cover design, editing, formatting, audiobook narration, author branding, and more. Their cover design service starts at $149.
Here’s a small design team that creates custom covers for print books and ebooks, as well as formatting services. Their service ranges from $310-$679.
This design team out of the UK has experience designing for literary agents, publishers, and indie authors. You can get a tailor-made ebook or print covers for any genre (but you must contact for quote) or buy a pre-made cover for $99-$150.
A team of design wizards that make fast and affordable ebook and print cover designs for self-publishing authors. Their design services cost $197-$297.
Anthony Puttee is the head guy over at BookCover Cafe, where they provide custom book cover designs, as well as formatting, editing, and typesetting services. These book covers range from $395-$595.
How to Test Your Book Cover Design
The final step for designing your book cover is to put your cover to the test. Don't just go with the one you like best. Test the covers in your market to see which book cover design your readers prefer. Ideally, you will gather both qualitative data (e.g., poll your audience to see which option they prefer) and quantitative data (e.g., split A/B test to see which design gets more clicks). There are several ways you can do this:
I highly recommend using PickFu to split test your covers and see which one people like better. This helps you get honest feedback from a large group of anonymous people. Using PickFu can drastically boost your confidence to make your final cover design decision. Use my PickFu link for 20% off your first poll.
Ask Your Fans
If you already have a fanbase, you can run a poll on your blog, Facebook group page, or wherever you connect with your audience. This is great data because it's feedback from your best customers. This is not-so-great if you’re still working on building your tribe and don't have many fans to ask yet.Figure out which cover your readers like best, not the one you like. #SellMoreBooks #BookMarketingClick To Tweet
Speaking of Facebook, you can also run a Facebook campaign to test your book cover designs. I like this option because you can A/B split test the images of your cover designs to see which performs better. This allows you to target your ideal customer, set a customized budget, and find your winning cover with Facebook ads.
A/B Test by Email
Finally, if you have the coveted list of email subscribers, you can A/B split test your cover designs for free.
Here's how you'd A/B split test with your email list: Assuming you have two covers, you’d send Cover A to half of your list and Cover B to the other half. Everything except the cover design should be identical to give you true data on the best design. See which link leads to better results to find the better book cover for your market.
If your book hasn't been released yet, you can send your subscribers to an opt-in page to be notified as soon as your book is released and see which cover does better. Or you can just ask readers to tell you which one they like better.
(If you are still working on building your email list and want a provider that can easily perform A/B tests, here’s a review I wrote about three of the top email providers.)
A Resource Library for Making Your Book Cover
The Master Guide To Book Cover Design – Kindleprenuer’s ultimate guide for creating book covers, including the 5 steps you must follow to create a standout book cover. You'll find advice for both beginners and experienced self-publishing authors in that post.
Get inspired with these 32 good book cover examples and lessons we can all learn from them.
Choose the right fonts for your book cover with this Kindlepreneur article.
If you're planning to use stock photos on your book covers, read this guide first.
Here are the best free book cover makers in case you don't have a budget to work with.
10 Tips for Working With A Book Designer, including tips about contracts, giving credit to a designer, and questions to ask before choosing a designer.
How to Make Your Own Free Book Cover in MS Word – Derek Murphy’s step-by-step guide for using Microsoft Word to create professional-looking book covers. His video tutorial is linked above, and here is the written article.
How to get the most out of a Fiverr Book cover designer – Although I don't really recommend Fiverr for book covers, I do believe the ideas in this article I wrote can be applied to all designers you may work with, no matter where you find them.
When you’re looking for inspiration and help formatting the inside of your book, there’s a great gallery and resources here.
How to Find a Book Cover Designer has tips about the timeline and what you should have ready before you contact a designer.
Monthly eBook Design Cover Awards is a cool thing they do over at The Book Designer. Authors submit book covers, and each month a fiction and nonfiction winner is chosen. You can look through these monthly submissions to get ideas for your cover and to learn what works (and what doesn’t work) about the covers submitted.
Check out Stuart Bache's Book Cover Design course from Mark Dawson's Self Publishing Formula. Stuart Bache has designed bestselling covers for Mark and even Stephen King, so it's fair to say he knows what he's doing–and this course is targeted at authors.
And finally, to get the most out of your book cover, here's how you can incorporate your cover into your pre-release campaign to build excitement for your book.
Hopefully this article has convinced you that your book cover design is crucial and it may be the secret sauce to finally selling more books. The next step is to decide if you’re going to make your book cover yourself, if you’re going to hire a professional designer to create it for you, or something in the middle.
Hopefully, this article pointed you in the right direction to find the book cover software, services, tools, tutorials, templates, or designer you need to create just the cover your readers are looking for. Are there are other services you use? If so, drop them in the comments so I can check them out too!