A Do-it-Yourself Guide to Creating E-Book Covers

doItYourselfBookCoversWRITERS. Brian Jackson, a self-published author, has created an e-book that explains how to use free online tools and inexpensive images to create high-quality book covers. Entitled “Do It Yourself: Book Covers,” the 74-page e-book is available on Amazon for $0.99.

The guide is directed at users of Windows 7, but it has also been used successfully by Mac OS users. Jackson explains how to use a free program called GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) to combine text, colored boxes, and inexpensive images to produce your own book covers.

While an attractive cover is vital for all types of books, the ability to design your own cover gives you more control over how your finished book will look. It can also save money when publishing free or low-priced books for relatively limited audiences.

After explaining a few basic pointers for book-cover design, Jackson discusses the following topics:

  • Installing and running the GIMP
  • Creating a simple book cover
  • Working with layers and selections
  • Loading fonts and using font effects
  • Buying and manipulating inexpensive images
  • Creating colored boxes
  • Using layer masks
  • Stroking a path
  • Putting it all together

JacksonmanMade200To show the types of results that that can be achieved with the methods outlined in his book, Jackson has created a page showing sample covers that he has designed.

Brian Jackson is a self-published writer of fiction who originally began using GIMP while working for Cisco Systems in Silicon Valley. Now retired, he spends his time writing and publishing.


Do-It-Yourself: Book Covers

Samples of the Covers Brian Jackson Designed




Five Tips from an E-Book Cover Design Specialist

WRITERS. If you need an affordably priced custom cover designed for an e-book project, check out the services of book-cover designer James Junior. He can create designs for all sizes and formats, including (but not limited) to:

  • Kindle e-books
  • Any other e-reader (Nook, iPad, etc.)
  • Mobile screens (iPhone, etc.)
  • Print books
  • 3D eBook covers and software boxes for website display

He prides himself in on offering excellent rates and is willing to work with you until you are satisfied with the design. Get a 25% discount by mentioning that you read about James Junior’s custom cover design services on Creatives at Work.

Design ©James A. Junior

For authors who have never worked with a cover designer before, James Junior offers these tips:

Know what you are asking for. Prices vary depending on the type of format(s) you need.

Be open to the designer’s ideas. Knowing what you want is great, but give the designer some room to inject their own talent into the cover.

Be honest, not nice. If you don’t like something about your cover design, say so; after all, it is your book and your money.

Before you accept the finished cover design, make a thumbnail of it around the same size as Amazon’s thumbnails. Why? You want to make sure the text is legible at that size, and the image isn’t distorted. The thumbnail version will be the first image a reader sees. It must be clear and compelling enough to entice the reader to click on your thumbnail to see a larger version.

Three-dimensional software boxes and book covers are used on websites to reinforce the buyer’s perception that they are buying a tangible product of value, and not just a digital download. ©James A. Junior

Ask the designer for the “layered version” or PSD version of your book cover. This will come in handy later if you want to add or change a detail on the cover and the designer isn’t available.


Custom eBook/Book Covers by James Junior

James Junior: Sample Designs