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How to Design A Book Cover (Free & Paid Ways)

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  • October 10, 2023
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  • 9 min read

Book Design

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Designing a book cover is like dressing up your story for the world to see. It’s the first thing readers notice, so it needs to be eye-catching and reflect the essence of your book.

Whether on a tight budget or ready to invest, this article will guide you through free and paid ways to design a book cover that captivates your audience.

The Importance of a Great Book Cover

Before diving into the design process, let’s understand why a book cover is vital. Imagine a book as a delicious meal; the cover is the appetizing aroma that draws you in. A compelling cover can:

1- Attract Readers: 

Think of your book as a yummy, tempting dish. The cover is like the sweet smell that makes you want to bite. A fantastic cover does the same – it lures readers in. They see it and think, “I have to read this!”

2- Convey Genre and Mood: 

Imagine you’re at a party, and you want to dance. You wouldn’t go to the room with slow, quiet music, right? Readers want to know what kind of dance (or story) they’re getting into.

The cover hints at whether it’s a thrilling mystery or a heartwarming romance. It’s like a sneak peek. That’s why even before you pitch a book, you should know the feel it will have.

3- Set Expectations: 

Have you ever ordered a delicious-looking pizza and then got a plate of spaghetti instead? Not fun, right?

A book cover sets the right expectations. When you see a cover with spaceships and aliens, you know it won’t be about cooking recipes. It ensures readers won’t be disappointed when they start reading.

4- Boost Sales: 

If you are in a bookstore, hundreds of books are on the shelves. Which one do you pick up? You’ll choose the one with a cover that catches your eye.

That’s why an attractive cover can significantly affect how many copies your book sells, whether on physical shelves or online.

Now that we understand its importance, let’s explore how to create a remarkable book cover.

Free Book Cover Design Options

There are many options with which you can design a book cover. However, if you don’t have a budget and are looking for cheap alternatives, here are some free design options.

Option 1: DIY with Canva

Canva is an excellent online tool for creating book covers without spending a dime. Let’s explore how to design a book spine and cover using the fantastic online tool Canva. The best part? It won’t cost you a penny.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Sign Up 

Start by creating a free Canva account if you haven’t already. It’s as simple as signing up for your favorite social media platform.

Step 2: Choose a Template

Canva is like a treasure chest filled with various templates for book covers. Take your time to browse and find one that matches your book’s genre and style. It’s like picking out the perfect outfit for a special occasion.

Step 3: Customize 

Now comes the fun part. You can personalize your chosen template in a snap:

  • Images: 

You can upload your images if you have some or dive into Canva’s extensive library of free pictures and graphics. It’s like having a massive art collection at your fingertips. Select images that resonate with your book’s theme.

  • Text: 

Add your book title and author name. Play with different fonts to find the one that suits your book’s vibe. You can also experiment with colors to make your cover truly unique. Think of it as a painting with words and colors.

Step 4: Download 

Once you’ve fine-tuned your design and are completely satisfied, it’s time to save your masterpiece. Canva makes it easy to download your book cover in a suitable format, such as JPEG or PNG. It’s like putting your creation in a frame so everyone can admire it.

Option 2: Tap into Public Domain Art

The vast realm of the internet holds a wealth of free, public-domain art that can be a valuable resource for designing book covers. Online platforms such as Pixabay, Unsplash, and Project Gutenberg offer access to an extensive repository of images and hire children’s book illustrators.

However, exercising caution and responsibility is essential when using these resources. Always ensure that you adhere to the usage rights associated with each piece of art and provide proper credit to the creators if necessary.

This way, you can harness the creative potential of these online treasure troves while respecting the rights and contributions of the artists who have shared their work with the world.

Option 3: Collaborate with Creative Friends

Should fortune favor you with creatively talented friends or acquaintances, exploring the possibility of collaboration can be a rewarding endeavor. There’s a chance that these artistic individuals could contribute their skills to craft a one-of-a-kind book cover for your work.

In return, you can extend gestures of appreciation, such as mentioning their invaluable contribution in your book’s acknowledgments or offering a small token of gratitude.

This collaborative effort fosters a sense of community. It allows your book to benefit from the unique talents of those who share your creative journey, making it a collective work of art.

Paid Book Cover Design Solutions

Now, if you have money to spend on your book cover design, here is what you can do.

Option 1: Hire a Professional Designer For Book

When your budget permits, opting for the expertise of a professional book cover design services provider is often the wisest choice. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind when taking this route:

  • Extensive Research: 

Your journey to design a book cover begins with thorough research. Seek out designers who specialize in the genre of your book.

Choosing a designer aligned with your literary genre is crucial, as you wouldn’t hire a chef to fix your car. Peruse their portfolios to ensure their artistic style resonates with your creative vision.

  • Open Communication: 

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful collaboration. Convey your ideas, themes, and preferences to the designer before they design a book cover for you.

They are your artistic partner, so be open to their suggestions and insights. It’s like a conversation between two painters, each contributing their unique brushstrokes to a shared canvas.

  • Budgeting Wisely: 

While art is priceless, practicality plays a part. Discuss pricing and payment terms with your chosen designer before you design a book cover.

A beautifully designed cover is an investment in your book’s success. Consider it like buying high-quality ingredients for a gourmet meal – it enhances the overall experience.

  • Constructive Feedback: 

The design process is a dynamic journey. Provide constructive feedback during the collaboration when you design a book cover to ensure the cover aligns perfectly with your vision.

Option 2: Use Premium Stock Images

Websites like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock are enticing for those seeking top-tier visuals. These platforms provide access to a treasure trove of premium, high-quality images, and digital illustrations, albeit for a fee.

While this option does require an investment, it grants you entry into a vast world of professional visuals that can be leveraged to craft a truly distinctive and captivating book cover.

It’s like gaining access to an exclusive art gallery where you can handpick the perfect masterpiece for your book’s cover, ensuring it stands out and leaves a lasting impression on potential readers.

DIY Tips for Success

If you decide to take the DIY route to design a book cover, then here are some tips for creating an appealing book cover:

1- Keep It Simple:

When you’re designing your book cover, remember to keep things simple. Don’t clutter it up with too much stuff.

Think about it like cleaning your room – it looks better when it’s tidy and not overcrowded. A clean and simple design often works best.

2- Eye-Catching Title: 

Your book’s title is super important! Make sure it’s easy to read, even when it’s as small as a tiny picture on your phone. When you see tiny ants far away – you can still tell they’re ants. Your title should be like that – clear and easy to see.

3- Consistency: 

Imagine you’re making a cake and want all the ingredients to taste good together. Your book cover is like a recipe; everything on it should match.

If your book is a funny comedy, your cover should look funny, too. If it’s a scary mystery, ensure your cover gives off a spooky vibe. Keep the style and colors in line with what your book is all about.

4- Test It:

Sometimes, we make a drawing, and we’re unsure if it’s good. So what do we do? We show it to our friends, right? The same goes for your book cover. Before you say, “It’s done!”, show it to your friends or people who might read your book. They can give you tips to make it even better.

5- Resolution: 

Now, this one’s a bit technical. Think of it like making sure your homework looks good when you hand it in. Your book cover needs to meet some technical rules to look great on websites and in printed books. Check the platform rules where you’ll publish your book and ensure your cover fits those rules.


To design a book cover is a crucial step in your publishing journey. Whether you opt for free or paid methods, your cover should be a compelling visual representation of your book. Remember, the cover is your book’s first impression, so make it count.

With the options provided in this article, you can design an AI book cover generator that attracts readers and conveys the essence of your story.

So, unleash your creativity and design a book cover that makes your literary masterpiece shine.

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