In the past, book publishing was centered around the bookstore. A customer could pick up any book to feel it’s weight, smell the aroma of freshly printed pages, and even open the book to look at the table of contents, read testimonials, and more.
In other words, the entire experience of book buying used to be much more than just face value—the size and weight of your book, quality of your testimonials, and the credibility of a high-profile publisher mattered. But not anymore.
Amazon.com, BN.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, and others now sell online where you can’t pick up a book, smell its aroma, or thumb through it’s pages (or even sit down and read the first chapter before you buy).
Today’s book buying experience is digital and online. Consequently, cover design is one of the most important buying factors you can control as a self-published author.
Here’s the point. The term “face value” really means something here. The value of your book will be judged by its face—it’s cover. So one of the primary things you’ll need to do to grab your potential customer’s attention and convert them into your reader is design a cover that captivates.
But don’t be discouraged! You have everything you need to design a book cover right at your fingertips. You don’t need to be a graphic designer or have any design experience to create a great book cover because, in this article, we cover five free tools that are simple, easy-to-use and can help you create a professional looking book cover even if you’re not a designer. Let’s go.
Important note: If you are a designer and are looking for more advanced book cover design tools and templates, read 7 Design Templates Guaranteed to make Any Book Beautiful.
1. Canva Book Cover Maker
What It Is: Canva's Book Cover Maker is a free online book cover design tool. And it is easy to use. To start, pick from dozens of custom layouts then choose your own imagery—you can either use your own images or Canva’s library of stock photos. From here you can edit and add your title, along with quite a few other self-explanatory options.
Why We Recommend It: Canva is the easiest and most flexible book cover design tool with the most options. Unlike many other tools, every element of your book cover is editable so you have full control over the entire design process.
Pro Tip: Identify key themes and ideas from your book so that you can pick out the right fonts and imagery to communicate your story. Check out this article from The Design School at Canva for more book cover design tips.
2. Cover Creator
What It Is: Cover Creator is a fantastic book cover design tool created by (and integrated with) CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing platform. Once you create an account, you can launch the Cover Creator tool. After you pick a design template, you can easily edit everything from the title to the barcode.
Why We Recommend It: Cover Creator allows you to have control over almost anything. It also separates every step; from the design to assigning a free ISBN. If you’re already self-publishing through CreateSpace, this book cover design tool is a no brainer.
Pro Tip: Think twice about your book cover font decisions. The font you choose can heavily influence how professional your cover design will look. If you don’t know which fonts go together, read this article for a short information guide or utilize Canva’s Font Combinations Tool.
3. Adobe Spark
What It Is: While Adobe Spark is not technically free forever, we included it on this list because it’s the only truly professional book cover design tool for non-designers. Everyone starts for free, and all you need to do is to create an account, and verifying your email before diving right into your design.
Why We Recommend It: Similar to Canva, this tool is ideal for non-designers. Plus, Adobe Spark book cover design templates are fully customizable—you can even add filters to your background image!
Pro Tip: Don’t feel the need to overdesign your cover. All you need is something simple that will grab your reader’s attention.
4. Poster My Wall
What It Is: Poster My Wall is easy to use. The only downside is that while their list of templates is fairly comprehensive, it doesn’t have dozens upon dozens of book cover design templates.
Why We Recommend It: For a first-time designer, Poster My Wall will help you get a grip on the design process without getting overwhelmed. Their WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor lets you drag and drop your images into their design templates, change the opacity of the fonts, and more.
Pro Tip: Make sure you are designing a cover for your audience and not just for yourself. While you want to have a cover that makes you feel good about your work, it’s also incredibly important that your reader feels good about your work as well.
What It Is: Blurb is a self-publishing platform that boasts a great book design tool called BookWright. Once you download BookWright, you can use it offline. There are plenty of unique layouts to choose from; you can assign a free ISBN, you can add page numbers when you insert your text and more.
Why We Recommend It: You can use BookWright offline! Plus, BookWright offers more than just cover design tools. You can design your entire book (inside and out) and export as a PDF for free.
Pro Tip: Analyze and audit books like yours to see how others are designing their book covers. For more book cover design inspiration, read 10 Creative Examples of Best-Selling Book Designs.
Remember, first impressions matter. But, you don’t have to be a professional designer to do that. With the tools we have given you, designing a beautiful cover should be simple.
Did you use any of these services to design your book cover? Are there any others that we missed? Let us know in the comments below.