If you’ve been reading my blog for any time, you know I have BIG opinions, often radical opinions. This fits in the almost radical category. As far as I’m concerned a generic book cover is the kiss of death!
GENERIC BOOK COVERS
Are you freaking nuts?
There are times when I imagine that I am the only person in the universe that thinks the thoughts that pop into my head. I’m pretty sure I don’t stand alone on this one …
I am absolutely appalled and insulted when I see an Amazon generated generic book cover. They look hideous. They look generic. My thoughts include the “assumption” that the author simply did not care enough about their book to spend $10 (on Fiverr) getting a cover that is a bit (or a lot) better than generic.
Sheesh, if you spend the time writing the book, why not get a cover that your book deserves.
My bottom line? the second I see a generic book cover I am gone. What else in the book did the author not care about? If you can’t be bothered to have a reasonably nice looking cover, I can’t be bothered to read your book, let alone buy it.
How can you go beyond generic book covers without breaking the bank?
- Fiverr or some other inexpensive service.
- Do it yourself software.
There are literally hundreds of vendors on Fiverr.com who offer book design services.
Prices range from … yes $5 (plus 5er’s user tax) to $50 and more.
Some vendors are pretty pathetic and plug your title into an auto building software. BUT even these covers are better than Amazon’s generic covers.
There are other vendors who do pure magic and who will “work” with you to get a fabulous looking cover.
My advice is to look through the listings and choose five to ten vendors … see if you can look at past reviews and look at the thumbnails of their work. Read the reviews. Look at how many revisions you can get.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When looking for a vendor, there is a BIG difference between designers who do “just” kindle covers and those who do both kindle and paperback covers. Paperback covers include front cover, back cover and spines. They involve specific measurements because the book cover actually has to wrap around the book pages when manufactured. Make your decision on whether you will be publishing paperbacks before you commission your cover.
Once you’ve narrowed your choices, contact each vendor and ask for a few recent examples of their work. Actually look the book up on Amazon by doing a title search. Did the author use this cover or not? Ask the vendors what information you will need to give them when(if) you order.
If the vendor doesn’t reply in a timely manner, or if you can’t understand a word they say … cross them off your list.
I love having options, but also realize that YOU have a budget. IF you can, choose two or three vendors. Give them ALL the same information and hire your top two to three choices. If your budget is restricted, hire your top choice.
The look and quality of your cover will be influenced by the quality of information you provide the vendor with. You obviously have to give them the title and subtitle (make it clear this is a subtitle) and the author name.
You should also provide information about color choices (please … NO white backgrounds) and image ideas. IF you have a royalty free image(s) you want used let them know. You should give them the genre your book fits into … a SciFi Dystopian book “should” look very different from a Contemporary Romance.
Then sit back and wait.
When you get the results, you may instantly see the “perfect” cover. OR you may need some friends to vote on their favorites. Ask your friends if they can suggest improvements. There may be adjustments needed based on your preferences and your friends comments. Get the changes done. You’ll have a cover that is definitely better than generic and maybe even spectacular.
Do I have suggestions for Fiverr Vendors? NO. I have been burned by making suggestions, and then being blamed for the results. I no longer get involved.
DO IT YOURSELF
The biggest decision on choosing this route is “time.”
There are dozens of book cover and graphics generating software that enable even non-designers to cobble up a decent to fantastic book cover.
Some of them are FREE, which is an OK way to start if you only have one book planned. The challenge with free is that often the user directions stink. You can spend hours (days) looking for the perfect royalty free images to use and figuring out HOW to use them.
There are software programs that cost a little or a lot. If you are planning on a book publishing empire and have the time to devote to learning the software, DO consider some of the higher priced programs … they are worth every penny and often come with thousands of book templates.
What about Photoshop or GIMP? My advice is that unless you already are familiar with and have used these programs before, don’t even think about it!
Here are a two programs I have worked with and highly recommend.
My TOP pick is Canva. I use this program daily for a lot of my design work for my customers and to create images and banners for this and my other blogs. I chose this as my top pick because it has a FREE option.
There is FREE version or PRO version. I use the PRO version because it has dozens of fabulous extras. Canva is relatively easy to use … has tons of royalty-free images you can use for free and has tons of documentation and tutorials created by Canva’s staff and by diehard fans.
Why use generic book covers when Canva’s FREE version gives you hundreds of templates you can use. Some of them are so-so, others are amazing. When you figure out how to use the program you can switch around the templates to produce an incredible book cover that you can be proud of.
Please NOTE: Many of the cover generator programs ONLY create e-book covers. Creating a paperback cover is a more complicated process.
I chose Canava’s PRO version because it exponentially expands everything you can do. It gives me access to over a million royalty free photos. One of the reasons I chose PRO was the ability to easily organize all my “assents” and to almost instantly create a half dozen different formats from one original design. For example if I create a vertical formatted banner that is perfect for Pinterest, within minutes I can create horizontal formats for Twitter and Facebook and a square format for Instagram.
Here are some examples of Canava’s book cover templates:
Play with it. Take a day or so to “learn” how to use it and then create yourself a book cover as well as banners that will help sell your book.
Find out more about creating Canva Book Covers.
And YES you can create paperback covers with Canva.
I also highly recommend MyEcoverMaker. I’ve been using this program since 2014 when I purchased it in order to create 3D covers. For the first five years that is the only thing it did. Then the owner smarted up and started adding more features until today it has a full suite of really useful tools including game-changing book cover designs.
It theoretically has a FREE version … but FREE comes with a price. You can set up an account, and use the software, play around with it and see if you like it. BUT if you actually want to download a version that is not watermarked you have to pay. And the price is pretty high when you compare it to the monthly subscription plan.
Don’t even consider the middle price because it doesn’t do book covers. Since you are designing covers you need the higher option which, right now is $14.95 per month if you purchase by the year or $22.95 if you purchase by the month.
IF all you want is one book cover and some banners to go with it … buy one month and bail out. If you plan or more books, want to generate 3D covers, and have a blog or social media accounts that need graphics, sign up for a year. You won’t be sorry.
While Canva is my go to choice, years later I am still subscribing to myecovermaker because it has some amazing title effects that Canva doesn’t even come close to AND because it is my “go to” software for generating 3D covers.
The program includes hundreds of book templates and over a million royalty free images you have access to.
Here are a few of the book templates you can choose from. Are they better than generic book covers? WELL, you should just leave now if you said no!
NO you cannot create paperback covers with myecovermaker.
Amazon’s new BETA cover generator.
Amazon WAS the worst culprit of generic book covers. However, they recently launched their new BETA program and it looks to be a winner of sorts.
I haven’t tested it YET, but from the instructions and screenshots it is an especially good choice for anyone creating paperback covers. Their documentation and instructions are thorough, clear and precise.
You CAN do your design work in the cover maker software but it kinda looks like it will end up producing thousands of “soon to be” generic looking covers. Your BEST bet is to create a flat ebook design elsewhere (canva, myebookcover, Fiverr or other options) and import them into the Amazon cover generator to create a paperbook ready cover.
When I give it a thorough testing, I’ll give you more information and details. If you are willing to experiment, prepared to read directions and want to play around … just go for it!
BOTTOM LINE? DON’T Use Generic Book Covers
… DON’T even think about it!
What if you already have a generic book cover loaded and published?
YES you can change it. Here’s HOW.
What to read next? Have You Fallen In Love With Your Book Cover?
Here’s the full MUST DO Before Hitting the Self Publish Button list.