midjourney cover design

Publishing is changing fast in 2023, due to a bunch of new AI writing and art tools. I’ve been using Midjourney for personal projects to make some fantastic art. It’s taken hundreds of hours of experimentation to start getting great results, but they’re so good it’s hard not to use them on my book covers or at least in promotion and marketing materials. But it’s also a controversial topic. I’ve started to speak about AI tools for publishing on podcasts and writing conferences, but it’s a messy, wild west right now.

It may not be quite easy enough for an author to make their own covers (or write books!) with AI… but we’re getting very close to tools that will make publishing dramatically easier, and potentially allow authors to publish better-looking books. I’m usually in favor of tools that make difficult things more accessible, to level the playing field and reduce the average investment most first-time authors make with their book, even if it’s not a commercial success. But this discussion is hard. I try to stay updated even though it’s slightly terrifying, and may replace me entirely (that’s OK, I have my own books to write!).

Currently, I’ve started making AI art mockups with midjourney to quickly generate book cover ideas, to get something sort of close we can make perfect in Photoshop. But the art is so good right now, I think this year it’ll be publishing-ready just by adding the right text effects and fonts – which is something my online book cover templates will allow authors to do. So I may close this site down or focus only on the templates and education, so you can make your own book covers for cheap.

Don’t worry though, if you want to carefully stay away from AI-everything, it’s not something we currently use in our workflow, and our team of designers and illustrators are great at professional book cover designs. But if I can make something better than what can be made traditionally, using only stock photography and photoshop, then I should be offering that to my clients: because my job is to provide the most impactful covers.

I’ll probably add something like a checkbox when you order that says “I’m open to using AI art elements in my cover design” or “I want a custom cover with no AI” – but not yet – it’s still too controversial to embrace openly, and the legal issues are too complex for client work at the moment. In the meantime, if you want to learn how to create characters, scenes, engaging genre images for social media ads, even for personal inspiration, you can read this post about using Midjourney AI in book cover design.

Derek Murphy
Derek Murphy

Derek Murphy is a cover designing indie author enthusiast, finishing a PhD in Literature and shopping for a castle in Europe.