book cover design

It’s amazing to me how many people are publishing books with ugly covers.

But I totally get it.

Cover designers cost a lot of money (I’m charging $829) for full print covers these days.

There are cheaper premade cover templates – and some of them a really good; but they are almost always in Photoshop and you can’t make changes easily by yourself, or get updates later, or use the design in your headers, ads or display graphics easily.

And that’s the appeal of DIY – save hundreds of dollars, learn a new skill, take control over your publishing… how hard can it be?

Here’s the danger

The longer you work on your cover, the more you’re going to love it. The less you’re going to pick up on the subtle clues of your friends and family who don’t want to tell you outright that your cover is ugly. If they do, you’ll get defensive.

And that’s how books get published with ugly covers.

Maybe you’ve already published a book, but everyone is ignoring it. You try to get reviews but your emails go unanswered. You advertise and promote but your books aren’t selling.

Your book is getting rejected by people who haven’t even read it yet. That means you have a packaging problem. Promoting a book with an ugly cover is like rolling a boulder uphill – everything you do is so much harder, from getting reviews to winning awards to selling more books.

You may never realize just how much your book cover is destroying your chances of success. Over the past few years, I’ve been running experiments where I take someone’s hideous to mediocre cover and do a quick makeover. In almost every case I can double sales immediately. Many of those authors finally take off, and a few have even gotten offers from publishers once their sales were high enough.

But not every book is destined for greatness.

Maybe you wrote in a genre without a big readership. Maybe you misjudged the market. Or maybe – and this is pretty likely if you’ve only finished your first book – it just isn’t good enough. Writing is a skill craft that needs to be studied, absorbed, and practiced for years. It’s quite common for even bestselling authors to have a few failures under their belt before they improve enough to attract notice.

A great cover can’t help a book no one wants to read, so it may not be a smart idea to pay a lot of money for a professional book cover design. On the other hand, if your cover is too ugly, homemade or unprofessional, nobody will ever read the book, and you won’t be able to figure out whether it was the writing or the cover.

That’s why I wanted to built tools or templates to make a cheap or free book covers online, so that authors could spend less money and still get something of much better quality than the average DIY effort or cheap premade covers of starting-out designers.

And that’s exactly what you’ll find on this site.

The fact that you’re on this page means that you’re ready to step up and take your writing more seriously.

And you never have to join as a member, I’ll keep the cover maker free forever, and there’s a huge package of value you can download for free. But if designing in Ms Word works for you, or you like my online Cover Maker, then joining will give you access to a much broader range of diversity, with templates for lots of different genres, plus a ton of extras that are worth far more than the price tag.

PS) If you don’t join, make sure you grab the free book on book cover design in the Resources area, so you can avoid common design mistakes that cripple sales.

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.