Book Production

How to Make a Book Cover Design FREE (Part 2)

Can't afford a designer? No problem. Learn how to create your own book cover and professional designs for FREE with our complete guide.

This article is part 2 of exploring what the main steps of creating an eye-catching book cover are. Go here for part 1!

In part 1, we shared the first items to have: 1) your title and author name, and 2) a suitable image. In finding cost-effective images, we have some more best practices below.

Creative Commons

Another option is to look for a photo that is licensed in the Creative Commons system. Creative Commons provides an easy way to manage copyright online. If you get your picture from a website that supports creative commons, you don’t have to do heavy research to learn what you can do with the picture.

The little pictograms clearly tell you your rights. For a cover image, you’d need something with commercial rights (without the crossed-out dollar sign) and with the right to make modifications (without the equation mark).

Remember to credit the author of the photo on your copyright page or in your colophon.

Get free stock photos or creative commons photos

Joanna Penn has an amazing collection of free or cheap stock websites. Here are some other ones: 123rf,, and

Don’t forget to credit the photographer if it is required. You can give credits on the copyright page.

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3. A genre-specific font

We already covered a lot about book cover fonts so we’ll make this brief. If you’re using an online app to edit your book cover, you most likely won’t be able to upload your own font, but you can still use these guidelines to choose the best from the ones at your disposal.

4. Edit your book cover

Once you have your title, suitable cover art and font ready, it is time to put everything together!

On your computer


Paint comes pre-installed on all Windows computers. It is definitely not a professional photo editor, but it can be used to create a simple cover photo. We don’t recommend it, but it’s there as a resource.


Gimp is an open-source image editor. It is a lot like PhotoShop, but free. It can be installed on Windows, OS X, and Linux based computers.

While the graphic design software takes some getting used to, it is perfect for all your image manipulation, editing and creating needs. If you have a stock photo and a suitable font, you can use Gimp to combine them.

In the cloud

If you are working from a smartphone or a tablet and downloading a desktop software is not something you can afford to do, try a free book cover app to generate a professional book cover design.

Have you heard of Spark or Canva? We have compared their features in length in another article. You can use Canva as your book cover maker or Wattpad cover maker (with book cover templates too).

5. A feedback group

Before you put your cover out there, you have to get some honest feedback on it. Check feedback groups like the Indie Cover Project. There are also a ton of Facebook groups for indie authors where you can get feedback, and other author forums, like Kboards' Writers' Cafe.

We hope that by now you know how to design a book cover for free. Did we miss something important? Let us know.

After being a book cover creator, What's Next?

If your goal is to self-publish your ebook, PublishDrive can help! Once you've implemented your design skills, you can head over to PublishDrive's FREE ebook converter to convert your manuscript and jumpstart your publishing.

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