The deadline to handing in my bookcover art along with other documents are fast approaching. I was able to find a nice cover through shutterstock.com and with Adobe Illustrator, I'm drowning in trying to figure out how to use it to make my professional cover. With the shutterstock photo and the sketch my husband made for me, I'll have two possible covers to send to the publishers. However, this do it yourself method that I've tried to employ really wants to make me bang my head against the wall. Lack of funds is the most accessible blame route but at the end of the day, the problem is my inability to make a decision. That is why, when the opportunity comes that your work has been accepted or if you're self-publishing, you as the author should try your utmost to have a professional design your bookcover. If that is not a possibility, then here's what you can do:
1) Download a design template
The Book Designer has templates to download for as little as $57
2) Create a cover using Microsoft Word
I'm not too sure about this but author Joanna Penn explains in detail on her site giving a step by step process. Don't forget to check out her site for additional information.
3) Start a cover design contest
99designs.com You can choose your budget and state what you're looking for as well as any related information about your work/genre. Designers will start answering the contest and you can also talk directly with them. The winning design wins the money and you might possibly find a designer you'd like to work with again in the future. However, you'd have to be willing to spend at least $600, and that's with choosing the most basic of package options.
4) Download a royalty-free or free stock photo
Make sure you're aware of the copyright licence to using the photo first. Then with Adobe Illustrator or other design software's, text wrap or picture wrap your title (above the photo) and name (below the photo). Or insert your title and name unto the photo. If you're familiar with design software then this will be easy. If not, get ready to watch lots of tutorials on youtube or any other site and familiarizing yourself with the program.
5) Obtain the right to use a photo/painting or any piece of artwork as a bookcover
Artists/photographers will be really glad that you'd want their artwork for your book but some terms will have to be hammered out first. You can't just give credit to them as some some will probably want a percentage of the royalty fees. Then there's the initial cost to use the artwork and the additional cost based on pressrun and/or downloads if your work is available on both print and online. You're looking at a hefty sum, if you don't already have a friend or a friend of a friend who is either painter, photographer, etc.
If you do have the funds and or connected to an artist, lucky you. If you don't, you can try starting a campaign using Kickstarter or GoFundMe. I tried using Kickstarter but I wasn't comfortable with having to open an Amazon business account, so I went with GoFundMe instead which I found much simpler to use. Here's My Campaign:
At times like these, I wish I had some artistic/design talent, as you can see from my own bookcover design attempts below.
If you have anything more to add or want to share your own bookcover history, woes and loves, please use the comment section. Can't wait to hear from you.