Book covers are key. Though everyone says we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, we do. What looks appealing helps us know which to pick up and take a look at the inside. So a good book cover is important for any book. They tell your reader the type of book it is so they can tell if it’s your taste.

So how do we get a good one without paying someone $200 or more? Well, with my own book set to be released on the 6th of May, and having just started sharing the cover art work with people, I thought I’d share tips on how I got my own book cover done for me for FREE!

That’s right. I didn’t pay a penny to get my book cover done. And I’m going to give you 5 tips you can use to do the same.

  1. The Custode Chronicles Cover E BookFind a digital art student – I’ve mentioned using college professors before, but you’d be surprised how helpful students can be too. This is how I got my free art work. I have a friend who is a art student. So I told her I was looking to have a book cover designed, and she offered to do it. Now, it is easier if you know them already, however, if you go and find one who needs a project for a class, or is looking for free exposure, you’re in luck. A lot of these students are very talented, and because they are just starting out  – and odds are you are too – you may make a good business contact for the rest of both of your careers.
  2. GIMP – GIMP is a free photo manipulation program you can use to build your own book cover. DYI is the best and cheapest way to do most of your self-publishing, so you this is defiantly the next best option. Here is a link to download the program. GIMP If you already own a version of Photoshop use that instead. It is nicer, but also expensive to buy. So to save a few bucks, use GIMP until you can afford better, or maybe you just like GIMP better. (Plus, I will be posting tips and trick on how to use GIMP to make a good book cover, so that maybe help. Then again, I also will do photoshop tricks as well.)
  3. eragon_book_coverDraw It Yourself – This one comes in right from the second. Now you have a program that can manipulate the photos, you need photos to start with. If you just happen to be an amazing artist, draw them yourself then scan them into the computer. (Christopher Paoloni drew his own book cover for example). However, most of us aren’t that talented in drawing. So you’ll want to go on to number 4
  4. Stock Photos, Free Rights Photos, and Your Own Photos – You can pay to get access to stock photos, or you can use photo search. There is a setting  that lets you look for photos that have a free to use and change licence, but photos there are limited and you still want to double check they are really under that licence. You can also take your own photos of objects you’d want to use for your cover and play with them on your computer. Another useful tool for GIMP and Photoshop are brushes, but I’ll write a whole post about them another day.
  5. fiverr-logoFiverr – If worst comes to worst, or you really don’t mind spending a few dollars, is a great resource. Look for book cover designs and you’ll see dozens upon dozens of people how are willing to a cover for your from as low as $5-$50 or more. Take a look to  find anyone who matches the type of theme you want. I know I saw a few artists I wouldn’t mind letting take a crack at my books, and his best deal was only $35. So if you can’t do it yourself or find a student to do it fore free, this is the next best bet.

So now we see it is possible to get a good book cover done for free. All the books in the Inheritance series were drawn by the author and then arrange on a simple home program. My book cover was done by a art student wit ha few simple art programs and a pen and paper. It can be done, and look amazing. So try it out, see what you like and let me know how your search went in the comments.