Create Your Own Book Cover

After two years and twenty three ms edits you’ve finally convinced yourself to submit your novel to an agent (or two…or three…). Now the agonizing wait begins.

HEY! Stop checking your email again and get back here!
You need something to keep you busy. One thing you could do is play around with a book cover. It’s actually pretty fun and there are quite a few different ways you can create one.
Step 1
Find a background image.
There are a few routes you could go as far as finding an image to use.
  • Take your own picture. This is a fun option, especially if you love photography as much as I do. However you really have to know what you’re doing. You don’t want a mediocre picture with harsh shadows or washed out with a flash that’s too bright. You want your book cover to look as professional as possible. Any image you associate with your novel reflects on you and the novel itself, good or bad.
  • Buy a royalty-free stock image. There are plenty of royalty-free stock image websites out there with a fabulous array of images to choose from. If you have been to my website,, the notebook image in the background was an image I purchased from Each image is a certain number of credits depending on its size. I purchased enough credits for a medium size version of the notebook image for $18.25. The benefit of buying the use of a royalty-free image is that the user has the one-time right to use the photo without restrictions. I didn’t have to give credit to the photographer to use it.
  • Use a free stock image. There are free stock image websites out there as well. I got the stock image photo of the notebook I used on my book cover at Once you find an image you want to use be sure to pay attention to the use of the image as listed by the photographer. The one I chose asked that if used, please just let the photographer know where and how you used it.
As I said before, just be sure that you choose a professional looking image and one that fits your novel. The Talented Hand of Sophia is about a girl who writes so a notebook was one of the best images I could have used. Think about it, search through lots of images (not just the first one that comes up as a match to your search), and once you find the perfect one to use you are ready for the next step.
Step 2
Resize and Add Text
For this step you’ll need a photo editor. Again, there are a few different routes you can take.
  • Buy photo editor software. There are all sorts of them, you may have one on your computer already. Most printers, scanners, digital cameras come with a CD that has either a full version or trial version of image editing software. You can install this to use or buy a copy in just about any store that carries software. Adobe Photoshop Elements is a great one and is only $99. You can also buy it online at Or if you want to try it out they allow you to download a free 30-day trial version of the software.
  • Use a free photo editor. There is an awesome free program at that you can use directly on their website without having to install any software on your computer. I’ve used it a few times, it is pretty easy to use and a lot of the features are similar to Photoshop. Not bad for a free program!
When I did my book cover, I made the image 1000 pixels wide by 1500 pixels high. Once it was created I sized it down to about 10% of that to fit on my website. I suggest looking at different books in your genre and try to keep yours the same style. For mine I found a simple image to make my title stand out and used a simple font so that it didn’t distract from the style I was trying to achieve.
Play around with it! This was the second one I created, my first try ended up looking a little too childish for the subject matter and age range of my novel so I tried again until I got an image I was happy with.
Now you have my permission to go check your email again (my fingers and toes are crossed for you!) If you make a fake cover of your own novel please post a link in the comments here, I would love to see how it turned out!