/Self-Publishing 101: How to Make a Book Cover in Photoshop
how to make a book cover in photoshop

Self-Publishing 101: How to Make a Book Cover in Photoshop

Every year, there are over 2 million books published around the world. With all of that competition, some authors choose to self-publish so they can keep all of the profits themselves. If that’s where you’re at, you can get your book out to the world quickly by learning how to make a book cover in Photoshop.

Follow these five tips and you’ll have your ebook in e-readers around the world in no time.

1. Choose Your Size

The first thing you need to do when you’re creating your book cover in Photoshop is to figure out how big it needs to be. While you might think that it doesn’t matter, it will if you decide to get it printed. 

If you choose an awkward or uncommon size, you’ll struggle to get your book cover to fit the size that it’s printed in.

If your ebook is going to be put together as a PDF, in an 8.5 x 11-inch format, you should consider making your cover that size. That way when someone wants to print out your book, they can print out the cover too.

The size of your cover might seem arbitrary but if you make it the wrong size, it will load strangely on screens, all stretched out and strange looking. Think about how you’re going to distribute it and look at what other ebooks are like.

If you make your resolution 300 dpi, you don’t need to make your book cover any larger than 11″ in any direction. You should be able to get the quality of the image you want as it gets resized.

2. Pick a Theme

While your ebook certainly has a theme, your cover should have its own theme. As much as we’re sold on the line “don’t judge a book by its cover” again and again, we know that it’s not true. We constantly judge books by their cover.

Short of reading a book in its entirety, how else would you judge it?

Stary by deciding ifi you’re going to go for a genre styled cover or if you want something very basic. Sometimes a cover with one solid color and bold text with the title can carve out a powerful space for a book. It shows confidence in what’s between the covers and a disregard for the need to be flashy.

Sometimes a clever cover is necessary for a more technical or less flashy book. Books of philosophy sometimes rely on great works of art to help depict what they’re about.  Books about science show an example of the phenomenon they’re talking about inside the book.

Make sure you give a sense of what the ebook is about at first blush. Don’t keep it a secret!

3. A Font Speaks Loudly

Believe it or not, even your font needs to be chosen carefully. A poorly chosen font makes your book look cheap. If you can’t take the time to decide how you want to package your information, maybe you didn’t take as much care putting it together.

While you know that’s not the case, that’s the impression that readers will be left with when you make poor or quick decisions with your ebook cover. Don’t make last-minute decisions and don’t overlook the kind of font.

Choosing a flowery, cursive style font speaks to a more romantic type of ebook. If that’s what you’re going for, then use something like that.

If you’re publishing an academic text, you need something that’s more serious and academic in style. A font that’s sans serif can make a bold, no-nonsense statement. However, a serif font like Times New Roman brings you closer to looking like you’re reporting the news.

If you’ve written something fictional, it’s standard to use a serif font. It fits with just about every genre and can connect your book to the history of literature.

4. High-Quality Photos Only

If you’re including a photo on the cover, be sure you have a high-quality photo. A small JPG or a cell phone camera photo might look good on your screen, but if it gets printed out, it’s going to need to be stretched and scaled. This will cause your photo to look blurry, pixelated, and cheap.

Start off with great photos. When you have a low-quality photo and try to integrate it into a high-quality Photoshop file, it only exacerbates how bad the photo is.

As great cameras have become cheaper, high-quality photos are easier for anyone to take. The accessibility of high-end cameras gives even the most amateur photographer the opportunity to take photos that look professional. The more professional your cover photography looks, the more seriously people will take your ebook.

Make sure to hire a professional to take your author bio photo. While you might have a friend who can do it for free, paying someone to do it will be worth it in the end. You can use that photo for promotion and to accompany bios you need to send when you do a reading.

5. Avoid Sometime Too On The Nose

Remember to avoid being too on the nose with the theme of your cover. If you’ve got a title like “Feet To The Fire”, showing a giant foot next to a flame might be too much. People will get what you’re talking about.

If you use a turn of phrase or put together a poetic title, use an image that’s a little more technical and serious. Ultimately you want your reader to put the concept together. Doing it yourself is too easy and makes your reader lazy.

Learning How To Make a Book Cover in Photoshop is Easy

When you’re learning how to make a book cover in Photoshop, the process itself is simple. It’s what you include on the cover that can make the whole project go awry. If you make some of these common rookie mistakes with your cover, you risk turning people off before you have the chance to share your ideas.

For tips on the most powerful graphic design techniques in use today, check out our guide.