Want Professional Ebook Covers On A Budget? Try Ready-To-Go Options.

The design and production of a professional book cover is a critical part of the self-publishing process.

design swirlI absolutely believe that using a professional cover designer is critical to enable your book to stand out in the market, but I also realize that this can be expensive for people. 

In this guest blog post GX of Graphicz X Designs talks about what makes a successful book cover and explains some of the options for authors on a budget. I really like the idea of ‘ready to go’ ebook cover designs, so I hope you find this post interesting.

Congratulations! You’ve written your book and, following the advice given by successful self-publishers like Joanna, you’ve made sure it’s

a) the best book you could have written

b) free of typos and grammatical howlers

c) properly formatted to display correctly on e-readers.

You’re ready to publish…

But wait, your book’s still naked – you can’t possibly send it out into the world without something eye-catching to wear!

“Word of mouth” and great reviews will ultimately boost your book’s sales, but …

… the single most important thing to get your book noticed by potential readers is an eye-catching cover

And remember, you’re not just competing for recognition with all the other indie authors out there, you’re also up against traditionally published authors who may have the benefit of their publisher’s in-house art department behind them.

But what if you can’t afford to commission a custom cover from an illustrator or graphic designer?

It’s Catch 22, because you can’t afford not to have a great cover for your book. Is DIY your only option?

First, let’s take a look at why your book cover is so important – and what makes for an attractive (and therefore effective) book cover.

A book cover has a number of functions, but ultimately the most important one is to persuade a casual browser to read the book. The cover may be a work of art in its own right, it may be a realistic, it may be completely abstract. Whatever the image, its purpose is to “sell” the book.

A book cover has to be “attractive” – literally: it has to attract a potential reader… it’s basically a “teaser” for the whole book, serving the same function as a billboard for a new movie or TV show.

It can capture something of the specifics of the story, it’s genre and tone and can even incorporate ideas or images from the book – but the single most important thing it has to do is make a potential reader go, “That’s interesting” or “That’s intriguing” and convert a browser into a buyer.

And if all that wasn’t difficult enough, you have to remember that your ebook cover (unlike a print book displayed on a table in a bookstore) has to work at about postage stamp size on a laptop or e-reader screen. Clarity is all-important, especially for the title and author name, which are easily lost otherwise.

So now you know why you’ll be letting your book down if you don’t send it out into the world properly dressed, but what if you still can’t afford a custom cover?

Well, there is always DIY – but if you’re not a confident and competent artist or graphic designer you may end up with one of the covers that make me cringe (and sometimes cry!) when I see them online.

And creating a cover takes time, time maybe better spent on writing another potential bestseller…

There is a third, economical and effective option that not many authors seem to be aware of: the “Ready-to-go” ebook cover (also known as “Pre-made” or “Pre-designed”).

So what exactly is a “Ready-to-go” book cover – and what are the benefits?

Most importantly, it’s a way to get a professionally designed, high quality ebook cover at a fraction of the cost of a custom designed cover.

There’s no difference in image or design quality between the custom covers we design at Graphicz X Designs and the ready-to-go ebook covers: whichever cover you buy, it will be an exclusive, one-off design – your cover, your copyright. No one else gets to use it.

Ready-to-go ebook covers are less expensive than custom covers for a number of reasons: they may incorporate fewer images or be a simpler, more abstract design, but the main reason is the amount of time we spend with an author on the consultation process when we design a custom cover from scatch.

With ready-to-go ebook covers, once you’ve made your selection from our website, all our graphic designer has to do is add your name and your book title and you’re “ready-to-go”!

Ready-to-go covers can be effective even if they have not been designed specifically for one particular novel or author: if a ready-to-go cover is attractive and suggests the genre and tone of your book, be it romance, fantasy, thriller etc., then it can work really well.

And for some authors, and you may be one of them, it may even be preferable to choose a ready-to-go ebook cover, especially if you have only a vague idea of the sort of cover you want.

ready to go ebook coversI think that selecting a pre-made from a wide selection of possible covers is often easier than having a custom cover designed. Many people don’t know exactly what will suit them until they see a cover and connect with it. And if you, the author, connect with it, then your readers probably will too.

The beauty of ready-to-go book covers is that what you see is what you get.

But what if you see exactly the right cover for your book, but you feel it’s missing something essential?

No problem! For a small additional fee, the pre-made cover you fell in love with can be further customized with images, logos, different fonts etc. Anything you want!

So, if you’re looking for a professionally crafted but economical eye-catching cover for your ebook, check out ready-to-go ebook covers:  on our website alone there are several hundred choices – looking good doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Graphicz X Designs

Site: graphiczxdesigns.zenfolio.com

Twitter: @graphiczxdesign

Email: graphiczxdesigns@gmail.com

Pinterest: pinterest.com/graphiczxdesign/

Do you have any questions or comments about ebook covers? Please do leave them below.

Top image: Bigstock photo beautiful black swirl floral design

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      • says

        GIMP is great (it’s what I use).
        Something to keep in mind, you don’t have to stress over picking the perfect cover the first time and keeping it for years. My vampire trilogy has a statue graphic that I resized relative to the rest of the cover and cleaned up a bit and uploaded two days before a promotion two weeks ago. I crowd-sourced the original cover with six generations of previous covers before originally launching the book. The minor tweak did seem to make sales improve.
        A series by Laurell K Hamilton that I was doing some research on last week has a much older cover inside the ebook file than the one gracing the Amazon page (you can see it with the ‘look inside’ feature) – first book in a series with 20+ books. I did a Google image search of Raymond Chandler’s “Long Goodbye” last month and counted over twenty variations of covers floating out there (I really like the current one with the script and headlight). You can do the same with “The Hobbit”. See, the big publishers fiddle with covers all the time – indies can too.

        Hint: along with premade covers, you can get bare artwork (from deviant art or flickr) and then put your own text on it with GIMP. This takes less skill than trying to collage clipart and stock photos and create atmosphere in the artwork behind it – and while text still takes talent it’s more doable. Many covers are all about the font (check thriller vs romance for extreme fonts).

        • says

          JS, DeviantArt is mostly copyright protected gallery of people’s work. Wouldn’t recommend taking artwork from there without getting approved by author himself. Flickr’s Creative Commons with Attribution licence is better option.

    • says

      Hundreds? I run a book cover business where the price works out to $140USD or £90GBP – by no means hundreds – it’s a personalised service where I design it just for you, and I run a deposit based system so you pay more towards the final price as we get further into the process, so that if you decide half way that it’s not for you you only pay for the stage we had gotten to – check out my website http://www.db-book-cover.com – I’m new so haven’t got loads of examples but am working on making a few. Hope you (or someone else who reads this) decides to give it a go!

  1. says

    Premade covers are gaining traction and are good option for very first cover and short stories. Some of them really stink so authors should still be picky about them! 😉 If you’re paying $30 for it, then it will not be the best one available, don’t get cheap on the price. $50-70 would be the usual price for good looking cover with good typography and well made background – not just one picture and slapped on it. I’ve seen some charge $100 or more on ones that look great too.

    • says

      Agreed – although it is interesting that value is in the eye of the beholder and some people may find the perfect cover in the cheaper range. It depends on the look you are going for.

      • says

        I did see some great looking ones, absolutely, but most of the time I’ve seen professionalism level of the cover be lower as price lowers. One guy sells them for $30 now on sale and those are pretty good, once the sale ends it will be more expensive. So he breaks this rule a bit, yet when I’ve Googled term premade covers and the results I’ve found where mostly not of best quality. Subtle details are not fixed and give away that the cover is not great yet. Few go over $80 or even $120 for one and those were much more complete and had better details, more ‘care’ put into them.

        It is really good tho, that premades let all authors have an option to have a good cover, maybe not super stunning one sometimes that won’t win an award, but one that doesn’t make bad impression at all!

        • mica says

          Premade covers are great if you want to get a book up quickly, especially for a newbie with a tight budget.
          I’ve been reading various posts on different blogs including The creative penn on self-publishing on a budget and I want to save my money to pay a good editor, so a premade cover would be perfect for my debut novel.

          Once I’ve made some cash i can splash out on a cover designer.

          By the way Joanna, this blog gets better and better. I loved your interview with Joanna DeVoe back in July, i just found it a couple of days ago. You offer some great advice.

          • says

            Yes, I agree with that, just saying check the quality. Plus ask is stock photos used there are fully licensed and approved or are Creative Commons with Attribution licence(means you have to mention the photographer and give him credit in the book).

  2. says

    I notice that many of the covers on the GX site are rather abstract. Beautiful, but they don’t say anything about the contents of the book. So my question is this: Do we know if a gorgeous abstract cover will be as successful in attracting book buyers as an image that makes a specific promise as to content? Is there any data on this? Thanks.

    • says

      I don’t think there is data for that but what attracts people always differs and best thing is to just have good visual effect in general, good concept. Sometimes it’s one color that attracts you to cover, sometimes it’s picture, sometimes it’s text etc. You can’t go too scientific in this probably. I do suggest trying out different covers and see which sells better if you can (and with premade covers it’s cheap). That’s what JA Konrath did a lot and he is very successful.

  3. says

    I’m a graphic designer and I personally LOVE making premade covers! It gives me the opportunity to “play” and design something all on my own. However, I’ve heard from other designers that they don’t do premades because they don’t sell quickly or at all and therefore not the best investment of time.

    Sounds like from the comments many of you are interested in the premade options but can’t seem to find many good choices. Joanna, maybe a follow up post with a list of sites would be good? If you do, I’d love to be included, all my current premades are up here: http://www.sydgill.com/premade-book-covers-for-sale/

  4. says

    I’m a fan of John Jakes’ covers, sort of. Their appeal for me is that they are artistic renderings of characters in his books. You wrote: “It can capture something of the specifics of the story, it’s genre and tone and can even incorporate ideas or images from the book…” This was music to my ears. My idea for the covers of my two novels is to display several images that depict important notions from the book, but not as photographs. The images must be artistic renderings. I found this post by searching on terms that explain how to convert a photographic image to an artistic rendering of that image. Example: your cover of the cornet player in the straw boater. What if, with say Adobe PhotoShop or gimp or whatever, you could start with a photograph of a cornet player and end up with your version? Just think of the possibilities…

    I don’t know whether this is possible, but that’s what brought me to your site.

    In my case, there are three images I want to show on the cover of my novel “Affirmative Action.” 1) a piano player and a torch singer on a raised platform doing cabaret; 2) an image of a small airplane either landing or taking off, but not just any airplane: a specific make and model; and 3) a man in the driver’s seat of an SUV (preferably a Jeep Cherokee) firing a shotgun through the passenger seat window. I want to depict these three images in a collage behind title and author.

    I have no idea whether this is possible (if I have to hire someone to do it, it will probably cost a fortune), but that’s my idea for an appropriate cover. I’m a software engineer, not a graphics designer, but I think I could learn that craft just like I learned all the other technical stuff I’ve learned over a quarter century in the technical trenches. But, if an expert could do what I want at a seasonable price, I’d consider going that route.


    • says

      Hey Thomas,

      it is possible to do what you need, by photomanipulation and by digital painting (so that it looks more artistic). Second option would probably be more expensive and might be around 500 dollars. I could do manipulation of different photos for $197 (my site is at http://www.rockingbookcovers.com). I can forward you to another artist who paints digital paintings if you need and you would talk with her about it. Both ways can work I think. It’s just what you prefer more. :)

      Best of luck with the book! 😉
      Adrijus G.

  5. says

    CoverDesignStudio is also a great resource. They have videos that show step by step how to design covers in GIMP or CreateSpace and a full blog of tips for designing book covers as well as a bunch of pre-designed, fully professional covers that can be customized.

    Full disclosure: I work there, but I highly recommend it.

    • Malachi Antal says

      novel; novella; novelette; i’m still confused on the minute differences. everyone a different storyline.

  6. says

    I just came across this blog and in case anyone needs a book cover model my rate for December is $5 for commercial use. My gallery is on deviantart as I have seen mentioned in the other comments but I allow commercial use for mine. every stock artists rules are different there. You can take a look at my stock gallery if you wish. I have exclusive stocks that I offer specifically for book use, but you have the choice to use any of my other stocks as well.
    here is my gallery: http://claimyourself.deviantart.com/

  7. says

    Hi there,
    I recently published my first work (Clarity of Daylight – Amazon) and needed an ebook cover for it, as with most of us first timers I wanted a stylish cover but didn’t have a fortune to spend either (wanted my cake and to eat it too!!), I was put in touch with JD&J http://www.jdandj.com by a friend of mine.
    I was very happy with what they did for me, they were able to capture the feel I was looking for and were very reasonable too, if you’re still looking, check them out.
    Good luck!!


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