As I'm sure you know, getting just the right book cover can be a challenge. Unless you can arrange for photos shoots for your book (or the design is being done by your publisher) it can be a chore.
Usually by the time I have an idea in mind, I'm well into my book writing process. On a few occasions I've had the covers designed for me, with varying success. One person who I hired early on created nice covers, but she wasn't always available. Or she'd start working, then some life event would come up and she'd have to put everything on hold. Another did really good work, but he had to be booked several months in advance.
So eventually I started to create my own covers. Sure, there were times I could find ready-made covers that fit my needs. But usually, they weren't quite what I was looking for. It just seemed best to see what I could do for myself, instead of spending so much time searching.
Originally I tried using GIMP, which is free software that is similar to Photoshop. It has a lot of documentation which is always helpful. As with Photoshop it can be used for manipulating photos and for creating artwork.
After a while I decide to give Photoshop another try. I had the opportunity to take some training classes and I started to pick up on the features. Even better, I found a discount code to get the Adobe Creative Cloud apps at a reduced price. That's when I decided to take a few more classes and see if I could become more proficient.
The thing with Photoshop, as with any software, the more you use it the more you'll become comfortable with it. Yes, it has a lot of features that you might never use, but you never know what might come in handy.
So, I experimented without putting pressure on myself to create anything perfect. I also continued to take classes on Lynda.com (now LinkedIn Learning) and Skillshare. (Even if you don’t use the software for covers, you can use it for photo restoration and for designing various projects).
|My latest release cover|
When I needed royalty-free images I went to Shutterstock and iStockphoto. When I wanted to experiment, I used images from sites like Unsplash and Pexels. If nothing else, working on an art project can be very relaxing – especially if you're doing it just for fun.
That's why when I work on a cover, I give myself time to do it. I also don't put pressure on myself to make a perfect one on my first try. Instead, I give it time to become something that looks good enough to be published. That way it's fun and not stressful. And after writing a book, there's no need for additional stress!
If Photoshop (and similar software options) is still too much to think about, there are also platforms like Canva. They have a host of templates – including book covers – and you can sign up for free.
There are certainly times when I don’t want to add book cover design to my to-do list. But for those times when I want to create my own, it's great to have more choices when it comes to software and images.
If you want to check out the Once Upon A Princess Trio, featuring three paranormal romance novellas, it's available on most online booksellers: https://books2read.com/u/4Dg5xA