What I’d like to cover today is how to make an eBook cover. There are a number of services that will do this for you and the cost varies depending on the service. If you chose to go this route then you’ll obviously want to see their work and figure out if you can work with them. Look for feedback from their clients. You’ll want to make sure that they will continue to tweak your design until you’re happy. A great place to find these graphic designers is Elance.com.
If you have a little bit of design talent and know how to use a graphics program, then there are some great software solutions out there for you. Once again, the cost varies depending on the capabilities of the program. Most of them give you a free trial period in which time you can probably get most of the eBook covers you need completed. The problem for most people is that they really have no design talent and don’t want to spend the effort learning how to use a graphics program. That’s where this tutorial comes in.
What I’m about to show you is how you can create an awesome looking eBook cover with little to no design ability. No, it’s not a magic trick or hypnosis, just simple step by step instructions. The best part about the whole thing is that you will be using only free tools available on the internet. I will show you exactly how to get them, how to install them, and how to use them. If you don’t want to read how to do all of this you can watch the free video tutorials and download all the free programs. Let’s get on with the tutorial.
Step 1. Get Your Tools.
The first tool I want you to download is Paint.net. This is a free program that acts very similar to Photoshop from Adobe. In fact, it has some very useful features that Photoshop unfortunately doesn’t have. The next tools you want to get are some plug-ins for Piant.net. Since Paint.net is an open source program, it doesn’t come with all of the features we need. Some great programmers out there have developed plug-ins to do the things that we need. The first one is the oblique tool. This allows us to create angles for our graphics and give us a 3-D feel. The next tool is the reflection plug-in. This gives a nice professional look to the cover. The final plug-in is the drop shadow effect. This is optional and I show you in the videos how to get around using this plug-in.
Step 2. Installing The Tools.
Once you’ve downloaded Paint.net go ahead and use the defaults to install it. Once Paint.net is installed you’ll need to install the plug-ins. Click on your computer icon and select Program Files then select Paint.NET then effects. This is where you’ll extract the plug-ins from their zipped files to. It should look like this C:/Program Files/Paint.NET/effects.
Step 3. Getting The Templates
Now you have all of the tools you’ll need some eBook cover templates. There are a few sites that you can use and download the files for free ebook2u and ebooktemplatesource are good places to start. Pick a cover style you like and save it to your computer.
Step 4. Finding Graphics
If you have an idea of what you want your cover to look like then you should be able to find those images on the internet. Make sure they are not licensed and are free to use. Once you have a few images you can play with them to see which ones you like.
Step 5. Building Your Cover Graphic
Open up Paint.NET and create a new project. Decide what graphics to use and open them up. Copy your graphics and paste them into a new layer on your new project. You can move the graphics around until you like the position of them. Each time you add another image, text, or shape make sure you use a new layer. Next, create a new layer and click on the text tool to the left. Pick the font, size, and style you want and start typing. You can move this around to your liking. If you don’t like the way the text looks try a different font, style etc. If you still don’t like the way it looks go to cooltext.com and you can create your own text image and use that. Once you’ve played around with the layers, graphics, and text and come up with something to your liking it’s time to create the eBook cover.
Step 6. Creating The eBook Cover
Open the file of the book template you liked. Use the magic wand on the left and click the book cover. It should select the section that you want to change the color of. If not change the Tolerance on the menu bar and keep trying until you get the correct selection. Select the Paint Bucket on the left and fill with the color you want the background to be. If you can’t find the colors to select they are on the Window menu and select Colors. Copy your cover creation and paste into a new layer on that template. Now you need to resize the image to fit on the cover. As you can see the shapes don’t match. This is where you need to use the oblique plug-in you’ve installed. Click on Effects then Distort to select the Oblique tool. Adjust the angle to fit the shape of your cover.
Move it and resize until it looks good.
If your okay with the spine the way it is great, if not the you’ll need to create a new project and then paste that into a new layer and rotate it, resize it, and move it into position. When you’re happy with the style of the eBook cover it’s time to create the effects to get that professional look. Select the layer that contains the image you’ve created. Go to Effects and select Reflection and play around with it until you like what you see. Next, select the eBook cover template layer. Go to Effects, Stylize and select the Drop Shadow. Play around with it and see if you like the effect.