Several Options for Designing Ebook Covers

It is essential to have a good ebook cover. The reason is that just as book covers sell books, ebook covers sell ebooks.

An ebook cover isn’t really a cover in the traditional sense. Rather it is an image that is used to represent the ebook, particularly at ebook stores and on web pages. A cover image is often included as the first “page” at the front of an ebook.

So how do you get an ebook cover? One option is to pay a graphic artist to design a cover for you. But you can also do it yourself. If you decide you’re up for some DIY then here are a few tips and resources.

  • It’s Good to Experiment: Designing a good ebook cover usually involves experimenting with a combination of layouts, images and fonts.
  • Think Big: Don’t start with a tiny cover image. If you are planning to publish at Amazon Kindle Store then you need to create a cover image that is at least 500 by 800 pixels, and preferably the longest side is a maximum of 2000 pixels.
  • Large Font Size: Remember to keep the font size for the title and author’s name large enough so it will be readable on small versions of the ebook cover.
  • Be Inspired. If you are having trouble coming up with layout ideas browse through other covers at your favorite ebook store such as Kindle Store or Nook Books.

Here is a brief list of resources that to help you make your own ebook covers.

Image Editing Software

If you want to make your covers like a pro then you should use a professional image editing software application such as Adobe Photoshop. Another application I have used is PhotoImpact.

If you are publishing on a shoestring budget then you may prefer to use Gimp, which is free.

Creative Alternatives

If you’d rather not use traditional image editing software, here are some alternative ideas.

Take a Snapshot with Lightscreen

Lightscreen is free software that can take a “snapshot” of any part of your screen. Start by creating your cover on a new page in your favourite word processing software (e.g. Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer). Next, reduce the view so the entire page is visible on your screen. Now use Lightscreen to take a snapshot. One thing to be aware is that unless you change your computer screen resolution the image you shoot will probably not be of a high enough resolution for submitting to some major ebook stores.


Phoster is an App for the iPad, iPhone and iPod. Although primarily designed for creating posters it can also be used to quickly design an ebook cover. There are many templates and features to choose from. Phoster costs $1.99.



The Beginner's Guide to Ebooks3D Covers

Many authors like to display a 3D cover of their ebook on their own web sites. The image on the right is a 3D version of the cover for “The Beginner’s Guide to Ebooks“. Here are a couple of tools you can use to create 3D ebook covers.


I have been making my own ebook covers for years, and it’s not too difficult once you begin to understand how image editing software works.


About the Author: Gary McLaren

Gary McLaren is the author of 'The Indie Author's Guide to Publishing Ebooks'. He also manages several web sites for professional writers including Publish Your Own Ebooks and Worldwide Freelance.


  1. Hi, Great post. A DIY cover takes awhile to create using any software, but it’s a satisfying experience when you get it right. I just created my first cover using Corel PaintShopPhoto. I’m ready to launch my ebook on Amazon, and I have a question you might be able to answer:

    I’ve used the MobiPocket Creator application to build my book with the new cover, but when I view the finished book with the Kindle Previewer, the cover is too big and only part of it shows on the Previewer screen. I tried rebuilding with various resized images along the Kindle max and min specs, but the image on the Previewer stays the same. I think I must be leaving out a step, but after trying it half a dozen times, I decided it’s time to ask wiser, more experienced folks how to get this to work.

    Reynold Akison

  2. A few tips when considering the cover. Don’t underestimate the importance of your cover. A quick browse and you’ll see how many budding authors neglect this oh-so-important part of their story. There really should be more quality control on some of these covers. If you’re looking to make sales it’s as important as the content. If it looks poorly designed and amateurish, it stands to reason that the same can be said for the contents and people will glance over it without a second look. The problem is it can be tricky to detach yourself from the words within and design your own cover objectively. At this point, it helps to approach a professional designer/illustrator for the cover. Someone like me (yes, self-punt). A bit of digging and you can find plenty of good freelance designers out there. Or, if you have the budget an agency. Make sure the agency/designers have a few good covers in their portfolio and their graphic style resonates with you in some way, or has relevance to your story. My link above if you want someone to take an objective look at your next cover, or re-design.

  3. Thanks for the article. I just thought I would mention that I also like 3D covers and have actually seen a marked increase in the sales of my ebooks on since I changed my 2D cover to a 3D cover (it really stands out from the other books in that genre). The problem is that after I changed to a 3D cover, that ebook which was already approved for their Premium catalog, suddenly got disapproved. So now I have to choose whether I want more sales at Smashwords with a more noticeable 3D cover, or whether I want to be approved for their Premium catalog so that my ebook can be distributed to more online publishers- hmmmm.. I guess that isn’t really a difficult decision, is it? So anyway, you might be careful where you use 3D covers.


  4. Thanks for another informative article, Gary. A better cover might help me ship more ebooks. Folks who find Gimp confusing might give a try. It has loads of easy-to-use features and plug-ins. It is also 100% free.

Leave a Reply