Books cover design software are programs specially designed to create and edit book covers. But choosing a good book cover design software isn’t an easy task. If you fail to choose the right program, it will not help you create the kind of covers that sell books. This is why you need to understand what really constitutes a good book cover software. This guide will set you on the right track so that you can choose the perfect program for your needs.
Here are free book cover design softwares.
To begin the list of best book design software, we would first highlight Adobe InDesign which is a multipurpose tool. It can produce remarkable page layouts and can be used by beginners and professionals. This software helps users to create interactive documents and can design the cover as well as internal pages. It allows the user to control the page size, typography aspects, and export options.
- Suitable for creating EBooks
- Can be integrated with other Adobe applications
- Customized fonts and layouts
The next one on the list is QuarkXPress which has been considered as an Adobe InDesign alternative by many experts. This application features “Flex Layouts” which can help design your book without having to learn about HTML and CSS coding. When the user changes the size or shape of the layout, all the text within the pages is automatically changed. This feature was designed to check how your book would appear on different-sized screens.
- Provides different typography features
- A choice between Various palette and styles
- Customer support is available
Another popular book design software is Affinity Publisher which is used by thousands of people across the globe not only to design books but also to design newspapers, magazines, and other printed media. This application has a simple User Interface but is laden with many features to accomplish user’s needs. Some of these features are image frames, text wrapping. Inserting tables, grids, etc. users can also integrate other applications of Affinity Suite and perform editing and creating vector art.
- Helps with publishing books
- One time low-cost purchase without a subscription
- Can manage large scale documents
- Includes paid fonts.
If you are looking for the best book design software which is suited for long and complex files, then your search ends with Adobe FrameMaker. This application is used by people who create non-fiction books and technical documents. Different publishing options can be optimized and the final creation can be in the form of PDF, responsive HTML 5, or Kindle extensions. It allows users to automate settings for headers and footers as well as shift content from one paragraph to another.
- Facilitates quick transfer of content from MS Word
- Allows users to use rich media to create engaging content
- Easily create a Table of content and indexes
Krita is a Photoshop clone, so to speak, with great capabilities. It’s my particular favorite and what I use for all my more complex photo editing, including covers. I find it very intuitive, and between the forum and Google, I can learn how to do almost anything. It does require a fair bit of processing power, however; and while they claim to have a tablet version, I’ve only had success with the desktop version.
Download Link: (http://krita.org)
Tutorial Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH2EDTNjvBw
GIMP is possibly the oldest of the free photo editors, and the most widely used by the artists I polled. The Honda Civic, if you will. Though its design is basic, it’s also classic and has virtually every function photoshop does. Though I prefer Krita due to familiarity, GIMP is my backup. Bonus: there’s a browser version for Chromebooks.
Download Link: (https://www.gimp.org)
Tutorial Link: https://www.gimp.org/tutorials/
Paint.net is a basic, clean program, with most tools a photo editor needs. My biggest criticism is the site looks like something that would give your computer a virus (though as far as I can tell, it’s totally safe), and some controls weren’t as intuitive as I expected, partially due to its old-school layout. That said, I figured out most of the main tools pretty quickly, and any bigger issues seemed answered on the forums.
Download Link: (https://www.getpaint.net/index.html?)
Canva was the most popular among the authors I polled. It’s great for quick promotional materials and covers if you don’t need something super complicated. I love using it for YouTube thumbnails and social media cover photos, since blank templates set to the appropriate dimensions are available. Their selection of stock photos is fairly good, though most are paid. My one quibble, since I’m often without internet when I travel, is, being browser-based, it requires Wi-Fi.
Download Link: (https://www.canva.com/)
This was another one that was new to me, but I really enjoyed the touch-screen friendly interface. Though there were few free options as far as integrated fonts and image, it has far more dynamic tools than Canva does, like text shadows. What fonts it did have, though, were quite unique and there were some great ones for covers!
Download Link: (https://madewithover.com/)
What is the Right Software for You?
The best program for you will be based on your skill level and needs, which is where comp titles come in. You don’t need a complex photo manipulation program to create a catchy, bold graphic cover for your humorous memoir, and a clean drag-and-drop creator won’t suit the needs of a broody thriller.
The five features you will need to consider when picking a program are photo collage, templates, text editing effects, layers, and photo manipulation.
1. Photo Collage
Overlaying images or combining without changing the overall appearance of the source images themselves. This is what many simple, app-based or browser-based programs use, and for graphic covers, or those where the title text takes center stage, it’s really all you need. Many authors also use these for promotional materials.
Pre-made designs and dimensions for covers. If you don’t have the strongest background in graphic design, templates can be a great consideration. Often with just a tweak here and there and some custom art behind, you can have a nice, clean cover. Many of the app and browser programs mentioned above also offer pre-made design layouts.
3. Text Editing
Changing fill or adding effects like glow, shadows, and 3D. When I refer to text effects and editing, I’m thinking beyond simple changes like font and color, which every program listed below offers. Text effects are a bit different, and only more complex programs offer true text editing, often through layer effects. Many urban fantasy books have a piece of the title appear like it’s on fire or covered in magic, and using text effects is how you produce that look.
Multiple overlaid sections of a project that allow for dynamic editing. If your genre requires a more complex or atmospheric feel, using a program that has layers might be for you. You can add the illusion of smoke, for example, without permanently impacting the photos or art below. While all these programs layer each piece of the image, not all have truly dynamic layers with effects. Layers are most useful when coupled with text effects or photo manipulation.
5. Photo Manipulation
Changing the opacity, color hue or saturation of images or art or erasing selected sections. This is probably the most skill-heavy aspect of DIY covers, especially if you’re working with stock images, as opposed to commissioned custom art. Using photo manipulation can elevate a free stock image to looking just like your character and save you from the curse of the “cookie-cutter cover.” This is a feature the larger programs listed have, and is great for certain genres, though it takes some trial and error!
Words of Caution
There are 2 major points to consider as you craft your cover and get to know your chosen program.
Branding Concerns and Stock Photos.
I mentioned the genre/demographic aspect of branding above, but there’s more to it. Whether you write series or stand-alones, you’re going to need consistent branding. Consistent doesn’t need to be synonymous with matching everything (though that’s how I roll). It just needs to be memorable and recognizable as your author brand. You can achieve that with any of these programs; and many times, you can just duplicate the cover you made and swap out the art and title for the next-in-series.
However, if you’re picking up a new program to use for your covers mid-series or mid-career, I’d recommend running your previous covers through the new program to iron out any glaring inconsistencies so your branding remains consistent.
The next issue to keep in mind is that of the infamous stock photo. A few of the programs above include integrated access to stock photos, both free and paid. This goes for all sides of your business as an author: make sure you read the fine print whenever you’re downloading a photo, be it from a program you’re using or a huge stock site. The last thing you want when launching a book is to get it ripped down and have to spend your marketing budget on legal fees! Essentially, be smart: plan for the worst, hope for the best.
If you want more in-depth discussions on stock photos, be sure to check out the Legal Guide to Stock Photos.
Free book cover design software allows you to design a great book cover without having to spend a lot of time or money. The best part is that making changes is simple, so if you didn’t like how the first attempt worked out, you can try another design in minutes, and there is no limit to how many times you can do this. This gives you the freedom to make all the changes to the book cover that your heart desires.