A huge controversy is raging surrounding AI art tools that allow you to generate artwork with text prompts. Many cover designers are strongly against it, but we believe in consumers’ right to choose the best and easiest option for them to make great book covers.
We here at Creativindie covers do not use AI art, though if we do so in the future, they will be clearly labelled and explained – there are some copyright limitations to Midjourney and similar tools that authors need to be aware of.
Book covers are about more than just sourcing reliable copyright-free stock photos. The text and typography is also hugely important. So far, most AI art would need heavy photoshopping (actually, this week I discovered a few best midjourney prompts for book cover design that are unreasonable good, without needing any fixing…so I’m going to use them as templates and teach how to use AI for book cover design *if you choose to*.)
I understand that both cover designers and authors want to make sure they don’t get in any legal water over ill-defined AI art usage terms – which is why many cover designers are outright rejecting Midjourney as a tool.
They won’t work on Kindle or iBooks (though I’m going to test them anyway, maybe I can find a workaround). But they WILL work on Wattpad, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media sites. So whenever you post a promotional picture of your book cover, you could awesomefy it (that’s not a word but it needs to be = make awesome).
Now I just need to learn how to make those animated covers look amazing on a static 3D product shot… I’ll learn that next. The danger is, of course, once I give away all these secrets, everybody is going to do it, so on top of all the author-spam you usually see on Twitter or Facebook, now the images will be moving. It’ll be like Myspace all over again (obnoxious, hard to look at).
So what I should do is keep these secrets to myself, so they only show up on my covers and I have a marketing advantage. But.. I’m not going to. These covers were easy to make, and the tools are cheap. Be extremely cautious, don’t overdo it, but for shits and giggles, here’s a tutorial on designing your own animated covers.
If you like this tutorial and animate your book cover, share your cover on Twitter and tag me: @creativindie so I can see it.
How to make your own animated book covers
Firstly, add some sparkle. I used this site, paid to remove the watermark. It only has a few features, but it plays off the natural light/dark contrast of your book cover, and you can select the areas for some amazing effects.
Here’s a video tutorial.
Secondly, I found DP Animation Maker, a bit more expensive at $37.77, but it can add great effects, especially for light, water and movement.
Thirdly, I wanted to find a way to morph images, so, for example, a face can blink, or smile. To do that I’d need two or three pictures and merge them together.
I can do that with http://gifmaker.me. First I have to make the different versions of the cover, then I add the photos and turn them into a gif. I thought this might work especially well to add a “splash” effect with a big quote, review, or description – a little bit of extra sales copy space on your cover image.
You can also make an animated book cover in Photoshop but it’s more of a process.
How to save/share your animated book covers
The gifs you make can be pretty big; you can try to use Gifmaker’s resizer to make them smaller. If you upload them to Giphy.com the file size doesn’t really matter – Giphy is great for posting on Facebook (if you use a Giphy link it will preview the animated gif, but if you upload the gif straight to Facebook, it won’t play).
However, on Twitter I’d rather just upload the picture directly – Twitter DOES show the animation. A Giphy link works too but it clicks to Giphy, which I don’t like. You can embed the pictures on your website as well, and pin them to Pinterest (where animation works).
Have fun! Remember to tag me if you make your own animated covers so I can see.
Want more tips, book cover design templates and some free books?
I have more free stuff – templates, an email series on cover design, and my books on writing and book marketing.
After designing over a thousand book covers (and earning about a quarter of a million bucks from my design business) I decided I’d rather write full-time than design covers for a living. But, since I’m deeply committed to helping indie authors and pretty established in the publishing community, I’ve devoted thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into building DIY book cover tools, templates and resources – so authors can design their own covers without making critical mistakes.
This is obviously a work in progress, because cover design is complicated, but the templates have been downloaded by nearly 100,000 authors, and my YouTube videos have over a million views. Here are some things to get you started.
I spent lots of time looking through premade book covers. I find way more than I can ever buy (in my last shopping trip I added over $20,000 in covers to my cart). But I want to share these great deals with other authors, and also keep them altogether in one place in case I’m trying to find them again, so I decided to link to my favorites here.
Please note, many of these are not good enough as is – they have potential or great art, but in many cases (not all) the text would need to be redone to really make the cover as epic as the art suggests.
Where to find premade book covers?
Here are a few sites that have premade covers you can check out. I also recommend following book designers on Facebook to see their latest premades.
I’m finally getting started on my 100 DIY book covers in MS Word project. The idea is to design book cover templates that indie authors can easily edit and change to make their own.
I was pretty sure I could make great covers in Word, but I’m only really beginning to figure things out.
Here’s one I made this afternoon. I took a picture of the whole workspace.
Here’s another one I made tonight, in about 30 minutes.
Is it just me, or are these pretty freaking amazing for book covers made in MS word? And they aren’t even finished yet. It’s crazy that these covers are taking me much less time than ones made in photoshop, because with Word I can really easily strip out the background, change colors and contrast, make cool wavy text like the one above.
It’s both incredible and humbling, exciting and depressing. Maybe I’ll just stick with Word for book cover design. 🙂
My new plan is to come out with 100 templates a year, and sell those as a big package alongside client work.
UPDATE – you can now get a bunch of free book design templates at www.diybookcovers.com and make your own awesome book covers in Microsoft Word!
Cover design secrets that sell books
If you need help, make sure to download my free guide!
I’ve helped design over 1000 book covers, including hundreds of bestsellers – download my free book to learn all the insider secrets I use to sell more books. Click here to get it now. I’ll also share some of the advanced book marketing tactics I’ve used to make a full-time income with my writing.