Pre-made Bookcovers

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Arden

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At this point in my fiction-writing endeavors, I find myself drawn to self-publishing but I'm basically just at the beginning of the process, so forgive my lack of clarity on so many topical areas -- I'm presently immersing myself in the experience of others in the threads in this forum (which is wonderful!) Right now I'm leaning toward D2D but I have a ways to go in terms of gathering information.

Right now, I'm interested in the cover image -- which, in a lot of ways, is as important as the inside text, at least in my opinion.

But I do have a preliminary question about pre-made book covers. I have several novels and about a dozen novellas -- all of which I will need covers for. I don't want to use a designer, not just to save $$$ but because I think that pre-made will suit my work just fine. I'm looking for landscape covers -- you know, a snowy forest, a lake in the woods, a cornfield, an old house, a Western ghost town -- images like that as my works are very setting focused. Think sort of literary man vs. nature stuff. I don't want the image of a specific person and I find myself sorting through dozens and dozens of pre-made covers that are great (dragons, lovers, spacecraft, cityscapes) but not what I'm looking for.

There seem to be dozens of pre-made cover places -- can anybody recommend some that not only are reliable (not a rip off) and might have a lot of nature categories of images? Writer friends have recommended designers but I honestly don't think I need an actual designer at this juncture.

I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the online choices so if anybody can point me in a possible direction, I would appreciate it.
 

Marissa D

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Try www.selfpubbookcovers.com. It allows you to do your own typography as well, and there's room for tweaking (for an extra charge) if you find a cover that's almost perfect but needs a small change or two. Prices are in the $69-$120 range. Also, they have a HUGE selection...but I don't know specifically about nature images.
 

CathleenT

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For a hundred dollars, you can get a professional cover designer to do your font, using any image Shutterstock has, and they take care of all the commercial licensing. So, fifteen covers would cost almost fifteen hundred dollars, and that amount would be enough to make me wonder about alternatives.

The other option I see is to pay for a commercial Shutterstock license yourself, unless you think you can get by with images from sites like pixabay. For landscape images like you're describing, that may very well be a possibility, so I'd check out the free image route before I paid anything.

Actual premade covers in your literary niche are unlikely, as you've discovered yourself, OP. Literary is still mostly trade, I believe, while SP has a lot of the genre stuff--SFF, romance, thrillers, and the like.

So, then you're stuck with coming up with your own font. I'm an artist--both painting and sculpting--and I couldn't do better than an okay job. And okay won't get it done anymore. It was fine in the early gold rush days, but now readers expect covers at least as good as what they find in bookstores. The most likely outcome is that your books will never break out of obscurity. It's not a certainty, of course, just what I see as the most probable case.

If you can't suck up the grand and a half, you might want to think about enrolling in an applied arts class at a local community college. At least there you should be able to get some basic training on design principles and such, and hopefully, you can get feedback from the teacher and other class members. I think that would be better than jumping in, thinking you'll somehow nail this thing right away, which is a level of talent that's unlikely. Most of us need to have some sort of training to succeed.

But of all the available options, I'd go with the cover designer if it's at all possible. If any of your books are in a series, you can sometimes get a break on pricing.

ETA: As a specific example, my six covers in my signature cost me a little under six hundred with Deranged Doctor Design. But I chose all the imagery. Four covers I painted; Bellerophon and Golden Key came from Shutterstock images. If you want them to come up with the entire cover, a two-book series cost me $450, and that's with a discount because I approved the covers with very minimal revision.
 
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lorna_w

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goonwrite.com Easy to deal with, honest, and has been in the biz a while.
 

KBooks

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https://www.gobookcoverdesign.com/

Robin does all my covers. If what you're looking for is different from the premades out there, it may be easier to just go through stock images (there are plenty of nature shots--I've had to seek out forested landscapes, moon-filled skies, etc) and pick out what you want, then have a cover designer go from there.
 

Margrave86

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With covers like those, 99% of its success depends on the quality of the photograph itself. You can either license a good one from a stock photo site, or hop on Wikimedia Commons and find a public domain or creative commons image that allows commercial use.

Once you have that, you're better off doing the typography yourself than spending money on a premade cover, since books like these tend to have simple typography to prevent cluttering the image. Take a look at similar book covers to see what kind of fonts and layouts they use (most of the time, you'll be laying it out around the image elements anyway), then grab a free copy of Inkscape and some free SIL Open Font licensed fonts from Google Fonts and make your own cover. Since Inkscape is a vector editor, you could also make a frame easily if you know what you're doing.

As long as you're willing to put the time and effort to learn and make it look good, it costs nothing.
 
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