Book Covers figure largely for representing your written work, be it fiction, cookbooks, memoirs, business, or other non-fiction so finding the right images to portray your book correctly and attract buyers is an important task.
In working on a cover for my indie novella, the Iron Web, I’ve found some very useful 100% FREE online resources that I wanted to share in this blog post.
First, we need a tool to help us manipulate the images we want to be put into our book cover, and to be able to add the title of the book, and author name.
There are many 100% free online photo editors. Some are downloads onto your computer. At least one is just use online. Here is a short list:
Gimpshop, PicMonkey, Pixlr, BeFunky, PhotoFlexer
I’m currently using iPiccy iPiccy Website because there is nothing to download onto your computer, you simply work online within their framework. The learning curve here I think is faster too. Here’s a quick overview of their functions and effects. Using an online photo editor does take some time to learn all the tricks but is well worth the effort. To retain the resolution quality, when you save your image, you can chose the resolution (ie. 1.0 Mb, etc.).
BASIC resize (basic Kindle size is 1280 x 1940 px), crop, rotate, flip, exposure, hue, erase background, liquefy, etc.
PHOTO EFFECTS sepia, matte, pixelate, rainbow, gritty, infrared, posterize, etc.
RETOUCH effects for fixing people pictures like airbrush, tan, eyecolour, etc.
BLENDER combine and blend the layers of images with different effects, vectoring
PAINTER painting tools
FRAMES various effects framing your images like mirror, rounded corners, snowflakes, etc.
TEXTURES grunge, paper, nature, light leaks, etc.
Next, and no less importantly, we need a great online source for free, quality, high-resolution images. There are many free image sites but they all have specific attribution conditions, or the images available are very low resolution (Wikimedia Commons was one site I used to like).
I’ve recently discovered Pixabay, a seriously awesome 100% Free, 100% attribution free (yes!), source for all kinds of high quality images, including images of people. Sign up for an account to download the high-res images as otherwise you will only get the small size. Image contributors do ask for a ‘coffee’ donation but this voluntary. Pixabay Website
Now for some simple examples (I’ve used small-res images for my blog post). The only limit is your imagination!
Example One Above: I’ve used one of my own pictures of a flower for this one. I faded it out a bit, then added light effects, and text on top.
Example Two: I’ve used one of my own photos at a local park for the background. I put it into Frames, using ‘snowflakes’ for the frame trim. I used Basic (hue) to colour the grass. Then added text on top.
I will say that iPiccy's fonts are not that great, but you can find something suitable.
So, if you're not already using an online photo editor for your own family projects, business projects, or for your blog, consider checking some out.
While photo editors like iPiccy may not give you the incredible effects you can get with Photoshop, they also don't come with the price tag, or the learning curve while delivering a decent image.
So, get editing! Do you use an online photo editor? What's your favourite, and why? I'd love to hear about your experiences.