How to Make A Book Cover Using Photoshop

Books covers...those magical things that are the first thing people see of your book.  People say not to judge a book by its cover, but honestly, people do.

I posted earlier this year about how I made my book cover for Part 1 of The Clockshifter, back when it was going to be two books instead of one.  That was a long and complicated process that you all probably couldn't follow very well.  Yesterday, Rachael from The Art of Writing for Him asked me some questions on how I make my book covers.  So, this post happened.  :)

"What program do I now use?" you ask.


I know, I know, Photoshop is expensive...but good news!  Adobe is offering Photoshop CS2 (the old version) free right here!  If you freak out over not having a serial code or whatever they are called, it is a couple of columns over on the same row as Photoshop.

Once you have Photoshop downloaded, you are ready to get started.

When you open it DO NOT BE OVERWHELMED.  It looks extremely confusing.

Now to make the cover...

1. Get an idea in your head of what you want it to look like.  Assume you can do anything when you make this cover.  Don't think about if you will be able to the right copyright free image to do this particular thing; just assume you can.  Photoshop is amazing when it comes to what you can do.

2. Find pictures to use.  Chances are, you will combine multiple images into one final product.  If you are using this book cover for the official cover for your book, you will need to make sure the pictures you use can be used for commercial use AND you can manipulate them.

Sites I Like to Use: (Please use caution.  I haven't had a problem with these sites with inappropriate content yet, but just in case I will warn you that you never know what will come up.  Just beware.)

- PhotoPin - This site has a TON of free images to use.  Some are really bad quality, and some just look bad, but sometimes that bad picture can be manipulated to look good.

- Unsplash - This is my go-to site for all scenery and sometimes people.  All of their images are available for commercial use for free!

For other site recommendations, I encourage you to check out this post on Go Teen Writers.

3. Start editing your photos.  You are probably reading this and thinking, "Is Alea just going to let me figure out this thing called Photoshop on my own?"  Good news!  No, I am not.  In no way am I an expert, (Goodness, I've only been at this two weeks) but I have found some really great tutorials.

Photoshop 101

Tip 1 - The version CS2 does the majority of what newer versions can do, just sometimes the buttons are in a little different place.  Figure out what all the buttons are called and memorize where they are.

Tip 2 - Download fonts from Dafont.com.  They have some seriously amazing fonts!  (Make sure and use the ones that are 100% free and read the artist's terms of use!)

Tip 3 - Make your text readable, yet AWESOME.

You can...

...Just describe what you want to Google...

You can do so much with your text...don't let that opportunity go to waste!

Tip 4 - Filters are your best friend.  You can put filters on your images to make them look artistic.  You can make images look like paintings, sketches, cool metal things and a whole bunch of other cool things!  This can do wonders to help a badly taken picture.

Tip 5 - Crop around a person using the lasso tool.  I have used this took so many times.

Tip 6 - If you drag an image into your project and it isn't big enough, go back into the image and increase the number of pixels.

Tip 7 - Familiarize yourself with the Photoshop interface.  Know where things are.  Play around.

Tip 8 - Youtube helps.  As long as you can describe what you want to Google, you are good to go!


If you have any questions for me, please comment and I will do my best to answer!  If you know the answer to someone's question, don't be afraid to answer!


  1. Oh wow! Thanks a bunch, that was very helpful! *bookmarks site for further use*

    1. You're very welcome, Chloe! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Thank you so much! This is super helpful.

  3. Hi Alea Harper! I know this post is almost a year old... but I just found it and I wanted to say thank you for doing it!
    I also had a question... would you happen to know if that link for the free CS2 version of Photoshop is still good? I clicked it, but I don't see the screen shot you showed. I know its a long shot that it will still be free a year after you posed this, but I just thought I would ask.
    Again, thank you for this post!

    1. Okay...so evidently this was a mistake by Adobe and it was never supposed to be free. Now I use GIMP, an open source software very similar to Photoshop. Does that help?

    2. Yes, thank you for checking Alea! I just downloaded GIMP and am learning how to use it, and it seems pretty good so far ;).
      Thank you again SO much for your help, I really appreciate it!


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