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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Peaslee

Finding a Book Cover on a Budget in 2024

If you are like me, then you do not have hundreds of dollars to spend on paying a book cover artist. It's a shame because I think book cover artists are important, and I would love to be able to pay one to create a piece of art for my WIP.

Ah, well. Maybe the next book.

But for this book, I'm on the hunt for ways to design or purchase a book cover on a budget.

First, I'm just gonna say it:

Do Not Use AI To Find A Book Cover On A Budget!

Use AI for a brainstorming tool all you want, but the second you start making money off it, you're wading into ethically murky waters.

Besides, a lot of people in the industry look down on AI. There might come a time when you want to hire a designer. If they find out you've used AI to make your covers in the past, they may not want to work with you.

Additionally, I know some people will skip books if they have an AI cover because they assume that AI will have been used to write the book, too.

Don't do it! It's not worth the hassle!



Option 1: Design It Yourself

Obviously, DIY is the cheapest way to do a book cover. If you're handy with design tools and have experience in design, this option makes a lot of sense.

But what if you have no experience in design? Can you still create a book cover?


Will it look as good as a professionally made cover?

Probably not! There's a reason professionals get paid.

But that's okay. It can still look good.


Use a book cover maker—Canva, Adobe Express, etc.

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is another free option if you're handy with design. I am not handy with design, so you should look elsewhere for GIMP tutorials.

If you're like me and must be guided through the process, Canva or Adobe Express are better options. Both are free but include the option of paying for premium assets.

However, it's really difficult to find a generic cover that matches what you're looking for, at least in my experience. You do have the option of finding your own image, in which case you might want to browse sites like Unsplash, Pexels, and (More at the bottom)

I created two book covers on Canva, using the pre-made layouts they had on hand.

This cover communicates the sci-fi genre but doesn't nail the tone. It looks more sci-fi mystery than action-adventure. And with a title like Sorority Zombies in Space!, I'm hoping to have some sorority girls on the cover.

This cover has a vaguely creepy woman on it, which I like, but it doesn't scream "sci-fi," does it? Also, I would want the color to be green. Green is a major player in my book, and I'd like a cover that reflects that.

Here's a book cover using a stock photo I found on Pexels, edited on Canva:

It's okay? Little bland, I think.

So none of these book covers are great, but they might be good enough. I don't know. You tell me if you think they suck, and I won't be offended, because I spent about ten minutes total on all of them.

Maybe you look at these book covers and think, "Okay! You've convinced me to spend money on a book cover!" That leads us to our second option.


Option 2: Buy It (On A Budget)

Etsy might not be your first thought for book design, but they have graphic designers selling a whole host of services. The prices can be surprisingly affordable, too.

Fiverr has an entire category for book covers. Design options range from $5 to much more. My guess is that you get what you pay for.

Premade Book Covers

Do a Google search for "premade book covers + [genre]" and go wild. There are some surprisingly affordable and creative options.

GetCovers has book covers starting at $10 if you're using a stock photo image for an e-book cover. There can be an additional charge if the cover you want is more complicated, or if you want a print cover, too.

I was intrigued by GetCovers' low prices and asked for a quote, plus clarification on their offerings. I received a prompt response.

The marketing bundle is $40, by the way.

Anyway, I liked what GetCovers had to say, and I liked their Portfolio, so I went ahead and placed an order. Stay tuned next week for the book cover reveal—but here's a sneak peak! :O


Hopefully, this overview will have helped you decide the pros and cons of buying vs. designing.

As promised, here's a list of free image resources:

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