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May 23, 2017

Self-Publishing Resources: For Fun and Profit

Big Ferris wheel lit up at night with text: Cheap, Free, and Fun Resources

In the writing and self-publishing world, writers encounter a lot of services that cost money. Some of them are solid resources that are worth it if they work for our processes (such as One Stop for Writers with the Emotion Thesaurus and other thesauruses, story mapping tool, random generators, etc.). Others…? Not so much.

We could easily spend much of our publishing income on services. We could even end up in the hole, without profit to speak of. That’s why it’s always nice to discover free resources or discounted services.

While I’m brain-dead from not enough sleep (again), I thought I’d share some of the resources I’ve found recently. *smile*

Cheap Resource: Purchase Pre-Made Book Covers

I’m often asked for advice on how to save money on book covers. In those types of discussions, many suggest the option of pre-made covers to reduce the cost.

Custom covers generally start over $100 and go up to $1000 or more. Pre-made covers often range from $30-$100, saving authors money.

However, as I well know, sometimes our story doesn’t fit the most common cover tropes, so we’re unlikely to find one that would work from among a dozen or so pre-made covers made by any particular cover artist. One solution to that problem might be to check the pre-made cover collection sites.

These are websites that do nothing but post pre-made covers from dozens—or hundreds!—of designers. We might not be able to find the right cover when facing only a few options, but if we have thousands to select from (especially as many pre-made cover artists will allow tweaks of font or colors), our chances improve. *smile*

Here are some of the pre-made cover collection sites I know of:

I’m sure there are other sites as well, but just those sites gives us access to tens of thousands of pre-made covers.

In addition, pre-made cover collection sites provide a way to find a cover artist we might like for other work. Many of the artists on these sites offer to create custom covers similar to the ones they list for comparable prices. Or maybe we can use those sites to get ideas for what we like or don’t like in a cover.

Free Resource: Make Our Own Book Covers

Obviously, a way to save even more money is to make our own covers. Maybe we even enjoy the creativity of creating our own covers. Or perhaps we just want a temporary cover to use on WattPad, NaNoWriMo, or other site where we’re talking about our book.

The problem is that most of us don’t have access to PhotoShop. Don’t worry, we’re not out of luck. *smile*

There are free resources to help us create our own cover:

  • Canva offers a free online book cover maker with templates to get us started.
  • PosterMyWall shares several templates similar to the pre-made covers and gives us the ability to customize our cover.
  • DIY Book Covers includes free templates and instructions for creating our cover in MS Word, which we’re likely to have as well.
  • Even if we don’t have MS Word, that same site also offers an online cover design tool with an image manipulation program.

Here’s the introduction to that online program to see if it might work for you:

Introduction to DIY Covers’ free online book cover design tool

Free Resource: Do Our Own Book Formatting

I’ve mentioned before how we can purchase book interior formatting templates from Book Design Templates (I’ve heavily modified one of these templates for my print books), but free is even better. *smile*

Options that I’ve heard of for print formatting include:

For a free ebook formatting resource, I know several authors who submit an MS Word document to a site like Draft2Digital, check the resulting ebook file, and make adjustments in the Word document until the .epub and .mobi files are clean. Then those downloaded ebook files can be used anywhere. (D2D doesn’t discourage authors from using their site for this file translation either.)

Fun Resource: Create Our Own 3D Promo Images

Now, let’s get into some fun bonus stuff… *grin*

Have you ever seen those promotion graphics advertising a book in different ebook or print formats? Usually, those graphics require a program like Photoshop due to the overlapping images.

However, another DIY site offers Google Slide templates with all the hard work of creating overlapping images done for us. Here’s the video about how to use these slides:

How to promote your book with 3D graphics – great for Facebook and Twitter

Here’s an example of what I was able to create in about 5 minutes with one of these slide templates from Derek (who I swear must never sleep! *grin*):

Stone-Cold Heart now available in print!

Fun Resource: Create Animated Book Covers

Here’s another fun thing we can do…

Animated book covers can be cheesy and obnoxious, but they can also be attention-getting. Either way, creating them can be easy and fun.

While they won’t work on book retail sites, these animated gifs can work on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Glitterboo is a free site for turning our book covers into animated gifs, and DIY created another video with instructions.

And I had too much fun creating some for my books:

Stone-Cold Heart animated gif

Yep, too much fun…

Ironclad Devotion animated gif

Way too much fun…

Pure Sacrifice animated gif

Way, way too much fun…

Treasured Claim animated gif

Way, way, way too much fun…

Unintended Guardian animated gif

Each of those took me only about two minutes, so I let myself have my fun. And now I’ve shared that fun with you. *grin*

Had you heard of any of these resources before? Did I find some new ones for you to play with? Which ones might you use? Do you know of any other resources for these various categories? Do you know of any other fun resources?

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6 Comments on "Self-Publishing Resources: For Fun and Profit"

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Lara Gallin
Lara Gallin

Thank you so much for the links, they’re amazing! I’m not going to need them for a while but I’m going to love browsing until I do!

Rhoda Baxter

Brilliant list. I’m bookmarking this page!
Also, Reedsy Book Editor is free and lets you format a book. I’ve not tried it yet, but I’ve heard good things: https://reedsy.com/write-a-book

Instructions on how to make your own 3D book image http://www.myebook.co.za/how-to-make-a-free-3d-cover-image-of-your-book

JUst for fun – if you want to turn your book cover into a colouring in picture http://online.rapidresizer.com/photograph-to-pattern.php

Althea Claire Duffy

There’s a free Photoshop-like program that’s been around for years – GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) available at http://www.gimp.org. I’ve used it and it’s quite sophisticated and pretty intuitive if you’ve used Photoshop. It’s open-source, so it’s not loaded with the foistware free programs often have bundled in.

Sieran
Sieran

Wow thanks for sharing your findings! I especially like the premade covers part, as they might give me ideas on how to deisgn my own covers–or what to ask of my designer on Fiverr.

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