I use the free version of Canva. It is super user-friendly and has a lot of cover templates you can use to just tweak for your own needs.
I second the free version of Canva. Use it for all my books.
If you don't mind a program to install, I recommend Affinity Photo.
I use GIMP, but I'm not going to recommend it, as it has a high learning curve. I use it only because I know it pretty well. GIMP is free and open source, with no adware or other garbage. Generally, I just get a stock photo from Depositphotos and modify it as needed.
I have heard good things about Affinity Photo, and I've considered buying it, but have yet to run into anything I can't do with GIMP. Regardless, Affinity Photo is way cheaper than Photoshop, and probably does everything you'd need.
Having said that, it's not specifically for making covers, but general purpose (like Photoshop and GIMP). Canva (which I see others recommending) is a popular choice, and it has specific book cover templates and fonts. However, you'll still need to buy a stock photo from some place like Depositphotos to use, then use Canva for the title and author name.
Photopea, and Photo Editor (phone app).
Photopea is a Photoshop-lookalike that's free via your internet browser, and Photo Editor is the closest thing to Photoshop that's available on Android.
I use Affinity Publisher, but Affinity Photo will work too. (Both are one time purchase apps.)
I know some people use Canva, which has a free tier.
I have Photoshop already so that’s what I use.
I have Corel PaintShop Pro - which is their variation of Photoshop at 1/4 the price.
The story usually inspires my cover. By that I mean - I think of a key moment or a random scene in the book, think of what's happening and who is in the scene, and what they look like.
Then I either find a model or find some Royalty Free images to tinker around with. There are thousands of free pix on various PUBLIC DOMAIN/ROYALTY FREE websites - you want to either look for CC0 license or make sure you add a credit to the royalty free photographer or artist on your book copyright page.
Sometimes I will go out and take photos and see if any of them work. It all depends on the context and the way I wish my book to be perceived.
**Perhaps the most important thing to do if you choose a royalty-free image is to scour EVERY BOOK in your manuscript's genre for a similar or the identical image. You need to make sure you are being unique.**
While you're at it - look at the BEST SELLERS and see if there are any styles, colors, and fonts that seem to draw readers to them... Also look at the position of the title and author names.
Then I import the image(s) into PaintShop Pro and add the title and my pen name. I usually spend a lot of time tweaking colors, overlaying images, and trying out all 10,000 royalty-free fonts I have available. I'm looking for something that will draw the eye, intrigue the viewer, and overall please my personal aesthetic perspective of what the book means to me.
Once done, I make sure the cover fits the formatting, size, and format required for publication and upload it.
I use PicMonkey and I love it. It’s super beginner friendly yet there’s tons of editing options and tons of great fonts. I pay for the “regular” version and it’s something like $8/month. Pretty certain they offer a 7 day free trial too.
I use Photoshop. If I'm on a work trip with my laptop that has no Adobe access I generally use Canva.
I use Photoshop and I'm a big advocate for it, but it's expensive and has a steep learning curve.
Canva isn't bad if you don't have the $$$, but my Photoshop covers (once I learned how to use it) were seriously next-level, and I believe it made a big difference to my income.
I use Canva for my covers. In fact, I use Canva for all my erotica work. Definitely worth the money. Especially for social media posts.
I use Canva but the fonts are terrible, it always ends up looking like it was made in Canva!
yeah, I have ended up writing the title in another program and saving it as an image with a transparent background and importing that to use!
That’s good advice!
I started paying for Canva and saw an increase in sales, it pays for itself… plus a very little left over but I’ve only been doing this a few months.
I use Photoshop, an older version (CS6). I started out using GIMP, after trying a couple of other free programs. Everything will have a learning curve, so accept it's going to take some time and study to get good at doing covers.
I know some use things like Canva, but I think Amazon and Canva are having a misunderstanding about rights to images. People are complaining about getting emails about rights for images used (on covers and inside books). At this point, I'd avoid it.
Also, make sure any images you get have a license for use, so you'd be using legit stock image sites. You don't want to get sued, or get books blocked/account termination. That's all no bueno.
I use CANVA Pro and then will probably go to SHUTTERSTOCK for more. Maybe get some pics from the free trial and cancel. I know, but money is tight.
I usualy use GIMP. It's rough, but I haven't found much that's better.
For cover images, can anyone comment whether Depositphotos has suitable photos and variety for Erotica ebook covers?