Software and Apps for Creating an Ebook Cover

Before designing your ebook cover, you’ll need either some software or apps to create it. Microsoft Word isn’t sufficient for creating a cover; you can’t do much with a photo or illustration in a word processing program, after all, you come up with will be too small to look good online.

To that end, you need a combination of an editing program that can manipulate photos and on which you can create a document. It should include the ability to add text to the document.

For software, Photoshop probably is the best solution. While software like InDesign is great for creating documents, it is not a photo editor. Photoshop, however, can do both, though it is a more powerful photo editor, which is its main function. Unfortunately, there is a learning curve with using Photoshop, and while there are plenty of online tutorials about how to use the software, they aren’t always easy to understand. The software also comes at a cost, and though reasonable if you subscribe to it, if you just need it to design one cover a year, that’s a bit expensive.

A number of online apps also can be used to create your cover. Canva is a popular tool that is easier to use than Photoshop. To unlock all of its features, though, you’ll need to spend a little money.

There are free photo editing apps as well online. Most of these are of limited usefulness, however, as you don’t have the power or flexibility of Photoshop or Canva. Still, they’re worth exploring; the simpler your cover design, the more likely that the cheap and freebie photo editing apps will actually serve you well.

You also can use a self-publishing house’s templates to create a cover fairly quickly and inexpensively, but be forewarned that they all look pretty much the same and are fairly unimaginative at that. In addition, a self-publishing house’s templates are a dead giveaway that you’ve got a self-published book, which for a number of readers – especially those in the media who might give your book some attention – means a “lower quality” book (though that perception is changing).

If you lack the talent to create your own cover, you’ll want to get a designer or artist to handle that part of your self-publishing project. It can get expensive, though, so be aware of this when budgeting for your book.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.