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How to design a book cover

Let’s start by addressing the age-old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s time to admit that when it comes to books, most of us do actually judge them by their cover. That’s why we at Sweek consider this as one of the most important steps to publishing your own book. Read on to see how you can design your own book cover before you are ready to publish!

Note: This guide is tailored to the Sweek Publishing process. If you want to know more about publishing your own book, we recommend checking out this blog post!

  • After you have uploaded your manuscript and provided information about your book, you have to upload the cover design for your book. When you are on the cover design page, you can see how large your cover should be with regard to the number of pages and the size of the book. However, if you are not yet ready to start the publication process, you can easily make a calculation by clicking on this link: https://publish.sweek.com/site/index.php?r=covercalc/indexAlso, make sure to check out the specifications (cover size incl. bleed in mm.) You have to upload a file that can be cut off by 3 mm and it is important to know the spine width as well!



  • In order to design the cover, we recommend using www.canva.com. Once you have created a free account on Canva, Click on “Create a design” and then “Use custom Dimensions.”  Select mm in the pop-up and then enter the format. Always add about 1 mm on both sides. So if it is 319.1 x 241.0mm, it becomes 320 x 242mm. This makes it more spacious and even if a small number of pages is added to your manuscript, your cover is still suitable. 


  • It’s time to start designing! In step 1 you have looked up the spine width in addition to the size of the cover. Add a plane (“Elements” and then click on the first square) and align it with the top and bottom. For the width, you can calculate your spine width in mm x 4.2 pixels. For example, 3.1 mm x 4.2 pixels = 13.2 pixels. You can make the area smaller until it is 13 pixels wide, Canva just shows this next to the box. No worries, this all works very easily! Then drag the box to the middle, Canva automatically indicates when the box is exactly in the middle. Now you know which part will be the front (right side), the back (left side) and the back (dark grey area)! If you like the grey spine you can keep it, but you can also remove it to have an uninterrupted image from the back of the book to the front.



  • You will see “Uploads” in the left bar. Here you can upload your own image or search a free image of Canva by clicking on “search” and typing a relevant keyword. Alternatively, you can find pictures on https://unsplash.com/ that you can use for free. If you click on the image it will automatically appear on the cover. You can then move / mirror / align the photo.



  • Click on “Elements” and then “Shapes”  to add a surface, choose the colour, and if you wish, adjust the transparency. Of course, you can also choose not to use a text box and simply put the text on the image if it is legible.



  • By clicking on “Text” in the right bar you can add the title, author name and flap text. You can also add a text on the back. Here too, you can drag, choose the colour, make text larger or smaller and adjust the font. We notice that a large text often looks better! Make sure you have room for the barcode on the back, bottom right.



  • You’re almost done! Go to Download at the top right of the bar. Select “PDF – Print” for the best resolution and then click “Download”.



  • Finally, go to your book in Sweek Publishing and upload your design to check if everything fits well. Ensure that all the important information is still visible.


There you go, you have successfully designed your own cover!

#Sweektips: Create a great story cover!

Hey Sweekers!

Read this article to learn how to create your Sweek story cover. 🙂

What makes a good cover?

The story cover image is the first impression that might either encourage or discourage your potential audience. Makes them read it or scroll past your story.  The starting point is finding an adequate and eye-catching image. Treat your story as your business product – and promote it well. A cover is like a packaging – nicely wrapped one might show that you are delivering a story of high quality. Choose the picture that will also correspond with your audience.

Below you can find 10 useful websites that are great sources of free images. Each of them has a CC license (Creative Commons Zero) under which you are also able to legally modify and distribute the photographs for your personal, as well as commercial use. They also represent high-quality and offer many categories to choose from.

  1. Unsplash
  2. Pexels
  3. PicJumbo
  4. Pixabay
  5. StockSnap
  6. Pikwizard
  7. Kaboompics
  8. Tookapic
  9. Picography
  10. BarnImages
  11. Skitterphoto

What’s next?

To create a customised cover you need more than a nice photo. For designing it, you can either use a special design software like Photoshop or look for a free site that does not require you to possess a designing experience or technical skills to create it.

Here are some examples of free tools that you can experiment with: PicMonkey, BeFunky, Canva or Pablo.

Remember: great covers should draw attention, create engagement and express the quality of the story and its content.

**Note: Don’t forget that on Sweek you can post only copyright-free images with the 1:1.5 ratio that do not exceed 2MB.

Want to read some extra tips? We prepared a few useful articles to check out:

14 Sites for Making a Spectacular Book Cover

Best free online graphics editors for making your own book cover designs

5 Ways a Book Cover May Hurt Sales and How To Fix It

Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Covers

8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books

Do you find this article useful? What would you like our team to write about for the next week’s #sweektips?